Monday, August 25, 2008

drum restoration

I'm finally getting around to fixing up my DW snare. It's a 1991 6x14 6-ply hard rock maple with 6-ply reinforcing hoops. It's a great all-purpose snare with lots of attack and warmth, and I want to use it for some songs on the next Jet Age record. So I went out to Chuck Levin's this past Saturday to get replacement lug casings, tension rods and a new strainer. They didn't have enough of the first two things so I'll need to go back in a week or so for the rest.

I was disappointed to learn that they don't make the old strainers anymore, although a bit of homework would have prepared me for that. I guess I was hoping they would have one laying around. The new strainers have one less hole in a vertical configuration --- mine has four in a trapezoid, so I'd have to drill now holes in the shell, and that isn't going to happen. Off I go to ebay to find one....

I'm excited about the new lug casings and tension rods, though. The lug casings employ a rubber washer between the casing and the shell, and they've done away with springs completely. This is a really good thing as it reduces extra noise during recording. Also the tension rods have a tighter threading for finer tuning, but the best part are these new collars which snap into the hoop holes and keep the rod in place. Genius.

It's tempting to use the original hoops, but I'll have to get some serious chrome cleaner first. DW uses thinner hoops than normal, for a mellower sound... but mine have seen better days and I don't see myself shelling out extra cash when regular, thicker hoops are stronger and more appropriate for my sound.

So I threw all the new hardware on the shell yesterday and put the drum away until my next trip to Chuck's.

I also still have the 1960's Rogers Powertone wood snare Perry gave me about 12 years ago, but it's in pretty sorry shape and I don't think it's worth a lot of work. I took the hardware off to get a good look at the shell. It's a disaster. Somebody tried repainting the shell with spray paint, and it's peeling in several places. There are also several bubbles in the wood that I can't readily explain, and the bearing edge is shot. Liz thinks I should chuck it and it's difficult to disagree. I tapped the naked shell a few times... nice tone... but I'd need a professional to restore the bearing edge.

Finally, I think it's time to sell the Maryland kit. They are absolutely wonderful drums but they aren't really me. I'll keep the snare drum --- I used it on breathless and may use it on the new record for a song or two --- but otherwise, I'm looking to get a nice Rogers Holiday or Slingerland kit (or Gretsch... that would be nice). The DWs will likely take up permanent residence at Eric's house for most of the fall and winter to get drum tracks done.