We’re big, we’re bad & we’re back with another episode of FAQ Friday!
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Let’s get to your questions! This week’s featured question is:
“Do you generally tune the drums to fit the key of the song? Is there a difference to doing it that way as opposed to not doing it?”
Back in the olden days, about 20 years ago in the mid to late 90’s, when was making records- first as a musician and second as a engineer and producer… when we had a “budget” we would hire Ross Garfield(The Drum Doctor). He is incredible and insanely talented. He would bring down a huge selection of drums, snares, different racks, floors, cymbals, you name it.
He would then tune the kit incredibly well, perfectly I might say. If the song was in A major he might actually tune the snare so the ring (or any ring there might be) is in tune with the key of the song.
Now it doesn’t always work, but an A will work in most situations.
My point is that it does work and you can do it all kinds of ways. However, be careful what the cord sequence is- people come up with crazy chord sequences that sound fantastic to serve a song and so you have to tune your drums very specifically.
If you’re not talking about the tone of your drums and are wondering about tuning them so they are even, then yes that is important all of the time.
You can take a snare drum and you can tune it evenly all the way around and get that perfect ring, put tape on it, dampen it and it’s excellent.
Another trick is to tune it evenly around and take out one lug out so it has a Buffy sound to it – it’s absolutely fantastic.
Yes, I do believe tuning your drums evenly and well is of paramount importance even if you don’t have an overtone. Now you can detune it and make it flabby and flappy and cool sounding, but you have to be careful, if you don’t have a good, powerful, even sounding drum, it’s going to be very difficult to make that cut in the mix.
I get a lot of things to mix where the drums are completely out of tune and no matter what EQ or whatever you apply is just never going to sound good. They always end up getting fixed by using a sample and that upsets a lot of people – Cough (Glenn Fricker)! haha
We also cover the following questions during this episode of FAQ Friday!
• How would you mix drums if you only had software like for instance, Easy Drummer? (0:55)
• How would you mix a drum set that had a side snare that is only played on part of the song? Would you pan it up the middle or keep it drummers/audience perspective? Any considerations for micing? (8:30)
• Can you explain why we usually use dynamics on close mixing drums and condensers further out? Is it just because of sound levels? (11:54)
• When you mix drums do you prefer to EQ then compress or the opposite? Pros and cons of these two methods? (15:29)
• Do you do exact delay compression on the kick mics for the phase? (18:29)
• What do you send to your drum bus? Just close Mics? Close mics and overheads? Or close mics, overheads and room mics? (21:04)