Trouble Tuning Drums.....DRUM TUNER??

Forbesguy634

Junior Member
Hi,
I'm having trouble tuning my drums and was thinking about buying a drumdial (drum tuner)?? Can anyone comment on this, thanks!
 

2bsticks

Platinum Member
I have a drum dial and it's collecting dust. I have a Evans torque key and that to is collecting dust. I was lucky enough to have been assisted with a member of this forum who helped me to tune using a very cheap tuner, see attached. You can get it at Musicians Friend. You can also get an older type that you blow into for about $10.00. You find the pitch of say your 10" tom. tune the note to a C as an example, that is what I tune my 10" tom to. Make sure you try and get the C note on each lug. On the bottom you do the same, or if you want less ring you can tune the bottom head a minor or major third higher. It's been great for me.

Good luck
 

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stillgroovin

Senior Member
Yea, I agree.. I bought the drum dial and even though it does what it says I just wasn't happy with the way the drums sounded when they were supposed to be in tune. I use a new tool now.....my ear and a pitch pipe.....kit sounds great, oh and the drum dial..makes a good paperweight.
 

Nodiggie

Gold Member
Never used a Dial before. But here is what I do.

I'm sure there are several ways to get the .mp3 but this is what I did.

Took "ModPlug" Tracker and recorded a track of repeating notes of each tom size. Then converted it into an MP3 file and put it on my portable MP3 player.

Then, I listen to the tom notes repeatedly and tune my drums to the recorded track notes, respectively.

Works for me and the digital notes of electronic drums are a very good reference.
 

the skin man

Senior Member
I was lucky enough to have been assisted with a member of this forum who helped me to tune using a very cheap tuner, see attached. You can get it at Musicians Friend.

What's the name of that thing? Is it just a regular tuner like one for an acoustic guitar?


Here's something else:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh0uKNZU-0c
http://www.drumtech.com/dts2.html

This might require that both heads already be in tune with each other, so it might not help much, but it's something.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I have found the Drum Dial to be useful and it does save me a lot of time. Once I find the Dial specs that I like for each drum I can quickly set the drum to them. This gives me a rough tune. I then always fine tune by hand. I had to experiment with my Drum Dial for a while before I got used to it. I like it best for bottom head tuning. I can get all the bottom heads on my toms set to the same tension quickly. Reflex heads are thin so the Dial is more accurate on them. I also use it for my snare. Is it perfect? No, but it has its uses.
 

the skin man

Senior Member
But what's the story with this drumtech tensioner? To me, it looks like it suffers from the same problem that regular tuning does in that it's hard to get all the lugs in tune with one another. If that's not done in the first place, then I bet it's no good. Probably the only advantage is being able to tune a whole head at once once it's in tune with itself.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
But what's the story with this drumtech tensioner? To me, it looks like it suffers from the same problem that regular tuning does in that it's hard to get all the lugs in tune with one another. If that's not done in the first place, then I bet it's no good. Probably the only advantage is being able to tune a whole head at once once it's in tune with itself.
I agree. If you don't have equal tension to start with you are lost. I find that the old method of tapping the eraser end of a pencil near each lug while listening for the same pitch still works best to equalize tension. When I first used my Drum Dial I can remember that all my tensions that I had set with a pencil were almost equal when I placed the Dial near the lugs.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Another thing to rember. Pencils don't cost much. Tuning devices like the Drum Dial are kind of pricy. The Dial is a luxury kind of thing that you can get by without.
 

drumtechdad

Gold Member
Most guys would be better off spending the $60 it costs for a drum dial on a couple of lessons from a drummer who can tune. Have him tune a snare, tom, and bass drum while you watch and listen. Knowing what to listen for is half the battle.

The drum dial gets you close, but I've never heard a drum tuned with one that didn't need lug-to-lug fine-tuning by ear. Since you have to learn to fine-tune by ear anyway, why bother with the DD?

They are sometimes also thrown off by the inevitable imperfections in heads, collars, hoops, out of round shells, bearing edges, etc. One of the most common questions on the forums is "Why does my drum dial read high when the tension rod is practically falling out?" Ordinarily if I take a drum dial to a drum that sounds perfect I get varying readings around the heads--probably due to these imperfections.

It's best use is to easily replicate a previous tuning without having to re-invent it from scratch every time you change heads. I tune to pitches so I can do the same thing, faster, with a $20 pitch pipe.
 
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