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Tru Tuner

Rapid Drumhead Replacement System

A Spirograph-type approach to cranking all the keys at once.

Regardless of where you stand on whether we actually tune or simply tension drums, an indisputable fact is that we have to remove and replace tension rods one at a time, or two if you use two drum keys, when changing a drumhead. And sometimes heads break at the worst time, like in the middle of a gig or recording session. So how can a change be made as quickly and efficiently as possible? The Tru Tuner Rapid Drumhead Replacement System ($74.99) offers one solution, with a claim that it can help you change a head in just about a minute.

The Tru Tuner is made of a clear, reinforced polycarbonate disc that’s incredibly strong and comes with a lifetime warranty. Included are ten chrome-plated keys designed specifically for the Tru Tuner, plus a zippered mesh bag for storing the keys. The handle folds flat, which allows you to easily store the Tru Tuner in a cymbal bag. The tuner is able to function on 8″ to 16″ drums with most standard lug patterns. The disc includes numbered start holes and lined rings to follow for each size.

Operating the Tru Tuner is as simple as placing a tuning key on each tension rod so that they all face the same direction, then lining up the keys with the corresponding outline for your size drum on the disc, attaching the disc, and turning the handle to loosen or tighten the rods.

After several initial tests with the Tru Tuner on various drum sizes, we averaged head changes in seventy-five to ninety seconds. This time included everything from initially placing the keys on the tension rods to removing the head and replacing it with a new one. Like any new gadget, the Tru Tuner took a little getting used to at first. We had to figure out how much pressure to apply so that the disc wouldn’t slide off the keys, and we had to make sure we held the rim securely to the Tru Tuner to ensure that the tension rods remained in line with the lugs when putting the tuner back on. After a little practice, though, we were able to cut down the change time to closer to the one-minute mark.

A couple of additional benefits of the Tru Tuner are its ability to tighten all the tension rods evenly across the drum at the same time, and the fact that it left a tuning key on each tension rod when the disc was removed. This allowed for quick fine-tuning afterward, when necessary. Check out a real-time video demo of the Tru Tuner at

Miguel Monroy