[Keeping your drums in top condition by Waywood Music]

Drum Maintenance & Repair


The aim of this page is to help you keep your drums in tip-top working condition and to prolong their working life. The page is divided into three sections covering the following topics:

Drum Heads



[Pearl Marvin 'Smitty' Smith snare drum]Ensure that all threads work well and 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. These should be checked regularly ESPECIALLY if the kit has been frequently used or exposed to moisture or adverse weather.

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, and will only get worse with time.

Once the drum heads have been removed check the bearing edges for cracks in the shell or bearing edge deformities. It does no harm to take a candle and gently rub a bit of wax around the bearing edges to help smooth movement of the skin over the edge. ALWAYS ensure that any lumps of wax are removed [Snare bed on Remo piccolo snare drum]before fitting the head.

On snare drums always check that the snare-strainer throw-off assembly is lubricated and works smoothly. Also check the snares themselves for damage or bending.

Check the exterior finish for deep scratches, evidence of cracks or other damage. Apply a coat of polish to the shells and fittings to maintain a good finish.


Drum Heads

Check condition of the drum heads and change as appropriate.

The life of a head can depend on its type, how heavily it is played and how often it is played. It is worth remembering that some professionals change their drum heads each night (though for many of these, cost is not an issue because of endorsements!).

Double-ply heads sound 'bigger' but can become dull more quickly. Single-ply heads are generally more 'open' or 'ringy' in tone, and last longer before they sound 'flat'.



Always make sure that you carry a 'spares' supply of drum parts and the necessary tools e.g., spare drum key(s), spanner(s) and screwdriver(s) which, like guitarists' plectrums always disappear at their time of greatest need!

Ensure, wherever possible that your drums are cased. Hard cases generally give better protection, though they may need lining with a softer material to hold the drum more securely in its case and prevent scratching. Alternatively, there are now some excellent soft cases available made from high impact, hard-wearing materials, which are fleece-lined or padded.

If you are using single-headed drums AVOID the temptation to pack them one inside the other; THEY DON'T LIKE IT!


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