One of the most challenging tasks for drummers, that surely most of you would have taken months to master, is drum tuning. As much as it can be tedious and time-consuming, undoubtedly, tuning our drums is the only way for us to learn professional-level drumming. For this, you definitively need a drum tuner.
Unfortunately, most of the drummers are not fully aware of the various aspects of drum tuning. This later becomes a hindrance in their way of becoming an expert drummer.
If you are someone new to drumming or has just recently decided to pursue this passion, this article can be your complete introduction to the most relevant aspects of finding the best drum tuner.
Best Drum Tuner
As stated above, if you are someone who wants to take drumming up professionally, investing in a drum tuner would be a good idea. However, many drummers are almost all the time confused about which specific drum tuning device to invest their hard-earned money in.
Honestly, there can be no specific answer to which drum tuner would best suit every drummer’s need because each of those available has different Pros and Cons of their own. However, here is our pick the five best drum tuner devices that can pretty much suit everyone’s needs.
Tunebot Studio TBS-001 Digital Drum Tuner
This clip-on digital tuner is a small digital tuner that meets most of any drummer’s demands when it comes to accurate tuning. This tuner is easy to use and provides more accurate readings than any of the maker’s previous tuners.
The TBS 001 comes with difference and filter modes to allow you to tune your drum precisely the way you want. This tuner also allows for recording of over five differently tuned kits with each kit having around ten drums in total. Out of all the most significant pros, this device comes with, the fact that you can clip it with any of your drums to instantly sense the wrong tuned lugs is the one that had us sold us. We also loved the vibrant and easily readable LCD 4 color display of this drum tuner when we used this device for the first time.
The customer services provided by the manufacturers are not only robust but also available all the time via their free application that educates you on the correct way of tuning your drums using a device rather than just relying on tuning drums by ear. The sturdy body design and light plastic built of this tuner make it easier for you to take it along anywhere. The only issue that many users have reported using this tuner is the sudden deletion of the recorded data sometimes.
Even when we did not find so, some users also think that tuner is expensive if compared to others with the same features that come in less than $20, which usually are just gimmick. This is not.
Digital DrumDial Drum Tuner
Drumdial drum tuners are one of the most famous tuners among drummers and, if you have a drumming freak from your forefathers or even your father, you must have seen those clock like tuners by this company.
With its capability to measure the drum head tension quickly, this device assists you in tuning your drums in a better way if compared to when you tune it without a tuner. The ease of use provided by this tuner makes its best for you if you are one of the novice drummers here. Still, it is equally useful for the professional level ones. With an LCD, the tuner is capable of giving accurate readings anywhere between 0 -100 of pressure and has a glass calibration standard.
The product comes in a hard casing but is very light in weight with a size compact enough to make it your travel partner. This digital drum dial is also an excellent investment for those studio owners who have been using the old analog tuners that would take more time and would deliver lower accuracy.
The product, however, drains batteries very quickly, and this makes it a poor choice if you are a regular drummer or want to take it along to a full-day session.
Digital tunebot Gig Clip-On Digital Drum Tuner
Next on our list of top favorites tuners is this digital acoustic drum tuner in streamlined body design to fit any drum rim. Just one button needs to be pressed, and you can quickly shift between difference and absolute modes within a second.
This tuner is capable of recording exact and accurate recordings and shows them readily on its backlit LCD. The most fantastic feature of this tool is its auto-fill overtone feature that automatically detects the overtones that are either higher or lower than the actual pitch so that these overtones don’t do any damage to your tuning accuracy.
What’s sets this device apart from other tuners is its ability to deliver a wide tuning range and short response compared to other drum tuners that come in the same price range. The tuner offers high compatibility and works with several drum kits being clipped to any drum hoop.
Many drummers love this tuner for the ease of use and quickness it provides in drum tuning. You can dislike this one for the plastic body build it comes with, but all other features it has can compensate for this minor issue well.
DrumDial Manual Drum Tuner
Another one from drumdial if the previous options did not fit your needs well. If you are looking for a budget-friendly tuner that comes in a very low price range and provides accurate and quick results, this is the best tuner for you.
The tuner helps you directly record the readings of your drum head tension so that there is no mistake committed as you tune your drums. Comes cased in sturdy plastic, this tuner is travel friendly. It can be kept anywhere, even in your pocket, if it is spacious enough.
One issue we found with this one was that it sometimes gives inconsistent results for the similarly tuned drums. However, it just happens once out of 10 times of usage, so this shortcoming can be ignored if you are low on budget but need a tuner real bad.
TAMA TAMTW100 Tension Watch
If you have all your drumming machinery well set and are all ready to invest something in an expensive but reliable drum tuner, then going for the easy to use TAMA Tension Watch can be a good idea.
If you are way too cautious about your drum’s sound and have one with triple flange hoops, then this sensitive tuner can go well for you and will last long. However, you must know this particular tuner is very sensitive and may not work well when it comes to tuning with the die-cast hoops.
The product, otherwise, lasts for a very long time and is good enough for all kinds of drummers whether professional, novice, learners, provided they are ready to invest something in a device like this. We could not find any substantial con of this one and can safely call it our personal favorite.
What Is A Drum Tuner?
If you are on this website, the chances are that you already know what drum tuning is. However, acknowledging someone who is having trouble with his or her drums and is alien to the idea of tuning, it is necessary to give a brief round-up of what exactly means to tune your drums.
In simplest terms, your attempts to adjust your drum’s pitch or frequency is referred to as drum tuning in typical drummer’s jargon. Even when they are usually not pitched musical instruments in nature, drums are tuned to ensure that there is no unwanted overtone and to suit the drummer’s personal preferences.
You all know about the tension ropes and rods that drums come with. Usually, these are the elements that need to be tightened or loosened to work with the drum’s surface tension, and this is what generally tunes your drums.
Why You Need The Best Drum Tuner
Many experienced drummers here would surely know why tuning their drums is essential. However, many times we just focus on one benefit of an act while ignoring numerous others. We all know that tuning your drums makes them sound perfect, but here is a detail of the fantastic benefits any drummer can get out of tuning his or her drums:
- To allow for smooth vibrations. Smooth vibrations are necessary for any drumming experience. If your drum does not vibrate in a rhythm, you are likely to find a choking on most part of the sound that you intended to produce. Drum tuning is meant at taming the drum heads to vibrate in a concordant manner. This will result in you getting the perfect sound that you actually intended to play.
- To match the produced sound precisely to your preferable genre. Tuning your drums not only makes the intended sound being produced from the drum heads precisely as you want it but also makes it customized enough to suit your genre preferences. This explains why Jazz drummers tight and tune their drums in a manner way different from rock and other drummers. Once expert at doing so, you can tune your drums to create multiple versions of your preferred genres and do something unique with your drums while doing so.
- A tuned drum helps you achieve that consistency. Novice drummers find it hard to produce the same sound every day, and this hinders their practice. The reason behind the same drum sounding different every other day is usually the loss of tension in its rods. Once you keep on tuning your drums regularly, you are likely to have the same sound everyday. This will undoubtedly, enhance your expertise in drumming.
- Better recording. When it comes to producing a consistent sound everyday, recording your drums is vital because you cannot precisely remember what sound you played the day before. This is why most of the drummers record whatever they play. Moreover, a better recording is also essential for professional drummers who release their music after manipulating it via a DAW.
No matter for what purpose you record, a well-tuned drum is the only way to ensure that quality in your recording. Tuning your drums, therefore, is also crucial if you want to have brighter and error-free records. Yup, that’s it. The quality of your recorded sound is related to your drum tuning and not really by your drum recording interface.
Tools Required For A Drum Tuner
Many of you already know about the basics of drum tuning and what things are required for it. However, we have personally come across a number of drummers who are entirely unaware of why these tools are essential and what role do they play in drum tuning, partially because many of them have never had their drums tuned on their own.
As tricky as it may be, drum tuning only needs one to have a few tools out of which one of entirely optional. Given here is a brief description of these tools and what function they have in drum tuning:
- A drum key. A drum key is an essential tool needed for drum tuning. Even when just one key is enough, many people like to have two of these at hand so that they can tune the two heads simultaneously. This small key helps one in either loosening or tightening the tension rod of your drum so that the desirable pitch can be acquired. A drum key can also help you fix other hardware components of your drum like its kick pedals and hi hat strands, etc.
- A drum stick. Whenever you are ready for drum tuning, it is important to have your sticks at your hand so that you can keep on tapping on the drum heads along with tuning them to suit different tension levels.
- A drum tuner. Even when optional, drum tuners are used by many drummers, especially for professional-level drumming. Typically, a drum tuner is a small device that works similarly to your ears during a drum tuning process.
However, this device has a better capability to detect the tune levels and gives an accurate figure-like representation of the sounds. This makes your drum tuning more accurate and also enables you to carry your tuning out in noisy environments too.
How To Use A Drum Tuner
Here are the steps that you need to follow to carry out a precise drum tuning on your own:
- If your drum is not new, your first step to an efficient drum tuning should remove the old drum heads. This can be done by loosening the tension rods using the drum key. However, before you remove and loosen it, take a picture that clearly shows which rod, when into which specific lug because setting the assembly up again, will get easier this way.
- The second step for tuning an old drum would be its cleaning process. Unchanged drum heads are full of dust and dirt, after changing them, cleaning the inside along with the bearing edges would be a good idea before you start with the tuning process. Try using a very soft but dry cloth to clean the assembly.
- Carefully pick up your new drum head and apply it to the bearing edge. Settle it down properly and bring back the rod with the lugs keeping in view the assembly that you captured before on your phone.
- Now is the time to bring your drum key to use. Once you have tightened the rods with fingers, use your small key to tune your drums tension rods torque as you like. Typically, one to two full turns per rod, starting in the opposite direction with the first lug, can do well for your tuning process.
- Now that all is done, and your drum is ready to get tuned, you can put some tension to the center of your drum using your finger. Keeping the finger pressed, use your sticks, and tap an inch away from each lug. Notice the difference in pitches. Here is where your drum tuner comes in. Use it to note the sound intensity being made and adjust your drum’s tension to where it suits your needs the best.
How Often Should You Use A Drum Tuner?
No matter what level of professionalism you are on, the question about how many times do you needs to tune your drums surely keeps you worried.
It is important to note that every drum set needs to be optimized for a varied number of times because each drum is somewhat different from the other. Moreover, many other factors determine how many times a drum should be tuned in order for it to work correctly.
Here are some of the factors that determine your drum’s need for tuning. You can decide the frequency of tuning your drums need based on this.
- The extent to which you play your drums determines how much tuning it needs. The more it gets beaten, the more tuning it needs to give that perfect sound every time.
- If your drum is ancient, it may require you to tune it every time you beat it. However, new drums go well for around 15 days, even when they have not been tuned at all.
- The kind of sound one plays on their drums is a significant determinant of how much tuning it requires. For sounds needing very sharp and high pitch, tuning regularly is more critical as compared when you don’t play sound with a very high pitch.
- The way you keep your drums and where they are kept has a lot to do with how much tuning they need. If your drums are used by a number of people and need to be taken to a number of places, then their tuning requirements will be far more than the drums used by a single person in his home or studio.
Tips For Using A Drum Tuner
Many times, your drums don’t sound at the perfect level of your need despite you getting it tuned too many times. We don’t want you to spend too much time mastering the art of drum tuning and therefore, here are some of our tested and tried tricks to help you tune your drums in the best possible manner:
- Be patient. Yes! The first rule to getting a perfectly tuned drum and mastering the art to tuning it correctly over and over again is to keep your calm. You cannot expect your anger and unnecessary panic to tune your drum for you quickly. Trying to rush makes things even worse when it comes to tuning the drums.
- Adding a small coat of paraffin wax at the edge of the bearing can help settle the new drum heads quickly. We have personally found this very useful when it comes to tuning the drums easily and think that you going it a shot would be worth it.
- Always tune your drums in a room that is perfect for musicals. There must not be any background noise, no added sound, no echo, and it must be wide enough.
- Keeping your drum clean and care is another way to become better at tuning. If your drum is full of dirt and gets the worst treatment from you (which is almost impossible for drum lover to do) tuning, it will not bear exactly desired results.
- Stretch your new drum heads a bit once they have settled down properly. This aids in tuning because the new and sturdy heads are less likely to stay the same during the tuning process. It is better if you ping them a bit before you begin with the drum tuning shenanigans.
- Tuning the batter top head lowest and tuning the resonant one upwards makes tuning drums an easy process.
Please note, Electronic Drum Set do not require drum tuning.