Snare Drum Tuning – Tips From Professionals

When you take a drum set, you will be mostly playing the snare drum. It can offer context to the song that you are playing. You will figure this out more clearly while you are performing in a studio. However, you should also have a strong understanding on how to tune a snare drum as well. While keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at the steps that you should follow to tune a snare drum. Make sure that you carefully follow these steps and learn how to tune a snare drum effectively.

Learn More About the Snare Drum You Have

As the very first thing, you should learn more about the snare drum you have. There are numerous materials used for manufacturing snare drums. They include synthetic, metal, and wood. Once you learn more about the drum, you can get assistance to go ahead and tune it more effectively.

For example, the snare drums that come along with a metal shield tend to offer more volume and ring when compared to wooden ones. On the other hand, aluminum snare drums are known for offering a dry sound when compared to brass. No matter what, the very first thing you should do is to learn more about the drum.

Tune Without Wires

When you are about to tune your snare drum, you should be mindful not to eliminate the ring. This is where you should focus on tuning without the wires. Once you remove the ring, your snare drum will start to produce a boxy sound. This can be specific when you are playing at loud or moderate volumes.

The remaining parts of the band would go ahead and absorb most of the ring. You will need to tune your snare drum without keeping wires. However, you should also figure out when the drum is in tune. You should also pay special attention to the setting of snare wires. 

Start Off Tuning From the Resonant Head

You can start off tuning your snare drum from the resonant wires. Then you can focus more on the batter head off and snare wires of the drum. However, you should also keep in mind that the resonant head of your drum is something thin and weak. Therefore, you should be careful as you deal with it. You should also be careful to install that center and get that in place. Make sure that you don’t over-tighten the snare drum. You will need to pull out the head. 

Start to Tune 

Now you are in a position to go ahead with tuning. You can keep the finger tight and begin it. However, you will also need to have wrinkles between the lugs on both sides of your drum’s snare bed. Instead of removing the lugs by tuning the remaining parts of the head, you may use the available keys to adjust the tension. This will help you to remove wrinkles effectively.

Use Your Ears and Hit 

As the next step, you should focus on each lug. Make sure that you keep them fairly tight. Then you can hit the head and it will start to deliver a toppy or tinny sound along with a small ring. You should make sure that the head is evenly pitched. 

It is up to you to pick a pitch based on your preferences. However, you should also keep in mind that things will be better when you keep the resonant head tight. You shouldn’t worry too much about the size. 

Focus on the Batter Head

The next thing you should do is to focus on the batter head. You may think about following the same approach described above to work on the batter head as well. However, you will need to ensure that there is very high tension on the batter head. You may think about using the two-key method explained above to ensure that. It is better if you can leave your snare drum overhead, so that you can allow the head to form the drum.

The next morning, you should continue to increase the tension in half turns. This needs to be done around two to three times depending on the diameter of the drum. You should also make sure that the head of your tension drum is tuned evenly with smaller turns. The main objective here is to get the batter head to deliver a perfect sound output.

Tune the Top of Your Head Tower

If you wish to get the best overall sounds, you will need to continue with tuning the top part of the head tower. You can do this quite effectively on the snare side. However, some of the drummers tend to get a pitch that is quite different. You will be able to simplify that approach as you listen out. All you have to do is to make one head mute and tap to the other. As you do it, you may do the appropriate adjustments.

Never Fiddle With Your Resonant Head

While you make adjustments, you shouldn’t fiddle with your resonant head as well. You should make sure that it always stays on the batter head. We can see how drummers usually tend to complain that they put too much ring on the head. This is where you should take a look at the out-front concept.

Return Back to the Wires and Setup Them

Now you have come to the last step, where you return back to the wires and set up them. You will need to have low tension on each side of the snare wires. Then you will be able to stop them from falling off. You will also need to replace all the snare wires and ensure that they are ending up at the dead center. This will help you to loosen the overall snare mechanism.

Now you have tuned your snare drum, and you may continue to play it. 

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