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  #1  
Old 01-08-2011, 03:48 PM
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evolving_machine evolving_machine is offline
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Default brush problems and some solution.

I like to use brushes but sometimes I have problems with them.

I used the Vater wire tap wood brush with steel brushes and wooden handles. But, the brush wires came out spraying my bass player in the face with the wires when I hit a left side crash cymbal. He is ok; there was no real force that he got hit with. So the wires are not secured well. I like the wood handle and the rubber at the intersection of wood and brush.

I also used the regal tip retractable wire brushed. But, when I hit the drum in an uncontrolled emotion of play, I easily damage the drum heads when the brush is rotated 90 degrees, where the round edge, not the flat edge hits the head on the handle, and I put dents into the heads. One of the fun parts about playing drums for me is that I allow myself to have that uncontrolled emotional play.

I also tried the Rute Vic Firth wooden brushes. I do not like the sound I get from them and they are way too fragile. The wooden brushes break all the time and the handles fall apart as well.

Then I tried the Flix nylon brushes, but when I hit the rim and the drum head, a rim shot, I broke the plastic handle. This nylon brush is somewhat retractable, but even when it is fully extended it is not balanced correctly and is short.

I made a modification to the Flix nylon brush. I took off the cap at the bottom of the handle and filled the brush with window caulking and replaced the cap.

This works great so far, not only did I improve on the strength, of the brush, but it is more balanced and it stays in the extended length now.
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Last edited by evolving_machine; 01-08-2011 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:47 PM
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Default Re: brush problems and some solution.

Well, the solution I thought I had just did not work out. After playing with the modified brushes for about a two weeks, I just broke one of them, just like the last time without modifications.

So the question to all of you is; I would like a brush that lasts, that does not break easily, and does not damage the drums or anyone in the room. Can any of you make any suggestions on Brushes?
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Old 01-09-2011, 02:01 PM
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Default Re: brush problems and some solution.

What about buying a cheap Dixon pair to be your "abuse brushes"?
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Old 01-09-2011, 05:19 PM
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Default Re: brush problems and some solution.

Are you using brushes the way you would normally use sticks?

If that's the case, I would think any brush you use would eventually break, especially if you use them as sticks in an "uncontrolled emotion of play" as you mentioned.
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:04 PM
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Default Re: brush problems and some solution.

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Originally Posted by brady View Post
Are you using brushes the way you would normally use sticks?
Sometimes, yes. Of course the brush has no rebound to the head so it is not exactly the same. But, I also scrape the brushes along the head as well as slapping them into the head. However, each type of brush seems to break in its own way. The plastic breaks in the plastic handle, the wooden handle wire brush breaks in the fastening of the wires to the handle. And the retractable brush, did not break, it just dented my heads.

So I am thinking that there should be a compromise of some design style of brush that works the way I use them.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:36 PM
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Default Re: brush problems and some solution.

I've only experienced the wires on a brush falling out one time. That was recently while at a Christmas party jam session and these were borrowed brushes. I wasn't playing hard at all although not in typical jazz horizontal style. The player who owned the brushes was the son of a friend of mine and said to not worry about them because he had played them hard. Other than that there's nothing in my experience like that and I've used brushes a long time and in different situations.

I'll reference this again
Quote:
One of the fun parts about playing drums for me is that I allow myself to have that uncontrolled emotional play.
My feeling is that you will just need to plan on brushes having a relatively short life span no matter what model of brush you use. I'm all for going for feeling but I believe you will have to pay a price for that approach. Billy Ward says as much in his Big Time video when discussing his 'doing what it takes' to make the music happen and he says it does affect his wallet when it comes to brushes (my paraphrase) and that's OK. He also gets paid as a session player and I don't believe he's punishing his brushes to the level you describe.

Now IMO, I believe you may be suffering from a deficiency in technique. Letting the brushes turn in your hand so that the metal/rubber/plastic sleeve is vertical shows that you have an issue which can be improved by effective practice of the right technique. FWIW: I haven't seen any pros beating the living daylights out of their drums with any kind of brush.

If getting enough volume is an issue, you should go for a miked situation to get more volume, not hit harder. There's a cutoff point just as in hitting drums and cymbals only so hard (with sticks) until there is no sonic advantage and might even sound worse.

If for some reason I or others aren't getting where your at on how you feel when you play this hard with brushes, and ya gotta do it, then I would buy what ever brushes you want in bulk. Heavier bristled brushes might give you more presence and volume but not necessarily any more sturdiness. I don't think you are going to find any solutions for denting your heads as you are letting the brush (any brush) position itself in your hand vertically and then playing hard. You could also try tuning the heads higher but that's no guarantee you won't dent them.

Wish I had a better answer but you may need to live with the reality of brushes and heads as a very frequent expendable.

Jim
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Old 01-10-2011, 01:47 AM
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Default Re: brush problems and some solution.

Shedboyxx,

Thank you for the response to my brush problem.
I'll accept your opinion and agree with you that my technique could be improved.

What you're saying, that bothers me though, is that you have not seen or heard of anyone else having any similar problems with the quality or construction of brushes. That is unfortunate and tells me that there is no market for any improvements to the brushes and therefore I will not find any. I may need to make brushes for myself.

By the way, at first the brushes with the wooden handles would loose wires slowly over the course of two years. I still have a pair of brushes that look like they lost half of the wires. When I bought the new pair, they lost all the wires on the one brush after just a day.
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Old 01-10-2011, 02:10 AM
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Default Re: brush problems and some solution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evolving_machine View Post
Shedboyxx,
What you're saying, that bothers me though, is that you have not seen or heard of anyone else having any similar problems with the quality or construction of brushes. That is unfortunate and tells me that there is no market for any improvements to the brushes and therefore I will not find any. I may need to make brushes for myself.
I know there have been some QC problems with brushes and in fact I've had some. They were just completely different and on the other end of the volume spectrum. I bought some brushes that produced a slight rattle or noise that could be heard at low volumes or when I'd play some horizontal strokes. Not a problem for a country train beat but a problem for light jazz. Others have had things like the wires getting stuck on retractabes.

So there are QC issues although not as a result of playing hard.

The idea of making your own is not a bad idea at all. Who knows - You may come up with something that works for you that you can sell to brush manufacturer! Some innovative drum products come from a player frustrated with the status quo and then having to take matters into their own hands. (No pun intended)

Jim
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