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tuning drums for a perfect sound

Tuning Your Drum For That Perfect Sound

With drums, all it takes is one wrong turn or one wrongly tightened spot or the loosening of a tiny piece to tamper with the sound... Learn More

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Tuning Your Drum For That Perfect Sound

With drums, all it takes is one wrong turn or one wrongly tightened spot or the loosening of a tiny piece to tamper with the sound. In other words, drum sets need to be handled rightly for the desired result of a good sound. For those who are familiar with drums, we know that if there is one way to get perfection out of a drum set it is by proper tuning.

Tuning of a drum set sounds easy and it is indeed easy if the basic tuning steps are carried out. Like a singer, tuning a drum set is like ensuring your vocal cord is in great shape. Owning a drum set is not particularly cheap as the price does vary. But then, if you ask me, there really is no point purchasing one if a perfect sound cannot be achieved.

So, before you follow this link for more details, let us look at just how to tune drums for a perfect sound.

  • Replacing Drum Heads

The condition of your drum head is pretty important. Depending on the type of drum set, there are a couple of drum head selection. Drum heads are the easiest things to replace as they do not cost a fortune. But then, it is important to replace old drum heads with new ones. With drum heads, the moment the top one is being replaced, it is advised that the bottom one be replaced as well.

  • Checking Out The Snare Drum


It is very important to check out Snare Drum heads. This should be done while replacing drum heads and replacement should be done where necessary. Just as is with replacing drum heads, snare drums are best replaced in pairs too.

For snare drum head change, start with the top. In replacing the top snare drum head, it is best to stretch the head out by a slight push of your fist, into the middle of the head. This stretch is to make it almost impossible for it to react to temperature change. What this means is that it becomes even harder to go out of tune even when there is a change in temperature.

  • Tuning The Lugs

There are lugs around the snare drum head and so these lugs should be tightened by hand. After which a drum tuner should be used to tune the lugs. By dealing with one lug a time, the key should be turned to full rotation.

Lug tuning should be done diagonally meaning the next tuning would be done directly opposite the first. This process of tuning diagonally should be repeated until you find yourself right where you began, with your very first lug.

Depending on what you want, for a tight sound, I suggest that tuning be done a second time but with each lug turned one full rotation or two full rotations. That is all for the top snare as the bottom snare needs pretty much the same procedure. To check for evenness, you can then test tightness by pushing your index finger into the middle drum head and the also test the lugs around the rim by tapping each one with a stick to ensure all the lugs sound the same. This is to ensure your drum is pitch perfect.

  • Tune The Bass Drum


In tuning the Bass Drum, both of its drum heads should be removed and placed with new heads on the beater side. While doing this, ensure the head is secure by tightening lightly all the sides. The Bass drum is often low sounding and so the lowest pitch possible is what you aim for.

To achieve this, place your hand at the middle of the drum with a push and then check your reflection on the drum head. By loosening the lugs you would notice a facial distortion to your reflection and so your aim should be to tighten and loosen lugs until your facial reflection looks normal without any distortions. The more distorted your facial reflection is, the more wrinkling is noticed at the drum head and so this too must not be. This should be done all around the bass drum on each lug.

For a final check, go round the lugs one last time, do about a half turn on each. It is often best to have a dampening pad outside or inside the head. For more absorption and deeper sound, you can place a pillow inside the drum.

Finally, the front head should be be tuned following the same process used for the beater head side. You can place your hand in the middle with a slight push and then loosen each lug to wrinkle after which tightening should be done to remove wrinkles.

  • Tune The Tom Toms


Tom Toms can be very tricky as most people tune Tom Toms to a particular pitch. But then it is often best to pay less attention to tuning the Tom Toms to a particular pitch and more attention to understanding the tone of the drum.

With Tom Toms, the heads cannot be too tight as this would lead to it losing its tone too quickly or too loose as that would lead to thud sounds. For a perfect sound you need to ensure both heads are in sync. The same procedure for tuning snare heads and drum heads apply here. Eradicate wrinkles of the head. Then for checks, go round tension rods giving each a half turn tighten then listen to the sound of each tension rod.

The sound around the drum must be the same and both heads (top and bottom) should be in sync tone wise.