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Jazz & rock drum tunings

Discussion in 'Drums' started by anonymous, Jun 26, 2005.

  1. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Hey guys can you please let me know what the different tunings are for drums (typically) is.
    Like for instance, I know a drummer who learned to play in band back in high school. His teacher taught them how to tune to a jazz kit set-up. But now adays he plays mostly metal, and he still uses the same drum tuning he has asways used.
    I bought the "Drum Tuner" CD for this application. But it says "the disc contains 3 different tuning combinations".
    If anyone can provide a link, or can explain it, it would be very helpful.
  2. Crimsoncr

    Crimsoncr Guest

    Ive playes drums for 9 years, theres no such thing as tuning for a genre. Theres no jazz tuning, theres no metal tuning. Its just what you THINK and FEEL that sounds correct in the appropiate moment, or what the hell just make them sound as ou want them to. No one knows how to tune your set more than yourself.

  3. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    About 3 people have told me the same thing crimsoncr. Now can you or anyone else tell me...
    How do I tune the kick drum to the key of "E" if the guitars are in "E"?
    Or if the guitars are tuned to "D", how do I tune the kick to "D"?

    What I'm thinking is...tune the kick to the key the song is played in and tune the rest of the kit around the kick drum.
  4. HansAm

    HansAm Active Member

    What do you mean there is no tuning for a genre?
    Are you thinking of level of tone/pitch or sound? or both?

    When i get the response "DAMN! your drums are to metal today" (i play in a pop-rock band) my drums are at the lowest pitch possible and there is a very short resonanse.

    When i think of jazz im more on timbs and more resonase.
  5. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Thanks HansAm, 8)
    Anybody else, want to try to set me straight?
    All info is welcome :D
  6. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    What's up - ITGA.

    I don't bother trying to tune to the key of the song. This can end up choking the drum. All drums will have a few "ranges" they work best in, and to compromise the drum's natural "singing" tones in order to have the drum in a certain key is detrimental IMO (unless you have a warehouse full of every possible drum imagineable).

    You will want to have the "interval" between drums make sense. Don't tune the toms really close together (unless you have a 13 piece kit - ala Neil Peart or Terry Bozio). I like 4th's or 5th's between the toms, and the snare is always tuned higher than the highest tom (where practical).

    I follow HansAm's theory. Metal drums are tuned low, and require a good deal of narrow "Q" boost at the fundamental to make up for their lack of volume (loose heads are not as loud as tight heads). I like to be able to feel the last 2 toms on a descent set of speakers (my last 2 toms end up around 75Hz and 45Hz or so). This sound requires tight micing - you will NOT get a good low-tuned tom sound from the room mics IMO. Not enough Tom Volume, and the extreme EQ that is needed will drastically affect the sound of the kit. Running the last 2 toms and kick through some subwoofers while tracking will increase the sustain of the low-tuned drums, and addd some extra "oomph" to these sounds (like playing your guitar infront of your cranked stack - sustain!!!). I do this sometimes with mixed results (This is an old Mutt Lange trick from the Def Leapord days before Rick lost his arm :( ).

    Jazz tunings (also applicable to some Pop/Rock - just depends on preference) would usually have much tighter heads and higher pitched tunings (think a 4 Piece kit with 2 toms), and will be louder than a "Metal tuning". Little EQ is usually needed here, as the drum is "singing" at its most resonant frequency. Maybe some subtractive EQ, but hardly any fundamental boost would be needed IMO. This tuning will lend itself to minimalistic micing, too.

    Tuning is really important on Kick. I still stuggle with "making room for the Bass guitar" - but you essentially have to decide if you want the Kick to ride below the bass guitar, or above the bass guitar BEFORE you record. Then tune and EQ appropriately. I like the kick lower than the bass guitar for my heavier band's stuff, so I tune my kick very low, and dampen a descent amount. My kick's fundamental can be EQ'ed to "come out" at as low as 33Hz with a very narrow Q, but a second "energy bump" around 42Hz also works well (42Hz is pretty much a low "E" on bass FWIW).

    All I got for now...

    Later :cool:
  7. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Awesome stuff Randyman!
    Now this should be my last question. As far as tuning 3rds or 5ths. Can you or anyone explain, how to reconize a 3rd from a 5th?
    IMO I have a great ear for tone, but I just am new to tuning drums. And I am not sure how to listen for a 3rd on drums. :oops:
    Or a 5th.
    Thanks guys :!:

  8. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Don't laugh - but I usually use "Here Comes The Bride" as a Perfect 4th reference, and "Twinkle Twinkle Liitle Star" as my Perfect 5th reference :oops: . Easy enough to "hear" in your head. You should be able to play one of these songs on the toms (depending on the tuning), and it should resemble the correct interval of the song. We are not looking for exact pitch, but just the interval between the toms to be relative.

    You can use a simular technique for top-to-bottom head tuning (from Major 2nd, to Octave, or anywhere you desire that sounds good). This will mainly affect the tom's sustain.

  9. Crimsoncr

    Crimsoncr Guest

    I mean the whole tuning.
  10. TheFlame

    TheFlame Guest

    ey guys, just got my firepod and cubase le. everything pretty cool except for the fact that my bass drum is too low in volume, and when i raise it is clips. i am using a compresser and a gate, but they are probably not set right. i am using an old 60's japanese jazz set, not really that good, and i am using the new samson 7 peice for my kit. i wanted to get some helpful tips on just recording my whole set, especially the kick drum. i am suing two overheads, a snare mic and a kick drum mic. if you guys help it would be awesome
  11. TheFlame

    TheFlame Guest

    oh i forgot one thing, for mixing purposes, should i send all four drum tracks to a group, like group 1? or should i have them each going into thier own group? should the compressor and gate be a insert effect on the main group or on each drum. it would be easiest if you guys just say what works for you, i think i can get it soundin awesome.

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