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Tuning

How do I muffle a bass drum?

Most bass drums are muffled using a number of possible materials and techniques. Drummers are known to use pillows, towels, packing blankets, foam rubber, felt strips, and newspaper, as well as commercial bass drum muffling systems. Some drummers barely touch the batter head with muffling material for an open sound; others choose to deaden the head.

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Tuning

How do I muffle a snare drum?

Drummers use different methods for muffling a snare batter head. Many use mass-marketed products like Moongel to muffle a snare batter head. It’s also common to use small pieces of duct tape for the same purpose. Avoid muffling your snare drum’s resonant head, so as not to inhibit the response of its snare wires.

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Tuning

What does it mean to tune a drum “wide open?”

Wide open tuning indicates that a drum hasn’t been muffled internally or externally — or is muffled only minimally — in order to maximize its resonance.

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Tuning

When should I change heads?

The answer largely depends on your budget. Under optimal circumstances, you should change a batter head when you begin to see pitting, or the film begins to deform, or you begin to hear a buzz, or the head loses its resonance, or any other indicator that the head is beginning to lose tone. However, many drummers need to stretch the life of their heads for financial reasons, which often requires more frequent tuning adjustments or some form of muffling to disguise offensive buzzes and overtones. The worst thing is to wait to change a head until it breaks. That typically indicates that you have played the head long beyond its intended lifespan.

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Tuning

How do I tune a drumhead?

Drummers use different tuning methods depending on their preferences, although it breaks down to three formulas: 1) Tune the top batter head higher than the bottom resonant, 2) tune the bottom resonant head higher than the top batter, and 3) tune both heads evenly. While the tension of both heads will affect both pitch and tone, the tension of your resonant head generally plays a large role in the pitch and resonance of the drum while the tension of the top head generally plays a large role in the feel of the drum and serves to fine-tune the pitch. For more details, see How To Tune Drums In Four Steps.

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Tuning

Should I tighten my tension rods in a certain order?

Yes. It’s best to use the crisscross pattern below to ensure that the head is tuned evenly and stays square to the drum.

For more details, see How To Tune Drums In Four Steps.

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