Tips Posts

Set-Up Demonstration: Percussion/Combo Kit

During this time of year we get a lot of questions about starter percussion kits and how to go about setting them up properly. The Debut instrument rental program from Paige’s Music offers a few different options for starting percussion students. You can find a video below to the Percussion (bell kit only) or Combo Kit(bell and snare) model that comes with many components that you will need to know how to set-up. By following the video and keeping the tips below in mind, you should have no problem getting you instrument set-up properly right from the start!

Set-Up Demonstration: Xylo Kit

During this time of year we get a lot of questions about starter percussion kits and how to go about setting them up properly. The Debut instrument rental program from Paige’s Music offers a few different options for starting percussion students. You can find a video below to the Xylo Kit model that has become popular over the last few years with many schools. By following the video and keeping the tips below in mind, you should have no problem getting you instrument set-up properly right from the start!

Common Concert Snare Drum Maintenance

There are some common maintenance issues that will arise over time with relation to your concert snare drum. While most of these are fairly simple we have tried to highlight issues that can be taken care of by you with little knowledge of percussion repair.

Cleaning: Wipe down each drum with a soft cloth, including the hardware and the shell. If there is extreme dirt or grime, you can use denatured alcohol diluted in water. If you have anything that is extremely sticky use a small amount of valve oil. In both cases, put the product on the cloth instead of spraying directly on the drum.

Parts Inspection: Do a visual inspection for any missing or broken parts that may need replaced. Some common parts missing or broken include the following:

  • Bent Tension Rods
  • Damaged Tension Posts or Tubes
  • Bent Strainer from overtightening snare strands
  • Bent or out of Round Rims
  • Inspect the bearing edges when heads are off for any damage

Head Replacement: Changing the heads on a concert snare drum that is used regularly should happen about once a year. Over time the head will get stretched so far that it will not hold tuning for long even if tuned daily. If the head is dented, ripped, or severely scratched consider replacing the heads. While changing a drum head is a fairly easy task, when you have to do it quickly and on your own there are a few things to consider.

  • Use two drum keys in a cross pattern to quickly remove the head.
  • Keep the tension rods attached to the rim.
  • Quickly remove any debris from the rim.
  • Take your time to make sure the head is seated properly on the bearing edge.
  • Finger tighten in a cross pattern and then using a drum key in the cross pattern.
  • Placing a finger in the center of the head can help you determine when the head is ready to tune.

Snare Strand (Wires) Detach: A common issue on a snare drum is for the snare strand to become detached or become loose even with the strainer working properly.

  • Remove any old string or nylon strip and attach new ones.
  • Let some tension out of the strainer knob to allow for adjusting later on.
  • Attach the butt-side first being sure to center the strands from side to side.
  • Attach the throw-off side with it in the “ON” position. Make sure it is tight but leave some room for adjustment.

Damaged or Bent Shell: Inspect the shell for and damage. Metallic shells with dents can often be put back into round by a repair technician.

If you continue to find issue with the way your concert snare drum is performing or sounding after going through these common tips, feel free to give us a call and we talk help diagnose the problem.

What’s Old is New – Getting Rid of Rust

A majority of percussion equipment contains some type of metal that is prone to developing rust after years of wear and tear.  This could be an old snare drum with rusted out lugs, rusty rims and rust on the shell, or an old set of bells that has lost its shine. Don’t let the rust stand in the way of an instrument being used properly and sounding great.  With a little bit of time and some elbow grease you can make those OLD instruments look and sound NEW again.

You can quickly and effectively remove rust on your percussion equipment by following a few steps:

Step 1: Remove parts from the instrument so that all areas can be exposed to cleaning.  Do not try to clean or remove rust with parts still attached the instrument.  For instance, remove all lugs from the drum so they can be cleaned individually and all the way around.

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!