How To Tune Drums?

Drums are a very important part of a band. Be it a school band or a professional band. Let us learn how to tune drums.

It is always a good idea to always clean your instruments and it goes with drums as well. A drummer’s job is also very strenuous and the process makes the artist sweat a lot. That sweat and oil should never build upon the instrument. The whole sound of the apparatus could change if not taken care of.

All that being said let us see what we need to how to tune drums

how to tune drums

Key: A drum’s key is a small instrument that is necessary to loosen or tighten the rods. These are the rods that control the pitch of the drum. This one thing must have been provided to you at the time of the purchase. It is very small and must be maintained carefully.

Sticks: These are to tap on the heads to see the change in pitch and sound as you continue to tune your drum.

Another important knowledge that a drummer must have is the knowledge of the parts of a drum. Let us briefly discuss that here.

Hoops: These are the metal rings that hold the surface of the drum to the rest of the drum body. There are two of these in a single drum usually. each holding one of the drum faces.

Shell: This is the body of the drum. There is a variety of wood this can be made of. Depending on the type of wood used to prepare the drum, the sound differs. Snare drums might have a shell of metal. This gives them a louder and snappy tone.

Tuning rods: These are the rods placed alongside the shell of the drums. These are the ones that help in reducing r increasing the tension on the drum’s surface. The pitch of the drum also depends on these.

Lugs: These are attached to the shell of the drum. the threaded part of the tuning rods is inserted in the lugs of a drum. There are usually eight to ten lugs on a modern drum. In some older models, there might be six lugs. The number of lugs present affects the stability of the tuning of the drum. The more the lugs, the more stable will be the tuning of the drum.

Vents: These are easily overlooked in a drum. However, as small and insignificant as it may sound, these are incredibly important for the drum to make the sound. These are small holes on the shell of the drum, that allow the air from the inside of the drums to escape. It is also responsible for making it feel better when you strike the drum with your stick.

How to tune drums?

how to tune drums

Centre the head: If you are tuning a new drum, make sure the head is centered. Sometimes the hoops might shift and make your drum lop-sided. If you start tuning your drum like that, it will end up ruining the head material.

Use the key: The key is used on the lugs to tighten or loosen the tuning rods. However, you must follow a particular pattern of tightening with the key to tune your drums properly. Whatever be the number of lugs on your drum, they will always be of an even number. Hence, you will have no problem tightening the opposite lugs at the same time. This is easier if you have two separate keys to do the tuning. If you have two keys, that will not be a problem either. Tune one lug at a time, but remember to always tune the opposite lugs first before moving on to the adjacent lugs.

Smooth out the creases: Once you start tightening the lugs and hence the tuning rods, you will find creases appearing on the head of the drum. These need to be smoothed out. YOu can tug on the head material to smooth the creases out.


  1. Should I also tune the bottom head of the drum?

    Yes, absolutely. Both the heads of the drum need to be tuned properly for the drum to produce perfectly pitched sounds.

  2. Should I tune the bottom tighter than the top?

    Once you know how to tune drums, you can easily tune them both properly. However, some techniques guide the followers to tune the bottom head, a little bit tighter than the top head. This affects the resonating sound of the drum.

  3. What pitch should I tune my drum to?

    If you are not sure about the pitch consult your teacher or whoever is in charge of the band. A general piece of advice is to tune it to the first few notes of the song “here comes the bride”.

William Larson
William Larson

Hi, I am William. I am a music enthusiast. I play the guitar and ukulele. I like to try out all instruments and review them, to help others make an informed decision. You must choose the right instrument to get that sweet sound you desire. When I am not on my instruments I will be found reading or cooking.

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