Too Cold for Drums?

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
Hey just wondering. Since winter's upon us (in the northern hemisphere)... how much cold is too cold for drums?

Space wise I'm relegated to my garage. It can get a bit chilly out there and I have a dish heater that helps keep me warm - but I manage. I try to warm up the area where my kit is before I play just to make sure everything's in good shape.

Thanks for any replys!
 

Anduin

Pioneer Member
Um, your location shows as Albuquerque, New Mexico, and you’re worried about cold?! Seriously?
 

B-squared

Silver Member
The heads and any metal parts will thermally contract more than any wood parts, which can do damage. As a matter of fact, I was asked recently to evaluate some damage on a bridge crane that had occurred as the result of thermal expansion and contraction. A bridge crane is a lot beefier than a set of drums. (In my day job, I'm a structural engineer).

I am up I-25 north of you, but I know it gets cold down there. I'm not sure what you mean by a dish heater, but I think you should, at the very least, keep your drums as warm as you keep your water pipes.
 

boltzmann's brain

Senior Member
ime, humidity is the true enemy. it gets quite cold where i live (well below zero at times), and the garage where i keep my drums can get below freezing, but it is very dry. my 20 year old sonors are kept in fiber cases, and look as good as the day i bought them.
 

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
It's like down to zero here sometimes lately and it takes me a while to not have cold fingers that won't do quite what I want. But as soon as my circulation gets going all's well
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
Um, your location shows as Albuquerque, New Mexico, and you’re worried about cold?! Seriously?
Anything I pay good money for, I worry about. I know I'm not talking CANADA cold here, but last night's low right here in Albuquerque was 12 degrees F. - at least in my neck of the woods. My garage rarely gets below freezing, but I was wondering what the temperature tolerances are concerning drums, cymbals and hardware.

Thank you.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
I am up I-25 north of you, but I know it gets cold down there. I'm not sure what you mean by a dish heater, but I think you should, at the very least, keep your drums as warm as you keep your water pipes.
This is what I mean - Parabolic Heater. Keeps my rump all nice and toasty.
 

NerfLad

Silver Member
I turn the heat on if it gets below 75 Fahrenheit, so I have nothing of value to contribute here.
.
.
.
.
.

:)
 

Thud

Senior Member
I have kept my drums in a cold outside room in the past, sometimes below freezing and it has never done them any harm. What I used to do was put on a space heater to warm the room up first, allow everything to reach a comfortable temperature and then commence. I don't think a dish heater is a great idea for drums because it puts a lot of heat on just one spot. I'm no carpenter but I doubt if that is good for the wood.

No, what will damage your drums is moisture and humidity. It will make the fittings rust and the wood might crack. That's serious damage so keep them dry above all no matter what the temperature is. Heat and cool them slowly and mop off any condensation. I have always done that and I still have the kit!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
The room where I keep all my drums is quite a bit colder than the rest of the house, and lately here in SoCal, night temps have been dipping into the upper 30s in some places, so I know on an extremely cold night, my drum room probably gets down to the mid-40s.

But so far my stuff has been holding up. I know moisture and humidity are bad things, but I think what you want to do is not subject the drums to climate changes too quickly. If it's really cold in my room, I have a little space heater that I point out into the room and let it warm up the entire room (it's not pointed at the drums), but usually not. The drums do ok in there. If you heat the room up too quickly, that could create condensation inside the drums, so I let my drums warm up as the room warms up from the sun, and as the day gradually gets cooler, I let it go. This is why its a good idea if the drums are traveling in cases through the cold, when they get to the venue, leave them in the cases for a bit to let them gradually get used to the warmer room.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
As Bo says, gradual changes in temperature & you're almost certainly ok. Avoiding any extremes is a good idea with any instrument.

One affect I did notice recently though, was a huge change in sound quality when the drums are cold. Due to a hectic schedule, I had cause to leave my drums in my box trailer overnight, & the local temperature was around - 6 Celcius. The following day, I set them up in a warm rehearsal room without allowing any warming up time. When I started playing, the drums were still very cold, & so were the heads. Not only was the tuning all over the place, but that aside, they sounded like crap. Really boxy :( Only when they'd warmed up did their sweet sound return.

Ok, that's fairly extreme, & I think the main factor was the temperature of the heads. I was quite surprised how long those heads stayed cold for. It took a while for the shells to warm up, & they, + the air inside the shells, kept the heads cold for close to 1 hour.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
The room where I keep all my drums is quite a bit colder than the rest of the house, and lately here in SoCal, night temps have been dipping into the upper 30s in some places, so I know on an extremely cold night, my drum room probably gets down to the mid-40s.

But so far my stuff has been holding up. I know moisture and humidity are bad things, but I think what you want to do is not subject the drums to climate changes too quickly. If it's really cold in my room, I have a little space heater that I point out into the room and let it warm up the entire room (it's not pointed at the drums), but usually not. The drums do ok in there. If you heat the room up too quickly, that could create condensation inside the drums, so I let my drums warm up as the room warms up from the sun, and as the day gradually gets cooler, I let it go. This is why its a good idea if the drums are traveling in cases through the cold, when they get to the venue, leave them in the cases for a bit to let them gradually get used to the warmer room.
Well, it ain't Canada cold here, I'll admit that, but we get a kind of cold here that just chills you down to the bone. I've spent a couple winters in the upper midwest and up in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Anyway, last night I practiced with my jacket on and I didn't even break a sweat. It was pretty cold. We cut it short by an hour probably. No space heater.
 

AndyMC

Senior Member
Drums tend to be ok in the cold as Bo said, gradual changes. Cymbals can be a little trickier. never play a cold cymbal too hard, they don't flex properly and can break. As long as they're above freezing you should be ok but above 50 is better.
 

Anduin

Pioneer Member
I’d love to have some manufacturers comment on this topic. We seem to have a bunch of ideas but not a lot of real solid fact. Every drummer on the planet is probably faced with recurring heat/cold/dry/moist issues, and it would be great to have some solid facts to help us maintain our gear.
 
I was touring with a band in the upper Midwest.in the winter it would get down to well below 0.sometimes minus 30.you can't always get the kit off the truck.what kind of damage would that do?
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
This question gets asked every winter and the opposite question gets asked every summer.
The answer is always this.
Cold and hot won't hurt your drums.
The only things to truly avoid is getting them wet and exposing them to direct sunlight.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
I asked this ? in Modern Drummer in 86 after I bought my first real good set of drums.Sense they were Yamahas, M.D. forwarded my ? to them. They said as long as the temp. doesn't change rapidly they should be fine. I kept them in my attic for 24 yr. It got below freezing I'm sure, and above 100 in the summer. But they gradually got cold and hot. I've known lots of guitarists who bring their cases in from the cold and just crack them open a little. After a little while they would get them out so they wouldn't get exposed to the warm room all of a sudden.
 

A-customs

Silver Member
Hey just wondering. Since winter's upon us (in the northern hemisphere)... how much cold is too cold for drums?

Space wise I'm relegated to my garage. It can get a bit chilly out there and I have a dish heater that helps keep me warm - but I manage. I try to warm up the area where my kit is before I play just to make sure everything's in good shape.

Thanks for any replys!
I Always thought that keeping the stuff out in the cold would cause condensation on the hardware thus causing pitting.....Think if u have to keep them in the cold,i would have a few big old bed comforters to throw over them,if you had them setup,.or keep them in some nice soft cases like the drum seeker line???Then store the stands in one big case and wrap it with a few concrete blankets etc.....
 
Top