Do drums have notes? Should I tune my drum kit into a specific note? Does a different genre also require different tuning for my drum kit? If you are still a novice drummer and wonder whether a drum kit should be tuned to a specific note, you do not have to worry about that.
If you are really wondering whether you should tune your drum kit to a specific note, then the answer is no. Usually, drummers tune their drum kits into the sound that they prefer. There is really no rule in tuning the drums, unlike the guitar, bass guitar, and other instruments.
Some drummers tune their drums differently when playing for a specific genre; others just let their drum kits sound to what they want to hear. There is no manual for tuning your drums, but some manufacturers suggest tuning your drums in a specific chord, just like the guitar, but it does not mean that you should really follow it.
While guitar, bass guitars, and other instruments use standard tunings that have specific notes for different strings, drum kits are tuned tightly if you want to hear a higher tone or loosely if you’re going to want to listen to a deeper tone.
For tuning a drum kit, never forget to use a drum key to avoid damaging the tension rods. Some drummers use different devices to tune their drum kits to their preferred tone accurately. The “Drumdial” device is used for tuning drum kits as it measures the drum head tension as different tensions also mean different tones.
Other drummers also use a “Tune-bot drum tuner” if they want to tune their drum kits into a specific chord and frequency. This device will help you quickly tune your drums, especially if the manufacturer of your drum kit has suggested tuning your drum kit into a specific chord, then you should try it. Although, this does not mean that the drum kit will really sound great immediately.
Drum kits are unique on their own as they also use different wood materials in their shells, so you should expect that you cannot use the exact measurements in tuning one drum kit into another drum kit, and they will sound exactly the same. That is not how tuning a drum kit works.
What Do Drum Companies Suggest On How To Tune Their Drum Kits?
Some companies put notes in their drum kits on how to tune it based on its pitch. Sometimes, this can help, especially if you are still a novice drummer and do not yet have the experience to tune a drum kit using your ears only. By using a tuning device, you can easily tune the drum kit, following what the company has suggested you to do.
An example of a drum kit that has suggested tuning pitches is the DW Collector Maple Kit. The company, DW or Drum Workshop, suggested that the 10-inch tom of the drum kit can be tuned in the pitch of C, while the pitch of the 12-inch of the drum kit is in F. For its floor tom, the suggested pitch is C#, while the 14-inch snare has a pitch of A. Lastly, the bass drum has a suggested pitch of G#.
You can also tune your drum like in my following example. Tune the smaller tom into the pitch of B, while tune the bigger tom into the pitch of G#. Tune your snare drum into the pitch of E3, and for your floor tom, tune it into the pitch of E2. Lastly, you can tune your bass drum into the pitch of E1.
You can try tuning your drum kit by following these recommended pitches using a drum tuning device, but it is not an assurance that your drum kit will sound great. It is really important that you will be able to develop your own technique in tuning your drum kit.
How To Tune My Drum Kit For Different Genres?
There is really no specific way to tune a drum kit for a particular genre, but there are some suggestions on how its tuning would help you make your drum kit sound suitable for that genre.
When it comes to jazz, it is really preferred if your drum kit has a high tuning. As much as possible, you should not put any muffler at all, even on the bass drum. Jazz drum kits are known for their long sustain and overtones, so that is your goal on how your drum kit would sound when it comes to playing a jazz song.
Your toms should really sound bright, as it is an essential factor in jazz drumming. It would also be better if you use thinner drum heads and drum sticks than usual, as jazz songs need softer drumming.
Blues, Rock and Metal
For the blues, rock, and metal, the suggested tuning of the drum kit is really almost similar to each other. You have to tune the drum kit lower, especially your toms, to be able to produce a thumpy and boomy sound, which is great for the three genres.
Put a muffler to your bass drum to give a booming sound to it. It would be best if you also use thicker drum heads to make it easier for you to tune the drum kit. Also, use heavier drum sticks for these genres as it gives a more powerful sound than smaller sticks.
When it comes to gospel music, the most important thing is that your drum kit will not sound too loud. You have to remove all the overtones of your drum kit by finding the right way of tuning it and putting some drum rings or gums to it.
Overall, when tuning a drum kit, never ask yourself if drums have notes. There is really no exact way to tune a drum kit, so you will have to find for yourself how to tune it so that it will sound good and appropriate for the music you are playing. You will really need to develop your listening skills with this one.