How to tune your drums like a pro

You need to tune your drum set.

Even the most expensive and amazing drum kit will sound ugly if it’s not tuned up properly. This can cause issues like the drums sounding muddy, dissonant pitches and unwanted noise. These are problems that every drummer has dealt with at some point. But if you learn to do it right, tuning your drums isn’t too hard and can bring new life into your kit.

Exactly what pitch you tune up to depends on how you play and what sounds you like. This means that there is no one right way to tune drums, although there are plenty of wrong ways. So while we can’t tell you exactly what to do, we can offer some helpful guidelines.

Five tips to tune your drums.

Tip 1: Use good drum heads.

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I know it sounds self explanatory.  But just so we’re all on the same page, it’s worth the effort to get good heads. So before you start cranking them up, check to see if the drum heads look old and beat up or if they sound dead. At Roxy’s, we stock Remo brand drum heads which are great but there a lot of good heads to choose from.

 

Tip 2: Start with the toms.

Tuning pattern

Drums are tuned relative to each other, so try to  It’s a good idea to start with the toms and once you get those set, it’s easier to balance everything else.

If you are putting on new heads, finger tighten the lugs. Make sure the head is tighten evenly, without any wrinkles or dimples. Then begin to tighten the lugs using a cross pattern. Ideally you want the head to be the same pitch at every point. Check rack toms for pitch as you want a descending pitch pattern (most of the time) for example: A, B, C or try half step intervals

 

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Tip 3: All about that bass.  If you like it super dead, leave it flappy low and if you want more reaction, you need high tension, resonance higher, deader lower. You can increase this effect by using mufflers or damped heads like the powerstroke, or evans. try to use less dampers. Evans mufflers.

 

 

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 Tip 4: To snare or not to snare. This is the drum that we use the most besides the kick drum (unless your a double bass master, then that’s a little different). I suggest you spend a little more time on the snare then the toms. The snare can be the main sound of the kit and make that kit stand out or be more in the background.

Tuning the resonance head (bottom head) higher gives you more attack/less sustain and a nice low end punch. Where as tuning it lower gives you a dull/but more sustain and a good low end punch. The same will go for the batter (top head).

 

Tip 5: “O” rings on the moon. This last tip is about dampeners to deal with unwanted overtones. The first suggestion is to use moon gels. These are cool little gel sticky pieces that you can stick on toms or a snare to help with overtones or cut down on the ringing. The closer you get the mool gel to the center, the more overtones you cut; the closer to the hoop, the less over tones you cut.

 

The other product we recommend is similar to moon gel. They are called “O” rings and as its name implies, it is an “O” shaped ring. The “O” rings come in a lot of different sizes to fit toms and snare drums. These are a little easier to use then the moon gel. All you need to do is measure your tom or snare and then find the right size that fits. The “O” ring will then sit nicely on the drum head. Then killing all the overtones and you will have a nice tight sound. The down fall to the “O” ring is there is no “in between” damping, as it damps all the overtones.

 

Hope this quick little guide will help you on your adventure. Just remember its all trial and error and sometimes it may take more then one try or products to get the tone your looking for. There is no “rights” or “wrongs” its all what you like. In the end its your money, you should spend it on what you want.

Now go play your drums.