Tuning The Tabla

The tuning of the tabla is dependent on the raga being played. The wooden dagga should be tuned very low, but, not so low that it does not compliment the tabla.
Tabla drumheads are attached and tuned by lacing. The lacing is looped through 16 holes on the edge of the head, over the body, and around a rawhide ring at the base of the drum. The lacing is pulled tight. For tuning, 8 tabla blocks are held under the lacing. These blocks are tapped with the tuning hammer to slacken or stretch the lacing. The subtle movement of the blocks alters the pitch of the drum. Tapping the blocks lower, increases the tension on the lacing and puddi, and raises the pitch of the drum. Fine tuning can be achieved by tapping the edge of the puddi or laces. It is important to have equal tension around the drum for proper tuning.
Re-heading a laced tabla requires some patience. Pay special attention to the way the lacing is wrapped before you remove the old head. It may take some time to re-lace, and some sweat to pull the lacing tight.
There is a nut and bolt style tunable tabla set which is often preferred to the lace tuning sets. The nut and bolt tuning allow fast replacement of the heads as well as ease of tuning.

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