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.

Educational Resource: Vic Firth Education 101

In this week’s blog we want to highlight an excellent resource for band directors and newer percussion instructors and can help to give more in depth information for all the basic instruments in the concert setting. With videos on everything from snare drum and bass drum to triangle and tambourine, the Vic Firth Education 101 series is logically broken down to highlight what a newer student would need to know about each instrument. The 101 series focuses on maintenance, set-up, performance tips, practice tips, etc. that can help you guide your students in the right direction from the beginning of their percussion journey.

The site even features external learning tools that can be used to reinforce what can be learned in the video by the way of study guides and quizzes. Using the study guides to review important points in class that you reinforce in person can go a long way to help your students understand all the fundamentals of the game. You can take this one step further by using the online quiz to evaluate what your students learned from the video nd in class reinforcement.

You can follow this link to the Vic firth Education 101 page:

Be Prepared: Percussion Emergency Repair Needs

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:  


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
SAE/Metric Allen Key Set


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: Innovative Percussion CMS-1

In this weeks blog we want to place the spotlight on a new product coming this year from Innovative Percussion. The new CMS-1 Concert Snare Multi-Stick is sure to become a favorite or multi-percussionist that have long desired a multi-stick that feels and responds great no matter which side you are using. These stick were designed in conjunction with Paul Rennick and modeled after his very popular marching tenor stick, but shaped down and constructed for better use in the concert setting.

The CMS-1 will give you the ability to play with both ends of the stick, while maintaining the feel and balance of a regular drumstick. The tip has a Taj Mahal shape with allows for some added weight at the front of the stick to help with playing low-end passages while still getting the warmth out of your drum. The butt end has a latex sleeve that will give any performer another tool to use on many surface such as wood blocks, toms, and more, elimination the need to switch to another mallet or beater. This smooth transition is sure to work well in many concert percussion settings, multi percussion solos, and even in front ensemble set-ups. At 16″ 9/16″ in length and .640″ in diameter these sticks offer the perfect blend for the concert percussion setting while still giving you added versatility.

For more information about these sticks or to get some on order give us a call today or stop by for a visit.
Phone: 317.813.2070 or 1.877.900.DRUM (3786)

Indiana Percussion Association Season Preview: 2021

Welcome back to the Chops blog!  Indoor Percussion season is about to get 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 around the world.  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. The Indiana Percussion Association is celebrating their historic 25th year in existence this year and while things might still be a little different from normal, we are  so excited to see the students, directors, and parents enjoy an activity we all love!

Here’s a schedule contests for 2021 to help you find a show near you! (*denotes wind divisions at show)

February 13    IPA Invitational at Franklin Central HS
February 13    IPA Invitational at Norwell HS*

February 20   IPA Invitational at Franklin Community HS
February 20   IPA Invitational at Decatur Central HS*

February 27    IPA Invitational at New Palestine HS
February 27    IPA Invitational at Greenfield Central HS*

March 06        IPA Invitational at Carroll HS
March 06        IPA Invitational at Greenfield Invitational HS – Winds Only
March 06        IPA Invitational at Perry Meridian HS*

March 13         IPA Invitational at Plainfield HS
March 13         PSB/Winds Prelims at Pendleton Heights HS*

March 20        IPA State Prelims & PSB/Winds State Finals Avon HS or Center Grove HS

March 27        IPA State Finals at Ben Davis High School

Come visit us at IPA State Prelims and State Finals!
We have plans for running a booth at state prelims and state finals, so if you’re attending either of these, make sure to stop by and say hi!  We’ll have sticks, practice pads, mallets, stick bags, t-shirts, and many other items to choose from.

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)