How To Tune Your Toms

Hailey Smith


Have you ever wanted to go nut on your drums but can't because your toms are out of tune? Well here's the solution for you. This blog will help you tune your toms to perfection.


  • Tom/s
  • Drum Stick
  • Drum Key
  • Quiet room
  • Hard surface
  • Drum Tuner or Smartphone with Drum Tuner App


  1. Loosen all the lugs on your tom with your drum key to where you can screw them off with your fingers going at quarter turns around the drum head in a circle.
  2. Loosen lugs with fingers until they can be taken off.
  3. Tighten the lugs with your fingers until you can't tighten them anymore.
  4. Go around the drum and tighten the lugs at quarter turns. You will find lugs that aren't as screwed in as far as others so tighten them to the same tension as the others.
  5. Take the drum stick and lightly tap it an inch away from a lug.
  6. Adjust sound to liking. (Remember the smaller the tom the higher the sound and the bigger the tom the deeper the sound)
  7. Using Drum Tuner or Drum Tuner app find the pitch of the first lug.
  8. Move to the lug across from it and tune to the pitch of the first lug, tightening it to make it higher or loosening it to make it lower. Use the Drum Tuner to make sure the pitch is right.
  9. Repeat step 8 moving in a star formation until all lugs are tuned.
  10. Hit the middle of the drum head to check if the sound is to your liking. If not go back and adjust by tightening or loosening each lug and checking with the tuner.
How to tune your TOM drums.

My Experience

I found that when my toms are in tune I'm more confident when playing and I play more frequently. Also knowing how to tune my toms helped me become successful in the band that I'm apart of.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why do I need to tighten the lugs in a star formation?

A. It keeps the lugs from differing in tightness causing damage to the shell.

Q. What happens when you over tighten your tom?

A. It damages the drum head and may cause breaking of the head.

Q. Why do I need to loosen the lugs then tighten them before tuning the tom?

A. It keeps from over tightening your drum head.