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Tuning Conga Drums

Posted by X8 DRUMS
Conga tuning is a really up to the player. There is not a specific tone that any one drum should be tuned to, but there are some guidelines. When playing with harmonic instruments, they may be tuned to specific notes. Generally conga drums are tuned using the open tone. The open tone is played with the four fingers near the rim of the head, producing a clear resonant tone with a distinct pitch. The main thing to remember is that the drum must be in tune with itself. No matter what pitch you tune to, every tension lug point on the drumhead should be tuned to that same pitch. The pitch of the drum is up to you. You may want to tune high, you may want to tune low. Remember that every drum has a specific pitch that produces that best tone and most resonance. You may want to take some time to experiment and find that pitch. As for tuning multiple drums, again this is a personal choice.

The most common tuning would be to tune your conga (11 3/4") drum first (to whatever pitch you desire), and then tune the tumba (12 1/2") a fourth below it and/or the quinto (11") a fourth above it. A fourth is simply a term for a specific interval between pitches. An easy way to remember a fourth is the song "Here Comes the Bride." The two notes in the singing of that song constitute a fourth. If the conga is tuned to "Here_," then the quinto should be tuned to "comes the bride" (a fourth above). For tuning the tumba, the pitch of the conga would now become "comes the bride," and the tumba would be tuned to the pitch of "Here" (a fourth below). Again, tuning is very subjective and this is only one method. Also, be sure that you detune your congas after each playing. Natural heads are affected by temperature and weather, and can stretch out and lose tunability. Loosening the tension between playing sessions will prolong the life of the head.

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