How to tension drum skins

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Replacing the skin on your drums is an important skill to learn if you play drums regularly, whether it’s live or at home. Sometimes the drum skin can be so old that it’s lifeless and the sound is dull; it may also be the case that a drum skin splits, which will also affect the sound quality. Although it is not a huge challenge to stretch and attach a skin to a drum head, a few tools and a little know-how is required.


Step One

Place the drum skin on the shell of your drum, making sure it is the right size for the drum shell; it should not hang too far over the edges. Wipe down the rim off your drum and place it on top of the skin so that it sits along the edge of your drum shell so that the lugs fit in the appropriate holes around the shell.


Step Two

Tighten all the lugs with your hand first. Once the lugs are hand tight, stretch the skin by making a fist and pressing down in the middle of the skin. Hand tighten all the lugs again after stretching.


Step Three

Tighten your skin using the drum key. Tighten the lugs one at a time using the drum key. Don't tighten by going around the drum in a circle; instead, tighten a lug and then tighten the one opposite that lug and continue to tighten all the lugs in this fashion.


Step Four

Once the skin is tightened using a drum key you can now tune your drum to the right pitch.


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