Am I paranoid or can I let it go?

single-ply

Senior Member
OK, so like 15 years ago I had a nightmare on a gig.

Everything was initially fine, but just the third song of the first set (of three sets). The snare head broke and I had no other with me. Keep in mind that over the course of 40 years, I have only had that one plus one other head break on me. I could only turn the snare over and beat the crap out of the bottom head and snare.

Ever since then, I have lugged around a second snare, just in case. I'm beginning to think I'm crazy as I've not had any issues with heads since that incident and I'm really getting tired schlepping around equipment I won't use. I could bring just an extra head, but it takes a few minutes to change a head. Awkward if in the middle of a set.

Who else does this and am I being smart and prudent or overly paranoid?
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
It's up to you, really.

I don't think it's a silly idea and it makes sense to do so but on the other hand, if you've had only one head break on you in that time then perhaps the second snare is overkill. For the one-in-500 times it might happen, a spare head would be prudent I think.

If this were to happen to me then I'd probably (very nicely) ask another drummer if I could borrow their snare. If I've broken a head I do wonder what the other drummers might think!
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I never break heads, so for me it's an easy decision: I bring a spare head, but not an extra snare drum.

The gig is a consideration also. If it's a casual bar band gig or a summer concert-in-the-park, we can work in a tune with no drums while I change heads. If I'm playing a serious gig where the set list has to be followed exactly and that's not an option, I'd probably bring an extra snare.
 

DrummerCA35

Senior Member
I mean, if you were on a stage in front of 20,000 people maybe a second snare would make sense.

I would think that bringing and extra snare head, though, and keeping it in your car wouldn't be the worst idea. I often do this.

Also, if your snare is a 14" and you have a 14" tom you could swap out the tom for the snare head in an emergency.

In my case that doesn't work, since I have a 13" snare.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I will often have a spare snare with me, but I'm not dogmatic about it. I do keep a spare head in the drum bag, though, so I always have a spare head.

As for finishing out a song or even a set with a broken snare head, you may have to improvise and just use your smallest tom for the snare parts. Totally doable.

I've never broken a snare head at a gig, but I have broken a bass drum head. I had to use the floor tom to finish the song, and then tape up the head, which sounded like crap but worked. I have an extra bass drum head now, too. One or more for each drum, in fact, stowed in the top pocket of the drum bags.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I usually fly an auxiliary 12" snare off my left side, so if things go pear-shaped I can just move that over and finish the show with a bit of retuning. I've only ever broken a snare head once at a gig, and that's the only head I've ever broken. I usually change heads long before it's needed.
 

bonerpizza

Silver Member
I carry an extra snare batter head in my snare bag and I have two ratchet drum keys so if I had to change the head on the fly I could make it happen in less than 2 minutes, if the snare side head breaks I'm completely screwed but I don't crank it that tight anyway so I don't see it being an issue.
I'd rather carry an extra head around than an extra snare especially since it's for a just in case type situation.
 

boomstick

Silver Member
I make use of the side pockets that drum bag makers have been adding lately. I have a snare bag with a main compartment and a separate ultra slim zippered pocket. I put in a spare batter head in the slim pocket where it will stay until needed. Before that, I was keeping it on the side pocket of my cymbal bag which is presumably for hi-hat cymbals or splashes, but it fit a 14" drum head perfectly.
 
Two years ago, I always set up two snares. My secondary snare acted more as an expensive setlist holder, but I would use it when I wanted. It gave me some reassurance as I've had one instance when I split a snare head from one too many rimshots (i used to be a basher in my youth). Luckily, my split happened at a practice, so there wasn't any mad rush to get a replacement head or snare in there.

Now, I don't always set up the second snare, but I do always bring it along, just in case. And usually it stays just in it's case... No big difference in lugging 6 drums instead of 5, so I have no issue with it. It gives me a little reassurance.

I've got some extra real estate in my 14" tom case (made for a 16"), so I keep a snare batter and snare side head plus one replacement for each of my toms. Since they all nest together, it only adds a couple inches of depth to the case. I've heard a bass head can be patched with duct tape to get through a gig, so I rarely bring a spare bass drum head.

You can call me crazy too, but I'll always be prepared for worst case scenarios. Sometimes we play in the middle of nowhere, small towns, and the like, so I wouldn't want to go without something if it were to fail. Heck, I even bring a spare hi-hat stand to every gig, even though I've never had to take it out of my hardware bag.

I've bailed out my bandmates with my survival kit too. Screwdrivers, utility knives, duct tape, small drum hardware, felts, etc. fill that case. The band used to poke a little fun at me for having that case, until I saved two of their butts on separate occasions. For instance, 9 volt battery of a guy's bass went out right before we are going to start a set... Well, our singer had a spare battery, but no one else had a screwdriver to remove the panel except THIS GUY! I've bailed out some other drummers with my spare parts too, who were very grateful, and said that they were going to make their own gig survival kit.


Overkill? Maybe a little, but I'd rather be prepared than not be able to comfortably play my drum set how I want it to be.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I split a BD head during a gig 30 years ago, so I always have a spare with me. I have spare heads for all my drums as they take up next to no room in the drum bags. I take a spare snare drum on every gig as a kit without a snare would be a nightmare.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Here's a nickel's worth of free advice: Plastic laminated sheets. The kind you laminate your paper documents with. Get a dozen or so of the full sheets, 8 x 11. Peel em, cover your tear, bass or snare, use as many as necessary. Do double thickness'es if you are a hard hitter. Just slap them on. If they are within reach, you could fix your torn snare in no time flat. If it's a fixable tear, these will do it. They sound good enough to get you through the set.

It's asking for trouble not having extra essentials.

extra pedal
extra snare
extra hi hat clutch
extra heads, especially the bass drum head
extra sticks in the car

These are essentials for me. I haven't needed them in a very long time. And I'd have to walk to where my car is parked get them. Oh well. At least I would be able to finish the night.
 

ottog1979

Senior Member
I've had this fear also. So, an easy fix. I just put an extra snare batter head in my cymbal case.

Thinking about it, I should do this also with a bass drum batter. Those are the only two drums in the kit that would be hard to get through a gig without.

If one splits, the band could take an early break. Quick change-out & go!
 

tcspears

Gold Member
usually, you can tell when I head is going to break... I've never broken a head in my life, but I'm not a hard hitter, and I change them when they start to go.

At school, the school-owned kits would always get worn down and eventually break, but you could tell when there were dents in the head, that it was destined to break

I bring a spare snare head with me, just in case. Some gigs would be easy enough to throw on a new head, others would be tough. I guess I've never really imagined breaking a head at a show.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Take an old or cheap 14 inch head, and cut the collar off of it and if you tear the snare head just lay it on top. Cut it small enough to fit inside of the hoop. It will give you a funkier sound but you can still carry on for the rest of the gig.
 

FreDrummer

Silver Member
Here's a nickel's worth of free advice: Plastic laminated sheets. The kind you laminate your paper documents with. Get a dozen or so of the full sheets, 8 x 11. Peel em, cover your tear, bass or snare, use as many as necessary. Do double thickness'es if you are a hard hitter. Just slap them on. If they are within reach, you could fix your torn snare in no time flat. If it's a fixable tear, these will do it. They sound good enough to get you through the set.

It's asking for trouble not having extra essentials.

extra pedal
extra snare
extra hi hat clutch
extra heads, especially the bass drum head
extra sticks in the car

These are essentials for me. I haven't needed them in a very long time. And I'd have to walk to where my car is parked get them. Oh well. At least I would be able to finish the night.
Great idea about the laminated sheets! I bring all the extra stuff you listed. If you stop and think about all the stuff that could go wrong, it probably has happened to someone here on DW. The only thing I leave in the car is the extra heads (all heads in a single 22" bass drum head box). I have a double pedal bag -- even though I play single -- right next to me with my backup pedal and bag of goodies (hi-hat clutch, extra felts, moongels, etc.). My extra snare also sits on the floor next to me. I keep it tuned very differently than my primary and use it on a few tunes. But, if my primary were to have a problem, I can pop it in the stand and the show goes on.

For all you minimalists out there, what about snare strings/straps, maybe an extra set of snares? You know this kind of stuff will never happen...until it does...
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
OK, so like 15 years ago I had a nightmare on a gig.

Everything was initially fine, but just the third song of the first set (of three sets). The snare head broke and I had no other with me. Keep in mind that over the course of 40 years, I have only had that one plus one other head break on me. I could only turn the snare over and beat the crap out of the bottom head and snare.

Ever since then, I have lugged around a second snare, just in case. I'm beginning to think I'm crazy as I've not had any issues with heads since that incident and I'm really getting tired schlepping around equipment I won't use. I could bring just an extra head, but it takes a few minutes to change a head. Awkward if in the middle of a set.

Who else does this and am I being smart and prudent or overly paranoid?
Speaking of paranoid, that's the one advice B.Ward gave me was to always have a spare snare at your gig. I never took his advice, and I've never had this happen to me. But now you're making me paranoid too. I have had a Bass Drum Pedal fail on me once, but that's another story for another thread.
 

AxisDrummer

Senior Member
Knock on wood (birch in my case,) I've never broken a head or had ANY gear malfunction in my years of live gigging.

However I ALWAYS pack an extra snare drum and bass drum pedal and leave locked in my car. I just always pray that they don't get stolen.

I've never been a Boy Scout, but I always like to be prepared.
 
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