How to Tune Your Drum Set

Learning how to tune your drum set is essential for a great sound. Most drummers do not know how to tune drums, and rely on the factory tuning. This is unfortunate, as drum kits sound so much better when tuned properly! Everyone has a different preferences, as well. Funk drummers might want a snappy-sounding snare, whereas rock drummers might want a snare with a louder, more thunderous sound. All of this matters and needs to be sorted, whether you’re using your drums for live performing or studio recording.

The way you tune your drum set will depend on the sound you are looking for, the situation you are playing in, and your personal tastes. However, there are a few rules to follow when actually changing the tuning of a drum kit.

Preparation Before Tuning
Before tuning your drum kit, you should make sure that it’s free of dirt and grit. If you have yet to put the skin on the shell, making sure the rim is clean is essential. If you do not do this, the head may be placed unevenly on the shell, which can change the sound of the drum kit and damage the head. Once the skin is on the rim, tighten the tension rods. Position the rods so that they are flat across the rim of the skin. With the flat of your hand, press down on the middle of the skin. Don’t do this too hard – only enough to stretch the skin slightly before tuning. This is the equivalent to a guitarist stretching the strings before tuning; it will prevent the drum kit from going out of tune too quickly.

Learning How to Tune Your Drums
Tuning your drum kit evenly will prevent damage and ensure that you get the best possible sound. Begin by tightening the rod closest to you with the drum key. Next, find the rod opposite to the one you just adjusted, and tighten that one. Continue on this opposite pattern, tightening each rod slowly and evenly.

As you make your way around the drum, try striking at different locations with your drum stick. You’ll notice a change in sound as you experiment with tightening or loosening the corresponding tension rod. If you hear tones that are not even, then adjust that tension rod. Eventually you will have an even sounding drum kit, tailored just for you.

Learning how to tune your drum set is a skill you will have for the rest of your life and is something that is often overlooked. Doing it properly and effectively is something that will impress even the most advanced drummers!

 

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- Dynamics for Drummers
- What Can I Expect at my First Drum Lesson?
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