I have been selected for June’s DrumOffTV drum solo competition. It involves creating a 30 second drum solo using only kick drum, snare drum and hi-hat and I am up against 5 other drummers for the top spot. The winner gets a day recording at Metropolis studio in London, so please watch my video below and go to the drumofftv website and vote for my entry, you can do this now right here: http://drumoff.tv/v/317/ many thanks!
I have finally recieved my custom made drum kit from C&C in the US and have been able to put into practice the tuning knowledge I have gained so far. I have managed to get her sounding great and wanted to share a few findings that I have learnt in the last month or so of my tuning experiment.
Firstly the main and most important fact I have learnt is that tuning is all about finding the sound you like. This is why it is sometimes called a ‘dark art.’ The best advice is to ‘trust your ears’, as drums are of an indefinite pitch therefore achieving a sound is different from person to person. Finding what sound you like at the start is hard enough, then you have to learn how to achieve that sound from the way you tune, and importantly what skins you use.
There are many different types of drum heads but I now know that my personal preferred sound is achieved with coated remo heads. I have always used clear demo heads, pinstripes, but they give a very bright open sound which isn’t the sound I was striving for. I had been struggling to tune my old drums with these heads. Coated heads give more attack and have a mellow deep sound that I really like.
In terms of the tuning process, seating all the heads on the drums properly is very important and something I had previously overlooked. From the prof sound drum tuning bible I learnt how to do this process properly. Please read the seating heads section for more accurate instructions. In a nut shell you need to finger tight screws until just touching the washers, back off a 1/4 turn, then 1/2 turns around drum (opposites) to 3 turns, then make sure the skin is in tune with itself. Finally, use a hairdryer around the bearing edge to seat the drums properly. You will hear a cracking of glue when it’s ready. This works!! Then I took the drums right back to no resonance, (from finger tight), 1/4 turn on each lug on the bottom and top, then another 1/4 turn on bottom skin lugs. This achieved a lovely drum sound for the toms and kick, and more importantly was the sound I have been trying to get. The top head is nice and lose so the feel of the drum is correct. This is also a really important factor as how a drum feels when you hit it makes a huge difference to the way you play and your overall sound. The only problem area is the snare drum as I am having real problem with snare buzz, when I hit the snare it produces a nice note, and sounds great together with the kit, but isolated the snares buzz for a long time after the strike. This week I shall be experiementing with the snare drum, beginning with tuning the drum with the snare’s removed first, then adding the snare wires and seeing if I can isolate the lengthy snare rattle.
So 2011 has been a busy year, the busiest yet for me! Therefore I thought I would have a review of my year with music and try to remember what I have been up to…
Sunless ’97: 6
Mean Poppa Lean: 7
Mechanical Bride: 23
Holy Vessels: 2
Saint: 44 (Functions)
Caroline Buckley: 1
All shows: 83 (4 Tours, 2 UK, 2 European).
Supported, Friendly Fires, Yuck, Toro Y Moi, Kwes, Summer Camp, Smoke Fairies, The Heart and the Hand, Liam Finn, Dry the River, Graham Coxon.
Standout venues visited: The Garage, ULU, St. Giles Church, London, Flèche D’or, La Boule Noir, Paris, Le Cargo, Caen.
2 Albums: Mechanical Bride – Living With Ants, Mean Poppa Lean – Live on Twelve Legs.
1 EP: Sunless ’97 – Making Waves.
3 Singles: Mechanical Bride – Colour of Fire / Young Gold / To the Fight.
2 Radio sessions: Radio 1 Huw Stephens session, Selector Radio session.
Radio Plays: Radio 1, Radio 2, 6 Music, XFM, Selector Radio in over 29 territories.
1 Album recording session, Holy Vessels.
1 Endorsement deal, C&C Custom Drums.
4 Auditions, Left 1 band, joined 2, currently playing with 4, Sunless ’97, Holy Vessels, Mechanical Bride & Saint.
That just about wraps up my year, I’m hoping 2012 has more to give, looking forward to next year and implementing some new years resoultions, I already have a few that I have started early, cause I want a head start!
Merry Crimbus and a Happy Neu Year to all! X
Started with 1st tom, took off top and bottom skin, cleaned bearing edge and drum, then replaced skins, finger tight each lug first. Bottom skin 1 full turn with drum key, top skin, half turn with drum key, as already know in general bottom skin should be tuned higher than top skin.
I started to hear the notes at each lug, and work out which are higher or lower, however this didn’t last long as then my ears couldn’t differentiate between the notes because of over use. Thats why its important to do small sessions each day, hopefully then it will begin to make sense in my own mind as I carry on with my normal day.
I also recognised that I shouldn’t be scared of tuning, as at the end of the day, it is a piece of wood with 2 skins attached, and that with tuning, it is tuning to how I would like my drums to sound, and therefore cannot really be wrong.
Firstly I have just got back from a week long tour around the UK with Mechanical Bride, we began in Brighton at the Komedia, and took in the sights of London, Oxford, Cardiff, Bath, Cambridge and Cheltenham. The Highlight of the tour would be our support band in Cambridge, Bathing Blonds, check out their music they are a very talented bunch and one to look out for, and the lowlight would be getting stranded in Cambridge due to the van needing a well earned holiday..
I also had the huge privilege of meeting Philip Selway from Radiohead at our show in Oxford at the Jericho Tavern, where 20 years ago they were first spotted and signed up. We had a lovely in depth chat, and he remarked on how interesting and accomplished my drumming was, which obviously was a huge compliment from one of my biggest musical influences, Thank you Philip!
Here is the Philip in action with new Radiohead member Clive Dreamer on double drums duty..
Also I my C&C snare drum is finished…
Here is a first glimpse at my C&C Custom drum kit. This is the snare drum, with a yellow satin flame finish, its yet to have the lugs, strainer and rims installed (the metalwork basically on the drum) but gives an idea of the psychedelic wrap.
The rest of the kit will be in a blue satin flame, which is the same flame effect in a very dark blue, almost black, can’t wait to see it!
I have been offered a drum kit endorsement deal by American company C&C custom drums! They are amazing drums and I am previliaged to be part of the C&C family! Watch this space for the Thom Mills custom drum kit…