As a tuner, you are trying to do one thing: Make a five piece drum set sound like all the drums are from the same family. The five pieces must sound like one instrument.
Easier said than done.
I spent a lot of time aiming for that impossible goal. I raise that tom, lower the sound of that snare, tweak this floor tom. I look a the bottom head, the resonant head. I muffle it with my finger while hitting the top head. I compare the two toms by hitting them one after the other, one after the other, endlessly adjusting this, correcting that.
Because, you see, there is always a tom or a snare or the bass drum that differ from the rest of the kit. Always! No exception. I mean, there is an exception and that’s why I decided to write a long blog. But apart from that exception: no exception.
I could be working on the flag ship drum kit of a celebrated brand, every time, EVERY TIME said I, there will be one of the piece which will not sound like the rest of the kit. And that is if I am lucky. Because sometimes you get 2 of them. Or 3. 3 is rare. But it did happen. The kit is warm and soft, all is good. But the floor tom is bright and loud. Oh joy! In those cases I’ve got my work cut out for myself. I’m going to have to reconcile this raucous bunch. It’ll be a real treat, I’ll happy if I got three strand of hair left standing on my head at the end of the process.
Or if you get a snare drum that will not sing straight. No matter what you do, you get that “Ziiinouuung”. You know what I am talking about. The attack is one note and the decay is another. The rest of the kit is completely straight though. Just that pesky snare. I will negotiate with it. Plead. Cajole. Tweak. And tweak. And tweak. Oh! the patience! Oh! the tenacity!
I never talk about that with the owner of the kit.
They don’t want to know. They don’t care about your troubles.
They care that it sounds good.
So I don’t say nothing and I commit my little horrible crime. And I make them happy.
What horrible crime?