Getting a great drum sound when recording starts with having a great sounding drum kit. New well seated and tuned heads, on well constructed shells with toms tuned to 3rd’s, 4th’s, or 5th’s will give you a huge head start on tracking drums that sing just the right amount, and cut through the mix in just the right way. Drums kits are also one of the more difficult instruments to tune cohesively. The rules are not as easily defined as with guitar or bass, and there are many more elements involved.
For all of you engineers, producers and drummers out there who record acoustic drums and want a better grasp of how to refine the sound of your kit in order to prepare for studio sessions, or just bring out the best fundamental tones of your kit, here is a link to the Drum Tuning Bible. You will learn a lot from the valuable information compiled here. This PDF guide to choosing and tuning drums was written by Scott Johnson AKA “Prof. Sound”.
In addition to tuning techniques for drums, Scott discusses the sonic characteristics of different wood types used in drum shell construction, and how your choice of batter and resonant head type (coated, clear, pinstripe, glass, ebony) will effect your sound. It is an informative read, and you will enjoy your new more melodic drums.