Batter/Resonant head tuning techniques

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by audiowkstation, Aug 30, 2001.

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  1. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    I am going to put in a kit, and from years of talking to really great studio drummers, I want to know if their is anything I should consider when assembling the kit and the heads to keep the tuning from going flat on the Batter /resonant head situation. Is their a new material that streches over the indie rim to keep it tight? or do I just have to break them in and keep tuning.

    I am going with Paiste hand hammereds for the crash (16")Crash (18") Splash, ride (Heavy) and China. Signature dark crisp hi hats.

    Insight on drum tuning, technique, mounting and maintance is appreciated.

    The kit will be Yamaha beech custom 6 piece. I like the timber. I just need to talk heads , tuning and maintanance.

    If you think I could do better...turn me on. I have a total of about 800 hours behind the I am no experience pro...just an engineer that can play a tad...
  2. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    Oct 12, 2000
    Hi Bill,

    There was a thread a little while ago on drum tuning in this very forum, I think you might find some of the info there useful.

    AFAIK, there is no way around the need to keep retuning and replacing drum heads. If you are working with gentle jazz drummers then you won't have to do this too often. If you've got a muscle-bound thrash drummer though, you will have to retune after every session and you will have to replace heads very frequently. Beyond this, your drums should not need much maintenance at all. The only other area that can cause problems in the studio are the fixtures and fittings, which can cause buzzes and rattles when they get worn or if they have previously been over tightened.

  3. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    Thanks Greg!

    I am a little excited to get it. I am building a new studio room in a few months so it will be killer to finally have a kit here. Who knows...I may be able to learn them!
  4. Bill,

    As far as tuning and heads go, you won't go wrong to treat it like a guitar - Tune OFTEN! A big misconception I've run across is the "Tune 'em and roll tape" mentality. Drums (especially snare drums and higher rack toms with fresh heads) can and will change tone during and between takes. I have personally listened to my snare drum lose high end from the beginning of a track to the end (on a hard hitting song), causing me to re-track a fine take to get a consistent sound.

    Rule of thumb I go by - I try to change my snare drum heads about a week before a session (I'm a player, not an engineer), and get in 2 or 3 practice sessions to break them in a bit. As for the toms, the larger the drum, generally the less frequently I change the heads. They just don't hold as much tension, and whenever I've taken a floor tom with a fresh head into the studio, I end up taking about an half hour (or longer :( ) with the engineer trying to reduce the ring and overtones coming off the drum.

    All of the following applies to the batter heads. Again, I generally replace my resonant heads about every 6 - 8 months. They don't take the beating or the tension that a batter head does, as long as they aren't subjected to temerature extremes or humidity they should last that long with no problems.

    Those Yamaha's should sound great with some nice single-ply, coated batters and clear resonant heads. Depends on what type of music (always!), but you should have a great starting point with that setup.

    Good Luck, and let's hear how they sound when you get 'em mic'd!!

  5. Hey Monkey Grass, good to see you here! :cool:

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