Monday, December 12, 2011

Gear Up: "Refresh" Your Drumheads

Disclaimer: The reader assumes all responsibility for damage to any instruments, equipment or other gear as a result of following the process described in this post. Please proceed at your own risk.

I attribute this little gem to Kelly Wallis of Backbeats Drumshop in Salt Lake City, UT. He taught me not to be afraid of a little Windex. 

This is a drumhead (Remo Coated Ambassador, 12") that was new in 2003. That makes it going on nine years old. It's been through countless gigs and sessions, and it's getting pretty worn. I'm not one to nick up and ding my heads, so the major signs of wear are just the accumulation of dirt and stick grime, as well as the smoothing out of the coating.

I'm not using actual Windex, but a foaming spray. It's still just a generic glass cleaner. Paper towels work just fine on a drumhead.

This drum is in my teaching studio so I decided to put off getting a new head. As you can see in the photo*, I actually drew on the head with a pencil during one of my lessons.

I probably got a little overboard, but I foamed the head up really good. As you do this, be VERY careful not to let the liquid get inside the drum, or onto any of the wood or sensitive metal parts that could get damaged or develop rust.

While cleaning this head, I actually did get some of the spray where I didn't want it, so I had to spend a little extra time wiping and blowing out the excess liquid.

I did spray and wipe the drumhead twice, and the final picture is of the finished product. All in all, I probably spent less than five minutes, so you could feasibly refresh a five piece drum kit in about half an hour.

Additionally, this is the same spray I use on the wrap finishes on my drums whenever I change a head. If you will take the time to regularly (even a few times per year), clean up the finish on your drums, they'll look nicer longer, increasing your image on stage, as well as the resale value of the drums.

Happy drumming!

*Seriously, one day I'll have a great camera (these were shot with my iPhone 3GS) and use some better lights and backgrounds. Hopefully the picture quality is good enough for you to understand what I did to this drum. 

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