When I-Tunes Goes Away What About The Music I Purchased Native Drums – How to Tune Your Native Indian Drum

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Native Drums – How to Tune Your Native Indian Drum

Native drum tuner

If your drum sound sounds flat and dull then it needs tuning, before we get into the “how to tune” part, let’s discuss the factors that affect rawhide. Rawhide naturally shrinks or expands depending on certain conditions. In cold, damp and humid weather or such environments, the rawhide expands. In hot and dry weather or when exposed to a heat source, raw skin contracts.

Now, armed with this rawhide knowledge, we can use it to our advantage to tune our drum to that perfect tone we want. When your drum tone is flat and dull and the rawhide seems to be loose then you need to make the rawhide tighter. We now know that exposing our drum to a heat source shrinks the rawhide.

warning! Excessive exposure of the drum to heat can lead to permanent damage. Please read it again, because whatever heat source you use it is important to know this. So don’t put your drum in front of or near a heat source and forget about it. Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s look at some different methods we can use to heat up our drum, which causes the raw skin to shrink and gives us a better tune/tone from our drum.

Methods to tune your drum

  • Hair Dryer – The fastest and easiest way to tune a drum. Start in the center of the drum and move towards the edges. Should only take a few minutes.
  • Heat lamp – Place the drum in front of the heat lamp, again it should only take a few minutes. Play the drum occasionally to check the tone.
  • heater or fireplace– With this method it is important not to place the drum too close to the heat. If it’s too hot for your hand then you need to move the drum away.
  • fire – The preferred method of native Indians to tune their drums. Most of us have seen the image of native Indians dancing around a fire beating their drums. Just be careful not to place your drum too close to the naked flames.

Any of the above methods work well, just make sure you don’t overdo it. That is, leave the drum in front of or too close to the heat source for too long. If you do this, over time the rawhide will overstretch and eventually lose its natural elastic quality.

Also, if you overdo it, the rawhide can shrink too much and damage the wooden frame of the drum. Regardless of the method you use, check the tone of the drum as you go through the process by playing the drum until you are happy with the tone. Provided it’s done correctly, you can use these methods over and over again without affecting the lifespan of the drum.

So far we’ve talked about ways to tune your drum if it sounds flat and dull. What if you have the opposite problem? On a dry and hot day the drum may sound very high pitched; In this case the best way to loosen the rawhide is by spraying or sprinkling small amounts of water on the rawhide.

Start at the edges of the drum and work your way to the middle. Let it rest for a few minutes and then check the tone of the drum. Keep repeating until you get the desired tone. Avoid wetting the wooden frame of the drum and just like the heating method do not overdo it. Actually use this method if you overheat your drum to loosen the rawhide.

Other Factors Affecting the Melody and Tone of Native American Drums.

Besides environmental conditions there are other factors that affect the tone and pitch of Indian drums. they:

  • Drum size. Generally, the larger the size of the drum, which includes the surface area of ​​the rawhide, width and depth of the wooden frame, the deeper the tone and the more restrained the tone. Small drums tend to have a sharper higher pitch. Although other factors come into play that can affect melody, tone and pitch, regardless of size.
  • rawhide thickness. In my experience the thickness of the rawhide has the biggest effect on the tone of drums, especially “rim drums”. The thicker the skin, the deeper the tone and pitch. Thinner skins have a higher sharp height. So you can have a large drum with a thin skin that produces a sharp sharp tone or a smaller drum with a thick skin that produces a deep long tone.

These are all important factors that you should consider when choosing your drum.

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