Let’s say you are running late and you just changed the heads. I would use the following approach.

Bottom Head:

Using a drum key, tighten each tension screw ½ of a turn at a time, until the head feels “firm”. Press with your thump about one inch I from the edge of the drum. If it feels, “spongy” or “soft”, tighten it until feels “firm” when pressing with your thumb. It should be fairly tight.

Top Head:

Tap at each tension screw with a drumstick or drum key one and a half inches in from the edge of the drum. Tighten or loosen the tension screws as needed to bring all of them to approximately the same pitch all around.

Loose Top Head = Wet, broad, low pitch sound.

Medium Top Head = Full, clear and responsive sound.

Tight Top Head = Bright, high pitched “crack”.

The bottom head should always be tighter and higher in pitch than the top head.

Could you manage all of this in 90 seconds? Probably not, but with a little practice you could get close. (You can fine tune the drumhead later.)

Close enough that you would be ready for the down beat on that all important gig!

Good Luck,

Roy Burns

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