How do you properly tune a snare drum?

I got a used drum kit from goodwill today for $50 and out of it was a really nice sounding cheap snare drum made by a company called mendini. The snare had a really nice pop sound when hit . So I decided to change the batter head to a coated head since the batterhead it originally had wasn’t coated at all and was just colored white. So since I changed heads and put the tensions rods back on it just sounds like a rack Tom drum with a lot of overtones and the rims vibrate more the head when the drum is hit. And I don’t really know how to properly tune drums since I’m a beginner

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  • Me2
    Lv 7
    6 months ago
    Favorite Answer

     Jack, you can waste years trying to learn drum tuning without instruction.  Seek out a professional percussionist, holding an associate degree or better, who also plays the drum kit.

    Mog's advice, "...tap on the head next to each lug ... Each lug should have exactly the same pitch" is correct, and essential to drum tuning.

    To make the task considerably easier, use a simple accessory — a cloth damper disc 1/4 inch (6mm) thick and 1/2 inch (13mm) diameter, with a 5 ounce (150g) weight (figures are approximate) — placed at the exact center of the head.  This causes the drum to sound an octave higher, and eliminates many overtones that obscure the pitch.

    Rest the drum on a cushion to prevent the opposite head vibrating.

    Adjust the internal damper (if present) to disable it.  Completely loosen all lugs on the top (batter) head.  To do this, always turn one lug and then the opposite lug 1/2 turn.  Assuming the drum has eight lugs, numbered clockwise 1 to 8, they are loosened (or tightened) in the order

        [1  5]  [3  7]  [2  6]  [4  8]

    Once loose, very lightly snug down each lug, so that it's contacting the hoop without applying tension.  Without the cloth disc, tighten each lug 1/2 turn at a time in the order given above, until the average pitch is near A above middle C (lower for an unusually heavy head).  Check pitches by tapping lightly about 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5cm to 4cm) from each lug.  They won't be identical; you're looking for the most common pitch.

    Put the weighted damper at center, and recheck pitch at each lug.  When above average, loosen the lug and the one opposite 1/16 turn or less; when below average, loosen the pair of lugs.  You should be able to dial in the pitch fairly quickly.

    The bottom head (resonant or snare-side) is tuned by an identical process, except that the snares must be loose and held off the head.  The head must be pitched higher, to about D or E above the A of the batter.

    Excessive overtones (ringing) may be due to the batter being pitched too high, so slightly detensioning the head should be tried first.  If there's some but not enough improvement, use small adhesive dampers applied 1/2 inch to 1 inch (13mm to 25mm) from the rim, distributed evenly.  If you can't get overtones under control, consult with the percussionist or an experienced drummer.

    • jack6 months agoReport

      Thank you!!! The info you provided has been very helpful and has made me more insightful of how complicated or complex being a drummer or musician actually is.

  • Anonymous
    6 months ago

    Jesus Christ, Me2's answer is so f1cking long that if this were the old days some reportinkwould probably flag it as spam.

    My advice would be to find a youtube video about how to do it. Someone on there is bound to have some simple solution on how to tune the thing.

    By the way, keep in mind that you could tune your drum all day and never get that sound that you hear on the records.

    Why? Because drums are heavily eq'd in the studio. And effects are added.

    My advice, just play them dude and dont overthink it so much.

    Source(s): 79
    • Me2
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      "Someone on there is bound to have some simple solution on how to tune the thing."  The "f1cking long" explanation I posted IS the simple solution.  Drum tuning is too complex to explain with a few sentences or in a couple of minutes.

  • Mog
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    Probably needs to be tighter. The phrase “Tight as a drum” comes to mind. Tighten the rods some more. One thing I can say is that you should take a drumstick and tap on the head next to each lug and listen to the pitch. Each lug should have exactly the same pitch. That tells you if all of the lugs are equally tight. It sounds better when they are all equally tight.

  • Jack
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    Technically you cannot tune a snare drum. They call it tuning, but the drum doesn't actually produce a distinct note. Beyond that google is your friend. The tension rods have to be adjusted. Some of it is trial and error...or trial and terror depending upon the circumstances.

    • Me2
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      You made a single correct statement, "The tension rods have to be adjusted."  I comprehend the rest of your misguided advice quite well — hence my pointed criticism.

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