Tuning your Snare Resonant Drumhead

Posted on: November 12 2018 at 6:58 pm

tune-bot on a Drum

Proper Tuning of your Snare Resonant Drumhead

The most common question I get asked is how to tune the resonant head on the snare. First of all you want the resonant head tuned much higher than the batter head. Otherwise you’ll have to tune the batter so high that the drum will sound and feel like you’re playing a piece of wood. Also, make sure you’re using a thin-ply resonant snare drumhead such as a Remo hazy Ambassador or an Evans 300 Snare Side. You’ll have trouble getting a sensitive snare response if you’re using too thick of a resonant head.

Start tuning by flipping the drum over and placing it upside down on the snare stand. I like to tune the resonant head with the drum on a stand; I find that it gives me a louder sound and better readings than when it’s placed on a drum stool. The next thing to do is loosen the snare strainer as far as possible. Then, slide a drum stick under the snare wires to keep them from touching the drumhead. The stick should be supported by the drum hoop as shown in the photo.

Clip the tune-bot near any lug except for the 4 lugs next to the snare bed. Now lightly mute the batter side head of the drum with your hand and hit by the lug beside the tune-bot. You should look for readings around 280 to 400 Hz. If you are getting readings under 50 Hz, your lug pitches are most likely over 400 Hz and you should switch to the Hi-Range (if you are using a tune-bot studio) or loosen your drum head. Readings around 200 Hz are most likely your fundamental pitch which isn’t the pitch you are looking for and shouldn’t be picked up if you’re muting the batter head.

Once you see a reading in the 280 to 400Hz range, you should press the Filter button and then you can stop muting the bottom head (the difference button if using the Gig model). Now you can go around from lug to lug and adjust the tension to match the pitches. For best accuracy you can move the tune-bot near the lug you’re measuring. One thing you may notice is that readings by the snare bed are lower than the readings at the other lugs. If your readings by the snare bed are 5-10 Hz lower than the rest, don’t worry about it, you likely will not be able to get them quite as high due to the snare bed.