December 2015 Posts

How Do I Tune My Drums? – FAQs

“So….. how do we tune the drums once we get them set up?” That is one of the FAQ’s we get when someone buys a drum set for the first time. There are many different ways to tune your drums; just look at all of the tuning articles and videos on the internet! We’re going to try and simplify this process for you with the video links and PDF below. Learning to tune drums is a huge part of playing them, so be sure to pay attention to what you see/read (thanks to Evans Drumheads and Drumeo for the great info). You also need to practice and experiment with tuning so that you can find the sound that suits YOU the best. Let us know if anything you see or read doesn’t quite make sense; we’d be glad to help you out!

Evans Drumheads Tuning Tips

Drumeo Tuning Videos

Tuning Your Toms

Tuning Your Bass Drum

Tuning Your Snare Drum

Gift Ideas – Part 3

Welcome back to the Chops blogs! Today we’re going to finish our series on holiday gifts by discussing some last minute ideas.

#1 – Sticks and mallets

As we’ve already discussed, drummers and percussionists can never have too many sticks or mallets. See our previous entry here. If you are purchasing a gift for a drummer, consider purchasing them several pairs of their favorite stick. If you are purchasing a gift for a percussionist, consider replacing mallets they use regularly, or expanding their collection with a type of mallet they need.

Again, be sure to know which brand and model your drummer or percussionist prefers before making a purchase.

#2 – Metronome

A metronome is a crucial tool for the rhythmic and time development of all drummers and percussionists. We carry many metronomes, ranging from the $31 Seiko DM50 to the $159 Boss Dr. Beat. We prefer the features and price of $69 Boss DB-60.

#3 – Accessories

All drummers and percussionists also need accessories!

For the drummer, consider drum keys, dampening products (MoonGel, etc.), replacement tension rods or cymbal felts, or cleaning products. For the percussionist, consider drum keys, replacement parts, or small instruments such as triangles or tambourines. For the marching drummer, consider stick tape, or stick bags.

If you’ve waited until the last minute to purchase gifts for a drummer or percussionist, don’t worry, they’re easy to purchase gifts for. Please contact us for advice or help finding a product.

Chops Percussion will be open the following hours this week:
Monday – Wednesday: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Thursday: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Friday-Sunday: Closed

My First Drumset


We shared this blog post at about this time last year.  Christmas is a popular time for kids to get their first kit, so it seemed appropriate to share this again. is a great resource for those just getting started in the world of drumming.

Are you taking up drumming for the first time? Are you buying a drum set for the drummer in your life this holiday season? If so, you may want to start at This website was created by the people at Pearl Drums with the idea of educating not only the drummer, but the parent or loved one who is buying the set. Here are the highlights:

  • A “Welcome to Drumming” video with appearances by some of the top names in the drumming world.
  • A step-by-step video that shows you how to correctly unpack and set up your drum set.
  • Video tips on tuning, warming up, and playing your first beats on your new drum set.
  • A drum set buying guide.
  • A very informative FAQ section.
  • Statistics that show what a great thing drumming can be for the mind, body, and spirit!

If you or someone you love has decided that this is the year to take up drumming, there really is no better place to start than! And when you’re ready to make the purchase, Chops Percussion has many great instrument options for you to choose from, including the Roadshow kit. We also have a rent-to-own program that features the Pearl Export: The best selling drum set of all-time! Be sure to check out all of our rental offerings at Welcome to the world of drumming!

IPA Clinic Day 2015 Is This Saturday!


The 2015 IPA Clinic Day will be held this Saturday, December 12th, 2015 alongside the Individual & Ensemble event at Franklin Community HS (map). And once again, IPA is very excited to bring you a multitude of outstanding clinic day activities for this annual event. This year’s event will also feature clinicians for instructors, the IPA Individual and Ensemble contest, and the IPA Winter Meeting. All students interested in attending this event will need to register and pay a $15 participation fee in advance (instructors will be admitted free), or walk-ins are welcome for $20 at the door.

Registration begins at 8:30am and the clinics kick-off at 9:00am.

View the full schedule.

2015 Clinicians Include:

  • Pablo Rieppi – New York City Ballet Orchestra/NY Philharmonic
  • BYOS – Entertainment and Performing Arts duo
  • Glenn Kotche – Drumset player for Wilco
  • Colin Hill and Brian Blume – BluHill Percussion Duo
  • Bonnie Whiting – Percussion director of DePauw
  • Plus… the DePauw University Percussion Ensemble and
    the Pendleton Heights High School Percussion Ensemble

Director Clinics:

  • Josh Torres – How to Build a Percussion Program
  • Christian Good – Electronics Clinic

Go here to register. Online registration ends December 8, 2015!

Clinic Day Flyer (click for full resolution version)


Gift Ideas – Part 2

Welcome back to the Chops blog! Today we’re going to continue our series on holiday gift ideas.

As you’re well aware, drums and percussion can be very loud. Fortunately, there are many products available that limit or reduce their volume during practice. For family, friends, and neighbors, these products are essential for maintaining sanity. Today we’re going to highlight some of our favorite volume-reducing practice tools.

#1 – Practice Pads

A practice pad is a device that replicates the feel and sound of a drum, but is much quieter. They make practice easy, quiet, and most importantly, bearable for others. Every drummer and percussionist should own a practice pad.


Many styles of practice pads are available, but they normally fit into two categories: general use, and marching.

General use pads work well for concert, drumset, and marching use. They normally feature a gum rubber surface, but might include a plastic rim and real drum head. For more information on our favorite general use practice pads, please see our previous blog entry here.

If you are purchasing a practice pad for a student that participates in a marching activity, such as band or winter drumline, you should consider a marching pad. These pads feature playing surfaces that replicate the feel of a high tension marching drum. For more information, please see our previous comparison here.

General use pad – $18-35
Marching pad – $35-160

#2 – Practice Sticks and Tips

Practice sticks and tips are recent inventions that are similar to practice pads.

Practice sticks are normal drum sticks that have soft rubber tips. They allow the drummer or percussionist to practice quietly on any hard surface, such as a table, countertop, or the floor. Pictured here are the ProMark TXXB3 (Scott Johnson), Vic Firth Ralph Hardimon Chopout, Vic Firth MS5 Chopout, and 5B Chopout.


You can also purchase practice tips, which can be used with any stick. Pictured here are the Vic Firth Practice Tips, Innovative Percussion Practice Tips, and B. Rad Percussion Uglytips.


Before purchasing practice tips, be sure to know the type of stick on which they will be used. Most practice tips will not fit on marching sticks.

Practice sticks – $10-25
Practice tips – $5-10

#3 – Mutes

For the concert percussionist and drum set drummer, mutes are available for quiet practice. They are thin foam disks that set on top of drums and cymbals to limit their volume.

Mutes are available in sets and individually. The sets include a complete set of mutes for a drum set, including drums and cymbals. Pictured here are the Evans Soundoff mutes, and Vic Firth Vic Drum Mutes.


Mute sets are available in several different sizes, so be sure to know the sizes you need before making a purchase.

Individual – $12
Set – $65-120

Like we discussed last time, giving a gift to a drummer or percussionist doesn’t have to be expensive. Practice pads, sticks, tips, and mutes will allow your drummer or percussionist to practice quietly for a modest price. Please contact us to purchase any of these items or help finding another gift!