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Thread: Tuning to the Shell Timbre (DWs John Good)

  1. #1

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    Default Tuning to the Shell Timbre (DWs John Good)

    He demonstrates tuning to the tambor of the shell.

    Last edited by areFish; 05-16-2017 at 09:06 AM. Reason: Broken link

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Tuning to the Shell Tambor (DWs John Good)

    Interesting.

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Tuning to the Shell Tambor (DWs John Good)

    One thing to note:

    That is what makes DW sound so good, more expensive and unique sounding. You really don't have that great of Tambor response from other makes of drums.
    Signature here

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bish View Post
    One thing to note:

    That is what makes DW sound so good, more expensive and unique sounding. You really don't have that great of Tambor response from other makes of drums.

    Are you sure about that?

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Tuning to the Shell Tambor (DWs John Good)

    Quote Originally Posted by rickthedrummer View Post
    Are you sure about that?
    Totally. I've had all the major brands in a room at the same time and it was the easiest to get the ring from the DW shells in comparison to the other brands shells.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bish View Post
    Totally. I've had all the major brands in a room at the same time and it was the easiest to get the ring from the DW shells in comparison to the other brands shells.


    Maybe it was the easiest, but, was it impossible to get the same "ring" from the other sets?

    I'm a Ludwig guy, but over the years, I've owned Rogers and Slingerland drums.

    Rogers and Slingerland had more overtones, so it took a little more muffling to get the sound I wanted.

    This is not said to argue with you, but after so many years playing, my personal opinion is that all this stuff about this wood or that wood, is pure business hype.

    I sold the other sets I had when I retired, and kept my Ludwigs which were bought in 1972, and are made of mahagony. I've added several drums to my set. 2 are acrylic toms, 1 is a Accent, and the last 1 is like a Vistalite, plus a totally no-name 16x16 that I picked up for $40 or $50 brand new. With a little tuning, I can blend the whole thing together to get a evenly spaced sound going around the set.

    I think people hear what they want to hear, and if 1 of their favorite drummers uses X drums with X heads on them, that's the stuff they want.

    The same thing happened when some "experts"said that if a tom was mounted on the BD, it hurt the sound somehow. They came out with the isolation rims or whatever they called them, or were mounted on racks or separate stands, and every body swore they could hear the difference.

    Some guy on u-tube conducted a little experiment about a year ago, with toms mounted to the bass drums, toms mounted with the isolation mounts (I think that's they are called), toms mounted on racks, and toms mounted on different stands, and surprise, when the "experts" couldn't see them, they couldn't tell.

    As for Gatzen's tuning stuff, to be honest, I don't think he could tune a radio. I think a lot of these pitchmen live by the old saying that " If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS".

    I've heard, in my travels, sets of Ludwigs, Tama's, Mapex, whatever, that sounded like crap, and I knew a guy casually (our bands passed in the night) who played on a set of US Mercury drums for years, and they sounded great, mainly because he knew how to really tune a set of drums.

    Maybe I'm old school, but if you can tune, you can get the sound you want out of any set of decent drums.

  7. #7

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    They use evans heads on perfs? I thought they came with the standard stock heads used on their other lines, hmm. I like how he tunes, checking lug to lug with his finger and even doing the tuning himself. Kinda adds incentive to buy something when the designer himself oversees and works on the kits, unless this video is an exception.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickthedrummer View Post
    Maybe it was the easiest, but, was it impossible to get the same "ring" from the other sets?

    I'm a Ludwig guy, but over the years, I've owned Rogers and Slingerland drums.

    Rogers and Slingerland had more overtones, so it took a little more muffling to get the sound I wanted.

    This is not said to argue with you, but after so many years playing, my personal opinion is that all this stuff about this wood or that wood, is pure business hype.
    I totally agree with where you are coming from. The findings I posted were my personal opinion as well as my personal experience.

    To some extent with the "wood hype" as you state, it is semi-true.

    But having the DW kit in my possession at the same time as many other kits, that is when you can appreciate the tonal differences, subtle as they may be.

    I did find that SONOR really came the closest to having a true "note" of tone instead of a "ring" or however you want to term it.

    For what all that is worth, I only kept the Pearls. Go figure, huh?

    But that decision was based on overall quality, sound and appearance.

    To me, TAMA, DW and Pearl offer the best hardware in their own way. I love the lug arrangement on my Pearl Masters as well as the ease of adjustment with all the hardware.

    So my decision on which kit to keep was based on many factors.

    I do like your kit and hopefully I haven't come off as dissing anything or anyone else's choice. As I try in all my posts, I want to present facts as I know them and hope I never come off as opinionated with out data to back up my statements.

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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bish View Post
    I totally agree with where you are coming from. The findings I posted were my personal opinion as well as my personal experience.

    To some extent with the "wood hype" as you state, it is semi-true.

    But having the DW kit in my possession at the same time as many other kits, that is when you can appreciate the tonal differences, subtle as they may be.

    I did find that SONOR really came the closest to having a true "note" of tone instead of a "ring" or however you want to term it.

    For what all that is worth, I only kept the Pearls. Go figure, huh?

    But that decision was based on overall quality, sound and appearance.

    To me, TAMA, DW and Pearl offer the best hardware in their own way. I love the lug arrangement on my Pearl Masters as well as the ease of adjustment with all the hardware.

    So my decision on which kit to keep was based on many factors.

    I do like your kit and hopefully I haven't come off as dissing anything or anyone else's choice. As I try in all my posts, I want to present facts as I know them and hope I never come off as opinionated with out data to back up my statements.


    No argument here. Like I said, I'm old school. There weren't the head choices back when I started as there are now. If you wanted a certain sound, you had to tune for it.

    I think that today, drummers will try a set of heads, mess with them a little, then try some different heads instead of seeing what they can get out of the first set. Virtually every set of heads has a wide tuning range, (except the hydraulics), you just have to be willing to take the time with them.

    In the last few months, I've tried 2 sets of Aquarians and a set of Evans, tuned them up, liked some of the sounds I got out of them, then put my Ambassadors or Diplomats back on, and found that, with some tuning, I got basically the same sound out of them. For the record, I have a set of Remos on order, mainly because I like the Jack DeJohnette snare head, it opened the sound up a little, but the snare is a different animal. The DeJohnette head is black and on the white heads it leaves black marks, so I'm going with black heads and I'll tune them to where I want them.

    When you are dealing with a instrument that is at the mercy of acoustics as drums are, and as I've stated in other posts, personal opinion is that tuning is more important than the type of wood your drums are made from.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Tuning to the Shell Tambor (DWs John Good)

    The stamped pitch on my dws is not in my preferred tuning range. I ignore it.
    "The chances of being attacked and killed by a terrorist are less than the chances of being attacked and killed by your own heart"
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kazaamski View Post
    The stamped pitch on my dws is not in my preferred tuning range. I ignore it.

    Kaz,

    You probably aren't the only one.

  12. #12

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    Default Re: Tuning to the Shell Tambor (DWs John Good)

    Quote Originally Posted by rickthedrummer View Post
    Maybe it was the easiest, but, was it impossible to get the same "ring" from the other sets?

    I'm a Ludwig guy, but over the years, I've owned Rogers and Slingerland drums.

    Rogers and Slingerland had more overtones, so it took a little more muffling to get the sound I wanted.

    This is not said to argue with you, but after so many years playing, my personal opinion is that all this stuff about this wood or that wood, is pure business hype.

    I sold the other sets I had when I retired, and kept my Ludwigs which were bought in 1972, and are made of mahagony. I've added several drums to my set. 2 are acrylic toms, 1 is a Accent, and the last 1 is like a Vistalite, plus a totally no-name 16x16 that I picked up for $40 or $50 brand new. With a little tuning, I can blend the whole thing together to get a evenly spaced sound going around the set.

    I think people hear what they want to hear, and if 1 of their favorite drummers uses X drums with X heads on them, that's the stuff they want.

    The same thing happened when some "experts"said that if a tom was mounted on the BD, it hurt the sound somehow. They came out with the isolation rims or whatever they called them, or were mounted on racks or separate stands, and every body swore they could hear the difference.

    Some guy on u-tube conducted a little experiment about a year ago, with toms mounted to the bass drums, toms mounted with the isolation mounts (I think that's they are called), toms mounted on racks, and toms mounted on different stands, and surprise, when the "experts" couldn't see them, they couldn't tell.

    As for Gatzen's tuning stuff, to be honest, I don't think he could tune a radio. I think a lot of these pitchmen live by the old saying that " If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS".

    I've heard, in my travels, sets of Ludwigs, Tama's, Mapex, whatever, that sounded like crap, and I knew a guy casually (our bands passed in the night) who played on a set of US Mercury drums for years, and they sounded great, mainly because he knew how to really tune a set of drums.

    Maybe I'm old school, but if you can tune, you can get the sound you want out of any set of decent drums.



    i agree with a lot of what you say . being an older drummer i remember learning how to tune my drums back then we had no youtube or internet to learn from , we had to experiment until we got it right , it made me know how a drum worked. instead of learning somebody else's method of tuning , you made your own method . IMO a much better way to learn . in my book , hands on, is way better than eyes on ....


    BUT!!!!! i cant agree with you about Gatzen.. i wish i had half of his talent...
    Tamaholic

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    BUT!!!!! i cant agree with you about Gatzen.. i wish i had half of his talent...


    You probably have more than half his "talent". He has access to a lot more things than you or I do.

    If we had the same things available to us as he has, we could not only do what he does, we would do it better.

    You don't sit there and say " Well, this here is a drum made from birch, so I have to tune it a certain way".

    You look at it this way, " Give me the drum and the heads, tell me what you want, and, here you go".

    I've done it for too many other drummers over a long period of time. Tuning is almost a art form by itself. If you can really tune, then you don't care what they are made from, you tune them.

  14. #14

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    I was trying to let this go, but it keeps popping back up.

    Lets get a few things straight. While I can agree, getting the correct head combo on a kit and knowing how to tune it can get you close and maybe sometimes spot-on in duplicating sounds of other drums.

    It is a fact that different woods have different tonal properties. Each wood has different desnities by how much moisture content it has, and how tight the fibers of the woods are among other things like the climate it was grown in ect. I would almost garuantee if you took a kit made of birch and a kit made of mahogany and used the same head combo's and tuned them to the same specs and you would have two different tonal properties. Thus proving that different woods do have different tonal properties. Sure you can masquerade your way around it by using different heads and good tuning, but the fact remains the same, different hardwoods have different tonal properties. Some are more broad then others depending on construction of shell design, finish and hardware design and usage.

    This discussion reminds me of when I was dragracing. You got every aftermarket company out there claiming that if you bolt this part on it'll give you 5 or 10 more hp. Can you actually feel it? Is it actually there? It sure feels that way, but is it really? While some focused individual can actually feel it some can't but imagine they do because they spent the money for the part, so they don't want to look like fools so they say they feel the difference. AH! But the proof is in the pudding! Lower Et's and the results from the Dyno that prove there is an increase. Minimal but it's there. So did they actually feel it or not?

    If you tell someone something enough, they will actually start to see it or hear it or feel it that way, unless they are sensitive enough to tell the hogwash from reality. So if you tell someone that one wood sounds no different than any other wood, how are they to focus themselves to start hearing what is actually there? It is actually there by nature.

    When I began playing and trying to learn songs from listening, I had a hard time picking out the bass drum from the rest of the music being played. Mainly distinguishing the bass drum from the bass guitar. But the more I concentrated on the bass beat, the longer I worked at it, the better I got at picking up the bass drum out of the music.

    Take it for what it's worth to you, everything or nothing.

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    Default Re: Tuning to the Shell Tambor (DWs John Good)

    Good afternoon, all...

    I think I'd rather go with Rick on this one (sorry, folks...). Whilst I would agree that there is a difference in shells, woods etc., my (somewhat limited, admittedly, compared to Ricks...) experience leads me to conclude that any drums, well tuned, sound good, and, considering the huge number of factors influencing the sound (the room, the mics, the player, the style and more...) I would think it very unlikely that any but the best ears could 'blind test' and identify the make, let alone the type of wood. I have a vintage Camco (maple...) and a cheap Tama (chipboard..?) and can tune them both to sound great (imho...). Obviously I prefer the Camco (so do the sound engineers...) but I've had some exellent recordings made with the Tama, the shells are not such a handicap. I've seen (in over 40 years...) so many bods with great 'name' kits sounding lousy and (OK, more rarely...) some low-value kits really singing in the right hands (I'm talking 'live' sound here, not 'treated' recordings...).
    I've just been following a bass forum 'blind test' concerning the notorious 'Stingray' sound. The result was not flagrant, and the discussion turned on all sorts of details (AlNiCo v ceramic pups, 2 or 3 band EQ, 4 or 5 string...). End result? Not much 'individual signature' to the sound.
    In short, good tuning does wonders to any set of drums, and, although the initial quality helps to ease the task, there is no 'magic bullet'. It takes time, patience and experience to get the best (meaning 'what you want'...) from the drums.
    For the record, I'm somewhat underwhelmed by the Gatzen method, too (respect, just the same...); equally by the Weckl Utubes on tuning (great drummer, of course...). I still maintain that the Tuning Bible is a pretty good starting point, and, from there, 5 or 10 years will get you close.
    Sorry for the length, folks.
    Have a nice day.
    Dad3353 (Douglas...)

  16. #16

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    In my opinion, once a certain quality level is achieved drums are much more similar than different, and hype and brand recognition becomes the major selling point. Seriously, how many people can listen to a recording and really KNOW what brand of drums or cymbals are being used? You might think you know based on the artist and what brands they endorse, ("man, xxxxx sounds great on his xxxxx") but is that actually what they used in the studio? Sometimes, maybe, but ultimately they have to use what sounds good and gets the job done, and that's not always what you see them playing live. Some studios have their own drums set up that get used for almost every recording done. Sometimes drummers aren't even using their own gear.

  17. #17

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    I think that the bottom line is that you should buy your drums based on what YOU want, not what someone tells you should buy based on wood type, hardware, cymbals, whatever.

    If you want Tama, by all means buy Tama, whether they are made of birch, maple, mahagony, driftwood, etc. Knowing, that with tuning, you can get close to any sound you want from them.

    I'm actually starting to think that the harder choice is heads and cymbals.

    As stated before, I've been experimenting with different heads the last few months. I have 8 toms, I don't use them all the time, but, when I buy heads, I buy for all my drums. So in the last few months, I've spent about $700 just on heads. That's what I get for looking for a sound, but not knowing what that sound is but I'll know it when I hit it.

    Anyway buy the drums you want because it's the set you want. I really wouldn't let the wood it's made of be much of a factor. You are going to have to deal with which heads you want, the cymbals you want, and almost as important, where you are going to be playing them, because the acoustics are going to come into play.

    Then, do yourself the big favor of learning how to tune them. It will really come in handy when you go from club to bigger club, to auditoriums, to outdoors.

    Most drummers never really get the sound they want. I mean a perfect balance from the snare down to the bass drum. We may get close and are happy with the sound we have, but most are always fiddling with the tuning, a 16th of a turn here, a 8th of a turn there. I was tuning my set when I got the Aquarians a few months ago. I don't mess with my snare much as I have it close to where I want it. I flipped the snares off, and started tuning the mounted tom. Got the (to my ear) perfect balance between snare and tom, flipped the snares back on, and the buzz was awful. Had to retune the tom to get rid of the buzz, so I had to settle for a slightly different sound from the tom, which, of course, changed my tuning from there to the floor toms. That's what I mean when I say we settle for something close to what we want.

    When I "retired", I had 4 sets of drums, 3 Ludwigs, of which 2 were Black Pearl, and the black set I have now. I also had a set Of Slingerland. They were White Pearl ( a Buddy Rich set). I went to a music store to get something, and they were set up on the floor, and I bought them on the spur of the moment, mainly because they just looked pretty. I used them a lot when we were out west, because they were stored in California at a friends house. We used to play this club by LA that had a great lighting system. They had these couple of lights that moved slowly across the stage, and when they hit the White Pearl drums, it looked like they had a very slight bluish tint to them, and they looked beautiful against the red backround around the stage. Sometimes, when I think back, I wish I would have kept them. Not because of the wood they were made from, didn't know what it was, didn't care. I wish I kept them just because they were so damn pretty.

    Buy what you want.

  18. #18

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    Default Re: Tuning to the Shell Tambor (DWs John Good)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dad3353 View Post
    Good afternoon, all...

    I think I'd rather go with Rick on this one (sorry, folks...). Whilst I would agree that there is a difference in shells, woods etc., my (somewhat limited, admittedly, compared to Ricks...) experience leads me to conclude that any drums, well tuned, sound good, and, considering the huge number of factors influencing the sound (the room, the mics, the player, the style and more...) I would think it very unlikely that any but the best ears could 'blind test' and identify the make, let alone the type of wood. I have a vintage Camco (maple...) and a cheap Tama (chipboard..?) and can tune them both to sound great (imho...). Obviously I prefer the Camco (so do the sound engineers...) but I've had some exellent recordings made with the Tama, the shells are not such a handicap. I've seen (in over 40 years...) so many bods with great 'name' kits sounding lousy and (OK, more rarely...) some low-value kits really singing in the right hands (I'm talking 'live' sound here, not 'treated' recordings...).
    I've just been following a bass forum 'blind test' concerning the notorious 'Stingray' sound. The result was not flagrant, and the discussion turned on all sorts of details (AlNiCo v ceramic pups, 2 or 3 band EQ, 4 or 5 string...). End result? Not much 'individual signature' to the sound.
    In short, good tuning does wonders to any set of drums, and, although the initial quality helps to ease the task, there is no 'magic bullet'. It takes time, patience and experience to get the best (meaning 'what you want'...) from the drums.
    For the record, I'm somewhat underwhelmed by the Gatzen method, too (respect, just the same...); equally by the Weckl Utubes on tuning (great drummer, of course...). I still maintain that the Tuning Bible is a pretty good starting point, and, from there, 5 or 10 years will get you close.
    Sorry for the length, folks.
    To a large extent i'll agree with most of this. Especially regarding the blind test parts, I don't think the average joe no matter how good his ear is could tell blindfolded what brand he's hearing. However, I do believe in the possibility that you can tell what the shell type is, and in some cases what hardware is on those drums. Some drum shells such as mahogany, birch, and especially acrylic stand out to me, they have an individual and unique sound that you will recognize if you hear them enough. Now of course a good set of heads and tunings will add to their sound by a large degree(the popular belief is that heads account for 70% of a drum's sound), but there's some things about a drum that cannot be hidden. A drum can't fight what it is, mahogany wants to sound dark and focused, no head is going to completely erase that tonality. Learn to love it like a beautiful woman that it is.
    ZildjianLeague/LP/Aquarian/Mapex/Pearl
    Snares: 4
    RIP- Frank, Wolvie, Les Paul
    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl MCX Man View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by amdrummer View Post
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  19. #19

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    Default Re: Tuning to the Shell Tambor (DWs John Good)

    I was at a clinic with Derek Roddy this weekend. He started talking about DW drums and how he loves the shell options.

    He brought up 3 different 14" drum shells. No finish, no hardware, no holes drilled. Just bare wood.

    He had a regular shell, a VLT shell and an X shell. I've heard of all of them but didn't know the difference. He explained it very well and banged on each shell with his hand and had someone hold the mic to it.

    There was CLEARLY a difference in each shells "tone".


    An aside...the clinic was AWESOME!

  20. #20

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    Default Re: Tuning to the Shell Tambor (DWs John Good)

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ View Post
    To a large extent i'll agree with most of this. Especially regarding the blind test parts, I don't think the average joe no matter how good his ear is could tell blindfolded what brand he's hearing. However, I do believe in the possibility that you can tell what the shell type is, and in some cases what hardware is on those drums. Some drum shells such as mahogany, birch, and especially acrylic stand out to me, they have an individual and unique sound that you will recognize if you hear them enough. Now of course a good set of heads and tunings will add to their sound by a large degree(the popular belief is that heads account for 70% of a drum's sound), but there's some things about a drum that cannot be hidden. A drum can't fight what it is, mahogany wants to sound dark and focused, no head is going to completely erase that tonality. Learn to love it like a beautiful woman that it is.


    Russ,

    In my set are 4 different types of shells. Can you tell which is which?

  21. #21

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    Default Re: Tuning to the Shell Tambor (DWs John Good)

    Quote Originally Posted by marko138 View Post
    I was at a clinic with Derek Roddy this weekend. He started talking about DW drums and how he loves the shell options.

    He brought up 3 different 14" drum shells. No finish, no hardware, no holes drilled. Just bare wood.

    He had a regular shell, a VLT shell and an X shell. I've heard of all of them but didn't know the difference. He explained it very well and banged on each shell with his hand and had someone hold the mic to it.

    There was CLEARLY a difference in each shells "tone".


    An aside...the clinic was AWESOME!

    As I've said, I now have 4 different types of shells in my set. If I take the heads and hardware off and bang on each shell they will sound different.

    The point is that they all can be tuned to blend in with each other.

  22. #22

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    Default Re: Tuning to the Shell Tambor (DWs John Good)

    About a year ago, I experimented with the two types of shells, birch and maple, both 7ply and both Pearl kits. I combined them into one huge frankenstein kit so I could hear them side by side in the same environment under one roof.



    The maples shells had Remo clear Ambass/Evans G1 clear and the birch shells had Remo coated Ambass/Evans G1 clear. After spending some time tuning each drum, I had them blended perfectly together. With my eyes closed, the only difference that I could hear were the heads.



    I was pleasantly surprised by my findings. I was under the impression that the sound from the mismatched shells would be as ugly as the look of the frankenstein kit but I was wrong. It was the heads and tuning that bridged the threshold between the maple and birch shells in my humble opinion.

    When I had both kits separated and set up side by side and had each kit tuned within its own tuning threshold, that's when I heard the difference between the maple and birch shells. Go figure. I'm betting it had to be the tuning and heads.


  23. #23

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    Default Re: Tuning to the Shell Tambor (DWs John Good)

    I want to play the frankenstein!

  24. #24

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    Default Re: Tuning to the Shell Tambor (DWs John Good)

    Quote Originally Posted by marko138 View Post
    I want to play the frankenstein!
    Heck yeah. Imma load up the premiers and the dw's and go to late8's house. I'll bring every cymbal i own, plus my snares. SUPERMEGAULTRA KIT GO!!!!!
    "The chances of being attacked and killed by a terrorist are less than the chances of being attacked and killed by your own heart"
    Carrying the message to Garcia. Today and everyday.
    Temple Beth Snare Buzz-Head Rabbi

  25. #25

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    Default Re: Tuning to the Shell Tambor (DWs John Good)

    I told ya. The biggest thing is the tuning.

    Drummers that really know how to tune can take a cheap set and make them sound good.

    If you can't tune, you will make a $10,000 custom set sound like crap.

    Tuning is the bottom line.

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