Tuning Drums Is Not Rocket Science

Tuning drums takes a methodical approach. Assuming you have never tuned a drum before, I will guide you towards making your drums sound great.

If you have a drum set and will be putting on drum skins for the very first time, here are some tips that will help you get on the right track:

1. Take the shell of the drum. There shouldn't be any drum skins attached to them. Basically you could put your hand through the shell.

2. Wipe the 'bearing edge' with a soft cloth. This is where the drum skin sits and makes contact with the drum shell.

3. Place the drum skin on the shell, making sure you have put the skin that you will strike on the top.

4. Place the rim (metal or wood - also called the hoop) on top of the skin, which is now on the shell.

5. Insert the lug rods through the rim and into the accompanying hole. Finger-tighten the rods. Do not use your drum key yet. Fasten the rest of the lug rods the same way until all the lugs are in.

6. Now that all your lugs are in on one side of the shell only, you can begin to tune your drum.

7. Use your drum key now to evenly tune your drum. Start with a half turn on one lug. The next lug to tune will be directly opposite from the one you just tuned. It is very important to be consistent when tuning your drums. Meaning, if you used a half turn on the first lug, you must continue to use a half turn on all other lugs for the first pass or tuning.

8. When tuning drums with a fresh skin/drum head, you will start to hear cracking or popping. Don't worry these sounds are normal since the skin is now breaking-in.

9. Continue tuning one side of the drum in the same manner as above until you start to hear a tone that resembles a drum sound.

10. As the drum head(skin)becomes tighter, turn the drum key less. For example, if you were consistently tuning with a quarter turn, apply an eighth of a turn.

11. As the drum gets closer to the desired tone, use less and less turns of the drum key. That is, start with a full turn all around, then a half a turn all around , then a quarter turn all around, then an eighth of a turn all around, etc. I think you get the idea.

12. Now, repeat the above steps for the other side of the drum.

13. I find that starting with the top or striking head then following with tuning the bottom head works best for me.

14. Good luck and feel free to contact me through the 'Contact Us' form below if you have any questions.

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