Modern Drummer Legends Series To Feature Neil Peart

If you are a fan of the late, great Neil Peart, you are going to want to get your hands on one of these books. We will only have 5 available, so you may want to call to reserve a copy ASAP.

“Neil Peart’s ten appearances on the cover of Modern Drummer magazine span the years 1980, when he was five albums and several tours into his historic run with the Canadian progressive rock band Rush, and 2020, the year of his passing. No other drummer has come close to appearing so many times on the front of a drum publication, certainly not the world’s most recognized one. This, the first installment in Modern Drummer magazine’s Legends book series, collects all nine of Peart’s cover stories, plus the complete contents of his May 2020 Modern Drummer tribute issue. Highlights include analyses of Neil’s performances on every Rush studio album, a survey of the evolution of his famous live drumkits, transcriptions of deep Rush cuts, and much more.”

Troubleshooting Common Timpani Issues

 

Common Timpani Issues

 

With the school year well underway, you may start to notice some issues with your timpani after they sat around all summer not being used. Timpani are one of the more misunderstood percussion instruments with regards to function and reparability, but knowing some common issues that occur can give you a better understanding of what to check.

 

            Issue #1 – The Pedals Slip (Won’t stay in position)

 

When the pedal on timpani is not holding either in the high or low position it is more often than not related to the range of the drums.  Over time, the heads continue to stretch and can cause the drums to become out of range and thus not allowing spring and head to be balanced with tension.  This is the first thing to check if you have pedal issues.  You should check that the lowest note on each drum is correct as seen below:

 

 

If the pedal slips forward from the lowest position, it likely means that the drum is too low and needs to be brought up to the correct low note.  Holding the pedal in the heel down (low position) make small adjustments to each tension rod until you have the lowest note.

 

If the pedal is moving back from the upper position, it likely means you need to add a little bit of tension to the spring.  However, it is important to check the low note and make sure you have this first.  If the low note is correct, adjust the spring.

 

 

Issue #2 – The Pedal is Hard to Move or is Stuck

 

This can be caused by many things, but the first thing to check is that nothing appears to be broken or snapped as this can cause things to stop working completely.  More than likely, the balance between the head and spring are not correct so checking these first is a good idea.  Other things to check would be the braking systems being to tight and thus not allowing the pedals to move freely.  On Ludwig drums this can be found under the pedal while on Yamaha drums this is often found near the center under the bowl.

 

            Issue #3 – The Drums Won’t Stay in Tune

 

If you are having issues with the drums constantly going low after tuning them up it likely means you are in need of a head change.  Timpani heads should be changed every one to two years depending on your daily usage.

 

If you just changed the heads recently and they just don’t sound great or don’t seem to hold a pitch well they likely need to be cleared and tuned up by a professional.  Since the process of clearing and getting timpani in tune with themselves can be tricky it is best to have someone familiar with the process check out the drums.

 

If you notice something that is not listed here, it is likely something that will need to be inspected and serviced by a professional repair technician. You may find yourself understanding what the cause of the issue may be but not confident in fixing the issue.  Give us a call at 317-813-2070 and we can make a visit to your school to ensure your timpani are in top working condition.

 

Brian Travelsted

Percussion Repair Technician

brian@chopspercussion.com

 

 

 

 

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!

Paige’s Music Staff Spotlight with Brian Travelsted

Paige’s Music has an interview series on their blog they call the Staff Spotlight. The latest episode featured our very own Brian Travelsted. Check out his interview below to learn about all he does here at Chops!

The Positive Impact Drumming Has On Mental Health

* This is a blog from January of 2020. I figured since this year has kicked everyone in the shins, we could use a reminder!

Research conducted by the Royal College of Music in London shows that drumming can have a drastic impact on one’s mental health. A 10 week group drumming program reduced depression in the participants by 38% and anxiety by 20%! The 10 week study also shows social resilience improving by 23% and overall mental well-being by 16%. These numbers are astounding to me, but when I think about how I feel when I’m playing drums with my band, I am not at all surprised.

Full disclosure: I suffer from depression. Some times are worse than others and the winter can be the most brutal for me. Getting behind my drum set and playing is a huge lift for my mood and my self-esteem. It’s the one thing I have in my life that I can constantly count on to give me joy. I’m so glad to know that drumming can be therapeutic for so many others.

If you have never played but have always wanted to learn, or you would just like to find a new outlet to release some of that negative energy, maybe now is the time for you! If you’re in the Indianapolis area, Bongo Boy Music School offers group drumming, as well as private instruction. Bongo Boy offers many wellness sessions for people of all ages and ability levels. Learn more about the wellness program here.

Click here to check out the article on the Royal College of Music study.

I wish you all the very best mental and physical health this year and every year after. Cheers!