Perfect Pitch?

It’s been a while since I started playing the drums. And yeah, I’m still learning! For starters I thought it would be a good idea to buy a snare drum. And so I left for Eindhoven. Up there you could always get a good deal at the music store Feedback (now Keymusic). I got into conversation with Jules, the drum specialist. A very nice guy who would pull the devil’s tail just for fun. I was looking for a Tama snare, but he showed me an old stock copper Gretsch. Feedback had recently taken over Eindhoven Musical Instruments and this snare was, being old stock, heavily discounted. Jules played it and it sounded like it was forged in Hell.

That’s one of the many benefits of shopping in a real store. You can hear the instrument and by talking to other musicians you learn a lot and get a good deal in the proces. In other words: The deal was made. After some fooling around with that mighty snare, the moment came that it needed some tuning. Damn. That’s a little different from tuning a bass or guitar. Ten “tuning lugs” at the batter head and ten at the resonant head. Not to mention that the heads need to be in tune with each other. All help was welcome!

I read somewhere that there was a handy tool for tuning drums called a Tune-bot. A tuner for drums? In Geleen there’s a specialized drum shop called Triepels and hopefully they could tell me a little bit more about that device. So off I went to Geleen. There the owner told me that if I bought this tuner, I probably wouldn’t be using it for longer than half a year. That’s not a good sales pitch, is it? However, he told me that by using this device I could master tuning drums much faster. I rewarded his honesty by buying the Tunebot and in the end I can only confirm his story.

To me tuning a drum is no longer as intimidating as it used to be, but sometimes it’s still handy to have this little wonder within reach. One way or another, it’s still rocket science!

By writing this, I want to tell you how important it is to go to a real music store and talk to the staff members as to other customers. They’re all musicians and they all breath music. I remember visiting the Adams Drum Festival. I saw some great artists at work there, and suddenly I found myself chatting with world famous stars. Cindy Blackman, Ray Luzier, Jojo Mayer and Norman Bonink to name but a few. And believe me there’s a lot you can learn from them. Of course, if you already know everything or are not at all interested in other musicians (or people general), or maybe you don’t want to learn a damn thing, no problem, I’m not ordering you to do something you don’t want to do.

And yes, that snare is always in perfect pitch!

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