Proper etiquette when buying a used drum(s)?


Senior Member
Hello, everyone. I know most of us on this here forum has bought something used before, whether it be a used snare, a used cymbal, all the way up to a used 7 piece drumkit before. So, my question is, as it has been for a while now, is, what is proper etiquette when buying something on the private used market?
Now, when buying a used snare drum, is it ok to have a tuning key at hand, and tune the snare? And I dont mean to "my" liking. I mean, detune to wrinkle, and tune straight up. Would you be offended if someone was to do that to you? What about a whole kit?
Say you were going to buy a used 5 piece Gretsch USA Custom, and wanted to see how low that 20" bass drum will really go. Would you bust out your tuning key, and go to town?
This, I feel, is something that may be overlooked, and could be leaving people with bruised feelings, and sometimes, sore bottoms. I, myself, dont think I could do that, in fear of hurting someones feelings, or making myself out to be rude. But if the buyer and the seller think its alright, i guess what the h, though, right? Anyone have any opinions on this matter? Thanks.


Senior Member
I wouldn't have any problem with it unless you broke a head, in which case you sound like the type a guy who'd replace it anyway!

I would just ask and explain why before you go ahead and do it. That should be fine.


Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
If I were the seller and you wished to tune my drum you would do so at your risk. If you broke a tuning screw you would replace it or buy the drum at your option. I would let you know that ahead of time. I bought my 5 piece Grestch used and just did a general walk around because they were basically brand new. If you wanted to take off the heads and look at bearing edges I wouldn't mind. With the understanding that you are buying used you cannot expect a new condition kit, so dings, nicks, scratches may be a part of that and the reason they are new. I still own them so if you try to get me down too low on the price I will shake your hand and say thanks for stopping to look.


Silver Member
A good question.

I recently sold an a/c unit, and had set up an extension cord so the purchaser could satisfy themselves it worked and chilled OK, and I would hope, in the same manner, if I were to go and buy drums they would be set up to be able to test them out.

Once you get into dis-assembling them, it's a little more of a grey area, if the buyer was really serious, and not just a tyre kicker, I think some accommodations could be made.

Maybe if one was arranging a time and place to meet etc, it would be possible to set some form of ground rules/expectations about was was OK in terms of checking etc.