Need help tuning drums for the first time.

rickyp

Member
Just started drumming today and having difficulty tuning my drums. I just dont know what sound I should look for and to get out of my drum kit. I dont know how to tune so any help would be nice. What notes should I tune to. I want to get the best sound out of my kit. Configuration is 22x17.5, 10x7,12x8 and 16x15.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Drums don't get tuned to notes. They can be, but it isn't necessary. Tell us what kind of music you like and want to play, and we can help guide you.

In a nutshell, you want the head to be even tensioned all the way around. You tension at opposite sides and tap the head about 1" from the lug and listen. You want it to sound the same. It also matters the sequence in which you turn the rods, so if your drum has 6 lugs and you think of it like a clock, turn them in the order of 12 and 6, then 4 and 10, and finally 8 and 2 o'clocks respectively. Ideally you want them all to sound the same when you are done.

You can also get a Tune-bot. People love them.
 

rickyp

Member
Most genres of music mainly my favourites are hipop, rock and jazz. So I want more bass and less attack or in the middle. I tried tuning it and it does not produce the sound i want.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
If it's your first time, and you're struggling, look up some videos on youtube. There are tom tuning specific videos


Start with the low tuning, least amount of tension. Just experiment. 1/2 turns. And, simply go up from there. You're looking for a nice overall sound, probably not too low or too high.

Also, what kind of heads are on the drums?
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I think a g14 resonant head is a little heavy. Normally g14 is used for batters. Of course it depends on the sound you are after. I would try Youtube, Drum Tuning, and watch a few to see what floats your boat. when you fins one, watch it a few times and wrire down the key points so you can look for the things that stick out.
 

BonsaiMagpie

Junior Member
Rob Brown tuning on youtube. It's not precise and it's not clever, and I don't like his snare tuning, but for the toms and bass it's effective, and fast.

When you are a bit more comfortable, look up Sounds like a Drum on youtube, There's a Day you can spend watching videos and testing tuning.

Annoy people on instagram too, loads of HipHop drummers on there posting daily and weekly videos, and most will answer question about their particular setup that day, if it's not already been answered. I got great cymbal ideas on there and I've now got an approximation of my dream cymbals.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Just know that drums...IMO...are THE hardest instrument to tune. It took me years and years to get it right.

Maybe get a tunebot and learn how to work it. That could save you those years.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I believe Tunebots come with general numeric guidelines for basic batter and reso head settings. To find your sound, you have to experiment from that jumping off point.

Here's a very broad overview of tom tuning, not taking into account overall pitch:

Reso head tuned tighter than the batter
Reso head tuned looser than the batter
Reso head tuned the same as the batter

It's all personal preference. Experiment with all three options.

By how much the reso is looser or tighter than the batter is where you will be experimenting. First, you get the batter head feel you like, mushy, tight, or in between. Then work on the reso. There's a lot of different tunings to go through trying to figure out the exact batter/reso tuning relationship that you go for. For instance I like my reso a full octave above my batter head note for a pitch bend tone. People use the intervals of 3rd, 4th, and 5th between heads with equally good results too.

Me, I don't like the reso looser than the batter as I feel it sounds boingy. But it is used by lots of drummers, so it's all preference. Find yours.

If you find you prefer the batter and reso tuned the same, you will be experimenting with what pitch sounds best to you for that drum.

I definitely try and tune to discernable notes with definite intervals, so when I run down the toms, pitch-wise, my kit "resolves". You don't have to, you make your own tuning rules..

After you know how you like to tune one drum, IMO the harder part of tuning is to tune the set so all the drums sound like they are tuned together.

It's fairly easy to get one drum sounding good. Making 4 or 5 drums work together pitch-wise takes effort.

My suggestion is to focus on spending time learning and experimenting how to tune the 12" tom to your liking. Then transfer your preferences to the other toms.

Bass drum tuning is a different subject, as is snare tuning.
 
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KamaK

Platinum Member
Just started drumming today and having difficulty tuning my drums. I just dont know what sound I should look for and to get out of my drum kit. I dont know how to tune so any help would be nice. What notes should I tune to. I want to get the best sound out of my kit. Configuration is 22x17.5, 10x7,12x8 and 16x15.
I'd look at Rob Brown's method on youtube, which accomplishes the same as the method I use....

My method is: Finger tight, + ~1.5 turns = bottom of range. Another ~2.5 turns = top of range.

My last recommendation is to pick one day a week and make it tuning day. Every Friday, pick one drum, back the lugs all the way off, and tune it from scratch. Keep doing this until you develop an intuition.

Don't worry about notes yet as they are rarely used in a musical sense. Occasionally you'll be asked to do timpanic emulation, or a producer will have you move to a consonant note in the studio... But at this point, you should only concern yourself with the increment between toms. If you have few toms, try a major 5th (theme to star wars). If you have many toms, try a major 4th (here comes the bride).
 

rickyp

Member
Brought the tune-bot. finger tighten it and +1 turn for all the lugs gave me B2 120hz batter head 10inch tom. I believe thats the fat sound i wanted and it sounds the way i like it. Should I tune it to B3 or F3. Whats the sweetspot i should tune to. Please let me know as this is my first time attempting to tuning the properly kit.

Thanks you cuz for the help. Much appreciated.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
Ricky, you seem to know what you're doing and what you want. Now, you just experiment. PLAY THEM! Don't hyper-focus on the tuning. Once you get them to where you like them, you HAVE to play them to see if it's what you want and what works, FOR YOU.

Can I ask why exactly you feel like you need to tune to particular notes?
 
Just thirding the suggestion to watch Rob Brown's videos. I was highly skeptical that it'd work but gave it a shot and son of a gun if it doesn't work beautifully.
 
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