Tuning Your Drum Set

Tuning your drum set is one of the most important maintenance activities as a drummer. Even before the drummer starts playing or recording he has to ensure that the drum is well tuned and ready to sound good. A general drum kit consists of bass drum, cymbal, snare, hi-hats and toms.

So while tuning your drum set, you can start by tuning the snare drums.

Tune the top head at the very start. Turn each lug clockwise to increase the tension of the head and to increase the drum pitch. You can also, tune one lug and then tune the lug on its opposite side preferably 180 degrees away. The drums are bound to sound better when you do not tune these lugs in a circular sequence. However, be careful not to tune it too high, as the heads tend to break easily.

While tuning your drum set test the pitch of each lug when finished by lightly playing about one inch away from the lug with a drumstick Also, make sure while tuning your drum set that all lugs have equal pitch. At this point your drum should be tuned.

The next step in tuning your drum set is by tuning the toms.

You can start by tuning the bottom head of each tom-tom. You can then use the same tuning sequence as the snare technique for tuning each lug and then its opposite. After tuning the bottom move to the head. The head is where the pitch is located. Thus, it is very important that you have an idea of what pitch you want. Tune it to the pitch you want.

After you have got the right pitch, check each lug pitch so that it matches the others in the same manners as the snare drums.

After tuning your toms, the next step in tuning your drum set is the bass drums.

Start by tuning the head at first. It is advisable not to spend too much time tuning, as the head does not have much impact on the sound of the drum. After you have spend time tuning the head, you can start tuning the lug of the back head in the same manner as you tune the toms and snare. You should make sure your drum is tuned neither too high nor too low. Bass drum sounds really depend on the style of music you’re playing and how much impact the drum has with the group you play with.

When tuning your drum set, you must initially imagine the tones you want to hear, it is then important that you must discover how to tweak those exact tones from each drum. While tuning your drum set look closely at your snare drum and try to decide exactly what factors most affect the tonal quality.

Notice the square headed screws around the top and bottom rims of the drum. They are known as tension rods or tension screws. They screw into the lugs, which are usually mounted permanently on the sides of the shell of the drum. You may tighten or loosen these screws with a tool called a drum key.

A drum key can be purchased at any music store for a dollar or two. Adjustments to the tension screws with a drum key will affect the tension on the drumhead, which will raise or lower the pitch of the drum.

However, tuning your drum set depends more on your ear and the tone you want.