[Care for your percussion by Waywood Music]

Care of New Percussion


The aim of this page is to give your percussion a good start, help you keep it in tip-top working condition and prolong its working life.

Drums with Tension Rods and Removable Heads
Drums with 'Traditional' Type (e.g., rope) Tensioning


Drums with Tension Rods and Removable Heads

[Gope Pandiero]The first thing to do with drums is take time to ensure that ALL threads on tension rods or other nuts and bolts are lubricated. Use a proprietary brand such as LP Lug Lube™ as this is designed to cope with high pressure and repeated use. Petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline™ is another readily available option. Most drums produced today have pre-lubricated threads, BUT ALWAYS CHECK.

Make sure that all tension bolts, nuts and washers are present and work properly. Be careful to check for cross-threading which will make adjustment a nightmare. This will only get worse with time, especially where higher tensions are required such as with timbales, congas and bongos.

Ensure that all items of hardware attached to the shell e.g., nut boxes, are secure.

Check the drum heads for signs of damage e.g., warped or bent rims and for splits in the head. Once the drum heads have been removed check the bearing edges for cracks in the shell or bearing edge deformities. Gently rub a bit of candle wax around the bearing edges to help smooth movement of the skin over the edge. However, always ensure that all lumps of wax are removed before fitting the head.

Where natural skin heads are used, always check for holes or deep 'scar' marks. REMEMBER: These were once walking around as part of an animal and therefore, especially if from the goat, will have been involved in fights with injuries. Nearly ALL skins will have some scarring, but they should be checked for strength. Natural 'variations' in the skin can be used (to your advantage) to create different tones.


Drums with 'Traditional' Type (e.g., rope) Tensioning

[Kambala Masters series djembe]These are more difficult to check for deficiencies in the bearing edge, unless you are familiar with, and have the necessary tools to perform the traditional tuning techniques (e.g., 'mali weave' for traditional djembes). Check the ropes or thongs for chaffing', splitting and other damage, including loose knots.

With bodhráns, in addition to the above it is always a good idea to rub clear dubbin (waterproofing agent for shoes) into the playing surface of the skin. DO NOT coat the inside surface as this will make tuning of non-tension models almost impossible.

Check the exterior finish for deep scratches, evidence of cracks or other damage.

Always refer back to your point of purchase to follow-up queries or problems.



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