In this free drum lesson, Jared Falk, one of the drum instructors for DrumLessons.com, takes you through his personal methods for tuning toms using a step-by-step approach. The techniques Jared shares in this video are not set in stone. You can use them in conjunction with other ones if you like. What we advise you to do is to at least try these tuning techniques out, even if you already now how to tune your drums properly. They might get your drums sounding even better.
Becoming a good drum tuner doesn’t come overnight. Much like everything else you learn how to do on a drum set, learning how to make drums sound amazing requires practice, a lot of patience and trial by error. The more time you spend practicing drum tuning; the more you explore the different muffling techniques and drumheads at your disposal, the better you’ll ultimately be. If you practice drum tuning every single day you’ll become very good at it eventually. You may want to check the free drum lesson “How To Tune Your Drums” for more tips on tom-tom tuning.
Once you’re done tuning the tom-toms to your liking, you might find that they resonate 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 tom-tom resonance. As soon as your toms sound exactly like you want them to, you can learn how to set them 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, we encourage you to check the free drum lessons “How To Tune Your Snare Drum” and “How To Tune Your Bass Drum” to learn more about Jared’s approach for getting his snare and bass drum tuned properly.
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Your video is very informative and I’m loving every bit of it!
I have 3 piece toms without the resonant head. Would that affect the quality of the sound? I got a second hand drum-kit from a friend, so he has misplaced the tune key. Is there another alternative tool or would it be just available in any music store?
your general drum set post is really good and more informative.
This post have resolved our problem,thanks very much and hope you writting more good articles.
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Which note use to tune
four toms drums?
Folks, a late addition to this thread, but anyway:
Jared and Drumeo are a great resource, but you don’t all have to rush out and buy Evans G2 coated and expect to get the same sound.
For starters, Jared says at the start he’s endorsed by Evans, so why wouldn’t he recommend their heads? Second, his drums are top of the range, you may never get that sound from your drums. Third, this is recorded, you can see the mics on top of the toms. What does this mean? This means double ply coated heads are better in this situation as they are easier to mix and EQ to give the sound you hear on the recording. It’s not necessarily the same sound you would hear there in the studio. If you play live, particularly where your kit may not be mic’ed, non-coated and single ply heads may be better as you get to hear more of the drum’s true resonance, and it cuts through the other instruments. The downside is these heads are not be so durable as double ply heads.
What do I do differently? I have 3 toms – 12″ & 14″ Pearl Export, and a 16″ Pearl Session. I use Remo Ambassador Clear batter heads on both batter and resonant sides. I tune the 16″ first, starting with the resonant head. I tune it to finger tight, pretty much as he has done, then bring it up by small adjustments on each lug while tapping near the edge of the drum until I hear it begin to resonate. I move the stick around to near each lug and tap to make sure the tone is roughly the same all the way around. Maybe tighten just a touch. Sometimes it works better if you adjust the OPPOSITE lug to where want the sound higher or lower. I then replicate this for the batter head to the same tone. However, I muffle the opposite head by placing the drum on a towel on a drum stool – this means you only hear the head you’re tuning at the time.
I start with the 16″ tuned low as when I come up to the 14″ and 12″, I’ll have to tighten them beyond “just resonating” to get the separation – you don’t want your 12″ and 14″, or 14″ and 16″, to sound exactly the same. I mean, for reference, the “note” separation I want between toms is the 4 notes in the “here comes the bride” tune. Low(T3) Low(T3) Low(T3) High(T2). I expect to get this between the 16″ and 14″, and again between the 14″ and 12″. In the past I started with what I thought was a great sound on the 12″, only to find by the time I got to the 16″ I’d have to tighten is so much it was choked or in danger of causing damage.
Also, I used to despair with tuning, but I’ve slowly gotten better. Practice, practice, practice. Good luck.
Hi Jared, I’m having a real hard time with two things: Tom tuning and drum setup.
I had Evans G-Plus coated with Evans Clear Resos and didn’t really care for the sound. Two much echoing and too much resonant sound. So, after watching your video and seeing what others were using, I decided to try the G2 Coated Batters and G1 Clear Batters as the Resos. I spent three days trying to get that nice warm short “DOH” or “DOO” sound with minimal echo, minimal resonant sound and short sustain before giving up! I have a Pearl Export Series kit and I’m driving myself nuts. I tried and tried to get the sound I wanted but its not working out. I’m still having to use Evans E-Rings but they make the toms sound almost dead. Without them I’m getting too much overtones and so bad my snare rings. I’ve tried tuning both the beater heads and reso heads the same and also make the reso head just a little looser than the batter head. I even got really desperate and foolish and tried to tune to notes! Can you say ” AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!” Any help would be appreciated.
I’m kinda like you with your setup and rather OCD about it. My toms are a lot deeper than yours and can’t get my 12″ Tom to match up with my 10″ Tom without having to bring it way up and tilt it. I like how you are able to be over your drums and not have them chest high. Then I have a mounted 14″ Tom and a 16″ floor Tom. I also have a 13″ Tom and mounted that to the left of my Hi-Hat. I like my ride in that top right quadrant right under the second crash but in order to do so I had to move down the 12″ and line it up with my 14″ and 16″ and now my 16″ is almost behind me for crying out loud and have to really twist to get it! So, it’s either that or bring my 12″ back up next to my 10″ and have it too high and tilted and my ride would need to be moved. Any suggestions?
Please help! I think you need to take a road trip to Maine and come setup and tune my kit 🙂
Hi Jared, thanks for the vid, but I´ve got one question..I have Remo Pinstripe and I did everything as you said in the video. The floor tom and second tom have nice sound, but my fisrt tom doesn´t resonate until I hit the drum really strongly…and when I tune it differently, it resonates, but there a cracking sound,not clear one…Could you please give me any tips how I should try to tune it pleas? Thanks a lot
Drums, and percussion instruments create the wonderful rithm of all old or modern music.
I played some other peoples drums over the years. I have found a few that have the bass drum tuned to where it has this great sound. It is just a great thud. Not a boom and echo. I have similar packing inside but still cant get that great sound. I have tuned the outside head looser and this helped but not the same. Mayby its the make of the drum.
I have a pair of tama drums and i was wondering if you should have the same brand of drum heads as your drumset or if its ok to get any brand of drum heads?
Any brand is fine. I’ve been testing out different brands/styles by buying all kinds of different ones. Try 1- and 2-ply, as well as different brands and different pricings.
You can use any type, u just have to find the matching drum head size.
No absolutely not. I have a Yamaha drum set and the heads are Evans and remo and the drums sound better than the drum heads it came with
I know the G2 heads are very good. I like the sound they make, but I kinda like the look of black drum heads. Do you have any suggestions on what to get.
P.S. I’m looking at Evans hydraulic black drum heads. Are those fine?
wow thanks! this helped me SOOO much! i have tried and tried to tune my toms and failed, so when i saw this, it made my life so much easier, but i dont use evans heads. i use remos but, i have a set of evans hydrualic drum heads, so i put those on the reso side with remo pinstripes on top and holy jesus!! those mixed with ur method of tuning helpe me so much!! thanks jared!!!
Hey jared, thanks for the vid, Just purchased some g2’s on your recommendation!
Is there any chance you can spare some time to answer a few questions about tuning and general drumming?
1. I ordered the g2 clears, But my kit is quite slightly bad lol (millenium). Its awefull to be honest, my problem is the snare, i just cant get a sound distinctly decent. its driving me crazing! Its has an annoying buzz and wont tune, i know it takes practise but i can do my toms really well (in my opinion :D), Is there any advice you can give me?
2. I have played the drums for 2+ years now, i personnaly think im bad at it, I have been following your lessons and it goes well, but then i cant put any of it to good use. I have practise most days for 2 years and i dont seem to be improving. I can play select songs (My chemical romance songs ECT.)
thanks for your help. Please keep posting videos there brilliant!
The buzz and the bad sound out of your snare is probably coming from the bad snare, because bad snares often don’t get the nice crisp sound and leave a lot of buzz so try replacing the snare wires and if that doesn’t work you should definitely get a new snare.
Cool stuff! I have a Perals Masters MCX Series that I wish I could get to sound this full and rich. I have tried “everything”! I really don’t want to get rid of the kit. Short of tosing it in a barn fire What can I do? The shells are maple.
Hi Jared…Could you measure the tension of the toms and tell me with aproximation?
Jared thx dude i tudend my drums they dont sound exacly like urs but they are way better since i tuned them
Thx dude thank you helped me much. !!
hey Jared, my parents drums that have not been used for at least 9 years, i got it out and have started learning, the toms are yet to be tuned to suit me, but i noticed every time i hit them, a mark comes on from the stick, i asked a friend about it and he said it was either dirty head or dirty stick. is the tom heads worn out and needing to be replaced or does it just needed to be wiped with some water?
Thankx for all your videos, they are great and you talk a language everybody understand. I have watch your tuning videos again and again and I learn and understand new thinks every times I watch it. I have just ordered a complete Evans G2 for my Yamaha Tour Custom and if I get my drums to sound just half as god as yours I will be happy.
Thankx again Jared and greetings from Denmark
After you tuned your 12″ tom, you did a fill back and forth between your 10″ and 12″, do you have a lesson on something like that, I have a lot of difficulties with speed around my drum kit, and doing fast rolls I guess you would say on my toms.
I have been frustrated with the sound of my drums, and unsuccessfully tried to tune them to get ‘the sound right’. I watched the videos on snare, toms, and bass drum tuning. I found that the method you used is the most important feature about how the drums are tuned. I invested in a drum gauge and will incorporate this into tuning. Your drums do sound good, and I hope to achieve ‘my sound’ by following your methodology. I previously purchased the Complete Drumming System and combined with the internet lessons and private lessons, when I’ve got the time, are all contributing to continued growth and improvement with my drumming.
Must your toms be tuned to a specific note? I know some people try to achieve that. Is it necessary?
a few years ago when i bought my drums the resonate head was being used as a batter head and vice versa. I got new evans heads but the other side is still all beat up. should i get new resonate heads?
I really appreciate this site! Im a trucker dont have alot of time to play now days, but i tear em up on the weekends. Thanks for the time you put in to help folks like me. Ive been play just a few years but never really have got to far up the ladder. Im going to get a pad to take on the truck with me. I have a cheaper set right now called pulse but im going to trade them in shortly. P.S. Love your set! Thanks again
i just only need free note that i can print out please.
r pdp drums okay cause they made by dw
I found this and copied it foe you….may be of assitance:
PDP – PACIFIC DRUMS AND PERCUSSION
Pacific Drums and Percussion (PDP) is a world-recognized manufacturer of entry to professional grade drums, pedals and hardware. Begun in 2000, Pacific was created to provide every drummer with a full line of quality, custom inspired percussion products. Pacific’s all-maple line of drums are made in its own state-of-the-art facility in Baja, California and feature hand-selected all-maple shells, and many of the innovative features that have helped make custom DW Collector’s Series drums an industry standard.
PDP has a lot of offerings, so it’s hard to just say “yes, they’re good.” My sister got a set when she was younger, their sub-$300 entry-level 5-piece, and I did not find that I liked it very much.
However, a friend of mine picked up their 5-piece fusion kit, and I loved it. They’re affordable, they look nice, and they sound surprisingly good. I will say that I didn’t care for the kick pedal that came with either kit very much (the ones I’ve dealt with had a lot of swingback and were pretty noisy).
If you’re looking to spend $300 on a kit, I’d say you’re best off looking for something used. But for $600? I know the name isn’t the most respected, but don’t let that sway you from comparing to the more prominent brands.
hey, thanks for some great videos. wath are your reso head on the toms, and wich heads do you use on your snare ( batter and reso)
Jared i would like to learned some drumming lesson from you so that i would have some skill like you because maybe oneday i’m gonna get me some drum set to practice on everyday.
Just wondering when changing your toms heads how far from finger tight do you go to get the sound you like whole turn or more
How’d you get that punchy/deep sound of your toms?? I have same sizes of tom-toms, but mines are of birch. What is? The mics, or the heads?
Good lesson ive learn a lot
can you still get tht sound with cheaper heads? like i have Sunlite UT’s
Hey Jared! I was wondering….. I have been wondering about my tension rods sticking but was to scared to put anything in it. Is new car oil bad? Thats all I have right now and was wondering if it would work. If not what do you suggest. Thanks sooo much dude and God Bless!
Thanks for all this lessons.Just find them great.
With Evans heads you shouldn’t ever have to stretch your drum heads and Jared why do you go around the tom instead of tuning the lugs that a opposite of one another then going to the next two?? May be irrelevent but maybe it’s better to do it one way than another. Hope i can get an answer
Nevermind that I guess it was only on your 10″ that you really did that.
Thanks! that will help me a lot for tune my drum set!
Very nice lesson.It really helped me alot.
Nice video, it helped me a lot but i thought there will be some clues how to tune snare along to toms (too much snare buzz and stuff like that when you hit toms)
Hi Jared, what do you think about using single ply – coated heads as resonants head for toms? I always used thin single ply resonant heads (like Remo Diplomat) and never get proud of my drum’s sound. Can coated resonants give me much “sound color”? (Sorry for my english, I’m Italian. Hope you understand)
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Hi im just wondering … firts of all thanks for the videos they have really help me to tune and make our church drum set sound more good… but im just wondering can you give me an advice what will be a good drum set to buy of course wich a good brand of mics? we are trying to buy a new set we dont have a budget yet but we are working on getting the money to buy the drum set… once again thanks for the lessons they are a huge help at least for my church… im also gathering a couple o people so they can see your videos and they love it so easy to follow and well explained! againg thanks…
thank u 4 this lesson,i had just bought a drum set& none of the heads were on it and i wasnt 4 sure how 2 tune my set,but since i watched ur video,it was pretty easy.Thanks again.
Hi Jared, excellent video, i have a question, do you use the same evans g2s for the top and resonance?. thank you very much, best regards from colombia
You should do a vid on pedals. How to mess with the tension and stuff. because I dont know how to mess with the tension of my pedal and I think I might want to tighten it.
i have the same problem i have a low end gibraltar bass drum pedal, and i its very tricke to adjust it
Thanks for the informative video Jared! It came at the right time along with your other tuning videos. I just got my first drum set about three months ago and your videos really help in the learning process.I was having trouble tuning the toms so thank you for the lesson!
Love Tiny Toms! I have a pair of gray canvas ones, and Wagon Jr. has a pair of navy cudroroy ones . LOVE them and they’re his fancy shoes which is great. BUT the cudroroy wears off quickly so I had to color in the toes with navy sharpie because the white cloth underneath showed through.
hey jared and cheers from Iceland i have a question for you i dont know if you mentiond this im your vid but what resonant heads do you use 😀
I use Evans G1 Clear heads on the reso side.
I heard what you did on my end….low vs. high. Good explanation.
Hey man I like the video!! I have a question I have gretsch drums I really dont like the sound I had my drums about 4 or 3 years know, And I havent replace my heads its kinda beat up. When I should I replace my drum heads? I really like your drum sound. Can I do that for my drum set? Thanks!
Yes, you should change the heads now. You can watch my snare and bass drum tuning videos on this website as well. That should help you.
This is a really good video about drum tuning. But, I think you should have used a less expensive drum kit…
I have a:
Mapex Vx Maple/Basswood … all heads Encore by Remo
12” and 13” Toms (PS Heads)
14” snare drum (BA-Coated)
16” floor tom (PS Head)
22” bass drum (P3 head)
…and I did exactly what you did and my drum did not got a focused sound, with a good and loud resonance. You should have talked about the bottom head, how to tune…how it affects the top head when it is in a lower or a higher pitch.
I just can’t tune my drums 🙁
Thanks for your time … and sorry about the misspellings … i’m from brazil and I used a translator to help me out with this :b
I did talk about what I do with the tone of the top and bottom head. Did you watch the whole video? I know it’s a bit long at 22 minutes 🙂
Also, you’re using a low end type of Remo head. I think that’s their production line that they sell to drum manufacturers who just need heads to ship their drums with.
I recommend you get some Evans G2’s and you’ll be amazing at how awesome your drums sound. Cheers!
Jared, this video was very helpful. Thanks so much for doing it.
I’m thinking a few of my lugs are sticking that’s why i might be having some problems with tuning the toms. What type of oil would you suggest i use? I have some bore oil that i used to use for treating guitar necks, would that be ok for lugs?
Yes, that type of oil will work fine. Just start with a very small amount and be careful not to get any on the finish of the shell.