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Old 03-25-2010, 07:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Drum set tuning

Hey, me and my friends want to start a band. and i (being the drummer) have chosen a few of my favorite band's drum set tuning to mess around with. The problem is i can't find what their drummers tune their drums to. so do anyone know what:
Bullet For My Valentine, Breaking Benjamin, All That Remains' drummers tune thier drums to?
thanks
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Um... Tune your drum set so that it sounds good in context with itself, first off. That means finding the proper resonances in whichever fundamental note each drum operates in. For instance, if you don't have the same drum kit as another kit and each of the shells are different sizes between drum kits, they're going to resonate at different frequencies. Trying to tune one's skins to the other isn't going to get you good results. You should tune your skins in such a way that it works with the resonant note of the shell. And that depends on the diameter and depth of the drum itself, and the timbre will depend on what kind of wood it's made out of.
If you don't have the exact same size/make kit and heads as the band's drums you're trying to tune to, you're only going to make things sound worse than they already do.
So instead of trying to tune your kit to another kit that isn't even the same, try tuning your kit CORRECTLY and you will get the best results.

So, how do you find the optimal resonant note of your specific drum shells? Go back to the basics of tuning drums. Here's a good link you can follow to make sure you're doing it correctly: http://home.earthlink.net/~prof.sound/id5.html

You can tune your snare the same way, but generally snares are tuned pretty tight and there's a slightly different procedure that you can follow in the above link, found on the sidebar. Kick as well.

Ok, so you understand that you're not going to get your drum set to sound exactly like the kit in your favorite band's albums right? Good. If you think you can, you have to realize that when albums are recorded, those drums get a lot of processing when they're being mixed and can sound a lot different than they do naturally. Even in live scenarios drums are miked, amplified and EQ'ed.

If you're simply trying to match the fundamental notes of each drum to another kit, then you should re-think that and remember what I said above and try to get your kit sounding ITS best, which is completely dependent on whether you skin it with the right heads and tune them so that the heads and the shell are operating as one big, happy resonant family. If you can do that, then your kit will sound far better than if you try to make the kit do something it's not going to be able to do naturally.

Now, there are a lot of folks who like to tweak their toms to major notes, but the extent at which you'll be able to do this will depend on the shell's fundamental. First, find that fundamental and dial it in so that when you hit the drum, it's ringing nice and long... then if you can spare some of that decay, you can tweak it up or down into a nearby note with a tuner that has a mic, but you'll lose some decay.. which is usually counter-productive in a live scenario, being that most of it is eaten up by other sounds and your drums could end up sounding boxy. But tweak to the drum first and foremost.
Also remember that when you're tuning, you'll hear the most resonance directly above and below the drum.. so place yourself around the room and get a helper to hit on the drums and that will give you a little perspective as to the vast difference position can make... and that will help you make correct tuning decisions for your particular scenario.

Good luck.
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