May 30, 2009

Far From Finished @ Q Division, Somerville, MA 5/29/09

Far From Finished drummer Marc Cannata got to christen his spiffy new SJC Custom drums on Friday at Q Division when the band came in to record the Jackson 5 classic "I Want You Back" for an upcoming compilation. The kit, featuring red and black graphics floating on a White Marine Pearl, was designed by Cannata. The 20x20" kick drum/cannon was too much for the mic's so I popped the front head off and slightly muffled the batter head with a rolled piece of black velvet fabric.

I wasn't sure the 12x7" rack tom would give us the sound we were looking for but it ended up fine after I spent some quality tuning time with the bottom head. A lot of drummers try to tune their drums without ever touching the resonant (or bottom) head. They don't know that the bottom head plays a major role in defining the pitch of a drum. Most issues of uneven pitch are caused by the top head being out of tune with the bottom head. This doesn't mean that the top head needs to be tuned to the same note as the bottom - it means that it should be tuned to a complimentary pitch.
When tuning any tom tom I'll flip the drum over and rest the top head on my leg or a towel on the floor to dampen the head. This isolates the bottom head so I can check it's pitch. As a general rule I tune the bottom head a bit higher than the top head. (If I make too big a difference in pitch between the two heads I'll get what I like to call the "Syndrum syndrome", a nasty pitch bend that is reminiscent of the sound a basketball makes when it hits the floor. ) Once I get the bottom head evenly tuned I work on the top head and listen to the note it makes, trying to get an even sound between the two heads. You'll know if it's not right. I suggest experimenting with different tensions between top and bottom heads to see what works for you.

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