The Poor Man’s Drum Tech


If you consider all the churches I’ve visited around the country over the last few years, you can only imagine the varying conditions of the drum kits I encounter. So one of the things I’ve been working on improving my skills at are tuning drums.

Depending on who you talk to, tuning drums is a bit of a dark art, but it shouldn’t be. I can kinda hold my own behind a kit, but I wouldn’t call myself a drummer by any stretch and my past attempts at tuning drums have been hit or miss over the years. I carried a Tune-Bot around for a long time, and I’ve also used Drum Dials. I’d say I could usually get a sketchy drum kit sounding better more often than not, but I rarely got results along the lines of some of the great drummers I’ve worked with and played with over the years.

I stumbled on a method I think is changing this for me, though, and it’s incredibly easy. I got to test it out at a church I was recently providing some training for. When I sat down behind the kit before rehearsal, a quick check of the two floor toms revealed they were not only tuned to the same pitch, but also in need of some love and new heads. So the church got some new heads, and we gave this method a try on them.

I tuned the 2 floor toms and a rack tom–top and bottom heads–in about 10 minutes using this method, and I couldn’t believe the results. Those toms were singing, and it was the first time I think I’ve ever felt like I knew what I was doing tuning drums.

So if you’re in a situation where your drummers struggle to tune the drums in your church and you’re like me feeling like you don’t have much of a clue on how to tune drums, you might give this a try. Here’s the video that got me started.

Judging by the comments, this approach might be a little controversial, but it worked for me so as with just about anything, your milage may vary.

David Stagl

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