Take Care Of Your Instruments This Fall


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!)


  • 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!

Vic Firth Mallet Sample Packs Now Available at Chops Percussion







Welcome back to the Chops Blog! We’re excited to announce that we have put together some Vic Firth mallet sample packs for our school customers. We know there are times when you have been curious about how certain mallets sound, but don’t want to spend the money on them and find out they’re not what you need. Or maybe you’ve used another brand for years and would like to give Vic Firth a try, but don’t know where to start. These sample packs should be just what you need!

Just give us a call at 877-900-DRUM or email sales@chopspercussion.com to arrange your mallet pack delivery with your DM (this sample pack offering is available for Paige’s Account Schools only). Packs will feature mallets used for marching band, indoor percussion, and concert/symphonic band. If you have any questions about this program, please do not hesitate to contact us at the number or email address above.

We know it’s not possible for everyone to make it in to the store to check these products out, so we’re happy to bring a bit of the store to you!

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






Pearl Decade Rental Package Now In Classic Satin Amburst Finish

This time last year, we added the Pearl Decade Maple drum set to our rent-to-buy instrument offerings, and the response has been very positive. We wanted to let you know that we’re now offering the Decade in the Classic Satin Amburst finish. To see the finish and find out more info on the Pearl Decade Maple, please check it out here.

As always, if you have any questions or if you would like to discuss your rental options over the phone, please feel free to call us at 877-900-DRUM. You can also email your questions to sales@chopspercussion.com.

Rhythm! After Hours with Drumming Legend Kenny Aronoff Next Wednesday, September 18th

Rhythm! After Hours with Drumming Legend Kenny Aronoff Next Wednesday, September 18th

Welcome back to the Chops blog. This week, we wanted to let you know about a special event happening at the Rhythm! Discover Center in downtown Indy next week. Kenny Aronoff will be in town for a performance and Q&A session. Kenny is one of the most recorded drummers in rock history, and his resume is loaded with legendary recording artists. To be able to sit and ask a musician of this caliber a question or two in such a laid-back atmosphere is a chance that will not come very often.

This event is 21 and over only, and the ticket price is $30. The price includes your admission into the museum and two free beers from great local brewery, Sun King (bonus!)

To see the schedule for the evening, please go to rhythmdiscoverycenter.org/rhythm-after-hours. The time for this event is 6 pm – 9 pm. Kenny will begin his portion of the evening around 6:45 pm. To purchase your ticket for the event, please go to this link: https://rhythmdiscoverycenter.myshopify.com/products/after-hours

I will be there, so I hope to see you there as well!