Vintage Drum Forum the best vintage drum forum on the Internet - Vintage Drum History - Vintage Drum Questions

Go Back   Vintage Drum Forum > Vintage Drums

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-25-2010, 02:12 PM
O-Lugs O-Lugs is offline
Vintage Drum Guru
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,958
Default Single-tension tuning systems

People often complain about the limitations of the single tension tuning system seen on some older drums. But, in some applications, I have found the system to work quite well.

That Ludwig Junior bass drum I have is really a great sounding bass drum. I used it on a gig once with a Brazilian guitarist and the sound of the calfskin heads was just so warm and beautiful, I really started to crave that sound. So, I tried it in another couple "jazz" applications and it worked well. I had to be careful because all the bass drum had to support it was those little clip on spurs.

I think the calfskin heads are key to making the single-tension system work. Calfskins have a great tendency to "creep" out of tune, anyway. The single tension system enables the drummer to quickly bring BOTH heads back up without a lot of hassle.

Another great thing about a single tension system is that it basically serves to make the shell a true "free floating" shell. There is no better way to really hear what the shell can do than when it is freed up to vibrate.

I think that a single-tension drum which has been well-built with good, even bearing edges, could, for all PRACTICAL purposes) sound as good as anything out there.

Also, just for trivial reasons, I am amazed at some of the innovative tension rod designs I have seen on some of the older single tension drums. Even on drums that were considered as toys for kids, some of the t-rods are really cool and very efficiently designed.

I have even kicked around the idea of building a couple of drums m'self one day using a design for a single tension system....waiting for another rainy day, I guess!

Fans of single tension systems, anyone?

Dissenters? Tell me how I'm wrong!
__________________
"God is dead." -Nietzsche

"Nietzsche is dead." -God

Last edited by O-Lugs; 06-25-2010 at 02:15 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-25-2010, 02:35 PM
Ludwig-dude Ludwig-dude is offline
Vintage Drum Guru
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Salem, NH
Posts: 3,875
Default Re: Single-tension tuning systems

I'm on the bandwagon with this one for sure! The 1920's Ludwig marching snare I just restored is a single tenson type and it sounds great! And it has modern heads on it! I get that classic low marching snare sound out of it....something that modern marching drums don't seem to give you.....everyone now wants that tat ta tat tat high pitched sound today......I want that old German Ooompah band/ Hogans Heroes theme song sound out of my marching drums! That is the classic marching drum sound to me.....

Anyway, I'm with ya on this one.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-25-2010, 03:26 PM
O-Lugs O-Lugs is offline
Vintage Drum Guru
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,958
Default Re: Single-tension tuning systems

LOL! "Hogan's Heroes" YES! That's probably the best example of that sound anyone could have ever made!

In all honesty, I have never heard an example of a single tension drum as sounding "bad". Where are these examples of single tension systems that don't work as well as dual-tension systems, I wonder? I'd really like to hear an A/B comparison between two otherwise equal drums. One can be a single tension system and the other can be dual tension.

I think of it like this, for the most part....

Any given drummer is going to find his/her sound on the drums they play, anyway -no matter what kind of drum it is. If I get a single tension drum in front of me, I'm going to turn t-rods until the drum starts to make a sound I like. The same thing goes for bass drum and toms. I don't really care if one t-rod needs to be looser than the one next to it or visa-versa. The Drum Dial (or whatever) may say all kinds of weird things by the time I get the drum to where I like it....but so what? The Drum Dial ain't playing in the spaces I'm playing! The Drum Dial doesn't have ears!

The reason I mention the Drum Dial is because, in the argument for or against single tension systems, people will say that the system won't enable harmonious relationship between batter and resonant heads because the heads can't be equalized as much as with a dual tension system. Whether that's true or not, I haven't found an example of a single tension drum as sounding inferior. They seem to sound as good as anything. As far as being able to "tweak" the tuning...Hey, I can move the t-rods anywhere along the perimeter of the shell!. Plus, I can add/subtract t-rods at will! A dual tension (lugged) drum can't do that!

Will we see the return of the single tension system someday?
__________________
"God is dead." -Nietzsche

"Nietzsche is dead." -God

Last edited by O-Lugs; 06-25-2010 at 03:29 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-25-2010, 03:38 PM
mcjnic mcjnic is offline
Vintage Drum Guru
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,972
Default Re: Single-tension tuning systems

I don't believe I've ever really given this much thought ... until now. Thanks. This is very intriguing. Makes me want to grab one and test away.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-25-2010, 04:28 PM
O-Lugs O-Lugs is offline
Vintage Drum Guru
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,958
Default Re: Single-tension tuning systems

Well, L-D mentioned that he is using new heads on his. And that's good news to me.

To be fair, the single tension systems that I know about (with maybe a few exceptions in the custom drum building world) have been in relation to calfskin heads.

As we (who have used them) know, calfskin heads are not as uniformly consistent as are synthetic heads. I don't even know how a Drum Dial/Tension Watch type checker would respond to a calfskin head. Maybe it doesn't make any difference. But I guess my point is that some areas are thicker and thinner across a calfskin head, so tension will be slightly different in different areas, anyway. In some ways, the single tension system is more flexible for these inconsistencies because, like I say, you can move the t-rods along the perimeter, as needed. And more t-rods can be added if there is a particularly resistant area of certain calfskins.

Why couldn't comparatively consistent synthetic heads benefit from this flexibility, as well?
__________________
"God is dead." -Nietzsche

"Nietzsche is dead." -God
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-25-2010, 05:18 PM
vintagemore2000 vintagemore2000 is offline
Vintage Drum Guru
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 10,315
Default Re: Single-tension tuning systems

I have (2)- 28" radio king bass drums and (1) leedy, that are single tension, here's the real beauty, about single tension, the head that has the t-rod handle side to them gets more torque than the opposing side, how do I know this ,I use a tama tension watch, so the beauty to this is the batter side is where I place the t-rod handles and then the two bottom t-rods I place on the resonate side so my bass drum pedal has no obstruction, so the batter heads has more tension than the front head, just like your going to tune a double tension bass drum anyway!!! I use powerstroke 3 remos, and they boom!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-25-2010, 05:33 PM
Ludwig-dude Ludwig-dude is offline
Vintage Drum Guru
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Salem, NH
Posts: 3,875
Default Re: Single-tension tuning systems

Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagemore2000 View Post
I have (2)- 28" radio king bass drums and (1) leedy, that are single tension, here's the real beauty, about single tension, the head that has the t-rod handle side to them gets more torque than the opposing side, how do I know this ,I use a tama tension watch, so the beauty to this is the batter side is where I place the t-rod handles and then the two bottom t-rods I place on the resonate side so my bass drum pedal has no obstruction, so the batter heads has more tension than the front head, just like your going to tune a double tension bass drum anyway!!! I use powerstroke 3 remos, and they boom!
I've done the oppostie of this with the drum I have in question.....the T's are on the bottom of the drum. However, it is a snare drum so this would make more sense and also it gets the T's out of the way of the sticks while you are playing it.

I fitted Aquarian American Vintage heads to it and other than some slight over-ring on the batter head it sounds fine. But it is a marching, or field drum if you will, and it needs to ring. It supposed to project across a field after all now isn't it? I'm using the American Vintage medium for the batter and the American vintage snare side on the snare side with the wire-wound silk snares and it sounds like its supposed to....like a deep marching snare. I'm sure it probably wouldn't sound too much different with real calf heads. I tried a Remo Fiberskyn3 medium batter head and a Renaissance snare side head on that 1950's Leedy marching snare I restored last year and it sounded very similar to the combo I'm using on this single tension Ludwig thats about 30 years its senior.....the Leedy had real gut snares, but other than that they are very similar sounding to my ears.

Now I'm all for using calf heads on this drum to see if there is a big sonic dfference, but I'm not quite ready to plunk about $325.00 down for two heads on this drum that is worth about half of the price of new heads. So in the meantime, modern heads will have to do.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-25-2010, 05:37 PM
Ludwig-dude Ludwig-dude is offline
Vintage Drum Guru
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Salem, NH
Posts: 3,875
Default Re: Single-tension tuning systems

Quote:
Originally Posted by O-Lugs View Post
In some ways, the single tension system is more flexible for these inconsistencies because, like I say, you can move the t-rods along the perimeter, as needed. And more t-rods can be added if there is a particularly resistant area of certain calfskins.

Why couldn't comparatively consistent synthetic heads benefit from this flexibility, as well?
In my case I'm stuck with a fixed amount of tension rods. I'm limited to ten as the rods are supported in the center on the shell using a rod support lug. Although, ten is quite a good amount of adjustment.....not as many as a 16-rod drum I saw on ebay recently (as a no-sale still) but ten is pretty respectable I think....
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-14-2012, 03:29 PM
portuguesejoel portuguesejoel is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1
Default Re: Single-tension tuning systems

Hey Guys!
I just registered to this awesome forum.
I Have a single tension leedy snare from 1935-37.
It only has 6 single tension lugs. I'd like to buy 3 more.
Anyone have any idea where to by some?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-14-2012, 06:17 PM
O-Lugs O-Lugs is offline
Vintage Drum Guru
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,958
Default Re: Single-tension tuning systems

heh hehe Oh, hello gain! I forgot about this one!


But guess what? I just did a gig in a new room and I decided to use the old 22 X 10 1941 Ludwig Junior single tension bass drum again. Man-oh-man! What a great sound. DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP bass drum. I better not get too in love with the sound though, because it's in BIG part because of the original calfskin heads....NUTHIN ELSE LIKE 'EM! But break one and it's $$$$$$ to replace. But I don't put all my stuff into a glass case and just stare at it.

The nice thing about the single tension system in this case is that I didn't have to move to get the drum to go through an array of tones. The thumb screws work flawlessly.
__________________
"God is dead." -Nietzsche

"Nietzsche is dead." -God
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:30 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2009 VSDwebdesign