Ever wondered how to tune a drum? Although it might seem strange, the answer is yes! Tuning drums should be taught in lessons and although I do cover this subject, it’s from experiences over the years rather than instruction from other sources. Given that I have been playing for over thirty years, it was about time I had that instruction.
Intersales Music have always been at the forefront of music education in the Northamptonshire area, but this time is was the turn of Jeff Davenport to provide the knowledge needed to produce the great sounds we know can be achieved from a drum kit.
The class was to last for around an hour and we arrived to find a Sonor Delight kit from the nineties and an array of small drums with various different heads. Jeff introduced himself to an eager class of students and immediately had our attention with the awesome sound of his Delight Kit. Jeff played the kit and it was clear he knew what he was doing because of the fantastic tone and warmth from the coated heads that where on the 10” 12” 14” and 20” bass drum. Jeff didn’t have any cymbals attached to the drums as this was a master class in tuning drums only.
What did we want to learn from this class? Questions and queries were soon flying around the very relaxed classroom from, why do my drums sound different in each venue I play? Are drums tuned to a note? How do I get a low tone from a high tom? This was an approach to teaching that I liked. Being asked, what do I want to learn from this class? Was excellent thinking! Jeff covered each question with ease and was soon faced with many agreeable and happy drummers.
Jeff went through all possibilities of sounds and reminding us that we tune drums for the music that we play. The mystery of the “which heads do I buy” was soon answered, not only explaining the difference, but showing us examples of heads that had been cut out so we could see and feel the variations for ourselves. We were then treated to all types of heads fitted to the same 10” tom. This was a great way of hearing the difference between coated and clear heads.
Tension bolts was the next subject for the class and how to get them even across the drum before the tuning. This was shown on all drums. The whole class was especially excited about the incredible sound achieved from the 20” bass drum. The final part of the class covered our snare drum, the most important drum of the kit? Maybe, but the way that it was explained was simple and straight to the point and professionally put across.
This was a great and informative class and very well presented from Jeff Davenport and if you ever have a chance to attend one of his tuning classes, I would highly recommend it.