Tuning a drum involves some very simple principles.  Use this method for tuning your set.



The Drumhead needs to be tight, even and clean. 

It usually fits very snug over the shell.

When you tighten the head to the shell of the drum it needs to be flat.  

You want a nice even wave. 

If the drumhead is uneven or misaligned it won't produce a good sound.

Keep even pressure on all the lugs as you tighten the drumhead.    




1.           This process is the same for all the drums on your set.

2.           Place the drumhead on the shell of the drum.

3.           Press down lightly all around the hoop and spin the head so that it seats flat. 

4.           Put the drum rim and line it up with the lugs. 

5.           Seat the drumhead a bit more. 

6.           Tighten the lug bolts evenly; we can pull the head tighter and tighter. 

7.           This helps achieve the tones we want when tuning the drum. 

8.           The tighter the drumhead, the higher the pitch.

9.           It is best to tighten the lugs in a crisscross fashion so that the head will seat evenly all around the drum as you tighten each screw. You may hear some crackling and popping as the tension increases with each turn of a screw.  This is normal as the plastic drumheads stretch to conform to the drum.  DON’T’ DO THIS IN THE VERY COLD WEATHER you risk cracking the drumhead.

10.       Don't tighten the head too tight you probably won't want it to be 'pitched' all that high in tone.  About medium to loose tension is best.  Tighten to a point where there are no wrinkles in the head, then stop.

11.       From drum to drum there should be a tonal difference of a third, fourth, or fifth.   More drums smaller intervals. You'll know what you like.

12.       The drum key - Usually, the smallest toms to have the highest pitch and the largest toms to have the lowest pitch in progressive order around the kit.  The tones you'll choose are arbitrary, it is up to the drummer to make those sounds tight and clean and rock with the band. The rule is there is no rule, no standard way to tune a drum set. 


Generally I like the Top Head to be a fourth or Fifth difference in tone. The snare strands are usually tight.

The tightness of the snare drum head is critical if you want to get a good drum roll. If the head is loose you will get a "mushy " sound. too tight and and there is no tone.


The TOMS - High, Medium and Floor Tom Toms:

Buddy Rich use two some guys have 5 or 6.  It all depends what you want.

If you have more than 2 or 3 then it is probably easy if the drums are mounted up on stands in an array that is manageable. There should be a tonal difference of a third, fourth, or fifth between the drums.



Deadening the bass drum tips and trick;
Keep the "thud" and "attack" without it sounding like a cardboard box.



Foam Rings

More Pillows - - - good luck! --- Set up your drum set.


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