Step One Of Tuning The Drums: The Individual Drum Head

Many drummers do not know how to tune the drums, or simply do not know how important it is to tune them. I find the latter of these two particularly amazing because if you listen to your tone at all you should surely know that you just sound better when your drums are in tune and their are no other technical issues with the sound of the drum kit. Bearing this in mind, it is really important that drummers at any skill level learn at least the bare basics of how to tune a drum kit.

The first thing you should do when you are preparing to tune the drums is listen to how they already sound, figure out what the problems in the sound are, and determine to what degree they need to be corrected, and how they can be corrected. The best way to do this is by tapping the drum repeatedly at about one inch away from each lug, doing this for the lug next to it, and determining which pitch is higher. When you determine which of those two pitches is higher, you can decide from their if you want to tune the lower lug up to the higher one, or vice versa. In the beginning stages of tuning the drums, I recommend tuning your lugs upwards, as it will make it easier in the long run to get the tension that you want around the whole surface of the drum head.

Once you have listened to each lug individually and have tuned the different pairs of lugs to each other, it is time to start with tuning the entire surface of the drum head. To do this, you will need to decide which one lug you want to be your master pitch, and tune each individual lug to that pitch, by listening to them matched against each other. Eventually you will get the single drum head in tune, and will be able to move on to the next one. I find that this is the best approach to drum tuning which I have found- tune the top head first, then the bottom, and then tune them to each other. It seems like a painstaking process, but it will make a greater difference to your drum sound than you can imagine.

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