How To Tune Concert Snare Drums

Your concert snare drum is no longer in tune and you need to know how to tune a concert snare drum. The snare drum is one of the easiest percussion drums to hear in a concert band. The snare drum is a vital part in any drum percussion. This drum must be in tune at all times, or it can cause for a flat sound to come out. Once tuned overtime and after hundreds or even thousands of beats, the tuning will start to wear off. To keep that fresh, crisp sound on the concert snare drum, tuning it is essential. You can follow a few easy steps to get your concert snare drum tuned in no time.

To tune a concert snare drum you need:

  • keyboard
  • drum key
  • drum sticks


  1. Turn off the snare strainer. The snare strainer brings the bottom head level of the snare up.
  2. Loosen the snare drum tension rods. Use a drum key to completely loosen the tension rods located on the concert snare drum. Loosen one side and then the opposite side of tension rod to help keep things even.  Do not remove the tension rods once loosened.
  3. Tighten the tension rods. Using the drum key, tighten one rod so that they touch the rim and then tighten the opposite rod in the same way. Keep tightening the tension rods until the pitch is between G and Bb. Use a keyboard to help find and match the pitch.
  4. Tighten the bottom head.  Turn the concert snare drum over so that the bottom head is facing upward. Use the above steps to tighten the bottom head with the drum key.  For the bottom head adjust the pitch so that it is a fourth above the top head. If the top head is a G, make the bottom head a C. This will give you the best tuning sound for your concert snare drum.
  5. Turn the snare drum back over. This allows the top head to be faced in its original position. As you tap the head on each tension rod, allow about an inch to adjust the tuning. Adjust each pitch to be the same by turning the drum key as needed.
  6. Turn on the snare strainer. Adjust the snare tension by hitting the drum from all different levels and angles. Keep adjusting the snare tension until you get that strong, crisp, smooth sound on your snare drum.
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