Unused Drums: What Happens?

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
If you leave your car sitting for years untouched it's bad for it. Use actually helps it last longer. Are drums the same way? Will a continually used instrument outlast a lonely one? Is a drum left in a case for years still prone to deterioration?

I have lots of thoughts and ideas about this on both sides of the fence. I'm not even sure if there is any definitive way of knowing.
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
I’ve largely stored my drums away in cases for the last decade but often give them a spring clean and regular going over to make sure everything is looking and working as it should. My Prem 2000 is over 40 years old and looks like the day my folks bought it for me…and I gigged the heck out of that drum too! It’s always worth investing in cases/bags and storing your gear at room temperature if you can when not playing them.

A116B46B-C983-478F-B308-58FA21876618.jpeg
 

beatdat

Senior Member
Maintenance may be a variable that would have to be taken into consideration in any test hypotheses. So, for any given item (eg. a snare drum), I think you would probably need one that wasn't used, one that is used but maintained, and one that is used but not maintained. Or, at the very least, not be allowed to maintain the item that is being used.

But, I'm inclined to think that a drumhead would probably degrade with no use, possibly due to the properties of their composition (don't mylar and other similar products become brittle if not used? maybe the heat generated from being hit keeps them supple?). I'm guessing tension rods and lug casings, wing nuts, and ball bearings would deteriorate, too, if not maintained, but I don't think cymbals would.

Just spitballing, so I may be wrong. It would be interesting to hear from someone who knows, though.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I’ve largely stored my drums away in cases for the last decade but often give them a spring clean and regular going over to make sure everything is looking and working as it should.
Have you ever noticed any kind of damage or anything that wasnt there before you opened the case?

But, I'm inclined to think that a drumhead would probably degrade with no use, possibly due to the properties of their composition (don't mylar and other similar products become brittle if not used? maybe the heat generated from being hit keeps them supple?). I'm guessing tension rods and lug casings, wing nuts, and ball bearings would deteriorate, too, if not maintained, but I don't think cymbals would.
I would think the same thing. Friction wouldnt really be in play with a still instrument. Dust and moisture/dryness sure would though, as would gravity. But then again a played kit gets finger oils, friction, impact, etc. And still we see 10 year old basket case garage kits being sold next to pristine vintage kits. It's all so bizarre.

Here's one, is hitting the drum better for the shell than it just sitting there? Does the shells movement actually help keep the drum in round and the plys from separating?
 

beatdat

Senior Member
Here's one, is hitting the drum better for the shell than it just sitting there? Does the shells movement actually help keep the drum in round and the plys from separating?
If friction does in fact keep drumheads supple, maybe it keeps the glue holding the plies together supple, too?
 

Ransan

Senior Member
But, I'm inclined to think that a drumhead would probably degrade with no use, possibly due to the properties of their composition (don't mylar and other similar products become brittle if not used? maybe the heat generated from being hit keeps them supple?). I'm guessing tension rods and lug casings, wing nuts, and ball bearings would deteriorate, too, if not maintained, but I don't think cymbals would.

Just spitballing, so I may be wrong. It would be interesting to hear from someone who knows, though.
I have an Olympic by Premier 1005 CoS model that, out of all my snares, is my absolute favorite sounding one.
There’s a stamp inside of 12476, either Jan or Dec of ‘76.

The snare has the original Everplay heads that I WILL NOT change for being afraid of losing that sound.
 
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Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
in my experience, the moisture thing is #1 to worry about

I have come across drums in my time where the shell was forced out of round b/c of a highly tensioned head left on it

also have dealt with drums where lug casings have pulled out of the wood...also due to the heads being left on too tight. These drums were marching bass drums from the 1920's and had pretty thin shells as it was...probably not the best build quality either

the strings, or plastic that hold snare strainer tension also weaken after time, so leave those strainers off when in storage...and, the strings can leave "ruts" in wooden snare shells where they cross the cutout on the bearing edge

also, cymbals stored upright on their side for too long can end up bowing, or getting a little bend on the edge tat was on the ground, so be careful about that

I store my cymbals in my Humes and Berg hard shell case, laying flat on the ground; the bolt also has a plastic tube on it to prevent key-holing
 

TK-421

Senior Member
It’s a well known fact that drums that haven’t been used for decades on end become very undesirable. Toms grow several inches too long, the bass drum spurs transform into the almost useless telescoping kind, suspension mounts turn into tone-choking bolt-on mounts and the insides of almost every drum develop these round felt-like things that press on the undersides of the heads.
 

wraub

Well-known member
It’s a well known fact that drums that haven’t been used for decades on end become very undesirable. Toms grow several inches too long, the bass drum spurs transform into the almost useless telescoping kind, suspension mounts turn into tone-choking bolt-on mounts and the insides of almost every drum develop these round felt-like things that press on the undersides of the heads.
This post only hints at what awaits- I left a 13x11 tom on a shelf in another room, and, later, when I came back?




......it was still there.
 

pocket player

Junior Member
I’ve largely stored my drums away in cases for the last decade but often give them a spring clean and regular going over to make sure everything is looking and working as it should. My Prem 2000 is over 40 years old and looks like the day my folks bought it for me…and I gigged the heck out of that drum too! It’s always worth investing in cases/bags and storing your gear at room temperature if you can when not playing them.

View attachment 105744
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Drums are made of plies, so they are pretty stinkin' durable. Plus, we hit them with sticks on occasion...which speaks to their durability.

As other have said, I think humidity is a factor as is temperature extremes.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
I purchased my kit in 1981. I stopped playing a few years after that. It sat unused for at least 20 years. Stored in the original cardboard boxes they came in, in my garage. In Maine, the winters are really cold, and parts of the summers are really hot. (People don't believe that, thinking that we're near the Arctic Circle or something...its currently 92 degrees Fahrenheit, with ridiculous humidity)

I started playing again about 12 or 13 years ago. My drums are fine. At least I believe them to be...I get plenty of comments on how good they sound. Good old Imperialstars...
 
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