Drums are fun and are usually great to hit. A lot of drummers usually end up putting their drums under pressure during usage. Continuous usage of a drum could cause it to go out of tune after some time. A drum that is out of tune will not produce the expected sound and may instantly become quite irritating to the ears. Floor toms just like other drums need tuning. By learning how to tune your floor tom, you can ensure that the sound it produces is what’s expected.
So, how do you tune a floor tom? If you’re unclear on what to do or how to go about it, you can take note of the following steps. They’ll teach you how to tune a tom like an expert. They include:
Set the heads. The way to begin is to set the heads of the floor tom. It is quite important that you do this process when handling toms in comparison to other drums. Take out the new head of the drum which you plan to replace it with. Refit the hoops and tighten all rods as much as possible. Press firmly in the middle with your fingers. About 3 fingers should be okay when pressing the top of a floor tom. Make sure that you look out for wrinkles and smoother them before tightening the head.
De-wrinkle. Wrinkles can be a big problem for drums especially floor toms. Workaround each part of the drum slowly to ensure that you cover all wrinkles. A criss-cross method may not be the most effective option for you. Make sure that you continue till you have successfully removed wrinkles. Stretch the head of the drum firmly by pressing your finger against it firmly a few times. As soon as you have don’t this, press the middle once more to see if any more wrinkles appear. Adjust the rods one final time to take care of any final issues
Tension in half-turns. Yes, you’ve obviously done quite some work already. To ensure that you firmly place the seating at the top of the tom, you would need to take two drum-keys. Make sure that these keys are opposite pairs, tension the head in half-turns and make sure it’s tighter than an average person would do it. Immediately check to see that the head is roughly even all-round and then leave it for some house. Leaving it overnight could be the best option for you.
Loosen up the head. You also have to loosen the head of the tom. Loosening the head can be done by detuning the tension rods exactly the same way that you tightened it. You have to make sure that they are all finger tight for the best results. When tuning the flat tom, it’s a great idea to also detune it back to slack because it will help to ensure that you can have the tightest possible fit. You really wouldn’t want to make use of a tom in which you were unable to secure a right enough fit over.
Start at the bottom. A lot of people usually end up focusing only on the top head. But the most important piece is actually the bottom head. However, a lot of drummers are unaware of the importance of the bottom head. It’s common to find them spending all of their time working on the top head. Spending hours dealing with the top rarely solves the real problem at hand as the drum would never sound as good as it should.
You have to understand that the bottom head is a determinant of the quality of the tone, sustain and projection. Concentrate your efforts on taking care of the bottom head and the top will take care of itself.
Match your heads. What type of bottom head do you end up using? Make sure you pick the bottom head which you’ll be using wisely. Even though they are the widely available option, they’re not the best choice. To get maximum resonance and sustain, it is better to match the weight and thickness of the top and bottom head respectively.
For instance, if you’re going to be using a two-ply (7 mil) batter head, then a thin resonant head may easily choke the sound which comes out of the floor tom. If that’s what you want, you’re free to keep it that way. If not, making use of a standard medium weight single-ply head. The difference in the quality of the sound will be obvious.
Sing the tune. Just like you did before, make use of your fingers to slowly smoothen out the different parts of the head surface. Make sure that you tighten and remove all wrinkles. Check to ensure that both heads are of the same pitch. Now, you can take your hands off the center of the drum and make use of your ears. Tighten the head in smaller turns and take note of the sound that is produced by the head.
What you really want after tapping the head is a nice tone which decays smoothly with an even note. You’ll be the one to really determine the pitch to use but it’s recommended that you start with a nice even tone. When tuning most toms, you’ll find a level where the head will sound warm and bright across its surface. If you’re lucky, you could come across this at one or two levels.
Tune the top. When trying to tune the batter head of a floor tom, try to do it in its natural environment. Yes, let it be in a position where you could easily play it. That’s where you play them and expect to get the best sound. Ensure that you tighten all rods, remove any wrinkles on its surface and move around the drum in small turns.
Each time you tighten the rod, tap the center of the tom to hear the sound it produces. Do this repeatedly until you get the desired sound. Then, you’ve successfully turned your floor tom.