Finger Tightening Trouble


Senior Member
Hey Drummers. Lately i have been trying to defeat the Tuning Beast and have made some progress, but i have been confused about this term "finger tightness". Do you tighten it by turning the lugs on the threads, or do you simply turn the nub where the key should go? And when tuning the bass drum, how would you finger tighten the lugs with handles already?

Also, tuning has been frustrating because it seems that after i put the first turns on the first pair of lugs, the other lugs loosen again? Do i just check each time and finger tighten each lug again before i turn it?

Finally, the loosening lugs are really bothersome on my bass drum, where the tuning is so low that the lugs might be loose after i think i am done tuning.

If it sounds like i am doing it wrong, i am. Help!


Silver Member
It doesn't matter whether you do the thread or the head, as long as you are consistent (one or the other) some people, instead of finger-tightening will do it by sight. Just tighten to where the bolt and washer touch and start from there.

The finger tighten trick is just to get your starting position so all the lugs are close to the same tightness. After that just count key-turns. Rely on your ear, NOT on feeling. If the pitches are the same right next to the lug, then they are the same tightness.


Gold Member
One thing that helps, particularly on bass drums, is to turn opposite tension rods at the same time. Once you get to using the key, use two keys on opposite tension rods, too. Doing this helps the head to go on evenly.

You know to use a star pattern, right?


Silver Member
I turn them until the lug/washer/rim touch, then tighten opposing pairs up a couple turns at a time, until I run out of leverage. As mentioned, it doesn't matter how tight finger tight is, as long as it's the same. Sometimes I'm grabbing the threaded section, sometimes the keyed bit on top, whatever's easier to reach. also, when I begin tightening with the tuning key or wrench, After the first couple, I try to feel my way to the approximate original torque before counting the 1/4 or 1/2 or whatever turns. fine tune by ear, good to go. I have cast rims, so the detuning effect is pronounced.


Platinum Member
Speaking of this... Can someone better explain "opposite lug tuning"? I've seen Bob Gatzen mention this on youtube videos, but I don't really understand what he's talking about.