How to Tune a Snare Drum

Tuning your snare is essential to getting a clean tight snare sound whatever genre you’re playing.

Bob Gatzen gives some great advice in the video below to get you started. In summary it’s something like this:


– Remove or lift the snare wires.

– Place the drum on top of a cushion to dampen the opposite head.

– Grab your metronome (most have pitch notes on there) and play the note A. If you don’t have a metronome use a keyboard/guitar or an online tuner like – http://www.onlinetuningfork.com

– As the note is playing, hum along. internalise the note before your start tuning.

– Then move around all the lugs aiming for the note A. This may take a while to get use to but it happens. Once they’re all tuned up go around the head checking opposite lugs.

– I tap the edge of the drum head with my finger, next to the lug to get the note.

Once the snare side is tuned to A. Flip the drum and tune the top head to C in a similar way.

I find this to be a great starting point. You may want to tune higher or lower depending on the style but the three notes up ratio seems to work well.


Remember to re tune regularly. If the drums are near enough you can do a ‘mini’ tune up at rehearsals and gigs.


Here’s the video. Enjoy!


More info at www.bristoldrumlessons.com

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