A drum kit is a collection of drums and percussion instruments which are well set on stands to be played. They are also referred to as a drum set. It’s usually played by one player using drum sticks that are held in both hands while the feet operate the pedals which hit the hi-hat and cymbal. A modern drum kit includes a snare drum that is mounted on a stand and placed between the player’s knees. Then there’s the bass drum that is is played by a pedal which is operated by the right foot. Two or more toms are played with sticks or brushes and the hi-hat is played with sticks and is normally opened and closed with the left foot. The cymbals complete the drum set and they are played with sticks.
For a drum set to produce a perfect sound, it has to be well tuned. It has to be well balanced for the drummer to come up with the best output. Tuning drums might be challenging and even experienced drummers find it hard to tune their drums and accomplish a perfect balance. Excellent tuning of your drum set calls for practice and knowledge, and not forgetting a few tips from experienced drummers. When tuning your drum set you’ll need a drum key and a drum head. But ultimately starting off with a good, high quality set of drums is key to hitting the perfect sound.
If you want your drum set to sound the best, you have to invest in the best drum heads. Quality drum heads make a huge difference in the final result but they do come at a cost, which is definitely worth the investment. So now it’s down to the nitty gritty of how to tune the drum set.
The first thing to do when starting to tune your drum is to make sure you have the best drum heads. Choose the best drum head according to the drum that you are tuning. A drum head with a good style should maximize the sound well and the performance and the life-span of the heads should also be long lasting. There are different types of drum heads which include the 1-ply, 2-ply, snare side, coated head, and a clear head and you should adjust your head according to the sound you want to achieve.
There some heads that are only used for top heads and others for bottom heads. When tuning your drum heads, you should pair the heads appropriately so that you get the best results. The 2- ply coated head can be paired with the 1-ply clear head. This is used on toms because they provide more control and fewer rings on the drum set. You can also pair the 2-ply clear and the 1-ply clear since such a combination gives you more tone.
The 2-ply coated head can also pair well with the snare side and that is why it is a combination used for snares. The 1-ply clear and snare combination is also used on the snares. Drummers also pair the 1-ply clear with the 1-ply coated resulting with a good set up on the toms. They give the best sound for jazz or lighter music. It is advisable to try several tunings until you get what works best for you and the sound that you want to produce.
The first thing in tuning your drum keys is going to the music store and getting quality drum keys. Begin by turning the snares off and then starting the tuning process. In this case, you should use two drum keys opposite to each other on the drum.
Make sure the keys are across from each other as you tune them and then loosen the tension rods diagonally until you achieve the best tension. If you make the rods too lose, you’ll prevent the rim from bending, so make sure to keep the tension consistent. Remove the rim, tension rods, and the old drum head and wipe the inside of the drum with a clean and dry cloth. Finish off by tapping the drum to make sure your drum’s lugs are tight.
When you tune the snare, the first thing to do is to tighten the tension rods. Use a diagonal pattern while making sure you always start with the rod nearest to you and then move to the tension rod directly across from it and give the snare the tone you want. You can hit the body of the drum with a finger or a drumstick and listen to the tone and always try to match the pitch by tuning the head.
Once you get the tension you want, ensure it is even across the drum. To make sure the bottom and the top heads have the same pitch, silence the top head and listen to the bottom head. Maintain your snare by keeping it in pristine condition. The only way to stop rattling during this process is by tightening the snare.
The last part of tuning your drum set is working on the toms and the kick drum. Bang on the body of the drum to listen to the pitch of each drum and tune the smallest tom so that the top head matches the pitch you want. Move on until you have tuned all the toms and listened to the tones and use the process of tapping and adjusting until you get the perfect tone you want for your toms.
When tuning your drums, make sure the bottom head has a lower pitch than the top head, because if they happen to have the same pitch, they will create a resonant sound. It is advisable to tune the bottom first to get the right pitch which will then make it easier to tune the top head. Try use something that spins when you’re tuning the drums because this makes it easier to turn the drum and it speeds up the process. A rotating table setting would be perfect and do the job! Once this last part is complete, you can start to play!