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10 more quick drum tuning tips

Handy hints to get and stay in tune

Following last week's 10 drum tuning tips, we've got 10 more: all quick, all essential…

10 more drum tuning tips

1. Tune up not down

It makes things easier to get the tuning right if you always tune up to the note than down to the note.

2. Use the guitar method

Quickly dip below the note and then zip back up to it so you hear the note rise to the required pitch.

3. Use your finger

Put your finger lightly on the centre of the head to dampen the overtones and you'll hear the pitch better.

4. Write numbers…

…around the edge of the head next to the tuning rods to make the order of tuning easier, particularly on a 10-lug drum.

5. Tune the bottom first

Most drummers tend to tune the bottom resonant head first – go with the flow.


Next: options, projection and funk

Drum tuning

6. Bottom = tone, top = feel

Many drummers say they tune the bottom head for tone and the top head for feel.

7. Choose an option

There are three tuning possibilities: top and bottom same pitch; bottom head higher; bottom head lower.

8. High tune for projection

Some drummers claim that tuning the bottom head of your toms a little higher than the top increases projection.

9. Down tune for funk

When you have got the heads evenly tuned, try tuning down one of the tension rods by a quarter turn for a funkier sound.

10. And stay out of trouble

This should reduce the decay of the drum making it a more controlled sound. It may also eliminate troublesome overtones.

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For the best monthly drumming tips, video lessons and reviews, check out Rhythm Magazine.

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