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> What's the best tuner for tuning Timpani Drums
post Nov 14 2002, 10:14 AM
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What's the best Peterson model for tuning my timpani drums?

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Chris Labriola
post Nov 14 2002, 12:14 PM
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While all the Peterson models would accurately track the pitch of a timpani, my best recommendation would be the Autostrobe 590.

There is one slight advantage to tuning any kind of drum as opposed to, lets say a guitar or even a trumpet. A drum can respond to an audible input pitch. A timpani will resonate quite noticeably when the head reacts to an external source of pitch that matches the pitch produced by the tension of the head....(I might have just confused myself)..... it vibrates in sympathy.

Walk up to a timpani, tap it with your finger then hum the pitch you hear right back at the drum....it might take a second, but you will hear the head of the drum amplify your voice when you've nailed the pitch.

This is why the Autostrobe 590 would be ideal. It's built in speaker will sound the pitch that it detects you trying to tune. So if your in the ball park of a G, the tuner will play a G. Then you can see visually on the strobe pattern how far sharp or flat you may be of a perfect G. When you have tuned until the strobe disc pattern slows to a stop, the timpani head should be reacting to the output tone of the tuner! cool.gif

I used to play the pitch pipe right into the head of the drum in an attempt to duplicate the above process. Problem is, at least in a live setting, you need to be tuned to the ensemble and not your pitch pipe. While I wouldn't suggest letting the 590 give you a reference tone between movements, the Autostrobe (like all of our tuners) would be able to tell you how flat or sharp the orchestra tunes from a perfect A, down to 1/10th of a cent. This lets you base your tuning relative to the instruments you are playing with instead of tuning to how old your pitch pipe is! wink.gif

Furthermore, you could use the new Peterson TP-1 pickup to clip on the rim of the timpani (don't worry, there are rubber pads) to insure optimum pitch transfer in any setting.

I hope this is the advice you were looking for.

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