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Old 08-07-2010, 10:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Tuning Drums?

Hello,

Is there a way to "tune" drums or some equivalent to tuning drums?
I mean either the drums or the cymbals.

Because my brothers' ("Losers Of The Year") band's drums never seem to sound the same each practice. And because I am forming a band I want to know if there is some kind of technique to keeping the drums' sound consistent.

Any help is appreciated, thank you.
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Old 08-07-2010, 11:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Tuning drums can come in many forms, such as tightening the heads and muffling the drums. Here's a good place to learn a bit: Wikipedia.

To make it consistent you'll probably want to check your drums before you start and re-tune them accordingly if you need to.

I don't think there's really any way to tune the cymbals though.
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Old 08-07-2010, 11:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Cymbals aren't really tunable, hence why it's important to try out a cymbal and hear it first hand before you buy it. That said, you can use some tape to tame the sound of the cymbal a little if you want. The important thing with cymbals is hitting them in the correct place and with the right part of the stick, and so it's important to have them positioned and angled well.

You can find loadsa tutorials for tuning the rest of the kit online.
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Old 08-07-2010, 12:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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This should probably be in the forum about instruments rather than general music, but anyway, the drum tuning bible should be helpful:

Drum Tuning Bible
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Old 08-07-2010, 04:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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for the most part drums in a drum kit probably only need to be tuned about once every couple months, and unless you're really wanting an exact pitch out of them just tune them till the tone of the drum sounds how you want it to. gravityslips is correct in the fact that cymbals are untunable (well unless you cut a piece of the cymbal but i wouldn't recommend that.) just a little tape should work but the tape will only make a difference if it's put outside of the center of the cymbal the closer to an edge the bigger difference, also putting a little tape "X" in certain places can help guide you to exact places you would want to hit the cymbals in certain parts of a song.

the one kind of drum in which pitch truly matters are rope-tuned drums, like bongos, congas, etc... (although now plenty of them have metal tuners) many people will actually tune a bongo to an exact pitch because they may want to play it chromatically. (center of drum is low-pitched and edges are higher-pitcthed this is also true with pretty much any other drum).

those are basically all the things i know about drum tuning, that i wanted to go into detail of
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Old 08-07-2010, 05:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Abominable Homan View Post
This should probably be in the forum about instruments rather than general music, but anyway, the drum tuning bible should be helpful:

Drum Tuning Bible
Thanks man, that is useful.
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Old 08-07-2010, 05:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stone Birds View Post
for the most part drums in a drum kit probably only need to be tuned about once every couple months, and unless you're really wanting an exact pitch out of them just tune them till the tone of the drum sounds how you want it to. gravityslips is correct in the fact that cymbals are untunable (well unless you cut a piece of the cymbal but i wouldn't recommend that.) just a little tape should work but the tape will only make a difference if it's put outside of the center of the cymbal the closer to an edge the bigger difference, also putting a little tape "X" in certain places can help guide you to exact places you would want to hit the cymbals in certain parts of a song.

the one kind of drum in which pitch truly matters are rope-tuned drums, like bongos, congas, etc... (although now plenty of them have metal tuners) many people will actually tune a bongo to an exact pitch because they may want to play it chromatically. (center of drum is low-pitched and edges are higher-pitcthed this is also true with pretty much any other drum).

those are basically all the things i know about drum tuning, that i wanted to go into detail of
It's good to know that drums aren't as easily thrown out of tune as guitars. Thanks for the info.
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Old 08-07-2010, 05:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GravitySlips View Post
Cymbals aren't really tunable, hence why it's important to try out a cymbal and hear it first hand before you buy it. That said, you can use some tape to tame the sound of the cymbal a little if you want. The important thing with cymbals is hitting them in the correct place and with the right part of the stick, and so it's important to have them positioned and angled well.

You can find loadsa tutorials for tuning the rest of the kit online.
My brothers play their drum set with broken cymbals, the cymbals sound like trash cans; they don't seem to know the difference between broken and not, I guess that's one of the problems with their sound.

I'm thinking tape won't work for their cymbals, but it's good to know we can at least alter the sound of new cymbals a little. Thanks for the info.
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Old 08-07-2010, 05:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeDTH View Post
My brothers play their drum set with broken cymbals, the cymbals sound like trash cans; they don't seem to know the difference between broken and not, I guess that's one of the problems with their sound.

I'm thinking tape won't work for their cymbals, but it's good to know we can at least alter the sound of new cymbals a little. Thanks for the info.
Sometimes a cracked cymbal can become an awesome effect cymbal, but this usually only works for smaller cymbals and splashes.
Anyway, if all their cymbals are cracked and sound like crap... tape isn't going to do anything to help. Tape just helps absorb some of the ringing sound and decreases the decay a little.

As far as tuning, follow that Drum Tuning Bible and you won't go wrong, but remember... you can only get so much out of properly tuning a horribly fucked drum set. If the skins need replacing, that should be done first.
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Old 08-07-2010, 05:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I found some great tutorials on YouTube as well. My brothers' drums are definitely out of tune, but they won't let me tune them and they don't think drums can be tuned. They just go by ear, so I guess their sound is just going to be inconsistent. Which means my band will have the upper hand, muahahahahaha!
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