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  • Tenor drum project

    So, I bought a wannabe 14" tenor drum from a forumite. I'd like to get it operational. The heads are pretty trashed . . . it had a former life as a drum from a rock-style drum set. They have visible dents and if you run your fingers over the heads, you can very much feel the dents.

    I have some questions:

    1) How bad is it to have a drum with beat up heads?

    2) Are the top and bottom heads of a tenor drum typically the same? Will snare heads work? (I have some 14" Remo heads, but I don't know if they are tenor or snare or top or bottom or both.)

    3) The mallets that came with it have no string-things on them. Just fuzzy heads with white stems that terminate in little black spheres. I doubt anyone using it will be flourishing, but what if they wanted to? Does that require different mallets?

    4) The drum is missing one of the threaded bolt things that a drum key turns. In other words, the metal ring that tensions the drum head can't be tightened in that spot. Is this something that can be typically picked up a local music store?

    Andrew
    Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. BDF Moderator
    BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

  • #2
    Re: Tenor drum project

    Hey Andrew,

    From what previous experience I've had with drums:

    Yes, you can pick up a screw bolt thingy from a local Guitar Center.

    I am not sure, but I'm sure that it is not usually good to have dents in the heads, but what do I know about drums?

    Cheers,

    Austin

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Tenor drum project

      Hi Andrew!
      I'm sure you'll get more detailed responses, and differing opinions, but here's my quickie answers:

      Originally posted by Andrew Lenz View Post
      1) How bad is it to have a drum with beat up heads?
      -It's pretty bad.

      Originally posted by Andrew Lenz View Post
      2) Are the top and bottom heads of a tenor drum typically the same? Will snare heads work? (I have some 14" Remo heads, but I don't know if they are tenor or snare or top or bottom or both.)
      -A top snare head will be white, a bottom clear. Stay away from the white ones for sure; they're designed for higher tension, harder playing, and different sticks. The clear one's aren't designed to be played on at all. Generally, you'll want to use a batter head on the top and a resonant head on the bottom. Depending on the model of head, and the drum... you can get away with using two top heads, but I wouldn't bother. Buy a top head with internal muffling (like a clear Evans EC2), and something thinner on the bottom (like an Evans EC Resonant). This should give you better depth out of the small diameter drum. Two batter heads will giver a "pingier" sound. A thinner bottom head allows some of the sound to pass through it, out the bottom of the drum. A heavier (batter) head on the bottom bounces more sound back up into the drum and produces higher overtones that aren't always pleasant. It's hard to recommend heads without knowing the drum, though. The depth of the drum would influence my choice of heads and, if it came from a drumset, it could be deeper that a typical tenor drum. In that case, go for a coated EC2. The desired result is subjective, anyway.

      Originally posted by Andrew Lenz View Post
      3) The mallets that came with it have no string-things on them. Just fuzzy heads with white stems that terminate in little black spheres. I doubt anyone using it will be flourishing, but what if they wanted to? Does that require different mallets?
      -No biggie, those sound like typical tenor sticks. The player can add strings (shoelaces) if they want.

      Originally posted by Andrew Lenz View Post
      4) The drum is missing one of the threaded bolt things that a drum key turns. In other words, the metal ring that tensions the drum head can't be tightened in that spot. Is this something that can be typically picked up a local music store?
      -You're looking for a "tension rod". Any music store that has a drum section will have them available. Just watch that you get the right length.

      Cheers!
      -Ryan








      .

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Tenor drum project

        Originally posted by Andrew Lenz View Post
        So, I bought a wannabe 14" tenor drum from a forumite. I'd like to get it operational. The heads are pretty trashed . . . it had a former life as a drum from a rock-style drum set. They have visible dents and if you run your fingers over the heads, you can very much feel the dents.

        I have some questions:
        Good answers so far, I'd like to add a little.

        1) How bad is it to have a drum with beat up heads?
        The biggest problem is that it will affect the tone of the drum negatively.

        2) Are the top and bottom heads of a tenor drum typically the same? Will snare heads work? (I have some 14" Remo heads, but I don't know if they are tenor or snare or top or bottom or both.)
        They can be, but most often not. The bottom head is often a thinner head. A snares die head will work for a bottom head. Probably not the best choice for a top head.

        3) The mallets that came with it have no string-things on them. Just fuzzy heads with white stems that terminate in little black spheres. I doubt anyone using it will be flourishing, but what if they wanted to? Does that require different mallets?
        Hard to say without seeing the mallets, but as long as the sound you get is what you are happy with, the mallet is fine. If the person wants to flourish, you may need different mallets in the future, may not.

        4) The drum is missing one of the threaded bolt things that a drum key turns. In other words, the metal ring that tensions the drum head can't be tightened in that spot. Is this something that can be typically picked up a local music store?
        Most music stores stock several different lengths of tension rods, usually from Gibraltar.

        Now that is the simple answers...

        While you are working on the drum, consider doing it all the way.

        I'd suggest...

        Take the heads off, run a light grade sand paper over the edge of the drum shell to make sure there are no uneven points, or imperfection.

        Apply a light layer of carnuba based car wax on the edge to help the head move freely.

        Remove all tension rods, and run a tap into the lugs to ensure there is no debris or fouled threads.

        Replace all the tension rods to ensure there are no mangled threads.

        You can probably replace all the tension rods from an online supplier for cheaper than the onesy-twosey packs from Gibraltar that most music stores carry.

        http://www.drumfactorydirect.com

        http://www.drummaker.com

        are two I have gotten great service from.

        If you really want to do it up, you can buys some wood hoop rims and claws for that classic look.

        For a top head, a remo pin-stripe, power stroke, aquarian studio-x are good options.

        I'd suggest Articulators, but pre-dampened heads don't go down to 14" so I'd suggest using Remo Muff'l dampening rings.
        "I'm fixin to R-U-N-N-O-F-T"

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Tenor drum project

          Cool. Great info.

          The drum is a Tama.

          It likely won't get lots of use, so I don't want to put too much money into it. Sanding the shell though, sure.

          Here are some lightly-used 14" heads that I have (as described by the person I got them from):
          1-Remo White Max 14" Kevlar batter-14"
          2-Pearl (Remo) Finalist 14" Pipe Band batter
          1-Tama 14" Hazy snare side


          Maybe one of those would work for the top?

          Sounds like it'd probably be good to just leave the bottom head (clear beat-up plastic) since it looks like I don't have an appropriate replacement.

          I'll have to take off one of the tension rods and see how long it is so I can get another. The shell might be a bit deeper than a typical tenor, but it's hard to tell since the diameter is less . . . throws the visual ratio off. I'll have to get a measuring tape out.

          Thanks,
          Andrew
          Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. BDF Moderator
          BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Tenor drum project

            I'd ay the only head that is a good candidate is the hazy snare side. It is probably pretty thin (not being familiar with that particular head), and will need some dampening to control ringing.

            The other two heads are for high tension uses, and have no real resonance. I would think they would sound pretty bad.
            "I'm fixin to R-U-N-N-O-F-T"

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Tenor drum project

              Any home-brew dampening processes for the head?

              Andrew
              Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. BDF Moderator
              BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Tenor drum project

                Originally posted by Andrew Lenz View Post
                Any home-brew dampening processes for the head?
                Andrew
                Air conditioning foam contact cemented to the shell and just barely touching the underside of top and bottom heads.

                Or, a strip of cotton bed sheet about 3 inches wide on a diagonal across the top and bottom drum heads about 6 inches in from one side. It will look like an obese D, so to speak.

                tomm
                [email protected]

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Tenor drum project

                  I don't know if this is the same thing Tom was referring to, but you can use that glue-backed weather-stripping foam for a dampener. Applied as Tom suggests.
                  "I'm fixin to R-U-N-N-O-F-T"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Tenor drum project

                    Thanks. I measured and it appears that the shell itself is about 13" deep. So 14" across, 13" deep. Most tenors are 16" across, right? Is it pretty weird to have a 14 tenor?

                    And so, undamped, the head will likely ring . . . what does that mean exactly? It vibrates for a while after you hit it? Kind of like a gong but with a drum head?

                    Andrew
                    Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. BDF Moderator
                    BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Tenor drum project

                      It is what we would call overtones. You want a certain amount of resonance as this helps the sound to carry and project a farther distance. But too much resonance and the overtones will be more dominate than the tone you are wanting to project.

                      No dampening at all will generally mean you have a 'ping' type of quality to the sound. Sounds a bit nasty.

                      A 14" drum is a bit unusual in pipe bands, especially 13" deep. This may make pitching it down to be in harmony with the chanter A a bit challenging. Usually 15", 16" and 18" tenors are the norm.
                      "I'm fixin to R-U-N-N-O-F-T"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Tenor drum project

                        I may move the top head to the bottom. The bottom head has two splits in the plastic where you could slip a paperclip through if you wanted!

                        And I think I understand the . . .

                        . . . um, tenor drum test beating does not rest well with a sleeping corgi puppy! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF!



                        As I was about to say, I think understand the "ping" description. It looks like the hard part may be getting the dampening correct. Too much, it goes "thud". Too little, pingy.

                        Andrew
                        Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. BDF Moderator
                        BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Tenor drum project

                          Isn't it nifty that there are so many willing to provide advice?

                          I just have a question: if you plan to use this in a band, is there anyone running the drum section that would be able to steer you away from potential drum pitfalls?

                          I hate to say it, but a drum of this size isn't of a whole lot of use in a performance pipe band. This is somewhat akin to someone buying 4 used oboes and asking how to make a set of bagpipes.
                          Mike Postma - Wasatch and District Pipe Band

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Tenor drum project

                            Actually, having learned more about tenor drums, I'm not planning to sparingly use it in a pipe band. I'm going back to my original plan where it'll likely sit unused for most of the year and come out for our annual family 4th of July parade where a person of little skill (nephew/niece) will play it. Nonetheless, I'd like to get it in a condition where it'll be tolerable as an instrument. I'll probably replace that top head and get a replacement tension rod.

                            I think the person who sold it to me for use in a pipe band was being highly optimistic. Also the part about the heads still having some use in them (the bottom has two holes, remember) was optimistic!

                            Andrew
                            Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. BDF Moderator
                            BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

                            Comment

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