Drum Tuning - 12 Tips

Posted in Guides And Tips


Before you can start banging on your custom drum set, you need to set it up first, so without further ado.

Here’s how you do the drum tuning:

1. Lay out all the drums and accessories in your work area.  Place them on carpeted surface, rugs or foam to avoid scratching.

2. If not yet attached, lay the drum head on the top or batter side of the drum, right above the drum-shell rim.  Then fasten the metal hoop on top of the head and attach it to the lugs using the key rods.  It would be best to dip each key rod in lithium grease before tightening as this stretches the drum head over the shell.

3. On the bottom side, called the resonant side, fit each drum with the second head using the same process as above.

4. The bass drum would need two spurs to stop it from rolling around.  The ends of the spurs should be resting on the floor.

5. With the footplate facing upwards, position the bass drum pedal on the floor right in front of the drum, attaching the pedal base to the rim.  To keep it in place, tighten the clamp.

6. Place all of the other hardware like cymbal stands, snare drum stand, hi-hat pedal and stand, and the drum throne.  Sit on the throne placing your right foot on the bass pedal.

7. Position the hi-hat stand in such a way that your left foot can reach the hi-hat pedal while your right foot rests on the bass drum pedal.

8. Arrange the two cymbals beside the bass drum, one to the left and one to the right.  Make sure that the stands are not touching the bass drum.

9. Depending on your preference, fasten the tom holders to either the base drum or the cymbal stands.  Some arm-like tom holders will insert into the upper surface of the bass drum while others clamp to the cymbal stands on either side.

10. Attach the smallest tom tom to the left, ensuring the drum head is parallel to the ground or slightly angled towards you.

11. Then attach the next smallest tom tom on the right, positioning it similar to the one on the left.

12. The largest tom—the floor tom—comes with metal legs that you attach to it so it stands on its own.  This is usually situated to the right of the other toms, or directly beside your right thigh.  The batter head should again be either parallel to the ground or slightly angled towards you.

13.   The snare drum stand rests in between your right leg whose foot is on the base pedal and the left leg whose foot is on the hi-hat pedal.  Assemble the snare drums on top of the stand and tighten the arms.

14. Hi-hats usually come in a pin secured by a clutch.  Loosen the clutch and release the hi-hat pair.  The lower cymbal should be placed on the hi-hat stand facing up.

15. The clutch has felts in the center.  Place the upper hi-hat cymbal in between these felts.  Replace clutch on the hi-hat pin.

16.   Approximating about an inch of depression, press down slightly on the hi-hat pedal and secure the hi-hat clutch on the pin at the same time.  When you release the pedal, the upper hi-hat should go up and produce a space between it and the lower hi-hat.

17. Should there be any remaining cymbals, assemble them on their own stands making sure the felt base cushions it and the felt ring rests between the cymbal and the wing nut on top.  Typical setups situate the ride cymbal to your right, while the crash cymbal can go to your right or left.18.   Start making the beats and enjoy playing!

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