With all that pounding, your drum set will likely experience some wear-and-tear over the years. Knowing how to evaluate the different parts of the drum, and when to replace them, will be essential to your success as a drummer.
Of course, this begins with knowing the type of drum you own. Beyond the basics, you can also customize your set with unique pieces and configurations. Keep reading to learn about the different drum parts, and what to consider when it’s time to replace them:
Drum heads form the top and bottom portion of the drum. The top heads, which you strike with a drum stick, are called “batter heads,” while those on the bottom are known as “resonant heads,” and their purpose is to add resonance and sustain. Drum heads come in many varieties, including single or double-ply, and coated or clear.
Nowadays most drum heads are made from a plastic called Mylar, painted in different colors, and may or may not have a sprayed-on white coating. If you are a jazz player, you should consider coated heads, as they emit less ring and projection. Coated heads are also warmer and therefore suit studio work better than clear heads.
Thickness of the heads also matters; thick heads have a faster decay and a more pronounced attack compared to thinner heads. They are also more durable and resistant to denting. Double-ply heads produce a focused, dampened, and generally more controlled sound.
Drum pedals have several movable parts, including the band, the chain, and the beaters; these parts will certainly wear out as time passes. You may also change pedals if you plan to change your style of sound. Rock, fusion, and metal drummers often prefer sophisticated pedals, but there are numerous simple, less costly options. Depending on your needs, there are also double-beater pedals intended for use with single bass drums, double pedals used with dual bass drum sets, and a number of other configurations.
Cymbals normally suffer cracks, dents, and keyholing over time. Keep an eye on your cymbals as you’re doing your routine cleaning or when you notice changes in your sound. Keep in mind, though, that cymbals are one area where you can completely follow your heart! Some drummers prefer brighter, louder sound while others may prefer dark, complex sounds.
Bass drum enhancement ports enable drummers to improve the sound from the kick drum. The port achieves this through two processes: increasing low frequencies and introducing a dampening effect to the resonant head. Drummers can usually remove internal materials, which naturally increases drum resonance. The enhancement port is also tunable.
Replacing Tension Rods
Tension rods connect the hoop to the lugs. When replacing them, be careful with the lengths. If you have been experiencing frequent rod wears, you may try finding matching rods for your drum set.
Die Cast Hoops
Die cast hoops are made by designing a frame (with exact shape and size) of the drum hoop and pouring molten metal into this frame. Die casts allow for greater fine tuning with fewer overtones. Unfortunately, die cast hoops can produce unwanted sounds if the drummer’s instruments are not perfectly round. Die casts can be used on just about any drum, but the snare is usually favored because it has a harder head.
Wooden hoops are made from 10 plies and are approximately 0.75 inches thick. The type of wood predominantly used is maple and the hoops can be stiff or flexible depending on preferences. Wood hoops typically absorb drum vibration allowing the drums to produce a bright resonance.
Flanged hoops are made from metal, but types of metal and flange thickness often vary. Your choice of soft or hard metals depends on how you intend tune both the drums and instruments sounds. Thinner metals are great for flexibility, however they are more difficult to tune. Replacement flanges enable you get more resonance from your snare and toms.
Where To Buy Drum Parts
Now that you know the parts that make up an acoustic drum, the next step is to head to the stores. First you’ll need to make a list of the drum parts that you want to replace. Remember to include the sizes of these items in your list.
You may also want to know how much you’ll be required to pay – but keep in mind that prices can vary depending on many factors. These factors include:
Brand – brand prices will always vary, and more popular brands are traditionally more expensive
Material – flanged hoops, for instance, are more expensive than their wooden counterparts
Size – a 7” replacement head, for example, will cost less than a similar, but larger, head
The item itself – compared to toms, for example, bass drums are much more expensive
Check Your Local Music Store
Buying replacement drum parts from your local music shop is actually the best option – that is, if they actually stock the items. Some replacement parts, such as bass drums, are a bit expensive, so most shopkeepers opt not to stock them. Buying local also means that you will get the parts on the same day. You’ll have the chance to try the items in the store before you take the items home. Plus, the expertise of local shopkeepers can be invaluable if you’re looking for guidance.
Another option for purchasing drum parts is online. The greater variety means that you can easily compare prices before making a purchase. However, the main disadvantage of buying parts online is the potential risk of paying for an item you are yet to see. Because of this, it’s best to buy from trusted websites only – and make sure to look at their return policy. Some websites to check out include:
American Music Drum Parts
If you’re using your drum set regularly, especially for gigging, purchasing replacement drum parts will be an ongoing process. Keep your set fresh and working properly, and you’ll sound your very best!
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