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FAQs | answers to questions asked frequently about the WTS drums | Welch Tuning Systems, Inc.


Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to the most common Welch Tuning System and WTS drum questions.

  • What is WTS?
    The Welch Tuning System™ (WTS) is a system of pulleys and cable that tensions both drum heads simultaneously with the turn of a single tuning knob, similar to tuning a guitar string. Instead of multiple tension rods, each WTS drum has one tuning knob connected to each drum shell, allowing you to tune the entire drum instantly and effortlessly without a drum key! To tune your WTS drums with the Welch Tuning System, turn the handle of the WTS tuning knob (mounted on the side of the drum) to lower or raise the pitch of your drum. The drum will retain that pitch until you turn the tuning knob again. Learn more about how WTS works!
  • What are the benefits of tuning both drum heads together?
    Instant, effortless tuning: Both heads are tensioned simultaneously, allowing you to change the pitch of the whole drum instantly and never worry about the top and bottom heads being out of tune from each other. Pure, resonant tone: WTS drums have up to 90% fewer holes and shell-mounted hardware than traditional tension rod drums and other cable-tuned drums, allowing the shells to resonate freely over a much wider tuning range. Experience full, rich tones like never before! Consistent and repeatable tuning: WTS unison tuning is much more consistent, reliable, and repeatable than drums with differing tensions on top and bottom heads, or drums with tension rods that can easily go out of tune. Lighter weight drums: With less hardware on the drum shell, WTS drums are more resonant and easier to transport than drums with excessive hardware mounted to the shell. Watch our videos to hear how great these drums sound!
  • How do you change heads with WTS?
    1) Completely loosen the cable by turning the tuning knob counterclockwise until the cable can be disconnected from the winding post. 2) Unlace the cable from the pulleys, and both hoops will be free to change one or both drumheads. 3) Replace the drumheads and re-align the hoops (see WTS Owner’s Manual for alignment guide on the How to Change Drum Heads page). 4) Thread the cable through the pulleys (similar to lacing your shoe), re-attach the cable to the tuning knob, and tighten the cable. Watch the tutorial to see how to change drum heads with WTS!
  • How strong is the WTS drum cable? Will it break?
    The WTS cable is high tensile strength braided stainless steel cable. You are more likely to damage your drum from over-tensioning before potentially damaging the cable. Under normal operation, we have never had a cable break! Normal drum tension will range from approximately 10-30% of the rated tensile strength of the cable. Under excessively high tension, the drum will choke up, the hoops will deform, and the tuning knob will become immobile before the tension of the cable reaches its rated tensile strength. NOTE: Over-tensioning could cause damage to your hoops or heads, so be kind to your drums and tune just like you would with any other stringed instrument! Never use any tool to assist turning the tuning knob handle. This is designed to be turned by hand only.
  • What if I want to tune the top head differently than the bottom head?
    A difference in tonal relationship between the heads can be achieved by using a thicker or thinner combination of heads. Under the same tension (as achieved with WTS), a thinner head will have a higher note than a thicker head. There are many different types of heads available, so experiment with a variety of combinations to find your unique sound! Watch our Drumhead Tuning Comparison Sessions on Youtube!
  • I know how to tune drums, how can WTS benefit me?
    WTS drums open up a new world of musical possibilities that are not feasible with standard tension rod drums. Now you can tune to any room or stage in seconds, and you are no longer stuck with one tuning for a whole show; you can change tuning mid-performance or mid-studio session. You can even tune your drums to the key of a song! Check out the reviews from top industry professionals, including Berkely professor Lil’ John Roberts, world-renowned drummer Steve Pruitt, and many more!
  • I am not very good at tuning drums, how can WTS benefit me?
    The Welch Tuning System (WTS) solves the most common problem drummers have: the difficulty in tuning drums. With WTS you never have to worry about playing an out-of-tune drum again! If you just want great sounding drums every time you play, plus the ability to change tuning instantly and effortlessly, then WTS drums are for you!
  • How often do I have to replace the WTS drum cable?
    We recommend changing the drum cable if there is ever any damage to it, or after 6 months of use. If you have custom-sized drums and are using our cut-to-size cable, the cables are reusable after changing heads. However, if the cable ends become frayed, use our Drum Cable Cutter tool to trim about 1 inch off of the end of the cable. The cable can be trimmed twice before needing to be replaced. We suggest replacing any damaged cables prior to playing in order to maintain system quality and safety. Order replacement drum cable here.
  • Why do the WTS drums sound so good?
    Every WTS drum features the revolutionary Welch Tuning System (WTS). WTS evenly tensions all points around both drum heads by utilizing self-adjusting pulley assemblies which allow the tension to equalize. As a result, both heads are always in tune with each other. We use the best materials and the highest standards of craftsmanship to manufacture instruments and hardware to be the finest in quality, style, appearance, and playing performance. Finally, the WTS drums have up to 90% fewer holes and hardware drilled in the shell compared to any other tuning system, creating an essentially free-floating system. Our shells are not choked up with excessive hardware bolted to the shell; with WTS pulleys attached to the hoops and only 4 holes drilled into each shell for the tuning knob, the drums are able to freely resonate. Learn more about the Welch Tuning System here.
  • How can I customize my sound?
    There are many ways to customize the sound of your WTS drums. In particular, you can find the head combination that produces the attack and sustain you desire. (For more details, see above: "What if I want to tune the top head differently from the bottom head?") Another option is dampening. You can adjust the sustain of a drum with products such as moongel, dampening rings, or cotton balls.
  • How can I buy the WTS drums?
    Visit our online store or find a dealer near you! No dealer in your area? Tell your local shop you want them to carry WTS drums! We're happy to work with them. Are you a retailer? Apply to become an authorized dealer today!
  • Can I retrofit my current drum kit with WTS hardware?
    While it is potentially possible that WTS could work on another brand of drums, we do not recommend retrofitting a drum set that has already been drilled for hardware, including tension rod casings, floor tom leg brackets, tom mounting brackets, and bass drum spurs. The WTS hardware-only buying option is designed for NEW DRUM BUILDS OR RE-BUILDS ONLY. It is NOT a retrofit kit. Why? Every drum brand installs hardware in different places on the shell (tom mounts, bass drum spurs, floor tom brackets, etc). Therefore, it is possible that any one of those pieces of hardware could potentially interfere with the cable path of the WTS system. We do not guarantee compatibility on any drum set that has already been drilled for hardware, including tension rod casings, floor tom leg brackets, tom mounting brackets, and bass drum spurs. If you want to outfit a previously drilled drum set with WTS, we recommended that all hardware be removed, all lug holes be filled, and the WTS hardware installed prior to re-drilling for tom brackets and bass spurs to ensure non-WTS hardware does not interfere with the path of the WTS cable. Please contact us with any questions before purchase! See all requirements/disclaimers on our WTS Hardware product pages. If you are a drum manufacturer interested in integrating the Welch Tuning System into your product line, please contact us directly: See our other Collaborations.

Do you have a question not covered in our Frequently Asked Questions list? Please contact us! We'd love to discuss our WTS drums, drum tuning system, company, and plans moving forward. We look forward to hearing from you!

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