Drumming outdoors in cold weather

dkerwood

Silver Member
So tomorrow I have a gig playing drums on a trailer for a St. Patrick's Day parade. Afterward, we're going to play another hour or so at a local bar (they're sponsoring the parade float). Weather report for tomorrow morning is low to mid 30's. Soooo... I was originally planning to use my maple GMS set (it's green, after all). Is there a lot of danger from playing in the cold and then moving into a warm(er) bar? It's a lacquer kit rather than a wrap. Or should I instead pull out my old black wrapped Luddie kit?

Similarly, is there any danger to cymbals?

What would you all suggest in order to best deal with this situation?
 

drumhead61

Gold Member
Re: Cold St. Patty's drumming

I somehow remember a "DEBATE" on here one time about a very similar situation and do not remember the outcome of thought on that! Me personally, I would think that if you do not jump from one extreme to the other there should be no effects, how you gradually do such a thing is not in the scope of my knowledge and I too would be interested to see the answer to that. Have a great time playing in that chill and let us know how the day went.

Best of luck,

JIM
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
Re: Cold St. Patty's drumming

As I understand it, some lacquer is prone to cracking in extreme cold temperatures. It all depends on how the builder applied it and what it's comprised of.
 

SGT_Drummer

Senior Member
Re: Cold St. Patty's drumming

Well, first and foremost make sure you and your band take care of yourselves. Switching temprature extremes like that, say low to mid 30s outside and low to mid seventies in the bar in around 40 degrees which is pretty extreme to your body, can make you guys very sick. This may be difficult depending on the stlye of music you are playing, but try not to overheat and sweat much. Keep yourself dry as cold air running across the moisture on your body is a prime recipie for pheumonia.

As far as the drums go. Your biggest concren is going to be from the condensation that forms from temperature changes they will go through. I assume your drums are now stored in a warm area so moving them to the cold is going to be the area to focus on. As long as your drums are basically air tight, moisture on the shells isn't really a big deal. However, most drums are not airtight (tom mounts on the toms and bass for example) and will allow the moisture to get inside the drums and soak into the wood. This is turn MAY cause your drums to warp slightly. However, if this is a one time thing, it's not really going to be THAT big of a deal. If they do warp, it will be almost unnoticable to the human eye and therefore won't really affect any tonal qualities.

All in all, I say rock the greens for st. pattys! It makes for a very good way to get out of having the crap pinched out of you all day, and it's festive! haha, hope it helps.
 

dkerwood

Silver Member
Re: Cold St. Patty's drumming

Well, first and foremost make sure you and your band take care of yourselves. Switching temprature extremes like that, say low to mid 30s outside and low to mid seventies in the bar in around 40 degrees which is pretty extreme to your body, can make you guys very sick. This may be difficult depending on the stlye of music you are playing, but try not to overheat and sweat much. Keep yourself dry as cold air running across the moisture on your body is a prime recipie for pheumonia.

As far as the drums go. Your biggest concren is going to be from the condensation that forms from temperature changes they will go through. I assume your drums are now stored in a warm area so moving them to the cold is going to be the area to focus on. As long as your drums are basically air tight, moisture on the shells isn't really a big deal. However, most drums are not airtight (tom mounts on the toms and bass for example) and will allow the moisture to get inside the drums and soak into the wood. This is turn MAY cause your drums to warp slightly. However, if this is a one time thing, it's not really going to be THAT big of a deal. If they do warp, it will be almost unnoticable to the human eye and therefore won't really affect any tonal qualities.

All in all, I say rock the greens for st. pattys! It makes for a very good way to get out of having the crap pinched out of you all day, and it's festive! haha, hope it helps.
Alright, you convinced me. Well, assuming that I'm not too lazy to go to my church and pack up my drums tomorrow morning, that is. :) Otherwise, I'll just go out to my shed and grab the old Ludwig kit (which will already be at outside temperature).

It's an interesting set of songs we're playing- mostly traditional Irish reels and drinking songs. The band of merry musicians consists of myself, another band teacher in my department on flute, the orchestra director on fiddle, a guitarist (whose wife works for the school district), and a bassist who is a graduate of the high school (the parade has nothing to do with school, but when you need good musicians, where else do you go but the music department?).

I'm mainly pounding 6/8 time on a floor tom, occasionally using some hi hat to give some upper frequencies. I don't think I'll even bring a snare tomorrow- brushes on a coated tom head sound almost identical to a coated snare head, provided it's played correctly.
 

dkerwood

Silver Member
Re: Cold St. Patty's drumming

I was to meet the rest of the band at 10:30. At 9:45, it was comfortable (relatively) and in the low 40's. I made the decision to go grab my green drums and was glad I did. Everyone thought I got them for the occasion... :)

We ended up playing about three hours- an hour for the parade, and then about 2 hours in the bar. Our only significant break was when two guys with bagpipes wandered in and started playing... We did, however, stop for 60 seconds to 5 minutes between each tune as our bassist ordered more green beer and the rest of us shot the breeze with the owner and other patrons. Then we'd play for 3 or 4 minutes and stop again. Nice, informal time.

We got all the food and drink we wanted for free (including bar tab- albeit at 1 in the afternoon). We had been offered the gig for $50 per person, but the owner was so pleased that he threw in an extra ten spot for each of us. We also had a few tips from patrons that we ended up giving to our waitress who took our drink orders all afternoon and then our food orders after the set.

Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.
 

SGT_Drummer

Senior Member
Re: Cold St. Patty's drumming

I was to meet the rest of the band at 10:30. At 9:45, it was comfortable (relatively) and in the low 40's. I made the decision to go grab my green drums and was glad I did. Everyone thought I got them for the occasion... :)

We ended up playing about three hours- an hour for the parade, and then about 2 hours in the bar. Our only significant break was when two guys with bagpipes wandered in and started playing... We did, however, stop for 60 seconds to 5 minutes between each tune as our bassist ordered more green beer and the rest of us shot the breeze with the owner and other patrons. Then we'd play for 3 or 4 minutes and stop again. Nice, informal time.

We got all the food and drink we wanted for free (including bar tab- albeit at 1 in the afternoon). We had been offered the gig for $50 per person, but the owner was so pleased that he threw in an extra ten spot for each of us. We also had a few tips from patrons that we ended up giving to our waitress who took our drink orders all afternoon and then our food orders after the set.

Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

HAHAHA! awesome man, glad it went well. I can't get over the irony in your posts though lol. The first reply was "I'm going to go to church and get the drums" then the next was "Our bar tab was free". Sorry, i'm not being mean, i just really find it funny considering I would probably do the exact same thing.
 

dkerwood

Silver Member
Re: Cold St. Patty's drumming

HAHAHA! awesome man, glad it went well. I can't get over the irony in your posts though lol. The first reply was "I'm going to go to church and get the drums" then the next was "Our bar tab was free". Sorry, i'm not being mean, i just really find it funny considering I would probably do the exact same thing.
A) I don't have any issue with people drinking in moderation and under control (and within the confines of the law, of course). Our bassist had a couple of green beers. Everyone else waited until lunch.

B) I don't drink at all anyway (never have), so my "bar tab" consisted of lots of root beer. :)
 

mcbike

Silver Member
Re: Cold St. Patty's drumming

I've done a bunch of gigs in 30 degree weather outside and never had a problem with my drums (plastic wrapped 3 ply ludwigs). And back in my school days we played plenty in the cold and the rain and everything was okay. The only drums that i've seen get messed up is really cheap drums with a raw interior like a cb percussion set or soemthing. They absorb the moisture and you see the inner ply puff up and expand. I think you made the right decision with your gms kit.

I play in an Irish band so paddy's day is our busiest time of year. It was actually pretty easy this year we went to sunny florida and played a festival in gorgeous 70's weather on saturday, played in a pub monday from 10-2am and the same pub again from 10-2am the next night. We got to leave our gear set up so it was super easy.

the gig on paddy's day was absolute bedlam though. During the first set people started crowd surfing and moshing and we played 7 ballads in a row to try to get them to settle down but they were still going crazy.

I was so nervous for our gear especially when people started throwing beer around!

The only bad thing that happened was a drunk girl slipped and knocked over a monitor and it fell on our fiddle players pedals and smashed his eq. it's dented but it still works.
 
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