Why do people treat their drums so badly?


Silver Member
Most of the used kits I've ordered or picked up are definitely "used", but gently is not in the vocabulary. When I buy a new (to me) kit, first thing I do is strip it down, order new heads, and polish the drums and oil the tension rods. I've seen all kinds of mishaps, and I can't imagine what it was like to jam or play with the previous owners. Many folks use the same batter and resonant heads from when the kit was first bought, and that could be over 20 year ago, some folks don't straighten the heads and logos so the kit looks lopsided no matter where you set it up - I mean who are these people?!

Latest kit I've got - soda all over the place. Gunk and residue, logos on heads again between a 60 and 90 degree angle from set up (don't they care what it looks like?), and some tension rods stripped (got new ones fortunately - and who doesn't oil them once in awhile? Sheesh). College parties? Mildew basement? Barn? All of the above?

Just a rant. Wish some drummers would take more care of their kits. This one is actually cleaning up nicely!


Platinum Member
I know, it's crazy how some people don't give a s__t. I treat my drums like museum pieces. I just don't clean my cymbals. Otherwise my drums are kept immaculate or as much as possible.

Jesus and the Devil agree: clean your drums!


Silver Member
Well, I don't actually care what angle the logos are sitting at, because it doesn't affect the sound of the drums.

Other than that though, absolutely, I can't stand seeing when people don't care for their gear! You'd almost never see a guitarist failing to wipe his strings down at the end of a gig, at least in proportion to the number of drummers who simply don't care.

IMO, if you are going to learn an instrument, then you should put in ALL the effort to learn how it functions and how to take care of it, no excuses!

I have the same gripe about people who own cars. If you can't change a tyre or be capable of checking and preferably changing the various critical fluids (engine oil, transmission oil, coolant), then why should you be allowed on the road? Imagine how much quieter life would be for mobile service companies if they didn't waste so much time changing tyres for hopeless city-dwellers :p ...

But I digress. I totally agree that people should take care of their instruments, no matter what they play. No excuses for laziness!


Staff member
Covering the basics of instrument care is a given. Anything that affects the functionality or service life of the instrument is a priority. Above & beyond that, due care of aesthetics is more of a personal pride of ownership thing, and is as individual as the owners themselves.

I'm not overly precious about my gigging stuff. Accumulations of dirt are taken care of, but they don't get polished to perfection each time out. I do pay a lot of attention to general condition & functionality though, especially sound.


Silver Member
Every time I go to my local used music store, all the kits are just dilapidated and falling apart from misuse and improper care. I understand not particularly paying special attention to it if it isn't especially nice or if it isn't something you generally care about as much as other things in your life, but to let them get to the point that they do is just baffling to me.

I bought my kit in September, and it still looks brand new (aside from the batter side kick drum hoop). I don't particularly spend a lot of time making it look nice, but I also don't abuse it.

I do clean my cymbals every once and a while, and I clean my hoops when I change heads. To me, it feels good to care for your instrument, and it just makes it that much more enjoyable to play.


Silver Member
I line up the logos with the badge. I experiment with heads a lot and it allows me to put the heads back in the same spot each time I reinstall them


Gold Member
Back in the 60's (yes, there were drums then) I was in a band with two drummers. By coincidence, we both had identical kits, white marine pearl Lyra (MIJ). I took care of mine, packing them in hard cases after each gig. The other drummer would back a van up to the door and literally throw them in. When the band disbanded, mine were in great condition, his were a pile of toothpicks. I think it has something to do with respect, self or otherwise.


Gold Member
My last gig was a bit of an eye opener in this regards. The chamber ensemble I was playing with was using a paste 18" ride as a crash, and they had a regular kit snare, so I tuned up my free floating snare to be as close to a symphonic snare as possible, and took in my cymbals. They immediately swapped out the snare then after some consideration decided to leave the 18" ride at home, and decided to use the 19" K dark crash.

Back stage it turned out there were several groups and they were all using the same kit as well as a bunch of traditional percussion, people were running backstage grabbing equipment and hustling it on stage, anyway nothing was damaged as far as I know, but I can see how equipment could easily get damaged under these circumstances. My snare tuning and cymbal sounded awesome so, it was a good experience. Road rash is just part of the game, I guess it's too nice to leave at home.

Big Foot

Silver Member
I go to and get invited to jam sessions were they have drums set up and these drums are usually piles of crap. The owners of the drum aren't often drummers, but either way, they seem to proud of the fact they have a kit for me. I try to avoid playing on these kits but some times I feel bad because I know they really need a drummer. In situations where I can't bring my kit I at least bring cymbals, snare and pedal. This way I can tell the owner of the drums, these are the personal parts I can't play w/out...

I'm not talking about about the initial quality of the drums - pro or student level.
I'm talking about their present state of disrepair. Drumheads that are years old covered in tape - and never mind tuning, the heads are beyond being able to be tuned. And pretty much anything that could be wrong with the kit & hardware is wrong.

And yes of course the guitars are nice 'n clean and well tuned w/new strings...

What's the reason for the disrespect of drums? I think ultimately it's rooted in the drums & drummer being regarded as less of a musician...or those drummers see themselves as less of a musician...

Also, it's just some people are slobs. My job takes me into a lot of houses, and yeah, some people are clean and tidy and some are messy slobs.

My house like my drums aren't super spic n' span but if I spill something it gets cleaned up, if something needs 'fixing or adjusting' it gets 'fixed or adjusted'. Dust on the bass drum or dust on my shelving... it'll get cleaned...but not right now...


Senior Member
I treat my own gear as working tools...I try to preserve the good looks, keep everything in cases and perform regular maintenance ie heads, any lube and some cleaning. I don't obsessively clean them though.

All the drummers I know are pretty kind to their gear.


Silver Member
Some people consider their instruments tools, some consider them family members. If you're a kid with the kit he can afford in stead of the one he wants, hustling in and out of bad load-outs with no cases because you can't afford them, maybe buying into the destructive image of the rock musician, then lining up the logos on the heads is the least of your concerns.

It's like cars. Some people do their own maintenance on the manufacturer's schedule, wash and wax every other week, detail four times a year, and refuse to park anywhere but a garage. Some people cover their car in stickers and fast food containers, and will run a shopping cart over a curb to avoid getting out in a light drizzle.


Platinum Member
The stuff I take to shows gets banged up and frankly, worrying about it and being all anal about how clean and perfect it should be just seems retarded. They're instruments, not assets.

Basically, aesthetics are not on the top of the list for a lot of folks, music is. First thing I do when I get a new kit is play the **** out of it, not clean the **** out of it.


Platinum Member
Because drums are struck to be played, many people seem to think that drums are disposable, or that destruction is how you play the drums. The behavior and perception of some drummers in popular culture (Moonie trashing his kit, Bonzo trashing hotel rooms, or Animal on the Muppets) doesn't help.

You see hard rock or metal drummers playing with zest and abandon, it looks like they are beating the crap out of their kits, and some folks don't understand that this doesn't mean that you can beat on any part of the kit that way.

Also, an extremely high proportion of people, even among musicians, do not understand how a drumset is set up or even more than generalities about what one looks like. How many of you have seen a cartoon like this depicting a drumset?

This means that they don't understand some of the basic concepts behind putting a drumset together, such as the rack toms not actually resting on the kick drum, or where the hi-hat and bass drum pedals are supposed to go. And we see plenty of evidence on Craigslist that beginning drummers are not getting this info either.

Whereas learning almost every other musical instrument involves lessons and serious attempts at self-education about the instrument, drummers are the most likely to pick up the sticks and start mechanically trying to reproduce what they see and hear without understanding the musical depth of the instrument. I mean, you just hit the things, right?

And so the drums get treated as disposable furniture. I tell the story often of a distinguished older gentleman who played drums occasionally for a church I attended in California. He owned a beautiful, pristine set of Pearl drums in a deep ocean blue lacquer with the grain showing. They were marvelous drums, and as I recall, one of the higher-priced lines of the day, not Exports or Visions or anything like that. I played them once, and for someone who doesn't care for Pearls, I can admit they were quite nice. One day there was a wedding in the sanctuary, and the church staff took all the musical instruments and equipment off the stage without telling the worship team. This poor guy's beautiful drums were thrown pell-mell into the chorus room, and then a handful of the black metal Manhasset music stands were actually shoved into the corner against them. When we pulled that set out of the chorus room, there were deep gouges and scrapes all over the shells. That man cried as he packed his drums out of the church and left, never to return.

At the same church, I seem to remember the youth group breaking every head on another drumset by pounding on them with mop and plunger handles.

It's disturbing, it's frustrating, and it's very unfortunate; but until more drummers take the time to learn their instruments with craft and style, and dispel the "but you just hit them!" stereotype, expect to see it as much as you do today.


Gold Member
well at least i take care of my stuff. thats all that matters to me. it is sad when u see some with a trashed kit and wonder if the owner knew how rare/awesome the kit really is. smh. my kit is only 3/4 years old (built 09) and some of the drums still have dw tags on them.


Gold Member
Have to say I think I'm probably in a minority.

I perhaps broadly look after them in the sense of giving them a wipe down occasionally.

But, polishing. Cleaning lugs. Christ alive, no thank you, there's beer and pop to quaff.


Platinum Member
For that matter ..... why do people leave their Christmas lights up all year long? Or drive around with primer colored body panels on their cars? Etc., etc., etc.​
Not everyone thinks the same.​

Anon La Ply

As Harry said, different people, different priorities.

Al, the cartoonist must have used a "tom angles" cocktail kit from Craiglist as a model - funny!



Platinum Member
I look after my gear, but if you are buying second hand stuff, dont complain. Its probably cheaper because its not in good nick. If you have seen the kit and dont like the fact its in poor condition, dont buy it.


Platinum Member
I used cases for the first 2 or 3 kits I bought new and it was good because the drums were in mint condition when I sold them off after a few years. But man, that was a lot of extra work. I saw other drummers moving their kits around without cases and was jealous how much easier and less time consuming schlepping gear was for them.

So the last kit I bought I got w/o cases (almost 15 years ago now). I didn't skip the cases because I couldn't afford them, but because I was sick of dealing with them. I'm still careful with the drums and don't abuse them (define abuse!), but they've acquired a fair amount of rash and acne that they wouldn't have otherwise if they were in cases for every move. But you know what? I'm okay with that and don't regret it at all. These drums suit me perfectly and I'm not freaked out about taking them out and actually using them. Funny I worry about the heads more than the drums!

My snares still ride in SKBs and I'm most careful with my cymbals, but kicks and toms ... meh, doesn't seem worth all the extra effort.