How To Tune A Metal Snare Drum

Amateur drummers sure know how to beat on those drums but it only sounds good if they know how to tune a metal snare drum. There is no worse injustice done to a musician of any caliber than a proficient and well-executed performance that is demeaned by the offensive sounds of improperly tuned instruments. If you are a beginner on the skins, here is a crash course on how to tune a metal snare drum put together by some of our experts. In order to tune a metal snare drum, or any drum for that matter, you’re going to need;

  • A Quiet Room
  • A Metal Snare Drum
  • A Snare Drum Stand
  • Drum Sticks
  • A Drum Key
  • Tension Rods
  • Rims

In order to effectively tune a metal snare drum your main objective is to find the right combination of your personal preference and the fundamental tone of the drum. Follow these 5 steps.

  1. Center the drum head – Starting with the bottom thinner head called the “snare side”, you’ll want to make sure that the head is centered on the bearing edge of the drum and then place the rim over it.
  2. Insert the tension rods – Place the tension rods in the slots in the rim and finger tighten each one into the lugs all around the metal snare drum.
  3. Tighten the tension rods – Using your drum key, tighten each rod one quarter of a turn. You must tighten each one in a star pattern (like changing a tire) to ensure equal tension around the snare drum head. *As you are going around the you will hear a crackling and popping sound coming from the drum-head as you tighten the rods, don’t panic! It’s just dried glue that was used while making the drum.
  4. Tap all the way around – As you are going around tightening in a star pattern, tap your head lightly with a drum stick at the point of the tension rods. There must be no wrinkles in the snare drum head. Adding equal tension all around is what creates the proper pitch that makes the drum sound clear, the fundamental tone. Once you have established that, it’s a matter of personal preference on how high of a pitch you want your metal snare drum to have.
  5. Rinse and Repeat – Well don’t rinse, but turn your drum over and repeat steps 1 through 4 using a slightly thicker drum head called the “batter head”. This is the side of the drum that you play on. Time to rock out!

 How you tune a metal snare drum depends on a lot of different things. Like what genre of music you are playing, how loud the other instruments on stage or in the recording are, the vocalist, and various other factors. But by following these basic five steps to tune a metal snare drum you should be on your way to rock star status in no time.

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