...from one craftsman to another!™                         Psalm 150:4-5
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Category: Tuning drums

Tuning Drums

I have come across a lot of buddies in the business of drumming who seem to struggle to get a good sound from their drums.  In most cases, it is not the quality of the drum, or even the heads being used.  It is the approach to putting the heads on and subsequent tuning. 

I always start with the bottom head since this is really what produces the first note that you hear when the drum is first struck. If you think about it, at the exact moment of impact, the top head is actually muted by the stick.  I seat the head evenly by finger tightening all the tension rods.  Then I do 1/2 turns on all going around the drum like a clock.  I don’t generally do a criss-cross pattern except maybe after the drum is in the ballpark.  I am just careful to allow the head to tension slowly and as evenly as I can.  Once in the region of the pitch I am after, then I begin tapping at each lug about 1″ in from the edge to check that all tension rods are tuned to one another.  I repeat the same process for the top head and then lower it by about 1/2 a step pitch-wise.  I like a little “bend” in the pitch of the drum. 

That’s what I do and so far it has worked.  There are times, however, when I just seem to be having a bad day and can’t  get the sound out of the drum I am after.  Of course, now that I make drums, I work all those bugs out of them so they don’t have that problem.  lol

 The Artisan