Easiest ways to tune your drums

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So you have your new drum kit but how does it sound?

I am writing this guide for a BzzAgent Campaign but I am passionate about drumming so I want to share this useful guide with all you other drummers out there.
Learning to play the drum kit is great fun and will bring you hours of pleasure but just like any other musical instrument, knowing how to get the best sound possible is vital for your enjoyment.
Knowing how to properly tune your drums is vital to having a great sounding drum kit.
Even if you are a beginner, having a well tuned drum kit will make you stand above the rest.
Tuning drums is not always easy, you need a good ear and a lot of patience but I have a few easy tips to help you get the best sound possible.
First you will need to get a get a drum key. Drum keys are used to tune drums and are relatively cheap, they should not cost more than a pound or two. You can get them  at a good music shop , but there are usually plenty at reasonable prices on eBay.  You can not begin to start  tuning your drums until you have a drum key.
A typical drum key
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A typical drum key

Tuning you Toms

Start by loosening the tension rods evenly around the head of your tom. work slowly around the drum head, gently loosening each tension rod by turning each about half a turn. Don't  loosen them one at a time, but instead evenly loosen them half a turn each, just keep going around the drum until they feel loose enough to turn by hand.                                                                                                                                                                         
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Tightening the tension rods

Now you need to start to tighten the tension rods in a diagonal pattern. Start with the tension rod closest to you. Turn the drum key half a turn tighter. The next tension rod that you are going to turn half a turn is the tension rod furthest away from you (directly across from the one you've already turned half a turn) now tighten this one half a turn. The next tension rod you are going to tighten is the one to the left of the tension rod you started on. Then go directly across the drum from there and continue this pattern until all of the rods are evenly tightened. 
It is a good idea to tap the drum with a drum stick periodically as you tighten to get a feel for the changes in sound. 

Work your way around the  drum until all of the tension rods are totally even, and the drum has the sound that you want it to. You may have to go over all of the tension rods several times until you reach the desired sound.
 Some drummers like to hit a drumstick against the body of the drum (the side, not the part with the head) and listen for the overtone, then try and match the pitch when tuning the head but this takes some time to learn and you need to have a good ear for the sound. It will come with a bit of practice though, just take it slowly and be patient. You can also listen to your favourite music and try and match the tone you want to achieve.
Now you need to do the same thing to the bottom head of your drum. Depending on your taste it will either be the same pitch as your batter, or a bit lower or higher. 

Tuning the snare drum

Snare drums are a little special when it comes to tuning, because they also have snare wires. Some people prefer to tighten the top head right up as part of the seating process, and then take the tension rods back down to finger‑tight before tuning. This is because  a pre‑stretched head is less likely to shift later.
Follow the same process as with the toms gently loosening and then tightening.
With snare drums, it's good to have the bottom head slightly higher in tension than the top. An easy way to ensure you've got it right is to  check for a harmonious pitch by muting one head while tapping the other. (Placing the head you intend to mute face‑down on a drum stool is an easy and convenient way to mute one head.
Now you need to adjust the snare wires to suit your style of playing.
You can test if they're too tight by turning the snare off, and then back on. If the wires snap on before the lever is at its resting position, the wires are most likely too tight. Another indicator of wires being too tight is when tapping the drum produces a choked snare sound.
Finally, practice makes perfect, so take every chance to have a go. Tuning a drum kit may seem challenging at first, but you'll soon get used to it — and be rewarded with better‑sounding recordings!  
There are some drum tuning gadgets to help you if you feel you need it,  they range massively in price and don't come cheap but personally I think it's better to simply use your own ear and a bit of patience.

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