20 EFFECTIVE WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR DRUMS
As an entertainment insurance brokerage with a specialty in creating custom insurance packages for musicians, we have seen enough music gear-related insurance claims to be able to speak with some authority on what musicians can do to protect their gear. As it’s one of the most popular instruments, let’s focus on drums in this article:
Protecting your Drums | Drum Maintenance
- Where to keep your drums? If you’re storing drums for an extended period, leaving the heads on under moderate tension would be best for them, and help keep them in shape. Extreme temperature changes can cause drums to grow or shrink slightly in size, so storing them in a room where the temperature won’t change dramatically is ideal.
- If storing for longer periods: don’t store drums in an attic or garage if you can help it. Wood is organic so it will react dramatically to changes in temperature and moisture, while metal drums can corrode over time in a moist environment.
- Do NOT cover your drums in plastic for any length of time; this will inevitably cause moisture issues.
- Disengage the snare wires when storing a snare drum. Keeping the snares tight over a long period of time will stretch them out.
- Polish your drums, especially if they’re chrome-plated. If left out too long, especially in harsher conditions, they can start to become dull and corrode.
- If there’s any moving part like a tension rod, give it a small dose of lubricating oil and wipe off any excess to keep parts moving smoothly.
- Use an edge conditioner [Affiliate Link] to allow your drum heads to move freely across edges without sticking. This results in a smoother, more gradual tune-up without skips and jumps.
- Use a hoop protector [Affiliate Link] where your pedal connects to the bass drum hoop. This prevents the hoop from being chewed up from the teeth of the bass drum clamp.
- Regularly wipe down your drum shells with microfiber cloths. Paper towels aren’t recommended as they can be too abrasive and may cause scratches.
- Look into getting some hard cases [Affiliate Link] with polyethylene shells for each snare.
- If you’re touring on your own, you’ll want bring your drums in bags with high-quality zippers and some padding. You’ll then want to look into using fiber cases, or the aforementioned polyethylene cases. Remember to label each case with your contact information.
- Playing drums outside: the biggest concern is the weather. Try to avoid rainstorms and watch the weather forecasts every day leading up to the gig. Have a tarp to throw over the drums in case a sudden rainstorm happens.
- Never leave your drums to bake in direct sunlight. Ideally, play under some shade.
- If you ship drum sets for musical performances, you need to know how to pack them safely. Remove the drum heads and put them in separate boxes. Use foam slabs inside each box to keep the drums in place. You can then place these boxes into one larger box. If you have additional equipment like cymbals, use those to fill in the spaces after they are wrapped securely with cardboard.
- When changing drum heads, never lay the drum down with its bearing edges unprotected. A simple folded towel placed on a table will protect the edges while providing a firm, flat surface to work on.
- Use only genuine drum covering material to recover your drums, such as drum wrap.
- When it comes to transporting your drums: drive, if you can. You have complete control over them versus handing them over to an airline.
- If you MUST fly your drums: rather than checking them as regular excess baggage, you could consider flying your drums as air freight cartage. This may cost a little more, but it adds the benefit of having your gear handled more professionally. Otherwise, you could always look into just renting a drum kit in the area of your gig instead of flying your own kit across the country.
- Hiding a Tile [Affiliate Link] or similar tracker in your drums and/or cases results in a good recovery rate for stolen drums.
- At least once a year, take your drums to your local drum technician for a once-over. This annual investment in expert service will no doubt pay for itself over the long run by keeping your drums in good shape.
Downloadable Checklist – Effective Ways to Protect Your Drums
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