How To Tune Your Snare Drum

Easy Drumming That Sounds Hard

Practicing drum beats, drum fills, hand and foot technique, drum rudiments and drum solos are the biggest part of what we do on our practice time. However good you might be, your chops and musicality will take a back seat to the way your drum set sounds if it isn’t tuned properly. Therefore, it’s essential for you to practice your abilities to tune your drums if you ever want them to sound any good. In this free drum lesson, Jared Falk goes over the different steps he follows to tune the snare drum to his liking. He also shares some tips and tricks that will have you tuning snare drums like a pro.

Think of this free drum lesson as a way of learning a bunch of very useful techniques for snare drum tuning. Don’t worry too much about knowing what the right sound for your snare drum should be. As you practice your tuning abilities and explore the possibilities, your ears will start telling you what you like and what you don’t like. Listening to your favorite recordings is a very good way of checking what type of snare sound you like the most as well. You may want to check the free drum lesson “How To Tune Your Drums” for more tips on snare drum tuning.

Once you’re done tuning the snare drum to your liking, you might find that it rattles a lot once you hit a rack-tom, or that it rings and resonates for too long. Check the free drum lesson “How To Muffle Your Drums” to learn about the muffling techniques Jared enjoys using for getting rid of unwanted resonance and ring, and for decreasing sympathetic snare buzz. As soon as your snare drum sounds exactly like you want it to, you can learn how to set it up properly by watching the lesson “How To Setup A Drum Set“.

If you’d like to learn how to tune the remaining drums on your drum set, check the free drum lessons “How To Tune Your Bass Drum” and “How To Tune Your Toms“.




  • Dean says:

    How you set wires correctly from side to side?

  • Joe Joseph says:

    Hey, My mapex snare drum has a very sharp sound when i hit it hard, but when i hit it very soft, for ghost notes, it sounds very dead and nothing like a snare? any recommendations?

  • Mr. D says:

    Excellent and simple tips, keep up the good work

  • Jb says:

    I need help. My snare always vibrates ever since i changed my drum heads to Remo, while my snare is diff. brand. So does that mean they’re not compatible? pls help me

  • lewis Disbrow says:

    Just watched your snare drum tuning clip. Thanks for the tips. But what Evans head did you put on it in this lesson? You say at the start you’re going to put a different kind of head on but do not actually name it. Thanks.


  • pourush kalra says:

    my snare drum is too loud in comparison to the one shown…
    do i need to to change tuning of resonant HEAD?

  • Al Baker says:

    Do you change your snare wires along with your bottom snare head?

    • pourush says:

      i never did
      i have a mapex q series
      and using the snare i got along with that

    • Iubirea says:

      To the Family and Friends of Peter & the Planet Drum Foundation and its fellows,to eyrvebody who stand close if familiar or idealistic to Peters life my sympathies. I couldn’t meet him in his life time but his ideas and action impressed me a lot. I wish that his ideas will last for long time and that people will continue his work. I will try my best to do as well and have the conviction that Planet Drum will stay and grow from the support of the many people who have crossed Peters ways.Thank you Peter never forgotten.Chris Kose (former Planet Drum Ecuador volunteer)

  • SHRAYESH says:

    THANX ….

  • dustin jacobsen says:

    i followed these instructions perfectly and what do you know?? it sounds great!! but my only thing is when i play my toms i can hear the snare rattle and that is really annoying when im playin some metallica songs. so do you have any suggestions on how to eliminate that????

  • zox says:

    you talk to much

  • Glenn Patrick says:

    I unfortunately cannot get a better kit and mine is less than good, and the main problem with my snare drum is that i keep getting a high pitched whine coming from my snare when i hit it and it continues in an echo after hitting it…would appreciate if anyone could help me both understand and fix the problem

  • Kyle says:

    I tuned my head quite tight in my opinion, but i keep getting a strong and loud tom sound with very little snare wire sound. I was wondering if you had any advice/ solution to fix this.

    • hoopla says:

      Your snares are tensioned too tightly most likely. Unfortunately, this is going to be a give and take situation. If they’re too tight, you won’t get much buzz but you also won’t have as much cross-talk from the toms, bass drum, etc, and other instruments. If your snares are looser they will give you a nicer snare buzz. However, in all likelihood, you might experience a lot of buzz/cross-talk. It requires a lot trial and error, switching of heads, angling the drum properly, etc. to get the sound you want.

  • April says:

    hi jared! what size is your snare? if a snare is 6.5″ what pitch should it be tuned at? :O

  • tre says:

    im a 13 year old..and my teacher said to chek u out ..thank u you really help

  • Erick says:

    I am constantly trying to get my snare to sound like your =s but it always sounds so dull and lame i can’t ever get it to sound like it can you assist me?

    • Jessica says:

      Judy, Judy Thank you for telling me! You are such a truaesre and Ocean did exactly the right thing. Looking at waves a lot is great. In Martin Prechtal’s book the third one about the revolution in Guatemala, he speaks about the ritual of all the brothers and sisters joining the grieving ones by Lake Atitlan in your case the Pacific and crying and singing a lot for the dear one, who is now in the earth and sky, water and wind, and in our hearts and memories.Please allow me to spend a little quality time with you after August 21st. Whatever form supports you best!Love to you, Ocean, Peter in the earth, sky, water, and wind and all the folks who have been touched by you and Planetdrum!Theo Ferguson

  • Julius Mondejar says:

    How come you seat your snare but not your Tom and bass drums?

  • Aaron Meulemeester says:

    I’m playing for about 3 and a half years now, sometimes I tune my drums a little bit, but when do you really have to change your drum heads?

  • juan says:

    what kind of head do you use for the reso and batter on the snare

  • Patrick says:

    Can I have you old drum skins? 🙂

  • Stian Tøsse says:

    Can you make a more advanced video about how i can find the sound i want for my snare drum and toms? How do the resonance side affect the sound, and waht different will it make if you tune it very high or very low?

  • stephen says:

    Hi Jared,
    Could you please give me some advice/instructions as to how to replace the reso side of a snare drum.


    p.s. fantastic website – keep up your excellent work,

    • Kucing says:

      Like czar said, you can most likely pat the sound neeinegr on the back more so than the drummer for that tone. I am always amazed when I hear my drums on stage through the monitors dry, and then step out front and listen while one of the other guys plays them a world of difference.

  • Leonardo Knight says:

    Hello, Jared! Leonardo from Brazil here. Could you help me.
    I have a wooden snare here, made by RMV, a brazilian manufacturer, that always had overtones from the beater head, once I’ve managed to remove it, but can’t remember of something particular that I’ve done. I’ve changed now the beater head and the wires, and leave the head straining for 48 hours, but still I get this overtones. Can you think of something that could help? Thank you!
    You’re a great man, keep rocking!

  • joe sanchez says:

    Is that a g2 snare head?

  • jose says:

    what type of snare is that?

  • K. Mark Allen says:

    That video help’s me with the tension rod theory. You just got to trust your inner torque tention abilities.

  • Zane says:

    Nice lesson! Where did you get that shirt?

  • Matt says:

    What exactly is finger tight? Is it when the lugs touch the rim or when you can’t tighten them anymore with your fingers? Also, when should you seat the drum, when it’s finger tight or after you do a few half turns around the drum? I’ve heard different things from different sources. I tried both of them but I didn’t hear a lot of glue cracking either way.

    • WinDaddy says:

      Yes- finger-tight is spinning the rods with your fingers until they stop. With both hands, spin down two lugs that are opposite each other at the same time. Work your way around until all are finger-tight. I usually then tighten all of them down one turn before pressing on the head to stretch it. You may or may not hear glue cracking, depending on the construction of the particular head you’re using. The idea is just to take all the slack out of the retaining ring crimp area around the perimeter of the head. After stretching the head some, I think you should loosen it all up and start over finger-tightening again before final tuning. It’s all about keeping the tension even all the way around.

    • Fede says:

      Dearest Judy ~I see Peter’s smile and the twinkle of his eyes.I reeembmr almost 40 years ago how perplexed seemed his delightfully pithy comments that at first confused me and then, when my mind was duly opened, helped by his can opener of creativity, how simple it was to understand his instant thoughts, ideas, and pronouncements on everything!Like a vacuum, ready to be filled with life-changing materials I was blessed to meet you and Peter. Our times in Montana, in your gardens, the basement, though long ago, are so strong in my memory that I can still smell the smells. Right now, torn between the joy Peter brought to us all and the pain of his loss for you, dear ones, I join in saying that Peter Berg was an immense man, bless him’s heart.With love,Jean Brocklebank

  • matt says:

    i’v got lots of ring from the snare when i hit my toms!! please can u help me??? THANKS love all ur lessons

    • WinDaddy says:

      Most of the time, any annoying snare ring is not really noticeable out in front away from the kit. A little dampening on the top head should be all you need, like a moon-gel pad or a Rem-O ring that lays on the head. Evans also makes a damper called a Min-EMAD. I make my own damper rings by cutting out around the perimeter of old heads when I change them. If you have a LOT of ring, you may have one of your toms tuned to the same tension, or a harmonic resonance frequency of where the snare is tuned; in which case you can knock it down by tuning the snare a little bit up or down. Some snare drums have a moveable dampening pad on a lever inside the drum. If you have one, adjust it so it’s just touching the head.

  • shashank says:

    you didnt mentioned anything about the wires of the snare…..how to keep your wires tone high or low or so…?? ?? i hope u getting what m trying to ask..please help

    • WinDaddy says:

      Usually tightening the wires will increase their sensitivity and limit the length of the snare sound- looser snares will rattle longer. To raise the pitch of the snare sound, tighten the heads. I try to tune the top and bottom heads to about the same pitch and tighter than the small toms for a nice loud unmuffled crack from the snare. The drum seems to ring a bit when the snares are off, but it seems it helps the sound project more.

  • Debi says:

    Just got my first set of drums at 49! Your lesson on snare drum tuning was really helpful…toms next!

  • John Lee says:

    OCD = Out of Control Drummer! 😉

  • Justin Carter says:

    Hi. My drum sounds like a tom when hit quietly. Any advice on how to solve that, or is it just tuning

  • Ron says:

    My snare sounds like a tom when i hit it softly…I tried tunning it your way but still it sounds like a tom when i hit it softly…..What should i do now?

  • Chris says:

    at what tension do you keep your snare wires?

  • šime says:

    hello, I’m confused about overtones I get when I’m tuning my drums. I’m using Remo drumheads and I match tension and still I’m getting that ugly overtones :S
    please help and thanks, your The King, Jared 🙂

    • Lucas says:

      E-rings, moon gel, or drum gum will take care of the overtones on the toms. You can use them on the snare, but try putting your wallet on the snare head, and half off the drum. Don’t put moon gel or drum gum on the bass drum.

    • yvan says:

      instead of pushing the drumhead with your fist, lay the drum on the floor and stand on it while turning a few rounds , it wil give noise but you’ll have a better sound, after tuning the head.do it with the toms and bassdrum aswell.

  • Ashane says:

    hi.. thankzz jared… this is a very useful lesson..

  • AMLott says:

    Jared, thanks for the video. I would also love to see a video on tom tuning. BTW, i love the sound of your kit.

  • Chris says:

    im new to drum tuning and have found that by playing around and experimenting you can get a great sound from just about anything. my question is what sorta of tension do you set your snare wires themselves?

    • Lucas says:

      Snare wires tension is all about preference. If you’re referring on installing the snare wires, I can understand where you’re coming from, it’s very annoying. Start with the snares in the strainer fitted loosely, center the wires on the head, tighten the stationary side, tension the strainer side slightly with the wires in all the way, engage the wire strainer and tighten the strainer side fully. Tighten the snares on the knob to your preference until you’re satisfied with the sound. Also make sure that the reso head is tuned well, so it doesn’t effect the wires.

  • justin says:

    how do you tune your toms and bass ive always had trouble with them

    • Lucas says:

      The tuning principles are the same, just setting them to different tones. For toms tune both heads to your desired pitch, relatively similar tone on each head, and on the bass, aim for the lowest possible pitch on them, but don’t forget to muffle the inside of the drum. Don’t muffle a pre-muffled batter head, just the reso head if that’s the case.

  • Tyler says:

    Great video Jared. I’m having trouble with my bass and snare.everytime I kick the bass I get a nasty buzz from my snare. Any suggestions??

  • Greg Patterson says:

    What batter heads were used? They weren’t mentioned in the video.

  • Taylor says:

    Great video, I was just having trouble tuning my snare. Thanks for the help 🙂

  • Justin Rupert says:

    Hi jarred I had two questions for you. One’… What is a good cheap way to muffle your drums I have rings on two of em and lost the other two so what would be another easy method. Two… Is there anyway to cut down the buzz I get from my snare it happens alot when I’m hitting the other toms. I personly love the way your snare sounds and that’s what I
    Loooking for. Thanks for the lesson and look forward to more!!!

    • Lucas says:

      Best way to cut snare buzz is tighten the snare wires. A cheap way of muffling that’s more adjustable and cheaper would be moon gel or drum gum.

    • Justin Rupert says:

      Thanks Lucas for the help!

  • Sebastijan says:

    What if my drum buzzes a lot?

    • Lucas says:

      Tighten the wires but make sure they’re mounted properly.

    • Ginrex says:

      Hello JudyI only just now heard about Peter’s passing. I wteand to write and offer my condolences. I had heard Peter was ill but this news comes as a sudden shock to me. I am glad that I had the opportunity to meet Peter on several occasions and share in his enthusiasm and evident zest for life. His work with the Diggers and Planet Drum will always be an inspiration to me and my own work.I hope you are well,Erick LylePS I will be out in SF in September and October. Will there be a memorial or public event for Peter any time soon?

  • WinDaddy says:

    Great video Jared! I’m a big fan of the Genera Dry myself. I like to cut the old head to make a free tone control ring to lay on top of the new head.

  • Adrienne Hamm says:

    That was great how you showed us how you tuned your snare. So my question, how do you tune your toms??? Oh, by the way, I love the way your drums sound!!!!

    • Maria says:

      Judy, I burst into tears.My friend is gone.I am so dapnpsoiited with myself to not to have seen him in San Francisco. I will be for the rest of my life.I share the sadness with you and your family. He was part of my family and my heart and soul.He made a significant change in my life, he fortified my yearning for earthly and environmental justice.I will always talk about him, spread his words to everyone. At this moment I am writing a book where I have a chapter on Bioregionalism.It was an Honor for me to have had him as an Hermano. His work will go on in all of us.My Love,Patricio

  • Andrew says:

    Do I really need to put put on some drum gum on top to shorten the sound or it is all about a good tuning?

    • Lucas says:

      Make sure it’s tuned properly to your preference of course, but the drum gum or moon gel will shorten the overtone that gets annoying.

  • Lucas says:

    I use the same snare head as you (ST Dry right) and I like the way it sounds, not to get too technical, but the distance I keep between the heads are major thirds, tuned at relatively high pitches, the only problem is, the drum is very loud even if I play at pianissimo, unless I put an e ring, and my wallet on the batter head, any advice to lower the volume a little?

    • Jared Falk says:

      I think the best way to lower the volume is to use a different stick or hit the drum quieter. Some drums will naturally produce a larger sound even when hit softly so it’s more drum specific. Sorry I can’t help more 🙂

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