Rhythm Top Ten Tips: Tuning your kit

Candle wax - the secret to tuning your kit like a pro? Read on to find out what the hell we're on about...

1. Take the old head off. Wipe the dust and debris off the bearing edge. Wax the edge with a little candle wax for a tight seal

2. Ensure a new head is tensioned evenly, otherwise it will be pulled unequally, get distorted and you wont get a clean sound

3. Take up all the slack by turning the tension rod to ‘finger tight´ - when the head of the tuning rod makes contact with the metal rim

4. Now increase tension by systematically applying a single turn to each rod, criss-crossing diagonally around the drum

5. Press down on the centre with your fist to make sure the head is properly stretched and ‘seated´

6. Continue until the head is board tight. The cracking sound is just the glue settling, and it´s important to hear this

7. Now you can slacken the head back off - again take care to do this evenly

8. At last you´re ready for fine tuning. Take the head back up, evenly all around - criss-crossing diagonally again

9. Make sure that each rod gets the same number of full, half or quarter turns

10. Tap lightly an inch so in from each tension rod. Make fine adjustments until the pitch is the same all around the head

Chris Barnes

I'm MusicRadar's eCommerce Editor. In addition to testing the latest music gear, with a particular focus on electronic drums, it's my job to manage the 300+ buyer's guides on MusicRadar and help musicians find the right gear for them at the best prices. I dabble with guitar, but my main instrument is the drums, which I have been playing for 24 years. I've been a part of the music gear industry for 20 years, including 7 years as Editor of the UK's best-selling drum magazine Rhythm, and 5 years as a freelance music writer, during which time I worked with the world's biggest instrument brands including Roland, Boss, Laney and Natal.