Bass Drum Tone ???

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Tom Neves, May 11, 2005.

  1. I just finished listening to McCartney's, "Another Day". It's on his Wings Greatesr Hits CD.
    Iv'e always liked the Bass tone and while not certain, I believe it's his Hofner.
    I love the thump!
    As I listened , I wondered if they tuned the kick to the tone of the Bass?
    Then I wondered if it could be done in a, "Live" setting?
    Any of you Bass/Drummers do this?
    I never have!
    Our drummer tunes his Tom's, but we've never done the kick.
    Anyone of you out there do this?
    Maybe you could offer some simple tips on how this is done?
    Is the Kick tuned to a particular note, using a guitar tuner?
    I like hearing the thump of the kick and Bass together.
  2. I also play drums, so I'll take a crack at this one.....Unless your drummer is using a thinner bass head, such as an Ambassador or something comparable, and not a pre-muffled head, such as a Pinstripe, Powerstroke, EQ etc., there isn't really going to be much of a discernible pitch. Tom-tom tension is typically higher, thus allowing them to be tuned to a specific pitch (although this will usually make toms sound bad IMO, as they are tuned out of the drums natural pitch). If "thump" is what you are looking for, tuning a bass drum to a specific pitch is a bad idea, IMO. Bass drum "ring" or resonance, is usually lost in a band setting, which would render any tuning useless, and unless you peddle on a single note all day, you wouldn't often be in tune with each other. Not to mention your drummers playing style. If he "digs in", he will muffle the head anyway. Sorry for the disorganized ramble, I hope this helps.

    Edit - After some thought, I suppose you could tune the "thump" in some manner, but I don't know with what accuracy. I think it's more trouble than it's worth for something that has a percussive purpose, and not a tonal one.
  3. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    my drummer "tunes" his bass drum. not to any tonality really, more of a tuning from a "Fwump" to a "thwap"

    my favorite bass drum sound is a beefy bottom end with a crisp attack.
  4. Some drummers (including my brother with 20 years on the odometer) believe in the dead tuning technique...

    Take the batter head completely loose, then turn the keys just until the wrinkles are gone, and dampen the chamber just a bit.
  5. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    My drummer turns his double-kick pedals around, so the plastic side hits the skin, rather than the felt side. Then, he tapes two nickels to the bass drum skin, so that the drum beaters hit the nickels. It sounds really good, and helps give riffs with really fast double-kick cut through and not get all blurry.

  6. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    As a former drummer, I recall owning a Roger Holiday model (pink champagne) that tuned up real nice. I did pick specific notes and tune to them. It didn't change much, but it was novel...for a minute.

    When tuned right,there indeed is a "natural pitch" that each drum has, and as I grew as a drummer, I sought this tone out. I also tuned the bottom heads so that upper and lower complemented each other.
  7. Muzique Fann

    Muzique Fann Howzit brah

    Dec 8, 2003
    Kauai, HI
    I think it's pretty amazing that DW and I think Pork Pie actually match up each drum's pitch when they put together a set. Very smart and well...musical.
  8. I agree. Inconsistancies between the batter and bottom head will cause odd overtones and will often times choke the drum.
  9. +1. I think that is a fantastic idea, although I suspect that may be more marketing than anything else, but I certainly couldn't say. Zildjian also claims to match their cymbals that come in packaged sets.