Welcome to Spring. A time of rejuvenation and that time honoured tradition of Spring-cleaning. You know you’ve been putting off those chores around the house to clean up that mess in the garage or finding out what that smell is. Once you’ve figured out where the smell is coming from, I suggest that now is the time to do another piece of maintenance around the house: your drums.
So what does this entail? I like to start from the ground up. Begin with your pedals (hi-hat and bass drum). It’s not too much to ask that you remove the dust bunnies and wood chips that accumulate around these hard working parts. Next you’ll want to use a light liquid spray lubricant for any moving metal on metal contact points such as hinges and ball bearings. You can use over the counter metal cleaners to shine up the rest of your hardware as well.
When it comes to cleaning your shells, I know a few people who have used glass cleaner on a nice wood finish…. not really the best idea. If you have the time to do so, remove the lugs so that you can shine up the shells and check over and clean the lugs separately; this way you don’t get metal cleaner on an expensive lacquer finish. Now would be a good time to spray a little bit of lubricant in the lug insert. Do be careful not to cross thread the lugs when you put them back on. When was the last time you changed your heads? If bellbottoms were the fashion of the day, it’s time! As a minimum, I would recommend an annual re-skinning. Even if the head isn’t broken, they loose their elasticity and tone. The same is very true of the bottom heads. While they never get hit, they are constantly under tension and do vibrate every time the tops are struck. This is also true of the snare wires.
Working our way to the top, we have the cymbals. There are creams and sprays available. Both have their advantages depending on how dirty the cymbal is and the amount of time you have. Be sure to avoid any ammonia-based cleaners as they can weaken the integrity of the cymbal. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE use the glass cleaner for glass. I would warn against putting any direct pressure on the inked sections of the cymbal as they could lighten with excessive cleaning.
It’s not too much to ask for a good cleaning/maintenance/re-heading at least once a year to keep your instrument in tiptop shape. Of course this is just a suggestion. Depending on how much you play, you may find yourself following this schedule a few times a year. At the end of the day, having your instrument sound and look it’s best is a worthwhile goal. Here at the store, we carry all types of cleaners, heads, and extra parts like felts, wing nuts, and snare cord. All the things we drummers consume. So feel free to drop in for some supplies and then have fun this weekend with your drums.
Drums & Percussion