Drum Set Maintenance

(Originally posted on Worship Music Gear)  Drum Set Maintenance: Have you ever said or heard this: “Oh, the drums are old and sound bad,” “they are so dusty,” “things are breaking on them,” “the cymbals are cracking.”  If these are the things that you hear about your church’s drum set, then this is for you!

Chad Bjorgan, drummer and clinician provides the following helpful hints for maintaining your drum set.

New Drum Set:

If you have just bought a brand new drum set make sure that you take off a head on one side of each drum and tighten the lug screws from the inside and any other mounting screws.  Sometimes these can loosen up over time and cause the screw to fall out.

Drum Cover:

Purchase a sheet or a cover to throw over the drum set. This will help to keep the dust off of the drums and reduce the need for drum set maintenance. One of the most harmful substances for any instrument is dust and water. Dust can get into every nook and cranny of the drum set, in between drum heads and hardware, eventually wearing down the heads and hardware. And then there is dust flying everywhere after hitting the drum. When they aren’t using them, many musicians keep their instruments in cases or bags in order too keep them dust free and in good working condition.

Drum heads:

Drum heads, just like guitar strings do need to be changed. I recommend for a church set played 3-4 times a Sunday that the top (batter) heads should be changed twice a year.  If your church music department is very busy, then change the top drum heads before major productions (Christmas, Easter, Fall Kick off etc.). The bottom (resonant) heads are very important as well,  but since they are not being constantly hit they do not require changing as frequently. These heads should be changed once every two to three years for the average church, and maybe once a year for the church that has a busier music program.

If you have professional drummers in your church or an outside adviser they will be able to advise you on a change when needed. One way to keep track of the head change is to take a small felt marker and mark the date underneath the heads. Most of the time, the bottom heads are usually clear so you can see the date without removing the drum head.

It is important when taking the head off that you take a clean damp cloth and wipe it along the bearing edge of the drum. This is the edge where the skin contacts the drum shell. Different bearing edges give a different sound of attack when hitting the drum. It is important to keep them clean. Combined with keeping the drums covered by a sheet or in cases, this will increase the life of the heads.


Cleaning Products:

There are cleaning products available for drums, such as “Shell Shine” by Groove Juice. It can be purchased here: Groove Juice Shell Shine.

5)   The hardware with the drum set should be cleaned and dusted as well.  If the hardware is not free from dust which leads to dirt, the over tightening of components can lead to the stripping of the screws and the need for other things like duct tape to fix the problem. For getting the dirt off of your hardware and keeping everything clean. Take the groove juice cymbal cleaner and mix it with a 50/50 ratio with water.

Cleaning your cymbals is important of drum set maintenance as well. The cymbal stands have plastic sleeves and felts that protect the cymbals from making contact with metal, and specifically at the bell of the cymbal. These usually need to be changed about once every two years or so.  If they are not changed then your cymbals will start to make strange sounds and you will have to replace the cymbal. I would also suggest using a product such as Groove juice.  It is the simplest of cleaners to use.  You simply spray it on and wait 30 seconds and rinse it off with water, then dry with a towel.  You can also dilute the product use it for your hardware.  You can purchase this product at Groove Juice Cymbal Cleaner


Cymbal Protection:

6)   Cymbals can be cleaned when you feel that you need to. They get dirty from the oils from dust, sweat and oils from your hands when you touch them. Another product that can be very helpful drum set maintenance and looking after your cymbals is called Cymbag.

They are available at: Cymbag Cymbal Protectors .  These sleeves can be used in a variety of situations and come highly recommended.  One of the main benefits to using a cymbag is that when you are done playing the drums you simply slide the cymbag back on the cymbals.

It is important to think of the drums as an instrument.  With these simple tips you will be able to maintain your drum set and keep it sounding and looking new for a long time.

Chad Bjorgan, Drummer/Clinician