need help with tuning

rubber ducky

Junior Member
hey guys,
as i said before i am new to drumming and need some help. when i am tunning my tom's and bass there is way too much resonance comming from them. i any hearing about 4-5 seconds of resonance and need a way to bring it down.
i have heard of tape but have heard it wreaks your heads and should only be used as a quick fix.
also heard of a pillow in the bass so i shall try it tomorrow
i have no were to put dampeners on my drum heads as the is no ring to put them under.

how can i fix this problem? i was thinking of getting new drum heads as i have heard stock ones are crap

also how many seconds should i hear resonance for?


Senior Member
I can maybe help here...

Im only just recently getting back into drums after a 10 year gap... and for the first time in ages, was faced with having to tune toms.. and this is what ive learned:

-get good heads... remo ambassador are nice, and im leaning towards prefering the dual ply remo emperor. I ended up (by mistake) having one emperor in my set, and discovered it was easier to tune, and with less complex overtones, so i'll try to pick up a few more.

-start by having only the TOP head on the drum... and tune this up nicely. Start by getting the skin just tight enough to create a tone, and then build up to the one your looking for.
THEN, put the bottom head on, and tune it slightly higher than the top head. This will help to kill some of the resonance and create a more punchy sound.

-if its taking too much tweaking, take it off and start again. Dont endlessly tweak a tuned drum, you'll go mad and just end up going in circles.


Senior Member
One thing to think about is the room accoustics and what you may be actually hearing. If you are not playing with hearing protection you will hear all kinds of overtones coming from the drums (from the drummer throne perspective). Start by trying to tune your drums as good as possible starting with the floor tom. Get the floor tom as low as it will go (or that you want it to be) and work from there. there should be a good interval of notes between each of your drums. I tune mine similar to the cadence that starts a horse race or like the song "I Found MY Thrill, on blueberry hill" whereas "I" = lowest tom, "Found" = next lowest, "MY" = the next and so on. As for the ring and is something that you actually want. The ring and resonance is what makes the drum cut through the music. If you play while wearing good ear protection, such as Vic Firth Isolation Headphones, or Ear plugs or anything similar, you will find that you will like the ring of the drums and it should sound it may take some getting used to but the hearing protection will cut out alot of the leftover reverb that the room is producing. As for dampening unwanted overtones.... As a side note I really wish there was something like this forum when I started playing because I a mainly self taught and was never shown how to tune properly. I started playing when I was 5 and for almost 15 years my set had a set of REMO ring dampners inside the toms. BIG MISTAKE! if you do want to "tame" some of the overtones look at Moon Gel. It is a square of a sticky substance (similar to a sticky hand usually won in a vending machine). you would place on the head of the drum near the rim. Use small dampeners on the toms and snare only...never put anything inside your toms or snare. For the bass drum, I use a knock off tempurpedic pillow inside the drum resting slightly on the batter head and a small white t-shirt rolled up slightly touching the reso head. The middle of the bass drum is open. As for room accoustics...Ideally you would like to place your drums in the corner facing the room not the wall, this will help prevent what are called standing waves.. If the room has wood, tile or concrete floors make sure to lay down a good drum rug. This will help with the drum sliding as well as overall accoustics.


Senior Member
If you have the freedom of "decorating" your room, try tacking up some thick blankets, comforters, carpet pading, or eggcrate foam on SOME of the walls...not wall to wall pading...You want to have a combination of "live" wall areas, and "dead" wall areas for the best accoustics. Also look at making "Bass Traps" which are sound absorbing cylinders placed in the corners of rooms used to soak up low frequencies. Corners are where low bass frequincies collect. For this you can use blankets again, or a cheep futon matress standing upright in the corner....All of this by the way (hearing protection, room accoustics) will make your drums sound better without having to alter your actual Drums!... So that is my 2000 cents!!!

And be sure to check out the drum tuning bible

and Bob Gatzen videos on you tube!!!

Good Luck

Like mentioned before I really wish I would have had a tool such as drummer world when growing up, because it would have saved me a lot of trouble!!!...


Senior Member
And to answer your question about the length of the resonance....I tune my drums with the Reso head slightly lower than the batter this produces a "BOoww" sound where the note drops slightly and thats about the length you would want..about the lenght of a long one syllable word when speaking.

When tuning your drums be sure to take the drum off of the stand and place it on a carpeted surface. This allows you to tune one head without the other side affecting the head you are working on. Be sure to get good heads (a lot of what you are hearing is the crappy stock heads)...try something like a coated emperor batter with a clear ambassador reso.