Loose, medium, medium-tight, tight...

scoopyx

Junior Member
Hey.
I've often wondered, what do people consider loose, medium, medium-tight and tight in terms of tensioning drums, particularly snare drums.
Those terms are very widely and commonly used, but as far as I know they could mean different things to different folks.
As far as snare drums go, on the snare side I put two-and-a-half turns of the key on each tension rod as a starting point, and go from there (usually higher).
But whether that kind of tension is medium, medium-tight or even tight, I have no clue.
On the batter side, I put two full turns of the key on each tension rod and go from there (quite often, down).
But whether that's regarded as loose, medium etc etc.
Just wondering what others consider to be tight, medium etc...

scoopyx.
 

Lunar Satellite Brian

Senior Member
ehh, I would say a tight head is a head that "gives" very little when you press your finger slightly off center from the head, like wise if the head gives a fair amount I would consider it to be medium tension, if it gives very easily I would consider it "loose"
 

opentune

Platinum Member
its all relative unless we use numbers, measurements, that a drum dial can give, but even then you have different drum dials.
turns of the key don't work as thread sizes differ. i have some drums that become 'tight' with 3 turns, and others with 1.5.
'tight' to me means very little give under pressure. loose (say on a bass drum) is really just above JAW (which is just above wrinkle).
the other terms are all in between.
in the end its your ears that say when a tension on batter and reso ware where you want.
 

Nickropolis

Senior Member
As mentioned before, the amount of threads on the rod changes things, as well as varied amounts of force necessary to make equal tension on heads with multiple plies or different thicknesses. The size of the drum I'm sure plays a part in making the amount of key turns not so relevant.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
It's going to refer in general terms only to the give of the head and the feel and rebound of the stick as it hits the head. Does it bounce off like a ping-pong ball or sink in slightly? As everyone else has said, these terms don't equate to any settings on drum dials or turns of drumkeys, because every drum, every lug, every tension rod, and every drumkey are different. It's like what constitutes the right amount of wash in a ride or the thump vs. boom debate on a kick.... no one correct answer.

You'll know loose from tight in a heartbeat. Medium-loose is tighter than loose, but looser than medium-tight. [grin]
 

oldrockdrummer

Senior Member
As mentioned before, the amount of threads on the rod changes things, as well as varied amounts of force necessary to make equal tension on heads with multiple plies or different thicknesses. The size of the drum I'm sure plays a part in making the amount of key turns not so relevant.
I have a coliseum 12 lug snare you can just get a little more than1 turn out of each lug to a 90 drum dial setting but my 8 lug acro takes 2 1/2 turns to get to 90
 
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