Cacophony 

After a couple of hours, this…


  
  

A couple of close ups of the Cymbal Branches

  

The Hi Hat and left Double Bass Pedal


…and the Main Bass Pedal Contraption


Note the protective patch stuck to the head.

The Main Bass Pedal Contraption has an issue. It’s a design that’s three decades newer than the Bass Drum, and so doesn’t quite fit. The problem is that it’s too wide to fit nicely between the two tuning rods. This picture highlights the interfering rods…


I tried to make it work, but it sat at an angle (look at the impact marks on the contact patch above) and just doesn’t look or feel right. Naturally, I decided to undertake exceptional measures as a first resort. Drastic surgery.

Here’s the T handles… 

First, I cut off the bars…

  

Then, I filed the truncated blocks roughly cylindrical…

  
  

I ended up with a rough result…


…which was then polished by this method…


The result isn’t perfect, but it’ll do…


Using a hacksaw, I cut slots to fit my 5mm screwdriver. These are the finished rods…


Now the pedals fit snugly.

Well, that’s my kit brought back to life. I’m very pleased with the result.

The pictures I took of this process provide a good record of when I started and finished, as the date of capture is recorded.  I began mid February, about three weeks after being told off by the Consultant, and finished at the beginning of May. So about 12 weeks.

So how does it sound? Big. Boomy. Bassy. Bouncy. Resonant. Silky. Loud. Deafening.

Now that I’ve been playing it over a month, I’ve been able to adjust the tuning and get a good sound and feel. The bouncy bass drum is taking a while to get used to, but I love the sound of it. With no padding – I hate padded drums – it sounds big, with great tone and sustain. Adjusting the pedal springs is gradually finding a good balance with that. The toms growl.

The only thing I’m not getting on with is this…



That patch in the middle is bugging me. Maybe I’m not tuning it correctly or something, but it feels dead. I’m not able to do good double sticking on it. I’ll persevere with it for a while though, because it has a good loud crack when one hits it hard – which I guess it’s designed for.

I’ve half a mind to track down the rest of my drums. Low priority, though.

Next, some good news

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Skins or Heads?

On seeing the crowds, he felt pity for them, because they were skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd.

Well, that’s me done with full time employment for the time being. What a relief! Even thinking about the money I’ve had to give up doesn’t bother me (much). On that note, it struck me just how much one can become a slave to money. It’s not until you make a choice that’s in favour of less money that you realise just how  much one has become addicted to it, and spend up to it. Also, all that striving over the years to “get to the top” – such as it is – certainly got more money; but the price of money is a huge amount of stress, ill health and unhappiness.

It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out over the coming months. Will I get my enthusiasm for flying back now that I’m going to be doing a lot less of it? One of the things that got me so intensely angry – and I mean incandescently livid – was how the Ground People demanded so much of us that the stress overcame the enjoyment and one began to hate the job and everything around it. Maybe it’s not “hate” as such but fear and apprehension. Fear of getting it wrong because one is soooo tired. Fear of getting it catastrophically wrong. Apprehension because you know you made a lot of silly errors last time out, and this time out you feel even worse, so what on Earth is going to go wrong today? Are we not the last line of defence whilst being the first to be blamed?

Will all those negative feelings become positive once more? Can one confound the Ground People and their unwitting, relentless drive to disaster? 

Almost as unutterably wonderful as being able to fly – just think about that – is to be able to play drums. I’ve been able to get on the kit when I can. There’s only a small opportunity each day. This kit is loud. One must have absolute respect for the neighbours, so I’m only playing during the week, around early afternoon and for less than half an hour at a time. We did a test one day with all the windows and doors shut. I hit it as hard as I could whilst Mrs Linn walked about outside listening. She could hear it ten houses away! When I played it in bands I played it loud almost all the time. Now I’m having good fun exploring playing it as quietly as I can. But, I’m learning all over again. I haven’t played for so long that my muscle memory has all but gone. My brain knows what to do and how to do it, but my arms and legs have packed their bags and gone home to mother. It’s coming along though, slowly but surely…

Whether one calls them skins or heads – lets stick to heads; that’s what the manufacturer calls them – they are the business end of any drum. I was not surprised that the technology has moved on in the last 30 years. I know of two brands – Remo and Evans – although I’m sure there are others. I bought Evans heads because their website was better than Remo’s and they had more choice. 

Snare drum

I bought a Hazy 300 Snare Side – S14H30… 


for the bottom head and a Heavyweight Snare Batter – B14HW… 


for the top. Here’s the snare drum complete… 

   
The tuning rods had their tips dipped in grease… 

 
 …before attaching… 


In the picture above you can see the flats machined in the rods. This engages in the wire in the nut and limits unwinding due to vibration. Cheap drums don’t have this. I cut down the effort by using a hand drill for the coarse tightening…

  

Toms

For these I bought G1 Coated – B14(16)G1 for the bottom head…

  
…and G2 Coated – B16(14)G2 for the batter head…

  
The two toms  complete…

  
Bass Drum

On the original kit, I used a “ported” head on the front of the Bass Drum because I didn’t like the bounce from a closed head, but you sacrifice a lot of tone with this. This time, I intended to learn to harness the bounce and get the full tone, so I bought a set of closed heads. For the front, I bought an EQ3 Reso Coated White – No Port, BG24RGCW-NP…

  
…and for the batter head, an EQ2 Batter Clear, BD24GB2…

 

At last it was time to set the drums together to see how they looked, and to give them a basic tune up. Here’s just the drums…

   
     

Cymbals

The cymbals hadn’t been cleaned at all since I last played and so were dirty and had plenty of stick marks. Apparently, I used red sticks at that time…

  
This is the above China Type cleaned…

  

Almost ready to hit!