There’s nothing more satisfying for musicians than acquiring new instruments. This is especially true for drummers.
Unboxing a drum set is no doubt a happy experience. With the beautiful finish, chrome hardware, and, most of all, the pristine tone. It’s especially exciting when it’s your first kit!
But it’s not enough to learn how to play. You must also learn how to maintain your instrument.
With drum kits, there’s quite a bit of polishing involved, but there’s more to it than that. If you take care of your drums, your drums will take care of you.
So, let’s jam out a groove onto our six key tips.
1. Maintain Your Cymbals
It was once thought that cymbals would mellow and get better with age. Today, there are more manufacturers than ever, and that means cymbal maintenance best practices depends a lot on the brand of cymbals you’ve purchased.
If you want to keep your cymbals looking new and sounding great, you will find some helpful items at your local music shop. But you can also use some household items like vinegar, dish soap, or even lemon juice to polish your cymbals. Clean cloths and brushes are indispensable.
There is a rumor that you can use ketchup to clean your cymbals too. We’re not too sure about that one. Best to stick to conventional methodology, especially for top drum sets.
2. Wipe it Down
A good, basic practice to adopt is to wipe down your drum set after each use. A clean towel, preferably a microfiber cloth or a tissue work best. Wipe the drums as gently as possible so as to avoid damaging the surface.
You can use some of Windex’s products if you want to remove grease, but you should remember that not all Windex products are safe for your drums, so choose wisely. Also, never use ammonium hydroxide as not only will it damage your drums, but it will also cause discoloration.
If ever in doubt, do some additional reading on best practices.
3. Spiff Up the Chrome
When cleaning your hardware, you can generally use the same products you used for cleaning the drum shells. The tricky thing about this is that hardware can have many nooks and crannies, making it easy to miss a spot. Take extra care and do a thorough job.
Tip: It’s better to apply the polish on the cloth instead of putting it on the surface, as it makes cleaning the hardware easier.
4. Clean the Surface Using the Right Methods to Avoid Scratching
Remember that if you’re trying to clean a wrapped finish, you’re essentially cleaning a plastic surface. On a lacquered kit, you’re cleaning multiple layers of lacquer, while in some cases, oil finishes. If you’re cleaning natural wood, you should use a wood furniture polish.
Avoid the use of abrasive products. These will scratch the finish of your kit, which is the opposite of the desired result.
5. Check Your Pedals
If you’re using a chain-drive pedal, you should ensure that the bolts connecting the chain to the axle aren’t worn out. It would help if you did the same for direct-drive linkage, as its metal connectors are also susceptible to wear.
On strap-drive models, straps often wear thin in the place where they bend around the tip of the footboard. This one is quite tricky since it’s not that noticeable.
Moreover, it would be word to the wise to keep replacements handy, especially on the road.
Check the feet before shows, so they don’t give out in the middle of a song. After all, “breaking a leg” is a metaphor. You’ll break your leg trying to force out a sound from your bass drum if your gear isn’t in good working order.
6. Spring into Action
Now that we have your attention on the feet section, you should also take your time to check the spring. If your pedal spring is exposed, check to see if it’s still connected to the axle. If you think the hook is starting to wear thin, you might want to replace it as soon as possible. Also bring extra with you while on tour.
Final Words on Maintaining Your Drum Set
One of a drummer’s responsibilities is to ensure that their drum set is properly maintained. Keeping it clean and functioning correctly is not easy, but it’s essential if you want it to be playing it for a long time to come. If you’re looking for where to start, try the above tips.