After choosing the best drum kit set for you, the next most important thing for a beginner is how to tune your drum!
One of the most missed and misunderstood aspects of playing the drum is tuning it. Good tuning is foundational to getting a good drum. Drums are not usually tuned to specific pitches, but they need to be tuned to produce a delicate and clear tone.
Most drummers have faced some difficulty to tune the drum and getting the right kind of sound from the entire drum kit. Learning how to tune a drum set will make it sound better and will motivate you to play more frequently.
WHY TUNING A DRUM Set Properly Is IMPORTANT?
Tuning is a very important part of taking care of any instrument, even unpitched instruments like drums, this ensures that the instruments don’t sound so flat or sharp. Pure pitches sounds are the best.
Our ear prefers a pitch we can sing. This can be achieved by adjusting the tension rods on the sides of the drum. And by adjusting means, loosening or tightening. A better drum will tune easily. Quality shells, bearing edge, and hardware in a drum will tune the drum faster and stay put at a fixed pitch.
Here is a brief guide on how to tune a drum set for both beginner and advanced leveled musicians.
What Things Would You Need Before Starting to Tune your Drum Set?
Devoted drum tuners can really smooth out frequent head changes. The tools are specially built to measure the tension or pitch by each tension rod, so you can produce a tuning that you are satisfied with.
I’m sure you already know what instruments you need to tune your drum set. Still, I’m going to give you a briefing about it, just to be sure.
Drum tuning only needs a few basic items: A drum key and a pair of drumsticks.
- A DRUM KEY: The first thing to tune in your drum is basically a drum key, a small tool that’s used to adjust the tension of the rod that controls the pitch of the drum.
Tightening the tension rods will cause the drum pitch to go higher, loosening the tension rod will lower the drum pitch.
- A Pair of DRUMSTICKs: Drumsticks are needed to tap on the heads as you tune them.
HOW TO TUNE A DRUM Set IN A FEW STEPS
Okay, so here’s the thing. Each expert has their own way to tune their drum, so it’s safe to say there is no right or wrong to tune a drum set. So, you can choose to tune it just as you prefer among all the other options you have. However, these step-by-step tips give a general overview of how to tune a drum set.
So, here are a few simple steps on how you can tune the drum set! But keep it in mind, choose the scale and tune which goes with the type of music you like.
- PURCHASING A DRUM TUNER: A lot of experienced drummers tune their drum by ear. However, if you are a beginner, it’s worth investing in a drum tuner to help you out.
- DE-TENSIONING THE DRUMHEAD: A drum sets basically have two type of head- the batter head (the top head) and the resonate head (the bottom head). Then try adjusting the tensions on the rods on the side of the drum counter-clockwise until the heads are loose. The next step would be to wipe down the head and also clean the bearing edge. After cleaning, you can replace the drumheads and adjust the tension on the rods again.
- TIGHTENING THE HEAD: Tighten the tension rods on the side of the drum by using the drum key. The next step is to turn each tension rod the same number of times either a full-turn or a half turn. So once the drumheads are adjusted, you can also alter the pitch of the drum by slackening and tightening the tension rods. And to gauge the tension of each lug, you can use the drum tuner.
- CHECKING THE PITCH OF DRUM AND RE-ADJUST: Experts suggest that you’ll have to continue playing around and finely-tune the rods until you are satisfied with the pitch. Check the drum pitch by slapping the drumhead after altering the tension rod, both in the center and an inch or two from the rim. Tighten or slacken the tension rods until it sounds perfect to your ear.
- DAMPENING YOUR DRUMS: In a concert where mics are involved, it might be difficult to get the thick, controlled, and pivoted sound without a treatment. Fortunately, dampening your drums gives a purer tone without any unnecessary pitches. You can achieve this by spreading the dampening gel on the drum head.
>Use a cloth, an old drumhead, or a pillow for your bass drum.
> Cleaning the drum with rubbing alcohol will wash away the residue and reactivate the stickiness on the surface of the drum.
- REPEATING: The final step is to repeat these steps with your drum in your kit.
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Drum Tuning for Different Music Styles
Drum tuning can be different for the different music genres, here are some tuning basics by genre: –
- For Rock Music: Usually, rock drummers use large drums which have a relatively low tuning that partially restricts the resonance of the toms. There is an importance on the crack of the snare drum.
- For Metal Music: Heavy Metal drummers usually prefer a very tight and focused sound. Drums are often large and tuned low, however, the snare is tuned higher to get more volume out of it and cut through the mix.
- For Pop Music: This music genre is a balanced sound that’s open and much more resonance than louder rock. Most pop drummer prefers medium-sized drums tuned to get a delicate and even sound.
- For Jazz Music: Jazz drummers typically prefer tuning their drums to a higher tune to get as much resonance as possible. In this case, drum sizes are usually small, which helps with a higher tuning.
Like drumming itself, tuning is something that will take years of patience, practice, and a lot of experimentation to get it right! It’s always a good idea to try different heads of the drum to find out what’s best for you. Because every drumhead will produce a different sound. There are many more ways to tune drums and this article mentions how to tune a drum set in the most simplified day for both beginner and advanced, to achieve a perfect sound with minimal effort. Happy Tuning!