How often should you tune your drums?

jwildman

Senior Member
How often do you think a drum should be tuned? Once a week, once a month?

What kind of strain does it put on the head to be tightened and then loosened more frequently? And on the flip side of that question, what kind of strain does it put on the head to be out of tuned or have part of the head be tight and the other part to be more loose?

If you tune a drum more frequently will it stay tuned longer or will it slip out of tune easier?

Do the lugs and screws take any strain from constant tuning and detuning?

How does frequent tuning affect the shell itself, especially on the edge?

Are the hoops affected by tuning and detuning?

Disscuss
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
There is no should, it's whatever you want. You are the boss. I tweak my drums for every room I'm in. If I play a larger room or outside unmiced, I will tune the toms tighter, the tone carries further. A smaller room, I can get away with the toms tuned a little lower, but I never tune too low, they don't carry well.
Otherwise I tune them when they loosen up, or if the intervals sound off, or when I feel like a different tuning. To answer your question, quite often.

No worrys about the drum, yes everything takes strain, but it's designed for it. You do want them tensioned evenly though, that's just common sense.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
As long as the tension rods aren't overtightened there will never be any damage to a drum from tuning.
Drums don't go out of tune that often. They aren't like guitars.
I sometimes don't tune for weeks.
If everything that you owned was only half as tough as a drum...
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
How often do you think a drum should be tuned? Once a week, once a month?
How often the drums go out of tune in part has to do with how hard you hit (which is tied into what style of music you play).

And how easily the lugs go out.

Possibly head selection (?).

And then the situation. If I'm just practicing and no one else is around, I can't say I bother to check if my drums are tuned. Live, yeah, I care. Recording? Then I really, really care.

Which is say, there is no answer, as it's going to vary depending on the person and the situation.

What kind of strain does it put on the head to be tightened and then loosened more frequently? And on the flip side of that question, what kind of strain does it put on the head to be out of tuned or have part of the head be tight and the other part to be more loose?
I'd say so small, it would be negligible.
If you tune a drum more frequently will it stay tuned longer or will it slip out of tune easier?
I don't think it would make a difference.

Do the lugs and screws take any strain from constant tuning and detuning?
I would say yes, but the strain would be so minor, again, it's negligible. Plenty of people use vintage drums from the 50's and 60's with little to no issue with the lugs and screws being that old. And the strain of turning the t-rods is probably minor to the strain of they take from playing. Rust/salt/the elements are going to be a much bigger factor to the condition of lugs than frequency of tuning.
How does frequent tuning affect the shell itself, especially on the edge?
My guess is zero.
Are the hoops affected by tuning and detuning?
Much like the lugs, so minor it's negligible.
Although if you were to crank one side and leave one side de-tuned, you could warp a generic hoop over time.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Tune the drum when it no longer sounds like you want it to.

Don't worry about any of that other stuff!
 
A

audiotech

Guest
I usually touch up the tuning on the kit every time I sit behind them. When you get use to it, you basically know where exactly to go to get it in perfect tune and it only takes a minute or two. Every couple of weeks, and I was doing this today, I take all the head down to no tension and tune them back up again. It really revitalizes the sound in a set of drums. After touching up the tuning for a couple of weeks or months, sometimes the heads aren't exactly centered with some tension rods having more tension on them than others, yes even though they sound in-tune with themselves. This exercise really does make a difference. This also helps those neglected resonant heads.

Dennis
 

jwildman

Senior Member
Personally, I tune my toms every few weeks. I'll take them completly off and get all the stick dust out and retune them. The batter heads get retuned more often then the resonants. Maybe once a month I'll tune my snares since I've got them cranked up and doesnt seem like theyre moving anywhere. I just about never tune my bass drum. I just bought a new DW kit and tuned up the bass drum and probibly wont tune it again till i need a new head for it. Just was wondering what other peoples opinions were and it didn't seem like there were any threads on this basic subject.
 

TNA

Senior Member
I just go by if it still sounds good to me or not. If I think they start sounding bad then I'll go tune them up. There are many factors that can cause you to need to tune more or less, such as the tension you tune the heads to, the quality of the drums, how hard you hit, the way you hit.
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
I tune a drum when it slips out of what I've identified as the sweet spot for that drum, or at a gig when the room makes them sound very different. I really wouldn't worry about your massive list of questions, just keep your drums sounding nice as needed. A little lube on the lugs now and then to keep them working smoothly is a good idea.
 

savatom

Junior Member
I try to always keep my drums in tune, but I DEFINITELY tune my drums before every gig AT THE GIG, because every room is different. What may sound great in the garage can sound like trash cans at the gig.

That, of course, means I need to be set up with enough time before the first set to do so, easier said than done with 3 kids and a full time job. My time's not always my own. I'm sure the other gigging dads can relate. My wife fully supports me though so that's a tremendous help.

Usually I'm not too far off sound wise from where I want to be and only fine tuning is needed at the gig. If my snare cracks and my kick thumps I'm happy. Every once in a while though you'll have that one tom that just sounds like tupperware and won't cooperate. That's when I start sweating. Personally that's why I travel light and use only 2 toms, 3 at the most.

My 2 cents.
 

Homeularis

Gold Member
I tune something every time I play/practice whether it be a couple toms, a kick drum or a snare. Just depends on how the kit sounds.
Seems like its much harder to tune/keep in tune my larger toms. :(

You may wanna tune your kick more often than never though...lol.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Any time it doesn't sound right.

When on a gig a drummer should tune up just like a bassplayer and guitarplaye does. It's a constant thing.

How a drum sounds is a big part of how the whole picture and even if a certain groove will really work.
 

Witterings

Silver Member
Last did mine about a year ago !!

If it ain't broke don't fix it !!

The only exception I noticed the head on my snare had loosened a little and I use different dampening for different gigs / rooms but I don't actually touch the skins unless I think one sounds wrong. It took me weeks of constant adjustment to get it exactly right last time I did them.
 
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