“if something could go wrong, it certainly/eventually will”
We may exercise a patient process to write our long songs, but we only get one shot each time we play live, and so our instruments (which seem to be inevitably getting more complex), have to just work.
I’m always tinkering with my drum kit (especially now that I’m tempting fate by adding some custom drum-trigger/MIDI/sample layer to the acoustic kit), and the unique chaos and intensity of Wormrider shows (loading in and out of basements to playing as hard as we do) has upped my game in testing and discovering what works.
Here are my two latest “innovations”
one-piece, one-step cymbal nuts
When mounting or removing a cymbal onto the threaded bolt of a cymbal stand, one normally has to use both hands to
- remove the lock-down wingnut
- remove the washers and layers of felt padding
- place/remove cymbal
- replace washers
- place and tighten wingnut
This involves too many steps, too much space, and too many hands.
The solution, obviously, is to affix the felt/wingnut that cushions the cymbal right to the threaded bolt/washer/whatever.
Unfortunately, the surface area on most wingnuts usually requires the washer because it’s too small for tape or glue.
The one-piece assembly the presently works for me comes from threaded body of a Dice Cymbal Topper from Drum Bum.
The one-piece assembly by simply using gaff tape to fasten a cymbal felt right to the threaded (and wonderfully blocky) dice-body.
Cost: < $5 / unit
- $4 / dice topper
- trivial amount of Gaff tape (do NOT use “duct-tape”)
- any cymbal felt
Here they are in action:
Where I used to have to pull and handle each cymbal individually, I can now pull all my cymbal out in one step, and lift/place/remove each cymbal with one hand while threading/unthreading my one-piece nuts with the other. Less steps, less moving parts, less points of failure (less to drop and lose in dark basement venues).
extra anchors for carpet spurs:
It is often-presumed that a drummer will be playing on a carpeted surface. Most kick drums’ legs have a spur-spike option, and my Tama double-pedal anchors its (left-foot) slave pedal with a pair of carpet spikes.
The problem is that the spikes don’t always hold secure in every kind of carpet, and they can dig holes into the backing of such carpet which eventually tear and make them fail.
The solution is to lock them down into some solid anchoring, which is positioned securely on the carpet.
In this case, it’s a simple hard-ware store washer with some industrial strength “velcro” strip affixed to one side:.
Cost: < $1 / unit
- $0.50 washer, get 2” washers with 1/2” hole to maximize surface area for velcro
- $8 roll of 2” wide industrial “hook and loop” fastening strip (do not get “clothing velro”… get the stuff that looks like it hurts to scratch your skin.
In practice, you want the washer-hole empty (to better capture the spur), so be prepared to drill it out.
In practice they:
- are small enough to roll right into the carpet (as opposed to some bulkier alternative bracings for spurs or feet)
- help recall the positioning of kick drum, pedal, and hit-hat, making setup even faster.
- hold all spurs just fine
If you have other problems with slippage, failure, or frustration with the hardware or setup of your drum kit, let me know in the comments below and I’ll try to help fix what ails you.