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Drum tuning
Old 3rd July 2020
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Drum tuning

Hi, Jens!
Massive fan of your work
its amazing how many of your mixes I use as reference

If you don't mind this is a two part question:

1º What is your approach to drum tuning? Are you a hz/note (tunebot) or tension (drum dial, tension watch, torque key) kind of guy? Are there any tried-and-true tips or workflow that you seem to follow every time?

2º This is something no one ever talks about...What is your approach to MAINTAINING the selected drum tuning during recording? I´ve seen people use nuts on the lugs, others putting loctite blue or nail polish on the lug threads and other people use products like tunafish/lug locks or similar.
In this scenario of maintaining drum tuning are you mostly concern about tuning of the batter, the bottom head or both?
My main concern is specially the kick drum tuning because of the position of the lugs after setting up the drum kit with all the drummer´s hardware, the mics and the cables...that make it hard to do tune it in between takes without moving anything.


Thank you very much for doing this Q&A!
Old 7th July 2020
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by The-Zeronaut ➡️
Massive fan of your work
Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by The-Zeronaut ➡️
What is your approach to drum tuning? Are you a hz/note (tunebot) or tension (drum dial, tension watch, torque key) kind of guy? Are there any tried-and-true tips or workflow that you seem to follow every time?
I'm old school when it comes to drum tuning, and prefer doing it by ear with a regular drum key. I do use Tension Watch from time to time. If you have a good sounding kit that can take and hold tuning well, it's pretty easy. I do work with drum techs too every time the budget allows.

I prefer having very fresh heads throughout the session. I usually change tom heads 2 or 3 times during a session and snare heads (top) for every song. I prefer using as thin heads as possible, depending on the drummer.

I absolutely despise any form of built in dampening on drum heads. I do dampen if and when I have to, but always as little as possible. I find it much easier to get a non-dampened snare to sit in a dense mix compared to something that's dampened to death. Especially if you support with triggers. Recording un-dampened is more difficult in a way since it will be even more important to keep tuning up to standard. Which brings us to your next question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The-Zeronaut ➡️
This is something no one ever talks about...What is your approach to MAINTAINING the selected drum tuning during recording? I´ve seen people use nuts on the lugs, others putting loctite blue or nail polish on the lug threads and other people use products like tunafish/lug locks or similar.
In this scenario of maintaining drum tuning are you mostly concern about tuning of the batter, the bottom head or both?
My main concern is specially the kick drum tuning because of the position of the lugs after setting up the drum kit with all the drummer´s hardware, the mics and the cables...that make it hard to do tune it in between takes without moving anything.
Yeah, there are many tricks for this. It can be a nightmare, especially if you record on vintage drums.

I usually use lug-locks to see if and which screws that turned. I.e., I don't actually lock them that way. I use plumber's tape for that purpose, and I tie up new tape for each head change. I put this on both top and bottom heads. The bottom will not move much, but the top heads will. When they are getting hard to tune, I change heads.

One day I'd like to renovate all my snare drums with fine-threaded screws. A drum that is using that kind of system will keep its tuning much better.
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