Uncategorized Posts

Midwest 2016 Zildjian Demo Cymbal Sale

We’ve partnered with Zildjian at this year’s Midwest Clinic to bring you some great prices on the cymbals that were on display in Chicago in December. Visit the link below to view the list of cymbals that are still available.

Zildjian Midwest Cymbal List

2016 Indoor Percussion Season Preview

Welcome back to the Chops blog.  Indoor Percussion season is already underway, and we’re proud to once again be the presenting sponsor for the Indiana Percussion Association!  Indoor Percussion continues to grow in popularity within the state and across the country.  We’re lucky to have one of the best and largest indoor percussion circuits in the country, and we’re proud to support the efforts of IPA and all of the participating groups.

Along with local IPA contests, there’s also a national WGI regional, hosted by Franklin Central, where you can see performances by ensembles from all over the Midwest.

Here’s a schedule of remaining contests to help you find a show near you!

February 27 IPA Invitational at Pendleton Heights HS
February 27 IPA Invitational at Owen Valley HS
March 5 IPA Invitational at Greenfield-Central HS
March 5-6 WGI Regional at Franklin Central HS
March 12 IPA Invitational at Ben Davis HS
March 12 IPA Invitational at New Palestine HS
March 19 IPA State Prelims/Divisional Finals at Avon HS and Decatur Central HS
April 2 IPA State Finals at Hulman Center, Indiana State University
April 9 WGI Preview Show at Center Grove HS (for groups going to WGI World Championships)


Come visit us at IPA State Prelims and State Finals!

We’ll be running a booth at state prelims (Avon site) and state finals, so if you’re attending either of these, make sure to stop by and say hi!  We’ll have of sticks, practice pads, mallets, stick bags, t-shirts, and many other items to choose from.  It would be a great time to try out all the different sticks and pads and take something home!

If you go to any shows, let us know what you think on our Facebook page! If you wear a Chops Percussion shirt, make sure to post a pic to our Facebook or Twitter page!

For more information on events, schedules, venues, ticket sales and more, visit the following:
Indiana Percussion Association (IPA)
Winter Guard International (WGI)

2015 DCI World Championships


Welcome back to the Chops blog.  We’re busy gearing up for the Drum Corps International (DCI) World Championships this week, held right here in Indianapolis!  It takes place all this week, at Lucas Oil Stadium and surrounding areas.  The competition inside Lucas Oil isn’t the only thing to see.  There are many events throughout the week, most of which are free and open to the public!

Here’s our basic guide to help you take in some of the action.

Drum Corps Competitions

Monday, August 3:    Open Class Prelims – Ames Field (Michigan City, IN)
Tuesday, August 4:   Open Class Finals – Ames Field (Michigan City, IN)
Thursday, August 6:             World Class Prelims – Lucas Oil Stadium
Friday, August 7:       World Class Semi-finals – Lucas Oil Stadium
Saturday, August 8: World Class Finals – Lucas Oil Stadium

Ticket prices vary by event.  See DCI Tickets for details.

See the DCI day-by-day guide for more information.

Individual & Small Ensemble Competition
Wednesday, August 5, 10am-5pm
Georgia Street

DrumLine Battle
Saturday, August 8, 11am-3pm
Georgia Street & Pan Am Plaza

Corps Warm-Up Zone
The show before the show!  Get up close to your favorite drumline or front ensemble as they warm-up and prepare for their performance.
Daily, Thursday-Saturday, depending on the contest schedule
-Military Park (Drumline warm-ups)
-Parking lots around Lucas Oil (Front Ensemble warm-ups)

Corps Rehearsal Sites
Watch your favorite corps rehearse before they head to Lucas Oil Stadium.
Various schools and other locations around Central Indiana

We have a list of rehearsal sites for the week, but they are not official.  Please visit the DCI website and consult the individual corps sites for more information and detailed schedules.

Unofficial Rehearsal List (pdf)

DCI Website Rehearsal/HousingList

Come visit us at the Vic Firth booth!

We’ll be running the Vic Firth booth, so if you’re attending any of the events inside the stadium, make sure to stop by and say hi!  We’ll also have special show pricing on Vic Firth sticks, practice pads, stick bags, t-shirts, and many other items.  It would be a great time to try some out all the Vic sticks and pads and take something home!


For more information on events, schedules, venues, ticket sales and more, visit the DCI Website.

If you go, let us know what you think on our Facebook page! If you wear a Chops Percussion shirt, post a pic with one of the drumlines in the background to our Facebook or Twitter page!

Drum Tuning Aids

Welcome back to the Chops blog! Today we’re going to follow up on our series on snare drum care and maintenance with an introduction to drum tuning aides.

In the final post on snare drum maintenance we discussed the subjective nature of drum tuning. Ask ten different drummers their opinions on tuning and you’ll get ten different answers!

Just like playing drums, it takes practice and experience to learn to tune them well. Fortunately, there are several products that can simplify and remove the guesswork from the process. We recommend the Drum Dial and Tune-Bot.


The Drum Dial  is a “timpanic pressure meter” that measures drum head tension. By simply placing it on the drum head you can easily read its tension and then tune accordingly. Check it out in action here:

We’ve found that with a little practice the Drum Dial makes tuning easy and consistent. We also like that it allows you to remove a head and tune it’s replacement to the same pitch. A customer recently told us that he relies on his Drum Dial to tune his drums accurately, especially in noisy environments when he can’t hear clearly.

We also carry the Tune-Bot, a newer tuning aid. It is an electronic device that works much like a tuner for pitched instruments. You can use it to tune your drums to a specific pitch, and match lug pitches. It also includes the ability to record and store your tuning preferences for future use.

While tuning drums is a skill that takes time and practice to develop, the Drum Dial and Tune-Bot are great tools to simplify the process. We’ve used, and recommend both to all percussionists. Contact us  to pick up a Drum Dial or Tune-Bot today!

Snare Drum Maintenance Part 5 – Installing Wires and Tuning

Welcome to the fifth and final post in our series on snare drum maintenance. Last time we discussed how to properly install new heads. Today we’ll finish the process by tuning the drum and reinstalling the snare wires.

Before we begin, it should be noted that unlike other instruments, tuning drums is a matter of personal preference. While there are general guidelines to tuning drums, every drummer will tune their drums differently depending on their touch, technique, equipment, experience, and the style of music they are playing. Here are our recommendations.

With the new heads installed, it’s time to begin tuning. Use the cross pattern we introduced in our previous lesson to gradually bring the up the tension on the top and bottom heads.

Use a drum key to turn each tension rod 90°, or a quarter turn. After turning all the tension rods, repeat the pattern several times until there is a moderate amount of tension on the head. Repeat this process on the bottom head.

After you’ve put a moderate amount of tension on each head, use the cross pattern as described above, but with much smaller adjustments to the tension rods to fine tune the drum. Make small adjustments until the drum is tuned to your preference.

I recommend tuning the bottom head significantly higher than the top head. This relationship will provide great snare wire response while limiting sympathetic vibrations.

After you’ve tuned up both heads, it’s time to reinstall the snare wires. Begin by setting the wires on the head. Insert the straps or cords to the butt plate and tighten them down.


Turn off the snare strainer and use the knob or lever to loosen it until it almost comes apart. Insert the straps or cords into the snare strainer then use your fingers to tighten them in place.


Turn on the strainer. With the straps held in by finger tension they will slip through the strainer as you turn it on. Notice the difference between the snare cord in the prior picture, and the picture below.


Finally, use your drum key to lock the wires into the strainer and adjust the snare strainer.

As we mentioned before, tuning a snare drum is a subjective process. The steps outlined above, and in previous posts, are recommendations based on our experience and preferences. You might have a totally different method, but that’s the beauty of tuning drums: there’s no absolute correct method. If it sounds good and works for you, it’s correct!

Please contact us with questions about tuning drums, recommendations on heads and snare wires, and with your own tuning methods. We look forward to hearing from you!