12 x 8 tuning issue - Yamaha players help!

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12 x 8 tuning issue - Yamaha players help!

Postby Cymbalfeltfetishist » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:32 am

Hey Guys,

I just bought myself a Yamaha Recording Custom drumset and so far I love it. The only problem is I am having a hellava time tuning the 12x8 rack tom….the 10x7.5 and the 16 x 16 sound great and lively..but the 12x8 just seems dead and won’t ring out like the others.

I would like it to sound open, perhaps with a little pitch bend thing happening. Right now I have an Ambassador X on the batter and clear Ambassador on the bottom. I usually don’t have problems with tuning drums whatsoever, I am actually a little proud of my work..lol…but this one is making me worry a little. I’ve re-seated the head to make sure is good. I generally tune the resonant slight higher than the batter. The drums come with Pinstrips on them with clear Ambassador resonant. I don’t like these type of heads generally speaking, so the thinking was, if I put Ambassadors or Ambassador X’s on there, I should be able to open up those drums even more than if I kept a 2ply head on there. I notice when tuning with the Amb or Amb X if I tuned it high, it sounded deader…flat.

I have these heads at my disposal as of now: Coated Amb, Amb X, Clear Pinstripe for the batters and clear Diplomat and Amb for the resonant.

I know there are a lot of Yamaha players on here….I guess what I am asking is… does anybody have any suggestions that have a 12x8 Birch drum or experiences w/ Yamaha Recording Customs and their tuning of them? Any tips on this particular depth of drum? My Gretsch Renowns had a 12x9 and it rang out pretty good…does the one inch make a huge difference? Do these particular drums have a reputation for being dead-sounding? (my 10” and floor sound great tho…) Again, I am looking for a open sound, clear note that doesn’t die out fast. Any help would be appreciated! Signed, perplexed
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Re: 12 x 8 tuning issue - Yamaha players help!

Postby Christopher » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:07 am

It may be the head(s). Or, (and worse) it’s the drum.

Could be that the bearing edge is off, or the drum shell or hoops are out of round.

I’d start with checking the drum first. (free)

Check the hoops and shell for round.

For the bearing edges, take the heads off and set the drum on a perfectly flat surface (like a glass table).

See if it sits completely flat. If it rocks when you move it, your bearing edge is the issue and you’ll most likely need to get it recut.

If the drum’s bearing edges are true and nothing is out of round, try some brand new heads.

I wouldn't use any old heads, or heads from other drums. They've already been stretched to conform to the bearing edges that they were first installed on.

Good luck!
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Re: 12 x 8 tuning issue - Yamaha players help!

Postby Cymbalfeltfetishist » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:47 am

Thanks Chris, I will check the out of round (hoops/drum) and bearing edges.

All the heads I've mentioned are brand new..no old ones. Maybe the Amb X I have is bad.

Has anybody had an experience with quality control with Yamaha?
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Re: 12 x 8 tuning issue - Yamaha players help!

Postby Matus » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:59 am

Actually the Ambassador=more open sounding drum is only half-true. The drum might have more overall sustain but the frequencies you expect to come out and last the most are what decide which head to use and how to use it. The "clear note" you're refering to is mostly composed of the mid frequencies the head is giving, so I'd suggest clear, regular Emperors on top to easily achieve that mid bump. Then what I like to do in order to experience the drum's real tuning range when it's giving me a headache (doesn't happen often, but it's cool to do it sometimes) is to go from absolute range bottom. Tune it as low as I can without losing body and avoiding the head "blur" you get when you're forcing the range to its lowest. Both heads tuned to the same pitch. Then gradually go up, find that sweet spot and work it from there with the relation between both heads to achieve the final touch.
Sometimes, when you're really used to tuning drums and have a great ease doing it, you lose a bit of perspective and need to spend some time with a specific drum because your usual "routine" doesn't work. I also had some trouble with my MCA 12"x11" (I use it as a floor tom), but mainly because it has too much sustain! So it's always a bit painful to make it fit within the rest of the kit's sound, but it's worth it.
But yeah, check the edges just in case. I have only worked with deeper 12" RC toms and never had any trouble with them using Emperors and tuning within the mid range.
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Re: 12 x 8 tuning issue - Yamaha players help!

Postby Clint Hopkins » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:04 am

I haven't had any issues with mine but a lot of guys have. Mainly, positioning on the tom arm. There are some discussions about this on the old forum. Here's one: http://www.houseofdrumming.com/forums/v ... 97524ee1ac
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Re: 12 x 8 tuning issue - Yamaha players help!

Postby Matthijs Ament » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:26 am

In general the all famous "eighties era" Recording Custom is build to be excellent for near-field situations [close mic] These drums are awesome and will sound centered and fat without any dampening. They are therefore not the greatest drums if you want acoustic 'big boom' and long sustain penetrating a wall of sound without any amplification. [Sonor, Gretsch, Yamaha Beech/Oak/PHX are providing for more loudness and longer sustain IMHO] Also, the second tom or 12" is notorious for being harder to tune. Especially Yamaha players attend this issue often on this board. Personally I think it has to do with the fantastic sound of the Yammy 8"/10" and the 14"/16". Somehow the 'interval' on the second tom is 'harder'. That goes for 13" toms as well I think. As Chris pointed out, you should ALWAYS check your drums for edges en true round. On the other hand, I would be surprised if you find anything wrong with your drums. Yamaha is very very good at quality control. I have both the RC and the Beech Custom and the BC sings more, has more 'boom' then the RC. Then there is heads....I find that sometimes I have a 'dead' Remo head. Just like that. It happens. In general, for more sustain go single ply without any extra's. Clear Ambs. might give a 'tad' more pitch bend then the coated ones. I prefer Remo over a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g. when I want an open sound :D
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Re: 12 x 8 tuning issue - Yamaha players help!

Postby circh bustom » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:38 pm

I have 11 year old BCA Vintage toms. 8,10,12,14,15. The 12 is the one I use the least. Something about it just either sounds flappy or boingy. No in between. The other drums on the kit? They sound better and better everyday.
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Re: 12 x 8 tuning issue - Yamaha players help!

Postby Kurtis » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:40 pm

I've had my RC's since 1988. Still have them and gig and what not with them. That 12 inch can be a bitch. As long as the drum is sound all is good. Stay simple with heads. Clear ambassadors top and bottom. Spend an afternoon with the drum tuning it. You will find the sweet spot. Take breaks also. Give your ears food for thought. You'll get it. If that doesn't work spend another afternoon with them. Been there.
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Re: 12 x 8 tuning issue - Yamaha players help!

Postby Jean-Paul » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:35 am

A friend of mine had a RC and that 12x8" was a bitch to tune as well. He ended up re doing the bearing edges which was a huge improvement. And tuning wise, start with the 12". Then tune the 16" and save the 10" for last because it is the easiest tom to tune and adjusting that one can give you the interval you like without changing the tuning on your other two toms.
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Re: 12 x 8 tuning issue - Yamaha players help!

Postby Old Pit Guy » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:19 am

I'm going to guess It's some form of cancellation with the 12", because if you isolate the 12, in most cases, the drum resonates fine.

It's probably coincidence, but when I set my RCs up in a 10 and 13 rack configuration (on the Yamaha 3 way mount), the 13" is fine. Replace it with the 12" and you can hear a difference in liveliness no matter what you do.

I frequently read forum posts about 12" Yamaha toms and complaints concerning between drum balanced resonance.
Frequently in a relative sense.

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