Take a browse over at C&C Drums Europe, at my very own mug on their featured artist page! I am always so humbled to be included along side so many amazing drummers, many of whom inspired me to play, and continue to do so. Dreams come true. x
Super privileged to announce that I am now an endorsee & part of the Sabian cymbal family! I took a trip up to their artist centre at Music Bank in London and picked out a brand new set of metals; 14″ Artisan Hi-hats, 21″ HHX Legacy Ride & 17″ Artisan Crash to go with my 19″ HHX X-Treme Crash. Huge thanks to Tom Winch at Sabian and Nigel from The Sleeping Souls for all their help.
I have a brand new section to my site entitled “Drum Solos”, and it contains drum solos, wierdly. On there I have a live recording of a piece written when I was studying my music degree, a jazz style piece and a new addition an Afro-cuban style solo both recorded in my home studio. I will be updating this section with more pieces in different genres to promote my drum tracking recording service.
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.
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.
Tuning drums is something I have always been a little scared of, so I have decided to do a kind of experiment, where by I practise tuning a drum kit for 30 minutes a day 5 days a week, and see what discoveries I make along the way, and see if this could help others who are in the same boat. I have decided to only do 30 minutes a day as, as far as I know tuning is all about training the ears, and I find after more than 30 minutes my ears are overused, and I cannot hear the different pitches anymore.
So here I will document my progress, and any discoveries I make.
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…