Having Serious Problems w/ Tuning

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Post Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:22 pm

So I read the Drum Bible on the sticky and everything and I eventually bought myself a DrumDial hoping that it'd make the tuning process a little easier/faster. I unscrew everything off the bottom hoop on my snare, screwed them back in and tightened them (star-shaped pattern and followed the DrumDial instructions and put the pressure to 82). By the time I finish, I notice that I had unevenly tightened the snare so much, the hoop was CURVED; a curve so bad you could rock the snare on flat surface and 100% visible. So, before my next attempt at tuning anything, I'd like to know how to use the DrumDial correctly without fucking my set up.
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Post Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:33 am

Take the tension rods back to the point where they aren't touching the hoop any more and finger tighten them back down. I like to do all of them and then spin the drum around (on carpet) so I end up finger tightening all of them with my right hand. That way there's no discrepancies between "finger tight" between the strong and weak hand. Then, half a turn on each tension rod in a star pattern, another half turn, then a full turn, and then check the tuning...not the tension, the tuning, put the DrumDial back down. What you want is a clear sound when you tap the middle of the head with your finger. If you hear a "poink" the head isn't in tune with itself. From there, tap the head about 2" in front of each tension rod listening for any that sound noticeably different. (note: As your ear develops, "noticeable different" becomes more fine tuned.) Adjust the out-of-tune rods in 1/8-1/4 turn increments until you get them all sounding close. You might have to play around a little with this. If you have one tension rod that's too tight it's going to make the two on either side of it sound off and vice versa.

Ok, so now you have your head somewhat in tune with itself. Now you can pull your DrumDial out and adjust the head to the tension you want. However, keep in mind that the "suggested settings" are exactly that, suggestions. I use a Tama Tension Watch (same thing, just more picky) and my sound doesn't match any of the suggested settings. So, I recommend you find the tuning range of your drums and then a tuning that you like. Then, use the DrumDial to fine tune your drums.

Learning how to tune and developing your ears is just like anything else with drumming, it just takes practice. :)
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Rob the Drummer
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Post Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:34 pm

That's some good advice from Garrett, make sure when you tune, you tune evenly. I personally have never used a drum dial, never had to. Just make sure tension is even and that the head is set properly and not lop-sided. I normally do the "finger tight" thing, then get the wrinkles out and go from there. I hope you didn't damage anything!
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Post Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:26 pm

I personally baught the drumdial because i have a double bass kit, and tuning bass drums to be perfectly equal is a PAIN for me. but i dont use the drumdial for my other drums.
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Post Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:20 pm

Nothing wrong with using the dial guys. I use it myself it really helped me get the hang of tuning, the better you get your drums to sound the more become immersed in it and you will eventually be able to tune your drums by ear. What I've been using it lately is for seating the heads. I will bring em up to arond 90 on each drum and let em sit for a couple hrs. Then I bring back down to just at wrinkle and bring each lug up one full turn and fine tune it so its a clear distinct pitch, and then bust out the dial and fine tune em. I let em sit and play on them at this tuning for at least 2 days. After I bring the heads up to 90 again make sure they are fully cracked and seated. Then I bring them back down to just a wrinkle and repeat the process. I find that taking the time to do this keeps the heads in tune for longer and they are at the lowest possible RESONATING pitch.

For snares I find that doing the same process of cracking the heads and using the drum dial to get you to about 90 on the batter and 80-85 on the reso will get you close to a good sound. Remember use your ears If It don't sound good don't use it try again.
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