In Search of the Missing Fundamental: by Richard K. Jones
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Step No. 5

Using The DrumDial

The video below (produced by DrumDial) shows how to properly clear and tune timpani heads with a DrumDial. It includes suggested tuning patterns, DrumDial settings for each size timpani, tuning range charts and correct pedal tension adjustment for maximizing the tuning range of each drum.

The DrumDial™ and the Tama Tension Watch work very well and do accurately measure the timpanic pressure, but the pitch clarity of your drum may not be 100% accurate. Although it works much more consistently than most measuring devices, it can sometimes produce an unclear head. After adjusting the head tension (or timpanic pressure) at each tension rod to a point where the gauge indicates the tension to be exactly the same, the sound and clarity of pitch may still be false. If the DrumDial™ or the Tama Tension Watch produce unsatisfactory results, you may have a head that is excessively stretched at some point, or, have a false head and/or tolerance issues with the drum itself. They work best on new, non-coated heads or smooth heads. Coated heads may not be the same thickness at each measuring point yielding slight variations in measurements even though the tension may be the same.

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