Equipment Breakdown During a Show


Senior Member
Hi guys,
I had a Pearl pedal and during Church, it almost gave up on me. I forgot to tighten one part but the problem was I didn't have that certain wrench (its not the tuning key). Thank God it happened near the end. I was still able to use it but it was sluggish. Anyone else faced equipment problems during a show?


The snare throw-off string broke on a Ludwig snaredrum while playing. Finished the song, used a spare snare drum until the break.
All my own fault for not checking my gear.

Had an old Ludwig speedking bd-pedal, footplate snaped in two. (I only weigh 11 stone/70 kilos).
No way to see that coming. Shortened the song by one verse. Changed pedal.
I've always carried spare pedals. Never used a speedking since.


Pioneer Member
I've had beater screws strip out on me, snare side or snare wires break. Now I have an extra snare and pedal handy at all times.


Silver Member
About 35 years ago the spring on my bass drum pedal broke....At a loss took the spring off my car caborator and placed installed it on my pedal...I could only play quarter notes but in got me thru the gig. Since then I always have a spare pedal.Denis


Silver Member
I used to have problems alot but i've upgraded most of my hardware to avoid these problems. Most common problem for me used to be the beater flying out of the pedal but now I use two memory locks one on the top and one on the bottom to keep the beater in place. I also use 2 ply batters on the kick because i've broken through the first layer a few times.

I've had the cord that attaches to the snares break, but the easy fix for that is grab about 2 or 3 bar straws and fold them in half they make a great replacement in a bind.

I used to have the typical cymbal tilter falling and the cymbals go backwards kind of problems but now I have memory locks on my cymbal tilters and use toothless titlers and i haven't had problems since.


Platinum Member
Pedal failure due to loose adjusting screws is rare but it does happen. I check the tightness of all the adjusting screws on my pedal frequently. Breakage is also rare but that happens also sometimes. I have found loose screws many times. On breaks between sets I also check the tension of many adjusting screws on my stands and toms , etc. Hi-Hat stand problems come to mind! Things loosen up from time to time! Where there are moving parts, There will always be a risk of loose screws! I carry all of the tools that I need at all times. Duck Tape has saved me more than once also! LOL!
Murphy's Law, "If it can happen, It will"


Senior Member
Yesterday we were at a gig with my band, excelente sound, excelent sound guy, and my own gear (which I love). Every band before us went perfect but when we were at the 3 song the lights were out. We had to start again, did another song and then the lights were out again, it got fixed, we played two or three songs and they broke again!!!

I was really angry 'cause it's not a normal equipment failure when YOU are responsible (I broguht spare pedals, sticks, wrenches, etc...) or a bad sound guy problem, this was absolutely out of our control, it was horrrrible.


Silver Member
Hi guys,
I had a Pearl pedal and during Church, it almost gave up on me. I forgot to tighten one part but the problem was I didn't have that certain wrench (its not the tuning key). Thank God it happened near the end. I was still able to use it but it was sluggish. Anyone else faced equipment problems during a show?
Absolutely, but you should ALWAYS have all the tools necessary to adjust and repair your gear. Not having the right tools is bush league. Of course I didn't know that at first either, so all is forgiven! L0L!!

I couldn't imagine leaving for a gig without 2 snare drums, you can just NOT PLAY the rest and it'll suck, but you'll get by.

I always keep some extra heads with me too. Broke a bass drum head once and my roadie (ahhh, those were the days) took the kick out of the kit and replaced it WHILE I was playing!! He stole the show!! L0L!!

I've also had a rack tom mount break, and the tom went crashing to the floor (fortunately no damage) so I just used the rest of the kit and replaced the broken mount the next day.

Stuff happens, but be as prepared as you can be, NOT as prepared as you THINK you should be. HA HA!!!!

I learned THAT the hard way too. :D


Silver Member
does anybody have any good ideas for taking spare heads on the road. last tour I put a bunch of spare heads in a soft cymbal case and when I finally went in to grab one i realized they were all crushed and bent from being in the trailer. Our trailer isn't big enough for me to get a road case for heads or anything like that, but if anybody has any tips for keeping heads protected on the road I would appreciate it because this was a $100 dollar mistake on my part thinking they would be okay in the cymbal bag. I made sure it was on top of everything but it seems like nothing is safe in the trailer.


Platinum Member
Years ago I played on a headliner's kit. We start off the first song and with the very first hit of the bass drum, the beater flies off leaving only the shaft striking the drum. Of course the song in question had a serious bass drum part. Luckily, i had a spare beater.

We blamed the sound guy for the "light" sounding bass drum LOL.


Senior Member
I always take an extra pedal, snare, and kick head. I also have a small tool kit with various size lug screws, zip ties, and tape. I haven't had anything break in long time, but the peace of mind is worth the trouble of carrying the spares.


Senior Member
equipment failure during a show? well, have i got a story for you. after my band broke up i joined the army and set of basic training and AIT. after AIT i went home for a few weeks before going to new york for my first duty station. while i was home me and the guys got together and decided we would do a 'reunion' slash 'farewell' show to be our final gig and to go out in style. and boy did we ever. 9 song setup, supposed to take 30 minutes. we did 6 songs and it took 45 minutes. here's how the night went, and we'll call this the 'worst show ever'.

before the gig we had practiced everyday for a week straight to remember songs we hadn't played in 7 months and get them perfect. our back up guitarist had joined a new band. since i had used his drums before as the band drums i assumed we would use them again. only problem was that he was letting the new band use them and we had to share them. so we get to the show, his new band is playing 2 bands before us. they get up, play, then tear down and leave. halfway through the band after them i realize they took the drum set with them. when i asked them bring it back as we had agreed they said no straight up. (lots more to this i wont' go into here). but no worries, my bass player had a band playing there too and said we could use his drums. so sweet! problem fixed. get up to play and here's how it went.

song 1: i had to scrounge for sticks, and managed to find 4. none of which matched. well, in the first song one of those sticks broke and the snare switch broke. wonderful.

song 2: i punch through the batter head on the snare, a friend brings a snare and (no kidding) holds it while i finish the song. then the bass player breaks a string (THE BASS!!). after the song i set up the new snare, he tunes a new string and we're good to go.

song 3: back up guitar player breaks a string, while attempting to fix it in the middle of the song his amp starts cutting out. he missed his solo.

song 4: the only song of the night that goes decent, not good, just decent. no big issues.

song 5: in the intro both guys that broke strings, back up guitar and bass, break more strings. we have to stop the song and start again. at this point it's getting comical. they tune up and we drive on. half way through the first verse (and this is the only time i've ever heard of htis happening to anyone, anywhere) the foot board on the bass pedal breaks. in. half. i attempt to kick the bass to keep a thump going, doesn't really work so i just stamp on the ground for the rest of the song to keep myself in time.

so now we are just over half way into a set and we're close to 30 minutes. quick band huddle to figure wtf we're going to do. this is when brilliance strikes. my buddy dalton in the crowd also plays drums (he's the one that brought the snare earlier), so i ask him to take the last stick and use it on the bass during the song that we decide will be our last. up to this point the back up guitar player's amp has been coming and going as it pleased, and we thought we had it fixed. so, 10 minutes later we start our last song. the 15 people who remained were laughing almost as hard as we were at this point.

song 6: with dalton pounding away on my kick, we start. if anyone cares, i still have the pictures to prove this too lol. half way through the guitar amp dies, power goes out and thats it. he misses his only other solo of the night. to his credit he stood there for a few seconds fiddling with it then said f**k it! threw his guitar down and started dancing. the end of this song is were all hell is supposed to break loose. i knock over my whole kit keith moon style and we walk off in a haze of distortion and feedback. true rock stars. and this part went perfect. the only thing all night, controlled chaos, that goes perfect.

we all went to steak and shake and laughed harder than we've ever laughed in our lives at that point. no one else inside gets the joke.


Platinum Member
does anybody have any good ideas for taking spare heads on the road. last tour .... drums cases are a little deeper than my drums. (6.5" deep case for a 5.5" deep snare, 10" deep case for an 8" deep tom, etc...). I put a piece of foam on top of the drum, and a spare head on top of that before I close the lid. I've done this with fibrecases and plastic cases, and I've never had a spare head get damaged. I always have a spare head for each drum this way, and since the head is protected from the drum by the "cut out to fit the diameter of the case" piece of foam, and protected from the case by the carpeting that I lined the cases with, I feel secure that they won't get damaged...


I have an Iron Cobra Lever Glide Hi-Hat stand and a couple of years ago I was playing a jazz trio gig and the yellow strap that connects the lever to the footboard broke in the middle of the second set. They now put a plastic casing around the strap, but when I first bought the pedal, they hadn't started making them with that plastic casing. Years of use just loosened up the thread that held it together. I had to use tape and staples to hold it together for the rest of that gig. I had to swing with a very light hi hat stroke. During the Rock and R&B songs, the hi hats were sloshy, it sucked.

As an aside, I was fortunate to have some really great people at a music store called Attina's in the Metro-Atlanta area help me out by taking that strap off a brand new in-store pedal and ordering a replacement for the one in-store. I didn't have to wait and use my second-rate hi-hat stand. I was so appreciative of that. I don't think some one at one of the larger chains would have done that for me.


SGT_Drummer awesome story, I would like to see those pics. It makes the pin falling out of Delta Ball hinge , in Chicago, on my right pedal seem like nothing. At the time I was mortified. Trying to piece it back together in a just a few minutes.

Nothing broke this last weekend, but I did manage to sling three sticks in 10 measures, and the guitarist broke a string in that 10 measure horror spot as well.... Getting warm out again, guess I should bring something to wipe my hands.


Silver Member
I had a cheap set of Pearl exports along with the wimpiest drum throne ever. My first gig that I ever played. I didn't know the first thing about tuning drums, but a rather large fellow there did. Needless to say the throne held him up while he tuned my drums, but about 30 minutes into the show we are jamming away to "Rocky Top" my now weakened throne breaks and I am lying on the floor laughing so hard because the whole night had been a comedy of errors (though not as bad as Sgt. Drummer's). I played the rest of the gig rather low in a folding chair!

That's the worst thing that has happened to me. That was 20 years ago and I still get aggravated about it (small town).