In Search of the Missing Fundamental: by Richard K. Jones
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Step No. 3

Using a tuning key, scratch tune the timpano head (following the cross-tuning sequence below) to the desired low note of the MSR. Do not use the pedal. If the pedal will not stay down (won’t hold the low pitch), adjust the balanced action mechanism’s tension system. (Please see individual manufacturers manual for the location of the spring tension adjustment and for the proper procedure.)

Place your fingertips, or a soft object like a wallet or a timpani mute, in the center of the drum head to deaden the sound. Tap the head in the normal striking position (about one to two inches out from each tension lug) with a medium hard stick and check the pitch. (I usually just place the fingertips of my left hand in the center of the head and tap with the fingers of my right hand.) At this point you will probably notice some difference in the pitch as you go from lug to lug. Get the pitch at each lug as close as you can by ear the best you can. Don’t spend too much time trying to get the pitch exact, just get it as close as you can.

diagram courtesy of the Yamaha Corporation