Tuning Your Drums


Tuning the drums is an essential feature for producing tone, pitch, and resonance within all drums of the set.

One effective way is to tune the drum heads across the drum in a crisscross pattern. The tension rods can be tightened reasonably equal at each point around the drum and the head tension is set consistently.


During assembly you should have already tightened each tension rod of all drums with your fingers.

Now tune each of the toms by placing the drum on a surface to tune one side at a time. Tuning the top batter side first, take the drum tuning key and tighten each tension rod a quarter turn in a crisscross pattern using the sequence indicated in the diagram below.

Tuning Your Drums

Bring the drum head up to pitch and check the head tension at regular intervals by pressing down on the center of the head with the palm of your hand. You will notice the tension become tighter. A crunching noise and a cracking sound is normal during first time tuning when the heads are new, this is normal as the head becomes seated on the drum itself.

While tensioning use your finger and tap the drum head at each lug point about 2” in from the rim.

The goal here is to listen to the overtones produced and bring each point in tune with the others. A clear tone at desired pitch is what you want to get to. Apply small quarter turns of the drum key and use listening to get a natural even tone. Again use the crisscross pattern to maintain equal tensioning. Take your time.

When an even tone is achieved across the drum head turn the drum over and use the same technique on the bottom resonant side head.

There are several tuning options of tone and pitch with examples such as:

Top and bottom head tensioned to the same pitch.

Top head tensioned slightly higher in pitch than the bottom.

Bottom head tensioned slightly higher in pitch than the top.

Each example of tuning will produce a different style of tone and decay. Experiment to what sounds best to your ears and style of play!

The pitch of each drum can be determined by you. Typically the small tom will start off at a higher pitch in tone and as you go to the mid tom and to the floor tom the pitch and tone produced will lower.