How to Use a DrumDial
When replacing a drum head, be sure to seat the new head evenly on the drum. Replace the hoop and finger tighten the tuning lugs. This will ensure that a proper bearing edge fit can be achieved. If used drum heads are being tuned for the first time with a DrumDial, these heads should be loosened up, finger tightened and slowly brought back up to tension using the tuner. Make sure the drum to be tuned is fairly level so that the tuner will not slide around on the head. Your DrumDial is zeroed at the factory, but with daily use, the tuner may need to be re-zeroed occasionally. To zero the DrumDial, simply place it on a flat glass surface, unlock the bezel and rotate it so that the large needle is on the zero, then re-lock the bezel.
1. Make sure that the tuning tip is finger tight. The top cap screw is not used for calibration and should be kept tight and never removed.Position the tuner so the dial is easy to read. Place the tuning tip on the drum head, always compressing it slowly, until the full weight of the tuner is on the drum. The DrumDial base should be about ¾ of an inch from the edge of the drum directly in front of a tuning lug. This distance can be easily measured using the DrumDial Edge Gage. Simply clip it onto the neck of the DrumDial and position the tuner so the Edge Gage lightly touches the inside rim of the drum. At this point, remove your hand from the DrumDial (don’t rest your hand on the drum head as this may give an inaccurate reading).
Take readings using the large needle hand only, the small needle is not used for tuning. Note the reading on the gage. Pick the tuner up and move it to the next tuning lug, and so on (be sure to compress the tuning tip slowly). Find the lug with the highest reading and tune the other lugs to match this one. (Tighten each tuning lug a little at a time, otherwise the drum head will not seat properly.)
2. Continue picking up and moving the DrumDial to each tuning point, tightening each tuning lug to achieve identical gage readings. Do this until the drum head is sufficiently tight and the head is properly seated.
3. At this point, the drum should be in tune with itself. Now, if you want a different tone, slowly tighten or loosen each tuning lug to your desired tuning point, again matching all gage readings.
Picking up the tuner and placing it down again in the same spot should give you an identical gage reading. However, used heads with indentations and scuffed areas around the edges will make the tuner have different readings if the tuning tip is placed directly on a scuffed surface or in a dent. This should not be a problem unless the drum head is extremely worn. When loosening a tuning lug, be sure to pick the dial up and place it down again to relieve pressure on the head, this will assure a correct gage reading.
This is not necessary when tightening a tuning lug. Ordinarily most drums will be tuned to about 75 for the top head and 74 for the bottom resonant head (snare drums tighter, top 85, bottom 82 and bass drums a little looser at 70 to 72). Because of the variety of drums on the market, experimentation with your particular set-up at different gage readings and tuning levels is recommended.
Due to the sensitive nature of the gage, when not in use, keep the DrumDial in its case and keep tension off the tuning tip for prolonged periods of time as this may damage the tuner’s internal mechanism.