A discussion about breakages

This has to be mentioned at least once as it comes up quite regularly.

Ok, so its common to read that drummers break heads, sticks and cymbals on a regular basis. I really believe (and there is evidence to support this), that most of it is avoidable.

It stuns me how few people that complain of breakages actually think they may have contributed to the problem although there is often a sneaky mention of ‘I do hit quite hard’, or ‘don’t mention technique’.

So lets start with stick breakages.  Yes, cheap drum sticks are not as durable. We can accept that, but for gigging why are you using cheap sticks. The weight and balance will be completely different than a standard say 5A.  You can be unfortunate and miss hit a cymbal which can shear off some of the tip (unless its nylon), but most stick breakages seem to be centred further down the stick. What this tells me is it must be related to rim shots. Are you possibly playing too many. Remember a rim shot is for impact. If you play at your heaviest and loudest sound all the time, you have nowhere to go. Do you do it because you aren’t loud enough generally? Thats what mics are for (partly).  Why not try and be a little more dynamic. Also factor in the cost of sitting in a pile of sawdust every gig.

Drum heads- Bit of a grey area this because it depends how old the head is. However there are many types of damage- Dents, coating wear, sagging, holes etc.  Coating wear is fair enough as its just age but don’t leave it too long. Dents are avoidable. Generally very hard hitting or playing through or striking angle too steep. Easily fixed if you are willing to change your habits. Remember if you play through a head not only have you passed the maximum volume anyway, you will be fighting yourself because your strokes will more than likely be muted and you are greatly increasing your risk of long term injury.

Cymbals – Ok, the expensive bit.  You don’t need to break them and it probably isn’t the cymbals fault its broken. You must allow cymbals to breathe and you must not push the cymbal beyond the point it can move to. Have you clamped it down too hard for the way you play?   I really believe (and from my own experience) that most cymbal breakages are avoidable. They can actually take quite a lot of punishment but you have to consider that playing them in an unnatural way, is this adding anything musically?  If you don’t want to bring your hand back off the cymbal try a small sweep to the side.

Great news on the playing front

Apart from the great news that I am now a permanent member of the ska and reggae band ‘scooted and booted’, I am also now in great demand for deps.  One that has come up is for brilliant local band the Guards.  I was in that band a couple of years ago for about 6/8 months before being drawn into the Soulweaver marketing machine.  Thankfully we kept in touch and i’ve looked forward to playing with the guys again for sometime.  Certainly the musical front has grown rapidly of late.