I’m actually going to discuss something not related to drum sound this month. Working in this store for nearly 10 years, I’ve seen lots of badly pitted (dented) heads, broken heads, broken cymbals, etc. This article is dedicated to why drum gear gets damaged or broken and what can be done to prevent it.
If you do it correctly, you can play VERY loud without breaking things. I have a gig that is very loud on stage and I have to play nearly as loud as I can at times. Although I have to hit really hard, I don’t break sticks or heads or cymbals. Please understand that I’m not talking down to anyone. I learned how to play hard correctly only after many years of breaking things A LOT. I broke enough cymbals as a young drummer to deplete the world’s supply of bronze! This fact made me realize that I had to learn how to properly hit my stuff or I wasn’t going to be able to afford to be a drummer.
When you strike a drum, you should hit it at the flattest angle possible. Make sure when you make contact with the drum that the shaft of the stick is very close to parallel with the surface you are hitting. The head can take the most impact this way without doing damage. Hitting your drums at a steep angle is dangerously close to stabbing straight into them. Also. don’t play through the drum. Swinging for the bottom head will kill the top head. Be aware of the surface your aiming for.
As for cymbals, swing at the wing nut on the stand will break things. Be aware of the location of the edge of the cymbal and strike it in a sweeping motion. The cymbal likes this a lot more than playing through it and it will sound better and last a lot longer.
If you are breaking or damaging sticks, heads or cymbals, it may not be how hard you’re hitting but HOW you’re hitting. Usually broken things indicates that you are doing something wrong. This was a hard lesson for me to learn but I’m really glad I did. It’s better for my aging body, too. I can afford to be a drummer again!
Remember to stop by the store if you have questions. Thanks for reading this! -John