Head Tuning for Shows

Musicfreak15678

New member
I was wondering, how "in tune" do your drums need to be when they are miced at a show? If they are a little off, will it be noticeable? Or if they sound fine without being miced, they should be ok, right? I have my first "real" gig coming up in about a week where my drums will be miced, so I was wondering since I do not have any experience with this. I am VERY picky when it comes to tuning my drums, so do I need to worry?
 

Musicfreak15678

New member
writheindecay":29nqkhqo said:
noone but other drummers know when drums sound bad.

Yeah, I have been to shows where I can tell the drums are not in tune. But for the most part I usually find the drums usually sound fine with the rest of the band.
 

kebin131

New member
As long as they resonate well it's fine? The best resonant pitches I've found on my Pearl ELX (fusion size so 10 12 14 toms) are the A major scale root triad for the toms. The 14 is A, 12 C#, and 10 E. The snare I just tune to what I like it to sound like and the bass drum 22" usually sounds pretty good with G. The heads I'm using are Evan's G2 clear, and Whatever Bass drum batter head that comes with the muffling ring.
 

ryanrae

New member
tuning does matter . badly tunes drums will sound dull and will not have solid punch or definition . well tuned drums with new heads always sound better than not .
 

infiznitch

New member
i agree, tuning your toms well before a show is very important. I can't tell you how many times i've seen a "professional" band perform and while they are doing the mic check... i notice that the drummer has absolutely no idea how to tune his drums. I even saw a guy one time who's drums sounded like trash cans.

I also can't imagine the tediousness of tuning your toms to pitch. Also, toms can never have a true pitch, because they are indefinate pitched instruments. With all the harmonics resounding in your drums it's impossible to have an exact pitch. You can only tune to an approximate pitch by what your ears hear. Besides that, even if you COULD tune to a pitch there is no way between all of the pre-show preparations that you could have you toms in tune with eachother! imagine if one goes sharp, then the others have to be sharp as well! what a hassle. haha anyway off on a tangent

You're going to tune your drums differently depending on the situation. Obviously when recording you'll want to have your drums tuned differently than when you play live. Of course there are a million ways i could tell you to tune your drums, but when it comes down to it, depending on your style and of course everyone has their own personal preference on tone warmth, punch, and appx. pitch. some people want them punchy, some want them fat, some want them REAALLY high and some low as cannons. tastes range from the punchy papery sound of Hot for teacher toms to having marching bass drum runs. Sorry, i know NONE of this will help, but man, you just got to do what YOU think sounds good. I think as long as you keep in mind that your kit should blend together with itself, and then blend with the band, then you can do pretty much whatever the heck you feel like! haha have fun!
 

Spydr2000

New member
I'm going to have to disagree here about having perfect tuning being mic'd . Tuning is important but if they are slightly out most chances your not going to notice. If your drums are in the ballpark of what you like providing you know how to tune and they sound bad... it's your soundman. I've heard the worst sounding kits kick my ass standing in front of the mains of the PA. Good soundmen do wonders. I suggest having some moon gels on hand just incase. Those things really clean up floor toms when mic'd.
 

plumdrummer

New member
Make sure your drums are tuned well before you take the stage. The mics will only amplify that sound. I'd worry more about how well you play (a good 20-30 minute warm-up an hour or two before the show does wonders) and watch how many drink tickets are being used before your set. The beer you're drinking during the show should be your second. That goes for the whole band!!!
 

DrummerSnake

New member
Couple things - I agree that the beer your drinking when you go on stage should be you second- TOO MANY BANDS DON'T SEEM TO AGREE. Ugh. Second, should toms be tuned differently for live shows than for studio recording? Do triggers work better? I like a relitively dull, "basketball" sound, should I let them ring out more for live shows for fullness sake (since I can't hear what the audience hears during a show)? Also, what are moon gels?
 

infiznitch

New member
DrummerSnake":33mcx0x3 said:
Couple things - I agree that the beer your drinking when you go on stage should be you second- TOO MANY BANDS DON'T SEEM TO AGREE. Ugh. Second, should toms be tuned differently for live shows than for studio recording? Do triggers work better? I like a relitively dull, "basketball" sound, should I let them ring out more for live shows for fullness sake (since I can't hear what the audience hears during a show)? Also, what are moon gels?
as far as recording goes, yes you'll probably tune your drums differently when recording to get the desired sounds. of course part of your sound will rely on your engineer however there are some things that you can do to improve the sound of your drums. of course new heads are always preferred when recording. Also, you typically want to remove as much overtone as you can from your snare, and some from your toms. If you decide later you want resonance, the engineer can do that for you ;). As far as triggers go, it's really all up to you. Just remember triggers aren't for everyone. If you're using fast doublekick work, then i would recommend them. It really helps to have a consistent sound when you're playing driving double bass lines. Also, if you use the super blast (sixteenths with feet, sixteenths with snare, sixteenths with cymbal hand or 32nds depending on the time sign.) it really helps to have a snare trigger for those one handed rolls. Triggering your toms on the other hand gives off an extremely electronic sound, so.... personally i hate triggered toms, but, if that's the sound you want go for it.
 

drummert2k

New member
when micing your drums you dont really tune them for pitch as much as tune them to have the fullness you want out front of the house. dead drums sound punch in the first 2 rows but get lost in the mix the further back you go due to loosing the body and overtones to carry it with the mix
 

Flatliner

New member
I don't tune my drums to specific pitches, I have a piano and a bass, I can play melodies on those, for my drums I try more to get a good sound from each drum and to get them sounding good realative to each other.
 

lee

New member
I always use a drumdial. Especially handy for quick tuning!
They're also good if you're trying to tune quickly and the guitarist is busy playing Stairway To Heaven or whatever it is they play so you can't hear the drums very well.
 

iminaband

New member
Really the one thing to listen for is the overtones, if it sounds like the sound is going down... then you have a lug loose. Find it and it should fix the issue and should sound ok for the live set... If you are anal about tuning like me then this all is a different story, but yeah...

Danny Cayocca
 

earldrum

New member
drkilldrmz":1exg2mpo said:
Moon Gels are a rubbery sticky strip that you put right on the heads to stop exessive ringing.
I agree that Moon Gel works great at getting rid of unwanted ring. I also believe that RIMS mounts help the toms to sing/resonate better. There are many thoughts about drum tuning, but one thing is for sure ... a poorly tuned drum does not make a good drummer sound good.

I believe in tuning the toms to very different/defined pitches. In a four piece kit setup I always have the high tom punchy and the low tom fat sounding (this could be a 5th or a 4th apart depending on the size of the drum. I find that the top is looser and the bottom head is a medium tensioning. Some tune the bottom a lot tighter than the top, but I find that my two head difference is closer in pitch (i.e., maybe a semi-tone - a whole tone difference which is close).

I also believe that head choice and drum design affect the tone and tuning of a drum greatly.

Earl :D
 

goatatl

New member
I don't tune to notes, per se, I use the "In the Mood" (Glenn Miller, I think) method of tom tuning. works well for me...That said, unfortunate though it may be, it is the sound man that'll make or break you. I've heard guys make a hideous kit sound great & vice-versa. (My kit, of course, always sounds great)
G
 
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