5 Tips for a Better Sounding Drum

Believe it or not, there’s more to drumming than just hitting a drum. Here are five quick tips to sound like a pro!

1.Tune the batter head for feel

Most drums have two heads: batter and resonant. The batter head, as you can probably guess, is the top one you “batter” with the sticks. The resonant head is on the bottom and vibrates in unison with the top, filling up the sound of the drum.

Having a well-tuned batter head helps your sticks naturally rebound. There is not a specific note that we recommend using. Instead, you should tune your drum based on finding a comfortable bounce. Never tuned before? Check out our tuning guide here.

2. Tune the resonant head for sound

The resonant head has a greater impact on your drum’s tone than you might believe. In general, it should be tuned to a higher pitch than the batter head. It’s your choice whether it’s just a little bit higher or a big step higher.

Tuning your heads a small interval apart cancels out sound waves quickly, creating a short sustain; this is referred to this as a dry sound. For example, if your batter head plays a C, a resonant head tuned to C# would not resonate very long.

As you raise the pitch of the resonant head, you will find intervals that ring better than others. When you raise the pitch to E or F, those notes naturally resonate with C and will ring much longer. Be careful not to tune too high, though! Resonant heads are usually thinner and easier to break. Always tune slowly, and if you start to hear crackling, you’ve gone as far as you can go.

3. The direction of your snare matters

Many players learn early on that as you play quietly, you should move to the edge of the drum. When playing loudly, move towards the center.

This is sound advice, but it works best when you drum is set up to have your snares running front to back. This way, your sticks will always be playing above the snares. When you don’t play directly over the wires, it begins to sound more like a tom-tom.

4. Keep your beads close together

The beads of your sticks should hit the drum in almost the exact same spot. Beginners should try to keep them 1” or less apart.

Drummers do this because different spots on the drum produce different tones. When your sticks are far apart, it becomes obvious what notes are played with your right hand vs. your left hand. Ideally, both hands should sound identical.

5. A trick to keep in your back pocket

Sometimes you’ll have to play on a drum that rings too much, and you aren’t able to give it a tune-up on the spot. The solution? Grab a leather wallet and place it along the edge of the batter head.

If you find that you use this trick frequently, you can purchase dampeners to keep on your drum all the time.