Introduction: How to Assemble and Tune a Drum Head

This is a tutorial for beginner musicians who want to learn to maintain instruments on their own. You will be able to assemble in tune a drum in five steps!

For this project you will need:

  • Drum shell
  • Drum heads (2x)
  • Drum hoops (2x)
  • Tension rods
  • Drum stick (or your hand)
  • Drum key

Step 1: Placing the Hoop and Head Onto the Drum Shell

Take your drum shell and lay it flat with one of the sides facing up. Take one of your drum heads and place it on top of the shell. Then place the drum hoop on top of the head. Make sure the holes in the drum hoop line up with lugs on the drum shell.

The last two pictures show how the holes in the hoop should line up with the lugs versus the holes not being lined up.

Step 2: Put in Tension Rods Into the Hoop

Take a tension rod and your drum key and put them through the holes in the drum hoop. Make sure they line up with lugs. Start to tighten the rods with the drum key (loosely). You should be able to pick up the drum by the hoop and it should not fall off.

Step 3: Securing Other Drum Hoop to Drum Shell

Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the other side of the drum that you have not attached the drum head and hoop to.

Step 4: Begin Tuning Your Drum

Start by tightening one of the tension rods and lightly tapping the head right by the tension rod you are tightening. You should listen for how the drum sounds and adjust how tight the rod is accordingly. The more your tighten the higher the pitch the drum will sound. Be sure not to tighten the drum too much as it could break or rip the drum head. A sign that the rods are too tight are ripples on the drum head. See Step 5 before proceeding to the next tension rod.

Step 5: Finishing Tuning Your Drum

Repeat the above directions (in step 4) for each of the rods making sure you follow a
cross pattern. (Always tune the tension rod across from the one you already tuned). Then follow the same steps for the other side of the drum. The drum will not sound tuned if both sides are tuned differently.

You will know the drum is tuned when hitting the area around each tension rod sounds roughly the same.