Just set up your first drum kit?
Before you go crazy with those sticks, you’ll want to tune your drum kit first!
An out of tune snare will kill your interest in drumming faster than you can say “drrrruuuum”.
And this is what we’re covering here (click to skip to section):
- Physical Drum Tuners
- Mobile Drum Tuning Apps
- 3 Essential Features you’ll need in a (paid) drum tuner mobile app
- How to Tune Your Drum Kit
So first, you’ll need to get a drum tuner…
Most of us prefer to use physical drum tuners as they are created for that specific function. Hence, I list down 2 popular options here as a quick go-to comparison against the mobile app drum tuners that we’ll dive into below.
Physical Drum Tuners
If you are a new drummer, I’d urge you to get a physical drum tuner. A drummer should always own at least 1.
There are many physical drum tuners available on Amazon, we think you can consider either of these 2 because of their general good reviews:
The DrumDial Drum Tuner is one of the go-to tuners for drummers. Even professional drummers and teachers rely on it.
The key advantage of the Drum Dial tuner is that it allows you to tune without having to hit the drums or make any noise. This means that you can tune at night, at home without worrying that you might disturb your neighbours. It also means that you can tune your drum set pretty accurately, even in a noisy environment like a gig.
This is how it works:
Instead of relying on a microphone input like most tuners, it works by detecting the ‘timpanic pressure’ (aka the tension) of the drum head. You can tune up your drum based the number reflected on the dial. DrumDial provides recommended settings to their users.
The reading it provides is NOT in hertz because it doesn’t detect pitch.
[Just my thoughts…] This version makes their brand name sound less literal, but if you’re like me, having a digital interface that reflects the exact numbers feels way more reliable than having to figure it out via an analog dial.
Comes with 1 year warranty.
You’ll have to decide the frequency you’d want to tune your drum kit. Tune Bot provides tuning guides and charts on their website as well.
Although a great tool for drummers, it takes a little patience to master the use of the tune-bot.
Plus, having the power of being accurate down to a number means you might end up spending an afternoon trying to chase after your desired frequency…
Anyway, this is how you use the tune-bot. Unlike the drum dial, the tune-bot relies on the microphone to detect the pitch:
With the important tip out of the way, let’s jump straight into the STAR of this article:
Mobile Apps for Drum Tuning
Sometimes, you just don’t have a physical drum tuner with you…hence, it’s good to have a few mobile app drum tuner options on hand.
I’d say that you should take note that the microphone on a mobile phone may not be as accurate as those that come with a physical tuner.
But other than that, they should be pretty similar. Some come with advanced settings that allow you to customise your tuner for a specific sound on your kit.
Here, we look for tuners that do not require additional tools so that you can start tuning and drumming with only your mobile phone and your drum kit!
Your options are listed below together with the features of each app.
We know you’re in a hurry, so we list only 1 app per category.
All you’d need to do is to download it (there are free and paid options). Let’s jump right into it:
Free iPhone or Android Drum Tuner Apps
Free iPhone Drum Tuner app
Free Android Drum Tuner app
|InsTuner Free||Tuner & Metronome|
Free apps for Drum Tuning are rare.
At the point of writing, I couldn’t find a free drum tuner mobile app.
It’s way easier to find and download a chromatic tuning app for free. A chromatic tuning app allows you to tune almost any instrument to fundamental notes.
This is how you can tune your drums with a chromatic tuning app:
If you are a new drummer, here’s a tutorial on how you can do that with a chromatic tuner [14.5 mins video]:
You’ll need to decide on the note that you’d like to tune your drum to, before you start using a chromatic tuner.
Paid iPhone Drum Tuner Apps
iDrumTune Pro ($1.98)
Official website: www.idrumtune.com
Great drum tuning app that covers all the essentials you’d need to tune your own drum kit. This app is beginner-friendly. They have even provided a series of articles that teaches a beginner how to tune a drum, within the app.
Here’s a video on how you can use the iDrumTune Pro to tune your drum kit [8.5 mins watch]:
The Android version is coming soon…
Paid Android Drum Tuner Apps
Drumtune Pro ($7.99)
Official website: www.drumtunepro.com
Created by drummers, this is one of the most comprehensive tuner app out there. So comprehensive that we wonder if we’d actually get round to using some of their advanced features :S
The app interface is very well designed. Although minimalistic, it has every essential feature you need, easily accessible.
This is how it works:
You can tune every drum in your kit. And if that’s not enough, you can even input your drum kit set up down to the diameter, batter head and resonance head brands and models! All for a more accurate tuning.
If you have multiple drum sets, you can even create various presets and store them within the app for easy access too. It even doubles up as a drum app, for the inspiration-struck moments.
It even comes with a featured artist gallery for you to browse and discover new drummers…and hopefully get some inspiration from them ^^
Also available on iPhone
So, these are your options if you are looking for a mobile app Drum Tuner.
My Humble Opinion…
Personally, I think using the phone to tune my instrument is way more convenient than getting a physical tuner. Especially since I only tune my drum…once in a blue moon…
But hey, that’s just sloppy me.
If you are aiming to play professionally, you’d definitely want to get a physical tuner someday. Your drum kit could sound way better!
If you’re only here to look for suggestions on mobile app drum tuners, that’s all we have now!
Select one from the list above and be on your way~
If you are looking to purchase a mobile app drum tuner and are still hesitant about the features, these are the 3 features you’d absolutely get if you are paying for a drum tuner app:
2 Essential Features you’ll want to have in a Paid Drum Tuner Mobile App
Since you’re paying for an app created to tune drums, it’s only natural to want to make sure that the tuner can help you get your drum set tuned up…without needing other tool right?
Here are 2 features that I think you’ll want to have in your drum tuner:
This helps you to tune the pitch of your drum.
Mobile phones are equipped with microphones, this allows the app to capture the pitch of your drum kit and feedback its reading to you.
If you are paying for an app, you’d probably want one with a user-friendly interface and clear feedback so that you can tune your drums quickly.
Be sure to mute the resonate head when you are tuning the batter head, and vis versa.
The pitch tuner focuses on the sound produced when you hit the center of the drum, aka the pitch of the entire drum.
The Lug refers the the area along the drums’ circumference. The lug is usually the area adjacent to a tension rod.
The aim is to ensure that your drum sounds the same across all the lugs.
iDrumTune Pro tuner has a great lug tuner interface that allow you to measure the sound from the individual lugs. It then indicates the pitch of each specific lug, so that you know which lug to tune.
Most physical tuners can’t give you an overview visual representation of this, we think what iDrumTune Pro has done is great for beginners!
Here’s a quick tip, loosen the drum keys if you are trying to lower the pitch of your drum!
If you’re a new drummer, or have just purchase your first (or maybe second) drum kit, here are more resources for you:
How to Tune Your Drum Kit
If you are facing the overwhelming task of tuning your first drum kit, fret now.
Here are some useful guides you can refer to.
Tune Bot’s Tuning Guide: Comes with drum tuning instructions as well as individual tables for the recommended notes and its corresponding frequencies for each drum. Suggestions are also provided based on your drum configuration.
Drumeo’s Drum Tuning Videos: If you are a visual learner, this series of videos from Drumeo may suit you better:
- How to set up your drum kit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzq-hJW-jMI
- How to tune your Snare: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4E4NSkdmbPs&t=1s
- How to tune your Toms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3qMyc1G3XE
- How to tune your Bass Drum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zK0Ul2MCTck
- [BONUS] How to muffle your drum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJVFtthcoCY&t=562s
With all these said, don’t forget to train your ear too!
That’s all for now folks!
Let us know if you found this guide useful…and comment below to share which drum tuner app you chose in the end.