snare throw off problem

Tom C.

Junior Member
I recently bought a Tama Starclassic Birch/ Walnut snare drum and I love it. But... when I first got the drum, I noticed that the snare throw off didn't seem to work very smoothly. It was almost like something was misaligned so that you had to kind of fiddle with it to get it to open and close. I just assumed that since it was new it needed to be worked a bit, but the problem kept getting worse until now when it won't even disengage the snare. It's as if it's caught and the lever won't move. If I fiddle with the mechanism on the bottom, I can open it manually by pulling on the part that holds the snare wire, but there is something definitely wrong with it. I really love the drum so I don't want to return it, but I need to be able to use the throw off. I'm wondering if they simply forgot to oil the moving parts and it's jammed? Or maybe something is bent or not properly assembled. small.jpgsmall.jpgsmall.jpg
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
You might try loosening the wires via the black knob. Could be too tightly locked in. Or do as tfgretsch said above. Good luck and let us know.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
Agreed. Loosen the tension knob until
Indeed. Looks like you have the tension maxed out. Loosen up the knob and reset the straps.
I agree. Loosen the tension knob until it's just about as loose as it'll get, and then take up the slack in the snare wire straps.
 

Tom C.

Junior Member
Thanks for the replies.
I've tried loosening the tension all the way and that doesn't work either. I've messed around with placement of the straps and nothing fixes it. It's something mechanical that's not connecting when the lever is pulled down. The lever pulls down as if the snares are disengaged, but it doesn't do anything to the lower part of the sliding mechanism.

I have another Tama snare drum with a throw off just like this one and it works fine... although I'm not a big fan of this design. I'll call Tama and see what they say. It seems like a defective part to me. I just wondered if there was something I could do to fix it on my own.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Take the throwoff apart. It sounds like the connection of the lever and tension screw are bound up somehow. Either that or the elbow of the lever is hung up and not allowing the tension screw portion to drop.

Throwoff are simple. It's either a lever or cam that lifts up/pushes on the tension knob to raise/lower the snares. Typically there is the lever/cam, a threaded tension screw, something on the screw for the lever/cam to push against, and a spring. Some don't even have a spring. That's it, they are really simple.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
It's really hard to tell from that photo...but it could be that the strap is routed the wrong way through the strainer. Not installed correctly.

Is that a possibility?
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
This should help:

MCS70A.png
Okay, the lever has 3 pivot points; bottom, middle, and top. The bottom is where the lever hinges to engage/disengage the wires. The middle pulls the lever arm away from the assembly, which in turn pulls the top one down. It also drops the block that the tension rod acts upon. That's how the lever drops the wires. There is also a sliding channel on the back of the throwoff that keeps the action in line. Check all this for smoothness and binding. Worn rivets can bind. Keyholed lever arms can bind. Sliding channels can bind or get dirt in them.
 

Tom C.

Junior Member
This should help:

View attachment 95104
Okay, the lever has 3 pivot points; bottom, middle, and top. The bottom is where the lever hinges to engage/disengage the wires. The middle pulls the lever arm away from the assembly, which in turn pulls the top one down. It also drops the block that the tension rod acts upon. That's how the lever drops the wires. There is also a sliding channel on the back of the throwoff that keeps the action in line. Check all this for smoothness and binding. Worn rivets can bind. Keyholed lever arms can bind. Sliding channels can bind or get dirt in them.
This is quite helpful! It seems to be a problem with one of the pivot points on the lever. The middle one seems to be ok, because the lever arm can be pulled away from the assembly, but the problem seems to be with the connection to the block of the tension rod, which won't drop. It might be something binding in the sliding channel, or it could just be the block itself. I've got a rehearsal today, but afterwards I plan to take the throw-off apart to see if I can fix it. Would you suggest oiling any of the moving parts? I'm a little hesitant about doing that because I don't want to get any oil dripping on the drum finish. I also emailed Tama and described the problem, so I'll be interested to see if they have any suggestions.
 

Tom C.

Junior Member
It's really hard to tell from that photo...but it could be that the strap is routed the wrong way through the strainer. Not installed correctly.

Is that a possibility?
Yeah, you never know how things might have been assembled at the factory when they put all that together. I've checked all that out though and the straps are in place as they should be. Everything looks good, except the inner mechanism of the throw-off lever, where it meets the tension block assembly. My other Tama drum with the same throw-off works as it should, so this seems to be a defect.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
This is quite helpful! It seems to be a problem with one of the pivot points on the lever. The middle one seems to be ok, because the lever arm can be pulled away from the assembly, but the problem seems to be with the connection to the block of the tension rod, which won't drop. It might be something binding in the sliding channel, or it could just be the block itself. I've got a rehearsal today, but afterwards I plan to take the throw-off apart to see if I can fix it. Would you suggest oiling any of the moving parts? I'm a little hesitant about doing that because I don't want to get any oil dripping on the drum finish. I also emailed Tama and described the problem, so I'll be interested to see if they have any suggestions.
I would lube them yes, but with something like a teflon or dry lube. WD40 is a no no. I would also only lube it while apart so as to not have a slippery mess. It's easier to clean a part than an assembly.

Having an identical throwoff can help too. If you know where the problem is but cant find it, comparing parts helps.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I owned a couple Tama snares with this throw off. I never had any problems with anything being too hard to move, if anything I had a hard time keeping it tight; the tension knob always seemed to loosen with the least amount of playing.

For sure I'd remove the throw off from the drum. At the very least it should prevent getting any lubricant on the drum shell if you go that route, but it should also make it easier to see what is going on/going wrong with the cam/lever that is binding.
 

markdrum

Silver Member
Lithium grease works well in cases like this. Just remove the throwoff and apply some to the slide. If all else fails the DW Mag throwoff has the same screw spacing. I had a snare with the Tama and I finally replaced it with a MAG. If you just get the strainer out on eBay it's actually the same price as a replacement Tama. Sometimes the DW is cheaper. Fewer moving parts means fewer points of failure.
 
This should help:

View attachment 95104
Okay, the lever has 3 pivot points; bottom, middle, and top. The bottom is where the lever hinges to engage/disengage the wires. The middle pulls the lever arm away from the assembly, which in turn pulls the top one down. It also drops the block that the tension rod acts upon. That's how the lever drops the wires. There is also a sliding channel on the back of the throwoff that keeps the action in line. Check all this for smoothness and binding. Worn rivets can bind. Keyholed lever arms can bind. Sliding channels can bind or get dirt in them.
I recently bought a Tama Starclassic Birch/ Walnut snare drum and I love it. But... when I first got the drum, I noticed that the snare throw off didn't seem to work very smoothly. It was almost like something was misaligned so that you had to kind of fiddle with it to get it to open and close. I just assumed that since it was new it needed to be worked a bit, but the problem kept getting worse until now when it won't even disengage the snare. It's as if it's caught and the lever won't move. If I fiddle with the mechanism on the bottom, I can open it manually by pulling on the part that holds the snare wire, but there is something definitely wrong with it. I really love the drum so I don't want to return it, but I need to be able to use the throw off. I'm wondering if they simply forgot to oil the moving parts and it's jammed? Or maybe something is bent or not properly assembled. View attachment 95081View attachment 95081View attachment 95081
Something looks wrong. There are 2 spacers holding the Tama engraved part away from the strap. One spacer is copper maybe a 3/8" pipe. The other spacer is a 1/2" x 1/2" square piece of tubing. These spacers are not shown on the diagram further down in the post. To me this looks as though the Tama piece is not the right size, it is too long to adjust for this wrong part Tama has added these 2 spacers. Not good. These spacers are probably locking the mechanism from moving correctly. There are several ways to fix this but you may just want to get a new drum that hasn't been tampered with.
 
Something looks wrong. There are 2 spacers holding the Tama engraved part away from the strap. One spacer is copper maybe a 3/8" pipe. The other spacer is a 1/2" x 1/2" square piece of tubing. These spacers are not shown on the diagram above in the post. To me this looks as though the Tama piece is not the right size, it is too long. To adjust for this wrong part Tama has added these 2 spacers. Not good. These spacers are probably locking the mechanism from moving correctly. There are several ways to fix this but you may just want to get a new drum that hasn't been tampered with.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Something looks wrong. There are 2 spacers holding the Tama engraved part away from the strap. One spacer is copper maybe a 3/8" pipe. The other spacer is a 1/2" x 1/2" square piece of tubing. These spacers are not shown on the diagram above in the post. To me this looks as though the Tama piece is not the right size, it is too long. To adjust for this wrong part Tama has added these 2 spacers. Not good. These spacers are probably locking the mechanism from moving correctly. There are several ways to fix this but you may just want to get a new drum that hasn't been tampered with.
Lol those arent spacers, it's a reflection of the color of the drum in the chrome.
 

Soulfinger

Senior Member
I´m not really a fan of that strainer either but I had it on a couple of snares, and it usually works well. Only one acted up in a similar way - took it off, cleaned it, lubed it, now it´s as good as new. Never found out what the problem was.
I did eventually replace it with my favourite strainer ever, the Tama Linear Drive. Not the cheapest, but totally worth it.

BTW, the MAG is not a direct replacement. The spacing is 35 mm on the DW and 36 mm on the Tama. Depending on the size of the holes in the shell it might work or it might not. It didn´t on the drum I had.
 

Tom C.

Junior Member
I´m not really a fan of that strainer either but I had it on a couple of snares, and it usually works well. Only one acted up in a similar way - took it off, cleaned it, lubed it, now it´s as good as new. Never found out what the problem was.
I did eventually replace it with my favourite strainer ever, the Tama Linear Drive. Not the cheapest, but totally worth it.

BTW, the MAG is not a direct replacement. The spacing is 35 mm on the DW and 36 mm on the Tama. Depending on the size of the holes in the shell it might work or it might not. It didn´t on the drum I had.
Good to know. I like the DW MAG strainer alot but I don't want to chance it if the spacing won't work. The Tama Linear Drive is the one that comes on their Starphonic series, right? Those are beautiful drums. As long as the spacing is the same I might just order one of those.

I'm gonna try to take the problem strainer apart today and see if I can fix the problem. I'm gonna use the identical strainer on my other Tama snare to compare. I also emailed Tama's customer support, so it will be interesting to see what they have to say about it.
 
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