Topic: Billy Ward's article on MD last issue  (Read 17761 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline jokerjkny

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 3074
Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #40 on: November 05, 2004, 03:29 PM »
Hey!  Well, I've finally joined up here at the Cafe!  Tried last night but couldn't figure out the registering thing.  Somehow today it has worked!  (yes, I'm an idiot!) :D
(...)

jokerny - Do you HAVE to trumpet EVERYWHERE that you don't like my sound?  :D  just kidding.
(...)

lol,  

anything to garner your attention.  :P  but hey, LOVE your bass drum tones.  8)  sub goooood.

btw, hopefully, JW will have his 13" snare wire comparisons up, too.  quite interesting.
...this aint no time fo' jibba jabba!

Offline James Walker

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 3267
    • malletjazz
    • www.malletjazz.com
Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #41 on: November 05, 2004, 03:36 PM »
btw, hopefully, JW will have his 13" snare wire comparisons up, too.  quite interesting.

Not to further hijack this thread, but FWIW:   http://community.drummercafe.com/index.php?board=10;action=display;threadid=9998;start=msg125772#msg125772]link to the relevant Cafe thread

"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

Offline Chris Whitten

  • Honorary VIP
  • Posts: 6445
Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #42 on: November 06, 2004, 01:30 AM »
On the subject of hijacking.....
I haven't read Modern Drummer in 20+ years, so I'm hoping there'll be some more debate here on Dannydrumperc's original point about Billy's tuning method.

Offline jokerjkny

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 3074
Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #43 on: November 06, 2004, 03:15 AM »
I don't typically use very loose snare tunings, unless I think a specific song calls for it. (...)

was picking thru the thread again, and this caught my eye...

interestingly enough, Russ Miller on his own tuning DVD mentions how he likes to "tune" his snare wire set, so that the white noise sustains and maintains the length of one quarter note in whatever song he's running down.  says it makes for a fully, more "realized" snare backbeat.

guess Mr. BW was onto something.  :P
...this aint no time fo' jibba jabba!

Offline James Walker

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 3267
    • malletjazz
    • www.malletjazz.com
Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #44 on: November 06, 2004, 04:48 PM »
On the subject of hijacking.....
I haven't read Modern Drummer in 20+ years, so I'm hoping there'll be some more debate here on Dannydrumperc's original point about Billy's tuning method.

You got it, boss...  ;)

I tracked down a copy of this issue of MD at a drum shop today, just to refresh my memory of Billy's points.  The core of what Billy is getting at, if I may be so bold, is to encourage drummers to explore lower snare drum tunings - specifically lower tensions all-around, including both heads and the snare wires.  He mentions that most drums can be made to sound good when tuned high, and that lower tunings can be more challenging - but that the resulting sound can often work better when recording, playing live, etc.  Lower overall pitch and greater sustain are two of the goals mentioned in the article.

In terms of our discussion here...I definitely agree that many drummers are cranking down their heads and wires far too much - based on what I hear when I check out the local drum shops, and what I've found when my students bring in their drums for a lesson on tuning.  Those lower tunings will definitely expose flaws in the drum, or in the tuning method.  I know that over the past six months or so, I've found my self (more and more) tweaking my drums' tunings down - not as far down as what Billy is prescribing, but I'm hearing the benefits of letting the drums "breathe" a little bit more.

Tangentially, I'm finding that as my own tuning skills get better, I'm getting less and less excessive snare buzz, both in terms of hitting the snare drum, and also regarding sympathetic vibrations from the toms - all while keeping the wires on the looser side of the dial.  It seems to be those clashing overtones that result from poor tuning, that cause a lot of these unwanted snare wire vibrations.  The snare buzz is still there for me, but it's nowhere near what it once was.

I mentioned earlier that I tried to follow Billy's suggestions using a deeper snare drum.  Billy indicated above that shallower snares seem to lend themselves to a greater variety of tunings, compared to deeper snares, and I'm finding that to be a very accurate statement.  I've been fiddling around with a 4x14 drum, and I'm getting some interesting results.  For a moment, it seemed like the planets aligned, and that I'd really nailed a lower tuning - but it slipped away...I'll have to dig back into it when I next have some free time to devote to this.

In terms of the snare drum being tuned below the highest tom...that's more of a side-effect, if I read the article correctly.  The goal wasn't to tune the snare below the tom, but if it ended up that way, so be it - just find a "pitch zone" (as mentioned earlier in this thread) to minimize those excessive sympathetic vibrations.
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

Offline nudrum

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 1451
  • A man and his cymbalta
Re:Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #45 on: November 06, 2004, 10:08 PM »
That's Thomas Lang on the cover Mr. A
Enjoying a resurgence in jazz gigs.

Offline Chris Whitten

  • Honorary VIP
  • Posts: 6445
Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #46 on: November 07, 2004, 03:22 AM »
In terms of the snare drum being tuned below the highest tom...that's more of a side-effect,
Yeah, thank heavens there are so many individual tastes in drumming. I can relate to lower snare drum tunings, but not higher tom tunings.
BW said:
'If I set up four toms - I go for as extreme a tuning range as is possible.'
I generally tune my largest tom as low as it will go (while still sustaining), I then try to achieve an acceptable interval with each higher tom, whilst endeavouring to keep all the pitches as low as possible.
I guess it all depends on the genre of music. I hardly think my sound would work in Jazz or Fusion.
If any one has heard 'Sea Change' by Beck, that's where my drum sound is at right now (Joey Waronker and James Gadson - drums). Another feature of the album is less than full on hitting. Some of the drums are played pianissimo, despite the loud sounding, distorted guitars.
This approach results in a wider tonal range in the drums IMO, but you do lose a lot of the energy.
Snarewise, my natural instinct is to tune to a high/medium pitch (never cranked though). Over the last couple of years I've made a conscious effort to lower my snare pitch. The only downside is the batter heads' tendency to detune, even over the course of a three minute song. This is less of an issue when using the quieter playing style of course.
As to snare depth, I've mentioned before that I once worked with a producer who fell in love with my 3.5" N&C Piccolo. He insisted I use it on every song, so I managed to wrangle a few different sounds out of it and I don't think you would ever notice I used a Picc exclusively on the record.
We haven't talked about bass drums much on the Cafe. I use the same philosophy.....as low as it will go, whilst retaining a musical tone.  ;)

Offline Chris Whitten

  • Honorary VIP
  • Posts: 6445
Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #47 on: November 07, 2004, 05:22 AM »
By the way, when is the great Walker/Speers/Dork snare drum comparison session scheduled?
You could make up a CD for those interested, like this guy:
http://www.mercenary.com/3daudio3dprecd.html

The recording conditions would have to be strictly controlled however.

Offline jokerjkny

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 3074
Re:Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #48 on: November 07, 2004, 03:31 PM »
waaaaaaaay OT:

but Mercenary Audio is like crack for my studio...

Speck preamps be dangnabbit'ed!
...this aint no time fo' jibba jabba!

Offline Billy Ward

  • Honorary VIP
  • Posts: 86
  • I love the Drummer Cafe!
Re:Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #49 on: November 07, 2004, 05:52 PM »
Speck Pres - good value.  burr brown transformers in a package that is reasonablly priced - good stuff and a good deal for the dough.
(but I love my Dakings.  They still win over everything else I've tried. The  Manley Voxbox is the latest contestant)

dannydrumperc

  • Guest
Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #50 on: November 08, 2004, 06:03 AM »
I'm here again.

Tried the lower tuning thing last weekend (again) and it didn't worked (again). Now I'm convinced about what we had been arguing about the low-tuning/drum depth. Me piccolo sounded very good when tuned low, gained more body. But the 6.5x14 sounded awful.

About the toms:
At last I finished with the new bearing edges and now they sound excellent. The lower I tune, them the better they sound. So now I agree with Mr. Ward about tom-toms tuning. :)

I may be joining the Snare Drum Lovers Club :-* after all. Ive been thinking about purchasing a 5x14 wood snare drum, or a Blacro; not sure yet.

Hope to see some progress in this topic and thanks for redirecting the thread back to where it started.
 ;)

Offline James Walker

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 3267
    • malletjazz
    • www.malletjazz.com
Re:Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #51 on: November 08, 2004, 08:22 PM »
Progress report:  I'm getting very good results tweaking my 4x14 Tempus carbon fibre snare down, bit by bit.  I'm getting the best results with a sort of parallel approach, bringing the batter head, reso head, and snare wire tension down (looser) just a little bit at a time, but each at the same time.

If I had to estimate how much lower the drum's overall pitch is, I'd say it's about a minor third lower - somewhere between a major 2nd and minor 3rd.  It's still above my highest (12") tom, so I'm not getting any excessive snare buzz or sympathetic vibrations - but part of that is probably the Tempus shell, which always yields a very clean snare sound, even at looser tensions.  I don't think I'll tune it down any more, tho - I'm starting to lose a little bit of stick rebound whenever I try going below the current batter head tension.

It's not necessarily "better" or "worse," just different - but it's providing a sound that I didn't have in my collection previously, so in that sense, it's an improvement (of sorts).

I've got students tomorrow - I'll bring the drum down to the school where I teach, so I can hear it from out front as they play.  Currently, tho, I'm very happy with the results.  Thanks for the suggestion, Billy!  :D
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

Offline Bart Elliott

  • Chef de Cuisine
  • Posts: 15092
  • Founder & owner of DrummerCafe.com
    • bartelliott
    • bartelliott
    • w w w . B a r t E l l i o t t . c o m
Billy Ward's clinic
« Reply #52 on: November 09, 2004, 06:36 AM »
I attended Billy Ward's clinic last night, heard him play, heard his drums, and hung out with him for a few hours afterwards.

First of all, great guy ... great player.

In regards to the Snare tuning topic ... let me make a few comments based on what I heard.

Billy was playing a DW kit, and the 10-inch Tom, which was the smallest Tom, was tuned slightly higher than average ... in my opinion. If you are a Pop drummer, I think a vast majority of you tune your 10-inch Toms a little lower than what Billy does. To give you a better idea of the sound, it has more of a Fusion tuning ... something you'd expect to hear in that genre. Now, the entire kit didn't have a Fusion tuning, but that's more of the sound I perceived from his 10-inch Tom. All of this just confirms what Billy has already stated in his earlier post.

The Snare was lower in pitch and sounded great. He tunes so that the batter head is tighter than the snare head. The interval between the top/bottom is around a Major 2nd, maybe a Minor 3rd ... I didn't get a good listen.

The overall tuning is wide ... as Billy mentioned. Reminds me of how Larrie Londin used to tune his drums.

If I remember correctly, his 12-inch Tom was tuned lower than the Snare, which was 14-inch. Following the "diameter of the drum" rule for tuning, meaning that a drum with a smaller diameter is tuned higher, works somewhat, but the drum's shell depth must be accounted for ... which I believe Billy has mentioned.

All in all ... I think experimentation is always good. It opens the doors to creativity and may just help you find a sound that you never thought possible.

Please try to attend one of Billy Ward's clinics when you get the chance. Check out his playing ... and pick-up a copy of his new DVD. If you enjoyed Steve Smith's DVD ... I think you'll love Billy Ward's; it will be a nice companion to your library.

rayvonr

  • Guest
Re:Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #53 on: November 09, 2004, 10:11 PM »
I just saw Billy play 2 nights ago. I checked out his drums and he had the top head somewhat tight and the bottom head pretty loose. His snare still sounded bright but also fat. I'm going to go thru my snares and try that with at least one of them. If you tune the bottom head loose like that, even if your snares are loose, it will not sound sloppy. Billy's clinic was great. He's one of the most musical drummers I've heard in a while. He really thinks about the tonalities of his drums and cymbals and plays them accordingly.

Offline Bob Levey

  • Copper Member
  • Posts: 72
  • I'm new to the Drummer Cafe!
Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #54 on: November 09, 2004, 10:50 PM »
I remember reading an article by Art Blakey and someone asked him how he tuned his drums? his reply was "I don't I just beat the crap out of them". I asked Louie Hayes the same question, his comment was to what I hear". I asked my old man Stan Levey the same question he said "always to the sound never tension" and he was known for having a great sound.

I just got a drum he used on Mission Impossible, Mannix etc, etc and many jazz recordings. It  is a 14"x 4" 1920 6 lug brass Ludwig snare. It sounds great he told me he always used a calf head so I got a goatskin and it is just an incredible sounding snare drum. You guys can see it on Steve Maxwells drum page. By the way someone here gave me Steve's name and I thank you, can't remember who it was. He did an outstanding job on the restoration a true professional and caring knowledgeable individual.

My Dad will also be releasing a DVD soon titled "The Orgiinal Original" it will be out soon. it is about his life in music and the early Be Bop years..

Bart will review it soon and maybe sell it here on the site.


Sincerely

Bob Levey

Offline James Walker

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 3267
    • malletjazz
    • www.malletjazz.com
Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #55 on: November 09, 2004, 11:23 PM »
I just got a drum he used on Mission Impossible, Mannix etc, etc and many jazz recordings. It  is a 14"x 4" 1920 6 lug brass Ludwig snare.

A quick Google search found the page, but to save any interested parties a few moments of searching:

 http://www.maxwelldrums.com/levey_snare.html]http://www.maxwelldrums.com/levey_snare.html

Boy, that's just gorgeous.  I love six-lug snare drums...BTW, I'll be very interested in checking out  your Dad's DVD when it's released.

Going back on the topic of Billy's article...I took my "unofficial BW tuning guinea pig snare drum" in to teach today.  Sounded great.  I don't know if it's the fact that there's such a difference in the tension on the reso' head specifically, but the benefits of this looser tuning are much more pronounced when you step back and listen from a few feet away, vs. what it sounds like as you play.
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

Offline Chris Whitten

  • Honorary VIP
  • Posts: 6445
Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #56 on: November 10, 2004, 02:42 AM »
FWIW, as I've mentioned before with regards to tom tunings, I can never get the lower reso tuning to work. Same goes for snare.  ::)
If my snare-side head is tuned too low I have problems with the drum sounding choked and my snares often sound too mushy and rattley.
I'd like to sit down with someone who uses this approach and try and figure out where I'm going wrong.

felix

  • Guest
Re:Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #57 on: November 10, 2004, 06:05 AM »
FWIW, as I've mentioned before with regards to tom tunings, I can never get the lower reso tuning to work. Same goes for snare.  ::)

You won't with Evans heads either.  Not a slam, just an observation.  They really "flab out" and lose focus when you go for the lower tunings.  They sound great otherwise, but I never liked them for lower sounding tunas.  Chrisso, I don't think it's your method.  But we can sit down together when I'm in England next year and discuss it over a pint.

Offline Bart Elliott

  • Chef de Cuisine
  • Posts: 15092
  • Founder & owner of DrummerCafe.com
    • bartelliott
    • bartelliott
    • w w w . B a r t E l l i o t t . c o m
Re:Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #58 on: November 10, 2004, 07:18 AM »
You won't with Evans heads either.  Not a slam, just an observation.  They really "flab out" and lose focus when you go for the lower tunings.  They sound great otherwise, but I never liked them for lower sounding tunas.  

Well ... Billy is using ... EVANS drumheads!

felix

  • Guest
Re:Billy Ward's article on MD last issue
« Reply #59 on: November 10, 2004, 07:29 AM »
Yeah, I know, I read that.  Do they flab out or not?  I never heard of him till this thread.  Can't say anything about his sound.  Maybe he gets it to work.  All I know is I don't like Evan's heads at low tunings (that's an understatement).

 

Drummer Cafe RSS Feeds Drummer Cafe on Twitter Drummer Cafe on Facebook Drummer Cafe on YouTube Drummer Cafe on Pinterest Drummer Cafe on Instagram