I have tuned most of the drums I have recorded during the past decade and I have gradually learned my way thru the often mystified art of drum tuning. The truth is that tuning drums just simply isn't as hard as people tend to make it. My conclusion: Go and get yourself an Overtone Labs Tune-Bot drum tuner. Thank me later.
Now that we got that out of the way, here is a few pointers / my starting points where to begin with your Heavy Metal drum tuning.
- Both Bass drum heads finger tight (because we love that high slap that loose heads give)
- Snare resonant head tabletop tight (don't bother with the Tune-Bot, use your ears)
- Snare batter head to taste (250hz - 350hz lug tension on the tune-bot)
- Snare wires at a tension best explained on the following video: https://youtu.be/cgZSrEvpWj0
- Tom resonant heads tighter than batter heads (use the Tune-Bot calculator)
When using the tuning calculator:
- Fill in your tom sizes
- Select low resonance
- Pitch adjustment to -1
- Head tuning style: Resonant head higher
Start with the floor tom and listen how it sounds. With old heads you might want to use higher pitch adjustment values to make sure the head isn't "brumming" or making other weird noises. Once you get the floor tom right, you'll know how low you can go. Work through the rest of the toms with those settings of the tuning calculator.
Remember that patience and practice are key points here. And use your ears to make sure that the lugs really are in the same tension/tuning. The Tune-Bot will lie to you if the lug tunings are too far apart.
Tune-Bot website is your friend with all of its guides.
Tuning is not as hard as you think it is.
Do you have any questions on tuning?
I'm more than willing to steer you in the right direction. So ask away.