Drum Tuning Diary – Day 1.

Day 1.

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.

Decided to do another 30 minute session, (maybe gonna do 2, 30 min sessions a day depending on how much time I have) moved onto the floor tom, same procedure. Noticed the note I’m getting is moving up in pitch then down, in a booww sound. This is because no definite note is reached yet, hopefully I can eliminate the pitch bend effect and arrive at 1 definite note per drum.
Anyways not a bad first day, lots and lots of work to do, training those ears!!
Also here is a picture of my nearly finished custom C&C kit in satin flame…

5 comments

  1. ajbennettdrums

    Nice read mate.

    Can I suggest (if you haven’t already) that when you clean your drums you re-Lube the drum tension rods. Its hard to pitch match the different points on the head if some screws are harder to turn than others.

    Also you might want to try and pitch match both top and bottom heads as this gives you more resonance in the drum and a better tone. A tighter bottom head dries out the drum faster. But some prefer this. It’s all down to preference really. Might be worth trying both.

  2. Thom Mills

    That’s ace, thanks very much for the comment, it’s exactly what I’m trying to do, learn from as many people as possible, and help some along the way.
    Interesting what you say about matching the top and bottom heads in pitch, makes sense, however I’ve been told to tune the bottom higher, I will definitely experiment with both. Basically I really like a definite note, that has a nice sustain and really brings out the whole sound of a drum. Massive thanks for reading, and commenting, cheers!

  3. ajbennettdrums

    If that’s your preference then defiantly pitch match as you get 1 note with a nice sustain. Having a tighter bottom skin dries out the drum faster as the sound doesn’t rebound as much. You also get 2 different notes tuning this way. 1 from the top and a higher note from the bottom.

    Another thing you can conceder at a later date once your ears become in tune to it is to match the heads to the sound of the drum shell itself. Every drum has a note pitch, To find this take the heads of and gently it the shell. It will produce a note. Then pitch match the heads to the specific note. It is fiddly and not something you would want to maintain all the time. But definitely fun to try and worth it to hear the true sound of the drum.

    I spent a good few months researching drum tuning. It’s a fascinating subject.

    Good luck with the experiment and I look forward to reading your findings.

  4. Blood-Ink-Diary

    Thom, I got your message in following my blog — great and you are welcome to keep in touch! I have some friends in Toronto who are professional musicians and would like to introduce you tothem — who knows for any future collaboration! I play blues acoustic, the frends play anywhere from rock/blues/jazz. Your work is brilliant!
    Stay in touch.
    Peace & Love

  5. Thom Mills

    Hello! Nice to meet you too, and thank you for your kind words, please do introduce me to your musician friends, and keep in touch your self! Big thanks.

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