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Reskin And Tune Drums


Aaron_Robertson
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Hello Aaron,

The manager at my shop (Rockapotamus Music, Inverurie) is a drummer. He would be able to do the needful with your mates drums. He would take the time to show your mate how to select heads suitable for his needs, replace them and explain the tuning aspect. This would, I'm sure, leave your mate sorted for how to go about doing it in future. At least then all your needs would be catered for under one roof.

If you think this would be an option for you, then please give him a call. His name is Gareth and you'll get him on 01467 622700 or on e-mail sales@rockapotamus-music.com. Monday is his day off, so you'd get him tomorrow from about 10.30am onwards.

Cheers,

Jim.

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Need Advice our dummer wants to reskin and tune a set of drums and no idea how to do it.. where can this be done? or is it easy enought to do?

Cheers

Aaron

Here's the way I do it:

- Start with floor tom, then mid, then hi....aim for an octave between high and low, with mid somewhere equally in between the two.

- put new head on shell, and press down hard with your palm to seat the head.

- tighten until finger tight, and then tighten each lug by 1 full turn. Tighten one lug, then the one opposite it rather than tightening each lug round the shell. i.e. tighten 12 o'clock, then 6 o'clock, then 2 o'clock, then 8 o'clock....etc.

- put drum on a cushion, and tap head 1" from the rim at each lung, and compare tone to that from the opposite lug and work round the shell from there. Make fine adjustments until you've got the same tone at each lug. Might not be necessary to get v.anal about getting each lug exactly the same......if you get pretty close, the drum should play OK. Different shells materials, thicknesses, rims, heads all make drums more or less sensitive to tuning......thin shells are in my experience, more of a pain in the arse than thick shells, and for some reason, I find 12" toms horrible to tune.

- Do same to bottom head. As a rule, use a thinner head on the underside than for the batter head. The bottom is the "resonant" head, and thinner heads resonate better.

Hope this helps, but ultimately, tuning is hard and can take ages.....and you learn by doing as much as you do by taking advice.

Neil

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After learning quite a lot about this in recent times I will write what i've learnt here.

Taken from another guide. "19 out of 20 drummers will say they know how to tune drums. 18 of those guys are absolute total fucking liars."

Don't rely too much on drummers for help. From my experience, even the ones who can tune drums are often not that great help.and will come out with stuff like "I just tune to what sounds good"..... Thank you drummer. I was planning to make them sound bad.

There is quite a lot written about it of varying quality and I had to read a lot just to get the basics.

Practice on your current skins before starting with new ones. You will learn a lot about the general process here without spending money on new skins.

You should change your skins regularly. Never leave them on for more than 6 months and if you play a lot you should change them more regularly. Change the resonant head as well. Possibly not as often but still change it reguarly.

I personally would start with bassdrum and then snare then move through toms but it is up to you. The reason I suggest this order is becuase you will discover it takes a lot longer to get them to sound the way you want them than you expected. There is a reasonable chance you will get stressed out and give up. Tuning the bass drum and snare first means you will at least have the 2 most important drums sounding half decent even if this happens.

Either way they all must be in tune with each other so you are going to have correct it again later, whatever order you do it in.

step 1

Put beater skin on drum. Make sure it is positioned nicely so it balances. Also, make sure it is actaully the correct size and not damaged. Also, do not put them on the wrong way round. It may be easier to cut a hole in your bassdrum skin now rather than later. A hole in bassdrum skin will allow more flexibility if you later decide to use microphones on your drumkit.

Tighten skin a little bit so it stays on.

Tighten skin conciderably until it is too high to realisticly be of any use. Push down on skin to stretch it even further. I know of some people who actually stand on their drum skins to do this.

Leave it there stretched for a while. This should help it stay in tune later as it wont stretch so much and go out of tune while you are playing

Loosen skin until it too low to make a nice sound when hit

Tighten until you get the lowest useable note

If you are tuning the toms, repeat process for all the other toms (and snare) and get them in tune with each other before going onto next part. Whatever you do, you will probably end up changing it later to some extent so try not to spend too long on this, within reason

step 2

repeat step 1 for resonant head

If you are short of time you can put them on at the same time and dampen the resonant skin with a towel.

If you want a more boomy sound the resonant head should be lower. If you want a punchier sound the resonant head should be higher.

step 3

Go through each drum and see how they sound as a complete product as part of the kit. Then analyise them further and examine how they sound vs what you want them to sound like.

Keep adjusting.

If you get them sounding fairly good, stop at that point unless you are sure you can make them sound better as you have just as much chance of making them sound worse.

You will also probably have to adjust the tightness of the snare (the actual metal thing round the back of snare). This is not usually as simple as it should be and usually involves loosening the things holding the snare on, pulling on it at it then tightening it further

Other tips

Each drumkits will sound best with a certain tuning. Do not fight against this and try to work with what you've got.

Check the pitches of drums with another musical instrument.

Always tune the snare with the snare turned off. You may however need to adjust it after turning it back on

Learn how to put on the skins properly. I know a fair few people who put their skins on the wrong way round (resonant head on beater side etc.) It is also importnat to make sure your skin is actually well placed on the drum as you attach it or else you will get problems.

ALWAYS tune up the way.... The tuning will move much quicker and more accurately if you are tightening rather than loosening the skin. If you want to lower the pitch. Tune downwards a lot then move it up further gradually

Use good quality skins.

Adjust small amount at one time when going up. For example. even 1/16th turn may be enough to turn it at one time but it depends how near you are to what you want.

Keep each tuning peg as equal as possible at all times but be aware that they do tend to move a bit after you tighten them so be prepared to adjust them indivually.

Mentioned this before but it worthy of mentioning it again. CHANGE YOUR SKINS REGUARLY!!!!!!!

Always do any major tuning at least 24 hours in advance of playing the kit for any serious purposes.

Buy a Tama Tension Watch or similar and write down the readings you used EVERY time you tune your drums. This is a device which messures the pressure guage of your drums at each tuning point. It will speed up the process and allow you to achieve the same results at a future date a lot easier.

Be patient. It will take a long time but will also make your kit sound like 10 times the drumkit it would otherwise be. It will be worth it in the end

Be prepared to re-tune it later. Even a few hours of playing or dodgey weather can send the tuning of a perfectly good kit into oblivian.

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After learning quite a lot about this in recent times I will write what i've learnt here.

Taken from another guide. "19 out of 20 drummers will say they know how to tune drums. 18 of those guys are absolute total fucking liars."

Don't rely too much on drummers for help. From my experience, even the ones who can tune drums are often not that great help.and will come out with stuff like "I just tune to what sounds good"..... Thank you drummer. I was planning to make them sound bad.

There is quite a lot written about it of varying quality and I had to read a lot just to get the basics.

Practice on your current skins before starting with new ones. You will learn a lot about the general process here without spending money on new skins.

You should change your skins regularly. Never leave them on for more than 6 months and if you play a lot you should change them more regularly. Change the resonant head as well. Possibly not as often but still change it reguarly.

I personally would start with bassdrum and then snare then move through toms but it is up to you. The reason I suggest this order is becuase you will discover it takes a lot longer to get them to sound the way you want them than you expected. There is a reasonable chance you will get stressed out and give up. Tuning the bass drum and snare first means you will at least have the 2 most important drums sounding half decent even if this happens.

Either way they all must be in tune with each other so you are going to have correct it again later, whatever order you do it in.

step 1

Put beater skin on drum. Make sure it is positioned nicely so it balances. Also, make sure it is actaully the correct size and not damaged. Also, do not put them on the wrong way round. It may be easier to cut a hole in your bassdrum skin now rather than later. A hole in bassdrum skin will allow more flexibility if you later decide to use microphones on your drumkit.

Tighten skin a little bit so it stays on.

Tighten skin conciderably until it is too high to realisticly be of any use. Push down on skin to stretch it even further. I know of some people who actually stand on their drum skins to do this.

Leave it there stretched for a while. This should help it stay in tune later as it wont stretch so much and go out of tune while you are playing

Loosen skin until it too low to make a nice sound when hit

Tighten until you get the lowest useable note

If you are tuning the toms, repeat process for all the other toms (and snare) and get them in tune with each other before going onto next part. Whatever you do, you will probably end up changing it later to some extent so try not to spend too long on this, within reason

step 2

repeat step 1 for resonant head

If you are short of time you can put them on at the same time and dampen the resonant skin with a towel.

If you want a more boomy sound the resonant head should be lower. If you want a punchier sound the resonant head should be higher.

step 3

Go through each drum and see how they sound as a complete product as part of the kit. Then analyise them further and examine how they sound vs what you want them to sound like.

Keep adjusting.

If you get them sounding fairly good, stop at that point unless you are sure you can make them sound better as you have just as much chance of making them sound worse.

You will also probably have to adjust the tightness of the snare (the actual metal thing round the back of snare). This is not usually as simple as it should be and usually involves loosening the things holding the snare on, pulling on it at it then tightening it further

Other tips

Each drumkits will sound best with a certain tuning. Do not fight against this and try to work with what you've got.

Check the pitches of drums with another musical instrument.

Always tune the snare with the snare turned off. You may however need to adjust it after turning it back on

Learn how to put on the skins properly. I know a fair few people who put their skins on the wrong way round (resonant head on beater side etc.) It is also importnat to make sure your skin is actually well placed on the drum as you attach it or else you will get problems.

ALWAYS tune up the way.... The tuning will move much quicker and more accurately if you are tightening rather than loosening the skin. If you want to lower the pitch. Tune downwards a lot then move it up further gradually

Use good quality skins.

Adjust small amount at one time when going up. For example. even 1/16th turn may be enough to turn it at one time but it depends how near you are to what you want.

Keep each tuning peg as equal as possible at all times but be aware that they do tend to move a bit after you tighten them so be prepared to adjust them indivually.

Mentioned this before but it worthy of mentioning it again. CHANGE YOUR SKINS REGUARLY!!!!!!!

Always do any major tuning at least 24 hours in advance of playing the kit for any serious purposes.

Buy a Tama Tension Watch or similar and write down the readings you used EVERY time you tune your drums. This is a device which messures the pressure guage of your drums at each tuning point. It will speed up the process and allow you to achieve the same results at a future date a lot easier.

Be patient. It will take a long time but will also make your kit sound like 10 times the drumkit it would otherwise be. It will be worth it in the end

Be prepared to re-tune it later. Even a few hours of playing or dodgey weather can send the tuning of a perfectly good kit into oblivian.

Good stuff Mark...........and because of the aforementioned points about most drummers being pish at tuning, I'd strongly recommend the original poster against taking your drums to a shop and paying to have them tuned. I made this mistake in the distant past, and the results were hopeless.

Decent tuning takes time and after a bit of practice, you'll be better off IMO doing it yourself. After all, you're the only one who knows how you want your drums to sound.

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Thank you. I am no means an expert but unlike many supposed experts I believe I can explain what I have done in the past with some degree of sucess.

I really must emphasise something I've already mentioned.

Honestly do not try to tune your kit lower or higher than your kit wants to sound.

A lot of people playing heavy rock seem to think they need their kit to be really low tuned. Your kit sort of has to be made for this if you are going to do it and you wont really get a good perception of how 'low' your drumkit sounds acousticly in your bedroom vs some pro band on a recording. Also if you are a double kick player, a really low bass drum is likely to sound muddy. Try the beater skin being quite low and the resonant head being a bit higher. That way you can get some 'click' to the sound although that quality largely comes from being mic'd and EQ'd in the right way.

Some jazz and lighter rock players try to go for the most high and subtle bass drum sound around. This might sound great on your own but if your kit is not really made for it, it is likely to sound inadequit, even if that style of music traditionally has that. It is unlikely that you will overpower the sound with your bassdrum in these styles of music and you can get away with something lower than you might think.

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Good information mark,

here is a little few addons to what mark posted and things to remember when tuning drums...

Always put the head into the hoop first and never straight onto the shell,, if the hoop is out of round or buckled in anyway then this is where you will notice it and if its an older kit you have then there is a good chance that it's not just right. If the integrity of the shells or bearing edges are compromised in anyway then the kit may be un-tunable and then you can only expect to get out something resembling a half decent tone.

Plastic polyfilm (PET) heads DONT stretch very well, they have a high tensile strength so they just get tighter then snap, so never go ott on tightness.

Bring the heads up to a resonating point, its really just trial and error you should hear more body in the tone produced, then work from there until you hear what you think is right for what your doing.

And lastly dont worry, most drummers walk around with badly tuned kits and beginners are entitled to do it.

drumbum

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