What DrumHeads Are Saying About TigerBill and TigerBill's DrumBeat Website...

Click for Another Quote


Best Products at the
Lowest Prices
Lowest prices on Tiger Tested drum products

Lowest Prices on Drum Sets, Cymbals and Percussion at Amazon.com

TigerBill's Unique
Drum Lessons
Play Better With Less Effort - Learn TigerBill's Tension Free Drumming Concepts

Advertise With Us
Contact Us
Link to Us
News & Press Room
Order Info
Permissions & Reprints
Privacy Policy
Register for Free

Books for Fun
Books for Education
Buying Drum Gear
Chops Challenge
Clinics & Events
Concerts & Tours
Discount Drum Shop 1
Discount Drum Shop 2
Drum TV Show
Drum n Bass
Drum Skills Evaluation
Fame & Fortune
Famous Drummers
Fun With Drums TV Show
Gear & Accessories
Gladstone Technique
Healthy Drumming
Hip-Hop / Rap
History & Culture
How To Guides
Laugh It Up
Lessons for Free
Loops & Samples
Member Links
MIDI Files
Moeller Technique
Record Your Own
Sit-in & Play
Tension Free Drumming™
Ticket Sales
TigerBill and Friends
TigerBill's Bio
TigerBill's Gear Picks
TigerBill's Clinics & Events
TigerBill's Drum Shop
TigerBill's Lessons
TigerBill's Place
Tips and Tricks
Vintage Gear

How to Tune Your Drumset

Difficulty Level: Easy
Time Required: 20 Minutes


You Will Need:

  • Drumset
  • Drum stick
  • Drum tuning key
  • Quiet location

Here's how:

  1. Start with the snare drum and a drum key. Turn the snares off and loosen all the lugs on both the bottom and top heads until the skins (or plastics would be more accurate) are totally loose.
  2. Tune the bottom head first. Pick a lug and tighten it with your drum key just until you can feel some resistance. Just until the head begins to tighten.
  3. Moving in a clockwise direction, tighten the next lug until you feel the same resistance as the first.
  4. Continue moving around the drum in a clockwise circle, one lug at a time, until you reach the lug where you started.
  5. Repeat the cycle from step #2 through #4 over again, this time turning the key one full turn on each of the lugs.
  6. Once you've made your way around the entire drum for the second time, pick up a drumstick and go back to the lug where you started.
  7. Strike the head with the stick so the stick hits about two inches away from the lug in a straight line toward the center of the drum.
  8. Keep tightening the head with the key until you reach the pitch you like. Remembering that pitch, continue in a clockwise direction until you reach the next lug.
  9. Tighten the lug as you strike the head, matching the pitch to that of the head near the previous lug.
  10. Continue to move clockwise from lug to lug, tightening and listening to the pitch, until you have tightened all lugs. At this point, you should have the bottom head close to the pitch that you prefer.
  11. Flip the drum around and repeat the entire procedure, from step #2 through step #10, on the top (batter side) head.
  12. After you've finished tuning both heads, tap the bottom and the top heads with a drumstick. The pitch should be the same or extremely close.
  13. Once you've matched the pitches of the top and bottom heads, tighten the top head a little bit more by circling the drum like before.
  14. Repeat the procedure from step #1 through #13 for each of your drums, including the bass drum. And that's all there is to it.

Tiger Tips:

  • Although drum sound is an individual preference, this tuning method is simple and effective for any style drumming.
  • Some drummers use an opposite-lug tuning method but this was only necessary in the days when real calf skin heads were used on drums.
  • I favor the tighter head on top (see #13) because the drum gives a better stick bounce this way. Try tuning with the bottom head tighter and see what you prefer.
  • If you have a drum with only one head on it, follow the instructions in step 11 only.

For More Quick & Easy How To Guides
Click the above link for more step by step how to guides that will help you learn drumming skills fast.


Become a Free Member of the largest, most Comprehensive Drum Site on the Web

Learn TigerBill's Innovative Tension Free Drumming and take your chops to the next level

Get TigerBill's Free Info-Packed Newsletter, Monthly Chances to Win Valuable Drum Stuff

& Much More...

Click Here to Register as a Free Site Member

Copyright © 1998-2013 by TigerMix.com, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

Unauthorized reproduction without permission is prohibited except as noted.

< Back to Top >

Free Site Membership!
Click Here for FREE Site Registration and become a member of the largest drum and percussion family on the Web!

* S I D E B A R *

Links Related
to this Article

Related Links on Site

More of Tiger Bill's Exclusive How-to Drum Guides!

Related Links on Web

Learn how to play drums Tension Free!