Basic drum maintenance?

CCdrummer

Senior Member
The thread on why people treat their drums so poorly made me realize that I know Absolutely nothing about basic drum set maintenance, someone mentioned oiling the tension rods something that I have never done. Not surprising, I remember my dad telling me "you are hard on equipment son", but that was referring more towards vehicles, tools , powertools etc

So would anyone like to share what a schedule for drum set maintenance should look like?
 

MrPockets

Gold Member
What more can you do besides cleaning off dust and making sure everything is in tune?

I guess trying repair use damage if that happens...
 

CCdrummer

Senior Member
I rarely do any "maintenance" ....what is maintenance for a drum kit anyway?

I'll wipe the drums off occasionally

sometimes I get a can of compressed air and blow out the crevices in the hardware and pedal..... but not very often at all

maybe once a year or every two years while changing heads I may grease the tension rods .... but I never worry too much about it

my drums sit in my studio until it is time for the gig or recording session to which they are transported in cases and always in my presence

if drums are in a basement, garage, or damp rehearsal room they may require more maintenance .... or maybe if they are transported without cases.... but I don't ever find my drums ever needing anything that I would call "maintenance"

to me "maintenance" is what road techs for the Who had to perform ..... for me ... I wipe down the kit once a month and take care of the instrument
Well, that's pretty much what I was thinking, just wondered if there was any preventative things that I should be doing.
 

MrPockets

Gold Member
Well, that's pretty much what I was thinking, just wondered if there was any preventative things that I should be doing.
You could not touch them at all. I guess there are dust repellants on the market and you can use products that help keep tension lugs in place. Maybe check to see if screws and movable parts are coming loose.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
I think some of the rust type stuff you see is from people who play gigs, don't have their stuff bagged up, and it needs to be moved through, temporarily set down in, or played in rainy or snowy conditions.
Not too much of a problem if they're thoroughly wiped down quickly.
A good soaking in rain might take a complete disassembly though.
Some bar gigs always present spilled drink opportunities too - ha ha.

Lots of chipped finishes from dropped toms and other things dropped on drums.
Accidents happen, but it's never a good feeling, and sometimes the damage can run deep.
Chipped chrome - I'm not sure. Could be some manufacturing problem that didn't allow for the right bonding.
It'd take a pretty good whack to chip a chromed piece.

A set that's used mainly in one place, and not moved around much, shouldn't need more attention than what's been mentioned though.
Unless it's used in extreme humidity or temperature conditions.

.
 

Magenta

Platinum Member
I rarely do any "maintenance" ....what is maintenance for a drum kit anyway?

I'll wipe the drums off occasionally

sometimes I get a can of compressed air and blow out the crevices in the hardware and pedal..... but not very often at all

maybe once a year or every two years while changing heads I may grease the tension rods .... but I never worry too much about it

my drums sit in my studio until it is time for the gig or recording session to which they are transported in cases and always in my presence

if drums are in a basement, garage, or damp rehearsal room they may require more maintenance .... or maybe if they are transported without cases.... but I don't ever find my drums ever needing anything that I would call "maintenance"

to me "maintenance" is what road techs for the Who had to perform ..... for me ... I wipe down the kit once a month and take care of the instrument
Phew.

Every so often I wipe off the cat hair.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
This depends on where and how much you are gigging as well as whether or not your gear is being used as back line for the support acts. Fact is that most venues are in the cold light of day rather dirty and fairly harsh environments, e.g. Big temperature changes ranging from boiling hot with stage lights and lots of people to freezing cold empty.

Even if the bar area gets cleaned the stage areas and back rooms harbour what we might call gig fluff. This seems to love drums and pedals in particular, this stuff will cause problems long term, for example it can get under bearing edges.

For maintaining gear I have two schemes:

1) Complete service clean and lube once a year. I degrease with wd40.

2) Every month, I check and clean snare mechanism + wires and hi hat pedal. I only lube tension rods if they are getting stiff or the drums are not tuning up nicely.

3)Cleaning wise I just wipe down drums with pledge spray about four times a year. I have lacquer finishes but have never had any problems.
 
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Andy

Administrator
Staff member
For most drums, a quick check of fixing/screw tightness, bearing edge condition, removal of debris build up, etc, whilst changing heads, is sufficient. In addition to that, you may care to lightly wax then buff the bearing edges. This keeps them smooth, enabling the head to freely move when tensioning, & also guards agains ingression of moisture. Not essential by any means, but something I do as a matter of routine.

Drums with a natural wax finish will benefit from a re-application of wax & buff to shine every year or two.

If you're going to store drums for any length of time, always ensure they have heads fitted, evenly tuned around mid tension.

Lubrication of lugs is a good thing, but only sufficient to stop them running completely dry.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I tighten fasteners that hold the lug to the shell, clean, sometimes wax the shells with paste wax for cars, clean the hardware, and lube the rods and lugs with vaseline or 3 in one oil maybe once every year or 2. But it really doesn't need it that often, I do it because that's just how I roll.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I dust my drums off as needed, clean the bearing edges as I change heads, and check bolts and such if I hear or feel something off. I have very rarely had anything go wrong on my drums, and so this is probably the minimum requirement.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Take off the heads and clean out the muck between the head and the hoop. Look for frayed snare cords or worn straps. Clean the moving parts on the pedal and hihat. Dust the drums thoroughly. While the heads are off make sure every nut is tight. Do not over tighten. Make sure the cymbal felts and and plastic bits aren't worn. And when all of this is done, please come and do mine. I will buy the beer.
 

Razbo

Member
I've purchased a couple used kits lately. I check every screw and nut, clean and lube every moving part, lube the tension rods and wax the rims. Clean the shells and all the chrome. Hardware gets disassembled and cleaned and every moving part or screw lubed. Once all that's been done, I just give each drum a cleaning one drum at at time as I have the time and motivation.
 

Bonzodownunder

Senior Member
I ALLWAYS clean the tension rods with INOX MX3 300g (better then both CRC&WD 40 as it,s NON runny,&NON toxic), i also lubricate any hinges (hi-hat/kick pedal)replace tension rod washers&cymbal &hi-hat felts lubricate the cymbal stand threads with either Inox or grease so as NOT to wear the cymbal cup washers &so you DONT get metal to metal.To stop tension rods loosening i use liw strength Loctite thread locker.
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
I replace the heads about once a month on my working kit, or sooner if the head is sounding bad. When I do that I check for any sort of looseness inside or other signs of peril.

Tensions rods and all nuts and bolts on your stands should ALWAYS be kept lubed. Don't use WD-40, it's water based. Instead use anything with a teflon base. You can put all your tension rods into a hoop and hang that hoop level so that the rods are hanging down and shoot the bottom 1/4 of each with a bit of lube. Make sure none are bent.

Thing about cymbal stands is this- a lot of those parts are made from pot metal (cast) and if you were to look at one of them under a microscope, you'd see a very jagged and unforgiving surface. The lube fills in those cracks and allows them to tighten properly. Otherwise what happens is that when you begin to tighten an unlubed fitting the pressure of the tension coupled with the cragginess of the nut will cause it to bind and that's why stuff strips out. You're trying to tighten it but it cannot tighten because it's seized and what happens when you seize up pot metal? Yep! It fails.

I've gotten so many great deals on old boom mic stands because the owner was throwing them away, when indeed all it needed was a little bit of lube to make the stand tighten up again and therefore become useful.

On things such as HiHat clutch bottoms and bass drum pedal screws, use some Locktite "Wicking" formula to prevent them from coming undone. This version won't lock them down permanently so make sure you're using the green stuff! Blue is a bit stronger while the red stuff will require a torch to remove.

On your stands where there's a small roll pin...if that's come out you can use a poprivet gun to insert a steel poprivet and that will render that useful once again. Conversely this will work with any other place on the kit where there's a fitting. On stands that have the "disappearing" boom arm- you may not be able to insert the boom arm back into the stand, so if that's a necessity I'd recommend getting another roll pin and use some of the red locktite to cement it in (or some epoxy...or a short metal screw)
 

Mikecore

Silver Member
If I had to make a schedule:

Once a year- change heads, clean edges, remove hardware and clean it, clean/polish shells and hoops.

Every 6 months to 1 year- heads, pedal maintenance, check hardware is snug to the shells or mounts (RIMS, STM, ISS, etc).

Every 3-6 months- head changes and snug checking hardware (if needed).

All the time- use the hardware as it was intended, and everything will generally be fine. The most damage to drumsets that I have seen occurs on tom brackets, particularly the Ludwig or Premier style solid castings with an eyebolt or setscrew. Not using memorylocks or adjusting without loosening the wingnut will destroy those things in a hurry. If something starts to go pear-shaped, just replace it asap, before it sets off a chain reaction of suck that consumes the entire kit.
 

Zickos

Gold Member
IMO, quality drum kits don't require a lot of maintenance if they are properly handled (ie: not thrown around, kept in cases for transporting, kept out of the elements, etc.). About the only thing that needs to be done is check the tuning and wipe off the dust (if they are in dusty environments or they s it for a long time). Basic repairs for damage should be done but, other than that, they are pretty durable. Anyone else agree with that?
 

Razbo

Member
IMO, quality drum kits don't require a lot of maintenance if they are properly handled (ie: not thrown around, kept in cases for transporting, kept out of the elements, etc.). About the only thing that needs to be done is check the tuning and wipe off the dust (if they are in dusty environments or they s it for a long time). Basic repairs for damage should be done but, other than that, they are pretty durable. Anyone else agree with that?
I think over years, the shell vibrations will cause things to loosen. When going over the lug screws on older sets, some screws are snug, some turn a few times to snug. Could have been that way since manufacture date, I suppose, but I think all those vibrations will move things over a long period of time.
 

coolhand1969

Senior Member
Take off the heads and clean out the muck between the head and the hoop. Look for frayed snare cords or worn straps. Clean the moving parts on the pedal and hihat. Dust the drums thoroughly. While the heads are off make sure every nut is tight. Do not over tighten. Make sure the cymbal felts and and plastic bits aren't worn. And when all of this is done, please come and do mine. I will buy the beer.
I would say you have got it about right as far as ritual maintenance goes, I probably spend more time cleaning/working on my kick drum pedal than any other single part.
 

The Black Page Dude

Senior Member
Depends on the player ... if you are touring and gigging every night, yeah you need to be a little more dilligent on keeping your kit in top form. If you rarely take it out of your rehearsal space or studio, you have less to worry about. If you hit like a sledge hammer that would have an influence on the integrity of your kit as well.

I would say that maintenace to me would be fixing anything that needs to be as soon as I see that it needs attention. Keeping a drop cloth over my kit when it's not in use, using good cases (BIG ONE), the odd dusting here and there. Mostly I see maintenace as having great technique so that the drums don't get abused.
 
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