Take Care of Your Instruments This Fall

tenors-rain

As we move into the latter part of the fall marching band season, we’re faced with weather hazards that can do much damage to our instruments. It’s near the end of the season, so we can’t just escape inside to rehearse music if rain and very cold weather continues to hit during rehearsal times. Eventually, you have to go outside. There’s also the possibility of having to deal with these elements during a contest performance.
Here are some tips to help make sure your instruments survive the elements this fall.

During Rehearsals and Performances

  • Use covers as much as possible for your mallet instruments, especially when drill is a focus and the pit isn’t playing all the time. If raining during rehearsal, keep mallets dry and use old mallets if available. Keep your “show mallets” in good condition.
  • Try to avoid too much water collecting on your drum heads and dump if needed.
  • Keep tenor drums down in playing position and don’t allow the inside wood shells to get soaked if raining heavy.
  • Keep stick tips and bass drum mallets dry. Use old sticks and mallets if possible.
  • Use a window squeegee to clear water collected on timpani heads
  • In very cold temperatures, be careful not to overplay cymbals as they are more susceptible to cracks.
    “Warming” a gong should always be done before striking it (lightly tapping it to get it vibrating) but this is even more important during cold temperatures to help avoid cracks.
  • Cover electronics with tarps, trash bags or anything to keep them dry. Clear plastic can be used over electronic keyboards, leaving just enough room for the player’s hands, so the student can still see the keyboard and participate.
  • Cover any mics with small garbage bags. (Make sure there aren’t any holes!)

After:

  • Take covers off and lay out to dry.
  • Use towels to soak up water that may have collected around the edges of drumheads or anywhere water may be hiding.
  • Lay electronic cables out to dry.
  • If any electronics may have gotten wet or damp, place a fan blowing on them to help get them dry as fast as possible.
  • Make sure to dry EVERYTHING off (instruments, frames, hardware, etc) to avoid rust and other damage.

We can’t always get the perfect weather during marching season and are sometimes forced into elements that are not ideal. Take the time to keep your instruments in good condition to avoid damage and costly replacements and repairs. Good luck the rest of the season!

Upgrading to a Marimba from Your Starting Bell/Xylophone Kit

While many percussion students will start with a bell kit or small xylophone when they start band in middle school, these instruments are meant to help you learn the basics of playing mallet percussion instruments and come with limitations if you plan on getting more serious and want to practice at home. We would like to take some time in today to cover some of the key advantages to upgrading to either the Adams AMPD33R or the Adams MSPA43 marimba.

The starter mallet percussion instrument is designed to help facilitate young percussion students at learning the basic fundamentals of technique, but most importantly how the notes are laid out on the instrument and how that relates to the music on the page. These instruments are often limited in the range of the instrument, general sound quality, and nuance in technique as a percussion student grows older.

Here at Chops Percussion we offer students the opportunity to upgrade from their starter percussion instrument into a marimba by offering good quality and affordable at home practice instruments that can help a student move passed the beginner stage and become truly great keyboard percussion players. We believe the following points are the biggest advantages to considering an upgrade to a larger instrument.

  • Range: With most starter percussion kits only being 2.5 octaves, the 3.3 and 4.3 marimba can help a student start to explore different solo options in the convenience of their home, rather than staying after school to practice.
  • Bar Size: The size of the bars and spacing between notes offered on the Adams AMPD33R or the Adams MSPA43 marimba models, are much closer to the marimba that would be at the students school. This means that practicing at home for that crucial playing test will be done with ease. Preparing a piece for your percussion ensemble at school will be easier and allow you to be even more accurate on the school instrument. The larger bar size can take your playing to the next level and help you feel confident in the transition from practicing at home and playing at school.
  • Quality of Sound: No more shrill bell sounds or bring harsh xylophone sounds. The Adams AMPD33R or the Adams MSPA43 marimba both have resonators under the bars and the high quality Paduak wood that is used is both cost effective and have a great sound.
  • Confidence and Enjoyment: The truth is that having a better quality instrument will mean that you look forward to practicing more and when you do practice you will likely practice for longer periods of time as you make great sounds from the nicer instrument. This will in turn boost your confidence and help you advance your playing at a faster rate.

If you or your students are interested in finding out pricing or talking more one on one about the best option for you feel free to give us a call or send an email to chops@chopspercussion.com. WE look forward to helping you and your students continue to grow on their percussion journey.

Demo and Clearance List at Chops Percussion

We have recently updated our demo/clearance list with more products at a great price. Everything from marching drums, carriers, stick bags, sticks, and more. We even have two Roland SPD-X Drum Samplers on Clearance that are brand new! With many great offers take a second to check out the list at the link below and give us a call to check on availability as the list and quantities are constantly changing. We are sure there is something on the list that you can get at an amazing price that will be a great addition to your percussion gear!

https://www.chopspercussion.com/run?useUX=true&id=8&opid=712&_tid=379

Note: All sales are final for all items on the clearance list and are not able to be returned.

Call us today to check for stock availability – (317) 813-2070.

It’s Marching Season! Be Prepared for Any Situation

With indoor percussion shows starting to happen on a weekly basis, we thought it would be a good idea to give you a small reference of items you should always keep on hand during show days in case of an emergency. While you can’t always predict when an emergency or accident will happen, you can be prepared for some of the most common issues by having a proper percussion repair kit available to you and your students at all times. A great idea is to get a tackle-box or divided toolbox that is always with your percussion section whether it is during travel to a show, a concert in the auditorium, or a rehearsal on the field.  By keeping the following items in your kit you will be able to address many repairs quickly and efficiently.

The following items are standard tools and supplies to keep in your toolbox:  

Tools

Drum Key (Standard) 
SAE/Metric Wrench Set
Drum Key (High Tension T-Style) 
Screw Drivers (Various – Phillips and Flat)
Drum Dial 
Medium Sized Vice Grips
Timpani Key (Ludwig/Yamaha vs. Adams) 
Needle Nose and Regular Pliers
Scissors
SAE/Metric Allen Key Set
Lighter 

Supplies

White Lithium Grease (Tube or Container)  
Various Size Cymbal Felts (large, small, hi-hat, clutch)  
Wing Nuts (8mm and 6mm)  
Cymbal Stand Sleeves (6mm and 8mm)  
Keyboard Percussion String (Paracord is best – 1/8” shock cord)  
Snare Strand Cord or Nylon Strips
Various Size Nuts/Bolts (Most Common are 10m or 12m and ⅞” or ½”)

It is very important to have tools in both standard and metric, as depending on where things are made, you will have all sizes and types to fit most of your percussion needs. Being prepared is the number one factor in performing emergency repair needs for percussion instruments.  While you may end up needing to perform a “quick fix” to get you by for a performance, having the right items for those scenarios will go a long way into getting your gear working again.

If you need more suggestions or help with percussion repairs feel free to give us a call today at 1-877-900-3786 or bring your equipment into the shop for a free evaluation.

Product Spotlight – Promark SPYR Series Mallets

While the SPYR series of mallets from Promark have been out for a few years, we thought we would take some time to review what the series involves and some of the different options available within the series of mallets. Promark began a new process for making all their mallets where they do more of the processing in house and have new technology for attaching the shaft to the mallet balls/cores with epoxy and threaded molds. This new technology has increased the durability of their mallets to allow them to be used longer and have less issues with the mallet heads.

The SPYR series is a collaboration with world-renowned percussionists, designers and educators Kevin Shah and Tony Nunez. They have designed this with the educator in mind and these are also budget friendly options that can cover the multitude of mallet percussion instruments. With 20 different models tthere is a mallet for every situation you can think of in your percussion literature.  These mallets would be a great lineup for middle school directors looking to have options but on a budget. With a clear color coding system for soft to hard mallets it is very easy for even the untrained percussionist to find the right mallet for any musical setting.

Amazon.com: ProMark Vibraphone Mallet - 1 3/8" Round Core - 16-1/2 inch LengthIdeal for Articulate Sound on Vibraphone - 1 Pair : Musical Instruments

 

The list of options with in the SPYR series can be seen below with intended use and details.

Xylophone/Bell/Crotale Mallets

SU1R – Soft Rubber, 15 3/8″ Rattan Shaft, 1 1/4″ ball, Marimba/Xylophone
SU2R – Meidum Rubber, 15 3/4″ Rattan Shaft, 1 1/2″ ball, Marimba/Xylophone
SU3R – Hard Rubber, 14″ Rattan Shaft, 1 1/8″ ball, Xylophone
SU4R – Medium Poly, 13 3/4″ Rattan Shaft, 1 1/8″ round, Xylophone/Bells
SU5R – Medium Hytrel, 14 1/3″ Rattan Shaft, 1 1/4″ round, Xylophone/Bells
SU6R – Medium-Hard Hytrel, 13 3/4″ Rattan shaft, 1 1/8″ round, Xylphone/Bells
SU7R – Hard Lexan, 13 3/4″ Rattan shaft, 1 1/8″ round, Xylphone/Bells
SU8R – Medium -Hard Nylon, 13″ Rattan Shaft, 1″ round, Xylophone/Bells
SU9R – Hard Delrin, 14 1/2″ Rattan Shaft, 1 1/4″ round, Xylophone/Bells
SU10R – Very Hard Delrin, 13 3/4″ Rattan shaft, 1 1/8″ round, Xylphone/Bells
SU11R – Large Aluminum, 13″ Rattan Shaft, 1″ round, Bells/Crotales
SU12R – Small Aluminum, 12 3/4″ Rattan Shaft, 7/8″ round, Bells/Crotales
SU13R – Medium Brass, 12 3/4″ Rattan Shaft, 5/8″ round, Bells
SU14R – Small Brass, 12 1/2″ Rattan Shaft, 1/2″ round, Bells

Marimba Mallets

SM1 – Very Soft Yarn, Birch Shaft, Marimba
SM2 – Soft Yarn, Birch shaft, Marimba
SM3 – Medium Yarn, Birch shaft, Marimba
SM4 – Medium Hard Yarn, Birch shaft, Marimba
SM5 – Hard Yarn, Birch Shaft, Marimba
SM6 – Very Hard Yarn, Birch Shaft, Marimba

Vibraphone Mallets

SV1R – Soft Yarn, Rattan Shaft, Vibraphone
SV2R – Medium Cord, Rattan Shaft, Vibraphone
SV3R – Hard Cord, Rattan Shaft, Vibraphone
SV4R – Very-Hard Cord, Rattan Shaft, Vibraphone

If you need some suggestions about what a good option might be for you from this series of mallets send an email to chops@chopspercussion.com or give us a call at 317-813-2070.