Alternative to a drum key?

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
So, a little back story here.

I am in the Navy and have been stationed in Kuwait for the last 4 months. During a random trip to the base chapel to work on some flooring I discovered an old Pearl drumset that had been in storage for the last year or so. My drum addiction is pretty great and the withdrawls over the last few months have been terrible, so needless to say this discovery ranks up there with the Rosetta Stone or King Tuts Tomb in my eyes.

The set is in pretty good shape and the heads are decent, but badly in need of tuning. Here is where my dilemma starts. Mail takes about two weeks to get here from the states and I really dont want to wait that long to play. I currently do not have a drum key to tune up this set. Is there an alternative to a drum key that anybody knows of that will not strip out the lugs or damage the shells. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
So, a little back story here.

I am in the Navy and have been stationed in Kuwait for the last 4 months. During a random trip to the base chapel to work on some flooring I discovered an old Pearl drumset that had been in storage for the last year or so. My drum addiction is pretty great and the withdrawls over the last few months have been terrible, so needless to say this discovery ranks up there with the Rosetta Stone or King Tuts Tomb in my eyes.

The set is in pretty good shape and the heads are decent, but badly in need of tuning. Here is where my dilemma starts. Mail takes about two weeks to get here from the states and I really dont want to wait that long to play. I currently do not have a drum key to tune up this set. Is there an alternative to a drum key that anybody knows of that will not strip out the lugs or damage the shells. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
A flat nosed plier.

........................
 

efpob

Junior Member
I'm sure any mechanic around there would have the right bit - you can get them as part of cheapo screwdriver sets.
 

makinao

Silver Member
There is bound to be a socket wrench that fits. I use one occasionally with my battery screwdriver, but don't remember exactly what size.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
An extension from a quarter inch drive ratchet/socket set is 1/4 inch square at the end where it would slide onto a ratchet. The female end will fit a drum tension rod.
You could put vice grips or pliers on the shaft of the socket extension to turn it.
Also a quarter inch wrench will turn the socket extension from the male end.
If you take a small piece of wood and drill a round 1/4 inch hole in it you could hammer the male end of the socket extension into the hole and make a T handle for your improvised drum key. Use tape or epoxy to secure the wood to the extension.
A Tap Holder from a Tap and Die set will also make a perfect T handle. The square 1/4 inch end of the Socket extension will lock into it. (see pics)

There also is such a thing as a 1/4 inch square socket or Nut Driver but these may be hard to find on base. A 1/4" socket extension will be inside of almost every tool box.
Make friends with a maintenance technician, carpenter, mechanic, or anyone that carries a tool kit on base and Im sure that they can help you.
 

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Aeolian

Platinum Member
I imagine welding a cross piece to a 1/4" extension wouldn't be that hard. Alternatively, if you get it cherry red hot, you could bend it over. A bit of patience, some wood jaws in a vice to slow down the heat loss, and a propane torch will do it. I've made up special bent wrenches this way instead of buying some expensive automotive tool.

Bound to be something that gets hot over there. :-D

Also, back in the day, I remember using a small Cressent wrench. Since these are Pearls and made in Japan, you may want to try and find a metric Cressent wrench. ;-)
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Get a metal butter knife, drill a hole close to the end it, and file corners in it?

Necessity is the Frank Zappa band...
 

Ethan01

Senior Member
A small adjustable wrench would do as well, just go slow to be sure you dont strip the top part of the lug.
 

Vipercussionist

Silver Member
So, a little back story here.

I am in the Navy and have been stationed in Kuwait for the last 4 months. During a random trip to the base chapel to work on some flooring I discovered an old Pearl drumset that had been in storage for the last year or so. My drum addiction is pretty great and the withdrawls over the last few months have been terrible, so needless to say this discovery ranks up there with the Rosetta Stone or King Tuts Tomb in my eyes.

The set is in pretty good shape and the heads are decent, but badly in need of tuning. Here is where my dilemma starts. Mail takes about two weeks to get here from the states and I really dont want to wait that long to play. I currently do not have a drum key to tune up this set. Is there an alternative to a drum key that anybody knows of that will not strip out the lugs or damage the shells. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
Adjustable Crescent Wrench
I KNOW it works as I have one in my tool kit on gigs, it won't strip or ruin the keyrods and they're readily available.

Also, you MIGHT be able to find a small open end wrench that happens to be the correct size.

 

senorsalvia

Junior Member
Since you are overseas, I don't know that this will be of any help, but.... I recently, quite by accident found one of those "commercial keys", next to a grocery store water fixture.. It's one of those things that the lot attendants use to turn on the business outside water supply.. I took one look at the key and thought.. YO, that's the same size as my old Ludwig key.... Found out I was right.... In the U.S., all home depots/lowes etc. have them for a couple of bucks.....
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I have just sent some of my personal Drum Techs to your base in Kuwait with drum keys to help you tune that kit Sailor.
I hope that they will be helpful!

Thank You for serving.
My son is in the Army and he is completing his first tour in Iraq at the end of the month
 

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konaboy

Pioneer Member
An extension from a quarter inch drive ratchet/socket set is 1/4 inch square at the end where it would slide onto a ratchet. The female end will fit a drum tension rod.
You could put vice grips or pliers on the shaft of the socket extension to turn it.
Also a quarter inch wrench will turn the socket extension from the male end.
If you take a small piece of wood and drill a round 1/4 inch hole in it you could hammer the male end of the socket extension into the hole and make a T handle for your improvised drum key. Use tape or epoxy to secure the wood to the extension.
A Tap Holder from a Tap and Die set will also make a perfect T handle. The square 1/4 inch end of the Socket extension will lock into it. (see pics)

There also is such a thing as a 1/4 inch square socket or Nut Driver but these may be hard to find on base. A 1/4" socket extension will be inside of almost every tool box.
Make friends with a maintenance technician, carpenter, mechanic, or anyone that carries a tool kit on base and Im sure that they can help you.
That's a great idea just use caution as that will deliver allot more torque than a standard drum key.
 

unclevic072

Junior Member
Hi,
I play Banjo and also have a couple of small drums, recently I purchased this "Three way Banjo key/wrench", it is advertised as that can be used on percussion drum skin heads
that have hex nuts, I got it from eBay and found it to be very good, here is a link to the web page,I think its also listed with a few on-line stores, world wide, it has ¼” 9/32” 5/16” hex sockets
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=300500584954&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT
 

Leadfoot

Senior Member
I use a 1/4" drive socket extension in a cordless drill to quickly zip out the tuning rods when changing heads, and when putting them back in. Obviously you must be very careful not to over tension the rods when doing this, I run them in until they just contact the rim then tension by hand.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
This is an old thread and we never did find out what eclipseownzu used as a drum key!
eclipseownzu, Please tell us what the solution turned out to be.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
Actully Bob you had the correct answer with the 1/4" socket extender. Used that in conjunction with a crescent wrench, worked like a champ. Wouldnt recommend it for fine tuning, but for the crappy old Pearl with the beat up pinstripes it was good enough.

Thanks all for the help. I figured I could always use the crescent wrench but I knew there was a better answer out there. As always, drummerworld comes through.
 
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