How often do you tune?

notvinnie

Senior Member
Thoughts?
If you tension your heads quite tight, you won't need to adjust them as frequently. If you tune medium to loose, you will need to adjust tension/tuning more frequently, even between songs during a set.

You re-tune when the drum is no longer tensioned right or when it sounds "off". If you strike the drum with more force, this will happen more frequently. It is also exacerbated by tension rods which have a lot or very little lubrication.
 
I check my tuning quite often, but most of the time there is no need for re-tuning. Sometimes a single lug has to be adjusted a smidge.

Perhaps my tuning is kind of stable because I rather play jazzy stuff with not too much impact on the heads, or I own poor drum kits with lot of lug friction ;) But anyway it doesn't need much effort to keep the sound consistent.

I don't mind I could get a slightly better sound out of my drums as long as everybody is fine with it. And people usually make compliments for my tuning, so I don't want to bother the other guys with pedantic tuning orgies :)
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
Before each gig I'll tap the toms and tweak them if necessary to get the best sound in the room. This weekend I had three gigs in three very different rooms, so I adjusted the toms three times. One room needed a deeper sound than the others.

Snare and bass drum I tend to leave unless something sounds really wrong.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Almost every time I sit down at the drums.

I always have a sound I'm after when I tune, which is completely mood dependant.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
When I sit behind my drum I sometimes check the tension with my finger in front of each tension rods of the toms batter sides. Sometimes there will be one rod way looser than the others.
For the snare, I give a small turn every week. I do this by "feel". It's very often the rod where the rimshots are that gets lose.
About tension watch, I've got one I don't use much but recently I needed two toms that I didn't use for a long time, they were completely out of tune. With the Tama tension watch I quickly got them right, top and bottom.
 
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PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Back when I was a heavy hitter, I'd crank my snare a few times throughout a concert. I don't do do this anymore, and my heads and sticks last forever.

These days, I only tune if something sounds weird, choked, or "off" in some way. I set my drums up, hit them one good time, and if everything sounds good, it's off to the races.
 

TMe

Senior Member
If you tension your heads quite tight, you won't need to adjust them as frequently.
I've finally realized that, after playing around with a tunebot.

My toms sound like a million bucks if I tune them nice and low, but go out of tune after about two minutes of playing.

If I tune them up nice and high, they hang on to their tuning for ages.

In hindsight, I always sucked at tuning drums because I was always trying to tune them too low. I'd get a nice sound... and it would disappear. Over and over again.
 

Davo-London

Gold Member
How often do I tune? When I put on new heads - then never!

Why? Well, the sound is destroyed by the volume suppression I'm using so it doesn't make any difference!

What a difference a sound room would make.

Peace. Davo
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
I've finally realized that, after playing around with a tunebot.

My toms sound like a million bucks if I tune them nice and low, but go out of tune after about two minutes of playing.

If I tune them up nice and high, they hang on to their tuning for ages.

In hindsight, I always sucked at tuning drums because I was always trying to tune them too low. I'd get a nice sound... and it would disappear. Over and over again.
That's why we go down to what we discussed with Bo Eder : nothing better than big drums tuned relatively high. To play big rock with small / shallow drums, you keep on fighting to get the lowest possible pitch, and then they detune faster and project less. Matter of taste of course.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
That's why we go down to what we discussed with Bo Eder : nothing better than big drums tuned relatively high. To play big rock with small / shallow drums, you keep on fighting to get the lowest possible pitch, and then they detune faster and project less. Matter of taste of course.
It’s exactly why IMHO 22/13/16 or 22/12/14/16 are about as perfect a size combo you can get, if you want versatility. The drums have to be really nicely made and have a super low fundamental to begin with if going with smaller sizes. For strictly rock, the larger sizes are king.

Like John Good or not, there was one thing he pointed out on one of his videos that made a ton of sense. Changing the shell layout on an 8 and 10 to lower their pitch, so they aren’t in the stratosphere compared to the larger ones. That way, they actually stay in tune with some tension on them and ring out to. Nothing like the flap flap flap of a small drum, when the lugs backed out.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
I do minor adjustments every time i set up to play. If one of the drums are way off, I'll go further in-depth. Depends on the time I have before we play.

I keep the drum key handy to adjust more as the evening progresses, as well.
 

fac

Senior Member
I tune when something sounds off, which rarely happens. Both of my kits stay pretty much "in tune" for long periods of time. I put "in tune" in quotes because I'm not very strict about it. I do it all by ear. I just try to get an even sound when hitting close to the tuning pegs, to get a nice interval between the toms, a good boom from the kick, and avoid ugly resonances.

Tuning for recording is a whole different deal, though. I have yet to learn how to record a snare that doesn't sound wimpy.
 
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