How To Tune Your Drums

Easy Drumming That Sounds Hard

One of the biggest issues drummers face on a regular basis is getting a good sound out of their drum set. Drum Tuning is as much of a science as it is an art form. The more you do it the better you get at it and at understanding how to influence your drums’ sound. In order to increase your learning curve and broaden your tuning horizons with new ideas, Casey Drums’ owner Jason Kliewer recorded this free live drum lesson to share his knowledge and experience on drum tuning.

Drum tuning can be a quite difficult subject to master because of the many variables that influence its outcome. From drumhead type to shell quality and even lug number, almost everything will influence the way each drum sounds and is tuned. All these subjects and more are discussed in this free drum lesson by Jason Kliewer. If you want to learn more about drum tuning or get a different perspective on this subject, check the free drum lessons on drum tuning that we have for you on DrumLessons.com. The free drum lessons “How To Tune Your Snare Drum,” “How To Tune Your Bass Drum” and “How To Tune Your Toms” are packed of useful information on how to get the best sound out of your drum set.

For some tips and tricks on muffling, check the free drum lesson “How To Muffle Your Drums.” This free drum lesson features cool approaches specifically designed to get the best sound out of any drum using different types of muffling.




  • Clint Carothers says:

    Just to add to my comment, if the drum heads are stretched and seated properly (depending on head brand) the drums usually stay very close to the pitches they are tuned to to start with. I noticed once at the end of a session that my floor toms were no longer in an interval, one was slightly off and had de-tuned a hair. This caused a slight bit of “pulsing” between the two, but it wasn’t noticeable until I played them together without any other music. I knew what note or pitch it first started at, so I quickly tuned it back up and voila, no more pulsing. It was fine the rest of the session and the drums sounded great. Just like when you strike two keys together on a piano, some sound good together, some not so much. Same with toms. You’ll find pitches that sound better together that actually enhance each other rather than cancel out frequencies. These are usually minor thirds, thirds, fourths, etc. It makes a difference to me and I’m sticking to it! 🙂

  • Clint Carothers says:

    I do spend the time to tune to intervals and notes and it doesn’t take a long time at all. The key is to first tune the top head by ear to the desired pitch that falls in the sweet spot of the drum. Then do the same for the bottom head. Once you get it sounding great by ear, document what pitch the head is tuned to using a pitch pipe or other note source. From that point you can fine tune the sound by altering the tension between top and bottom heads, but do so in a musical way that eliminates weird overtones. This has several advantages. One, you can quickly replicate it. Two, you can then tune the toms in musical intervals such as thirds or fourths and tune out pulsing resonance when two toms are struck together, while having the toms sound more musical.Three, you can tune to a pitch relationship between top and bottom heads more accurately, such as the same pitch, or an interval such as a minor third, etc. higher or lower. The whole concept is geared toward getting the drums to sound more musical as a whole while cutting down the time it takes to tune. I’ve been doing this for 35 years, it works great and my drums always sound great. I prefer my bottom heads to be tuned a minor third higher in pitch than the top. Yes, I find it does matter to have them tuned to complimentary “notes” to allow the drums to sing together with no annoying overtones and pulsing after-ring.

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  • Blaine Shillington says:

    That snare buzz tip is great! I’m a mechanical engineer, and I can explain why it works. With normal tuning, the tom is projecting sound in every direction off of the shell and rim, but mostly radially. When you loosen that one lug a little, you’re creating a dampened spot on that part of the drum, which absorbs more of the sound wave projection going towards the snare. By loosening the tension, you’re also loosening the tension in that side of the shell. As we know, loose materials soak up absorption, whereas tight materials reverberate more freely. Great tip! I’m going to try this!

  • John says:

    Of course, I’m cultnerry teaching myself. It is not impossible, if you go on youtube u’ll be sure to find people that are self taught. An example is; Savannah Outen who is now a famouse musician! Anyways, it is definitely not impossible for this generation! We have the internet, that is very use full! ^^ Good luck!

  • Pedro says:

    i want to know wich brand and model is the drum set that appears in this video please

  • Daan says:

    Where’s the pdf? Or is it only available to Drumeo members?

  • Daniel May says:

    i was wondering, when tuning my toms some of the lugs have more resistance than the others, does it matter or should i grease them up a bit tune it easier.

  • Gabriel says:

    I always wanted a tuning lesson, thanks. 🙂

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