Snare drum keeps going out of tune?

williamsbclontz

Silver Member
Hey guys I need some help, my Yamaha snare keeps going out of tune after about 10 minutes of playing. It happens every single time I use this snare. I used to think it was the the drum head itself, so I upgraded to the thicker 2 ply coated emperor but I rehearsed with it yesterday and it still detuned?! I use 7a drum sticks and I don't really consider myself a heavy hitter so I'm not sure what the problem is. It's only this snare that this happens with, which is unfortunate because it is my favorite snare. I bought the snare used so the previous owner may have put too much grease in the casings? I'm not sure but I don't know what to do
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Nothing to worry about, happens to everyone no matter what sticks you use.

Keep a drum key near by when you play if you're not going down the lug lock route.

My 402 has a key ring with a phone chord attachment and a drum key at the other end. Lets me tune the whole kit and I don't lose the drum key in the dark.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
Nothing to worry about, happens to everyone no matter what sticks you use.

Keep a drum key near by when you play if you're not going down the lug lock route.
This was going to be my advice as well. The two lugs closest to me always loosen during a show due to the constant rim-shots. I know that many touring drummers actually change snares mid-show, I have just figured out about how tight each lug should be and do a quick tightening by feel somewhere during the last third of the show.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Yup, most snares de-tune due to lugs loosening. But if you’re a light player, could it be the lug bolts are too oily/greasy?

I use the white plastic “lug locks” but am going to try the Tama Tension Locks.







 

williamsbclontz

Silver Member
The two lugs closest to me always loosen during a show due to the constant rim-shots.
I do play a lot of rimshots. Usually on a lot of songs I'll play only rimshots except for the ghost notes. Would lug locks help this?

I always keep a drum key close by, but it's really hard to fix the snare tuning perfectly in between songs and more times than not I make the snare sound worse

It's been a real headache and my band and studio guys are getting fed up with me :/
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I do play a lot of rimshots. Usually on a lot of songs I'll play only rimshots except for the ghost notes. Would lug locks help this?

I always keep a drum key close by, but it's really hard to fix the snare tuning perfectly in between songs and more times than not I make the snare sound worse

It's been a real headache and my band and studio guys are getting fed up with me :/
If you're playing rimshots a lot, this comes with the territory.

If you're playing live there's way too many factors involved to get a perfect snare sound. Nobody will say anything anyways.

How can a studio get annoyed that your snare needs re-tuning. They must have fun with guitarists and bassists :)
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
I do play a lot of rimshots. Usually on a lot of songs I'll play only rimshots except for the ghost notes. Would lug locks help this?
Yes, absolutely.

How can a studio get annoyed that your snare needs re-tuning. They must have fun with guitarists and bassists :)
So true. Especially if the guitarist is playing the whammy bar.
 

williamsbclontz

Silver Member
How can a studio get annoyed that your snare needs re-tuning. They must have fun with guitarists and bassists :)
It's so bad that on a couple of occasions my snare has gotten severely out of tune during one recording of a song. So like at the beginning of the song it sounds one way and by the end of the song it sounds like a completely different drum
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
It's so bad that on a couple of occasions my snare has gotten severely out of tune during one recording of a song. So like at the beginning of the song it sounds one way and by the end of the song it sounds like a completely different drum
That makes it seem like your tuning rods are just a tad undersized for the lug.
 

williamsbclontz

Silver Member
That makes it seem like your tuning rods are just a tad undersized for the lug.
The rods are Yamaha brand and they look original, but like I said I bought it used so anything is possible. I got close to changing out all of the lug casings and rods but I wanted to see what you guys had to say before I did anything. I guess my best bet is to get some lug locks and then if I have any problems after that I'll look at other options. The tama brand locks looked pretty nice
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
The rods are Yamaha brand and they look original, but like I said I bought it used so anything is possible. I got close to changing out all of the lug casings and rods but I wanted to see what you guys had to say before I did anything. I guess my best bet is to get some lug locks and then if I have any problems after that I'll look at other options. The tama brand locks looked pretty nice
With constant rim shots, snares will lose tuning, but no doubt this is extreme. Mine stay in tune for a very long time, but I don't go nuts with rimshots either.

I'd be inclined to pull the lugs off and spray them down with WD40 and let dry. I'd then use pipe cleaners to clean out the threads, then use candle wax or something less oily to lube. I haven't done this, but sounds like it would work. Someone chime in if this is a bad idea.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I use tight screw lug bolts as mentioned above. They work great for me, but I don't play with a lot of rim shots.

The only way to lock down the lug bolt so that it will NEVER back out is to buy and use some of these, I have used them and they work really well:





.
 

motleyh

Senior Member
Nothing unusual about this problem, and it's an easy fix.

It can happen as a result of rimshots, and it happens much more often at lower tunings than when the head is tensioned high. A vigorous rimshot momentarily drives the hoop down, pulling it down from the collar of the tension rod and taking the pressure of the hoop off the rod -- which allows the tension rod a brief opportunity to rotate in the lug threads. Happens just a tiny bit, but given a number of hits it can let the rod turn enough to affect tuning. If you've done any fine-tuning of heads, you know that that even 1/8 of a turn can make a difference in pitch.

Lug locks and similar products work fine to keep the rods from turning even when the pressure's off of them. No need to get fancy or spend big bucks.

I don't think there's any reason to assume there's a problem with the rods or lugs themselves, unless you can detect worn threads (which would involve visibly stripped plating in the case of the tension rods).
 

opentune

Platinum Member
A vigorous rimshot momentarily drives the hoop down, pulling it down from the collar of the tension rod and taking the pressure of the hoop off the rod -- which allows the tension rod a brief opportunity to rotate in the lug threads. Happens just a tiny bit, but given a number of hits it can let the rod turn enough to affect tuning.
Good point. Am just doing the math. Playing rimshots on a backbeat for a 3 minute song at 120 bpm, one would hit your snare rim 180 times!
 

williamsbclontz

Silver Member
Good point. Am just doing the math. Playing rimshots on a backbeat for a 3 minute song at 120 bpm, one would hit your snare rim 180 times!
That's insane. One of my favorite songs by Johnny Guitar Watson has a double time snare drum part that the drummer hits rimshots on. The tempo is 90 and the song is 5 minutes long. He plays 4 rimshots per measure so that calculates out to 450 rimshots throughout the song! My mind is blown
 
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