How To Tune Your Drums (Jared Falk)


Hey everyone, it’s Jared here from Drumeo, and today I’m gonna teach
you how to tune your drums. Now this is something that
when I first started playing, no one taught me. So, it’s something that
I just learned over time by taking off my drum
heads, tuning them up, getting new drum heads, tuning them up, and just really trying different things. And so, that’s kind of what I’m gonna say to preface this video. Yes, you’re gonna learn
a lot of tips here, but there’s nothing better than you just getting in your practice space, and taking off the heads,
and trying different things. So, why do you want to tune your drums? Well, you want to remove
unwanted overtones, maybe you’re playing a
certain style of music that requires a different
tension on the drums. Maybe you’re in a recording studio, and a producer has asked you to get a slightly different sound. And so, there’s many,
many different reasons, but it’s such an important skill to have. So all these drums are
tuned up, and sound great. Let’s give them a listen. Little bit of “In the Air
Tonight” by Phil Collins. So these drums all sound fantastic. But, I wanna show you how
they sound from nothing, from completely detensioned. So I’m gonna start by detensioning
all of the batter heads. Okay, so we’re gonna get the drill out, and we’re gonna speed up the video, and take these drums down a notch. Okay so, now the drums
are all detensioned, and I use a drill, and I’ve
done that many, many times. What you wanna make sure
of, if you use a drill, is on the high tension drums,
don’t completely detension one lug only, but go slowly
around the entire snare. Or do it in a cross pattern. Okay, on the toms, they’re
tuned relatively low right now anyway, so it’s
not that big of a deal. But let’s hear how they sound. Okay so, we’re gonna start with the toms. I’m actually gonna get to the bass drum, but that’s gonna be at
the end of the video, I’m gonna show you exactly how we do that, ’cause we have to kind
of tear everything apart. So, with the toms, we’ve
got them all nice and loose. And we’re gonna start by
finger tightening each lug. Finger tightening just basically means, let that tension rod
touch the edge of the rim. All the way around. And this will work on any kit. So I know I’m using a higher end Yamaha recording custom kit that they’re built for the recording
studio, and they sound, it’s almost hard to get them to sound bad. But, it’s still really
important to get them in tune. Okay, there you go there. Floor tom. Some of the lugs are a little bit tight, you might have to use uh the drum key, just to make
it so it touches the rim. So once I’ve got everything
finger tightened, if you’re putting on new
heads, what you wanna do is, you wanna press down on
the center of the drum head with your hand. I’m not gonna do it here super hard because it’s still on the mount. I would put it on the floor, take my palm, and push down on the center of the head, just to kind of stretch it out. I do that on each drum. These heads have already been put on, they’re already stretched
out, and they sound great. Okay, once you’ve done that, you wanna just make sure that everything is finger tightened again, because as you stretch the head, you’ll find that some things
do, kind of, come loose a little bit, so even these, we’ll just, with the little bit I did,
they’ve kind of settled more. And you wanna bring up the
tension using the cross pattern. So, on the 10 inch,
we’re gonna start here, we’re gonna bring up
the tension let’s say, one full turn, one full turn up here. And we’ll slide this way, one full turn. One full turn. One full turn. And another full turn. I can’t tell you what
your desired tension is, or how you like your
drums to sound, right? I can only tell you how to
get them up to tension evenly. So let’s hear how it sounds. Little bit flat, right? So, here I’m just gonna bring it up again, another quarter turn each. Cross pattern. If you’re looking for a tool
to help get it up to tension, you can use things like the drum dial. That’s what we have here,
it’s something we can use to get a nice consistent
sound every single time. For me, personally, I just do it by ear. Every single time, I do it by feel. I brought that up basically 1 half turn, and then another quarter turn. And here we go, let’s hear how it sounds. Right? So you get that attack and then this is what I’m looking
for, and I sound a little bit ridiculous when I say that. Now, let me tell you what I
do with the resonant head. So, this drum sounded pretty
good when I tightened it up. Now let’s listen to the resonant head. pretty much the exact same pitch. If anything I prefer my
resonant head slightly lower in pitch, to the batter side. But again, this balance is something that you’re gonna have
to figure out what works. And it is similar on these higher toms, but it might change more when
it gets to the floor tom. So again, sing that note, bah, bah. Bah, bah. It’s slightly lower than the batter head. This is what gives me that that nice tone. Now one thing I didn’t do here, one thing you didn’t
see me do is making sure everything is even in tone, or tension. And I bet you, if I just tap around, I bet you it’s pretty dang close. It’s pretty close. This one was a tiny bit higher, but, if you listen, just use your ears, it sounds good, okay? Something can sound great, and
be slightly out of tension. Okay? I know that just, the internet is just going
crazy now, but it is possible. It does not have to be perfect
tension, or pitch matched in order for it to sound good. I’ve played many gigs
where I’ve detuned one lug on my snare drum, and it just sounds a little bit better then,
so, just use your ears, follow your ears, and that’s where you’ll get the best sound. Okay, let’s do the 12 inch
tom, so we’re gonna do probably one turn. Cross pattern. And this is a little bit of feel because if something has
been finger tightened and if I tighten this one, it’s naturally gonna make this one get
a little loose, right? And that’s just the way it is, so you have to do a little bit of feel, to make sure that you’re
keeping up with the tension as the hoop goes down, and
starts to stretch that drum head. So I’ve done around one turn on each one. We’re getting a little bit of tone. Okay? Let’s do a half turn now. So with one turn, and a half turn, it sounds pretty good. Now a lot of you are
sitting at your pianos, and trying to make sure the
notes are evenly spaced, like a third, or a fifth, or a fourth. I’ve heard many, many different opinions on how these should be tuned. For me personally, I tune it
with how I want it to sound in my head, I have an idea in my head of how I want it to sound,
and you can sing it. This is what’s going on up
here guys, and gals, so, this is what it is. So here, if I’m listening. To me it sounds almost perfect. What I would do is bring
this up like a 10th. Because it’s just a
little bit too low for me. Boom. Okay? That bottom head. Almost the exact same pitch. If anything, it’s slightly lower. Okay so, listen again. Boom, sounds great. Finally, we’re gonna
get to this floor tom. Now, floor tom, depending
on the music I’m playing, i’ll either like it almost flappy and low, which is something I
learned from Benny Greb, ’cause that’s how he tunes his floor tom. Or, ill tune it up a little higher to get a little bit more
response off of that drum, and get a little bit more tone. But a lot of people actually
will tune their floor tom, it almost sounds like a bass drum. More like a thud, as opposed to like a But, if we go back to the Right? Less tone and ring. So, what we’re gonna
do, since it’s already finger tightened, we’re
just gonna turn it once. We’re gonna do the cross pattern again. I’m telling you, everyone watching, regardless of the drum heads you have, if you have a crappy drum set,
that doesn’t sound very good, and you haven’t put on new heads, if you just go through this exercise, you’ll be amazed at how much
better your drums are sounding. Okay, so we basically
did a half turn there, we’re gonna hear how it sounds. Right? Okay, we’re gonna up a little
bit more, in my opinion. Gonna do a quarter turn there. Bottom. Actually tuned slightly
higher than the top head. Now, I might work on
this a little bit more, I might go around and make
sure everything is correct. This one actually feels
a little bit loose. Right there. This one feels a tiny bit loose. Okay, so next we’re gonna
tune the snare drum. I’ve got everything finger tightened here, now it’s just again, we’re
gonna bring it up to tension. Let’s do one turn, cross pattern. And I know everyone has their own methods, and some of you argue with me,
and say I’m doing it wrong. But I would say, listen, use
your ears, follow your ears. How does it sound? Okay? There isn’t necessarily a
wrong way to tune your drums, unless you’re doing it in
a way which can break them. I’ve never broken anything
when tuning my drums, nothing. So, I’m happy. And I like to bring up the
snare, nice and tight right away. Sounds really good,
personally, I like it tighter. And then you can basically
do the pitch test. Once you kind of got it in the range that you’re looking for. Now, talking about the resonant
head on the snare drum, the way I have this one tuned is basically table top tight. So again, if you want to
make sure your resonant head is tuned correctly, or to
a way that works for you. What you do, is just
detune it, just like we did the top head, bring it back up to tension, doing the star pattern,
and nice and tight. This is the most important thing for me in getting a really
responsive snare drum sound. And making sure that you
really hear the wires, but you do not want too much wire sound. So that’s how you tune the
toms, and the snare drum. Let’s hear how they sound. So I will say, heads make
such a huge difference. So, if you’re looking for a
head that’s more controlled, you need to get a thicker head. So, that can be like an Evans EC2, it could be an Evans G2 coated, it could be a Remo Pinstripe. It could be something with
a little bit more control, like a Remo Emperor,
something that’s two ply. If you’re looking for something
really, really responsive, with more ring, go with
a one ply drum head. My head of choice is
either the Evans G2 Coated for the toms, or the Evans UV1,
they sound quite different. Or, the Evans Genera HD Dry on the snare, which is what is on here. Or, an Evans UV1 on the snare drum. Which is a much more
responsive, much more ring. It kind of makes the
drum a little bit crazy, which I love, okay? There’s nothing like a crazy drum. So next thing we’re gonna do is, I’m gonna rip everything
away, and I’m gonna show you how I tune the bass drum. Okay so we’ve got all the
drumset stuff stripped away, and what we’re gonna
do is we’re just gonna detension the batter side of this drum. Now it’s actually quite loose already. Just start from this point. If it’s a new head, you can go ahead and just stretch it a little bit, you don’t have to do too much. And then bring everything
up to finger tight. As tight as you can go with your fingers. Now if you’re looking for
a tone out of the drum, if you’re playing jazz or something, you can get a mallet, and
actually pitch match each section. But here, I’m basically going
to be bringing things up to tension as I did on the snare drum. But, a much lower tension. Because it is the bass drum. And we’re not looking
for as much as a tone as we are looking for a
certain amount of attack. Okay? That’s pretty much it. If I rub my hand around
the edge of the drum, you’ll notice there’s no wrinkles here. And this is an Evans EQ3 batter head. Which I like, it has some
internal control rings, it sounds really, really great. Lots of attack, a little bit of tone, but not too much. Okay, so that’s what I
do on the batter side. Now when it comes to
muffling, I kind of generally, someone else has used this
kit since last I played it, but it’s a similar muffling system. This is like a Remo system, I
just use basic beach towels. I just set them in there,
and it works for me. The other side. Whether or not you have a hole in there will determine how much resonance the drum actually provides. It will also determine the
action off the drum head because, this let’s lot of air escape. Every time you hit that, your
beater onto the batter head, and so you’ll notice that
the action off of the head is different with no hole. So I much prefer a resonant
head with a hole in it. What I do here is the exact
same thing as the other side. Okay, now I don’t need to
go through it and show you it’s a bit of a waste of your time but, if you want to check your heads when it comes to like, the
tone, ’cause it’s kind of hard. You can just do it by feel. So feel this one, and feel this one. And they’re very, they’re quite similar. Okay, all I’m seeing
here is a tiny wrinkle when I push in, so I
just wanna bring that up to tension a little bit. And that is how I tune my toms,
my snare, and my bass drum. Like I said at the beginning of the video, it’s very much a personal preference, and I learnt this by trying
things over, and over again. By getting some new heads,
not liking the sound, detune them, tune them up again. Detune them, tune them up
again, do this 10, 20 times figure I don’t like that head sound, so I’m gonna go get a
different kind of head. And, over the years, I’ve
been playing for more than 20 years now, I’ve kind of
figured out a system to do it. It doesn’t require a lot of guess work. Its not that hard. I don’t really struggle
with tuning at all anymore. And it’s something that
you can easily learn too, it’s just more by putting in the work, and trying different things. So thank you so much
for watching this video, I hope you got a lot out of it. And like I said at the beginning, everyone has their own methods. I’ve been playing drums for 20 years, and when I tune up drums
now, I don’t even really think about it. It’s just something that I
do quickly, and it’s done. So what I’d like you to tell
me in the comments below is how do you tune your drum. Do you use the star pattern like it did, do you detension, and then
bring things up to tension until they’re at the perfect sound? But how do you do it? I know everyone has their own methods, and I think we can all
learn a lot from each other, so if you have something
to share, please share it. If you don’t have anything
to share, just say hello. Come on, just get in those comments below. I read every single one of
them, and I love to hear what you have to say. Thanks for watching, and
I’ll see you again very soon.

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