The drum kit is an essential instrument in a band, not just rock. There are various types of various brands that you can read about at https://simplydrum.com, after reading this one. First of all, I want to mention some of the histories of the instrument.
The origin of the drums dates back to the second half of the 1800s, even if the individual drums had already existed for some time. In the early days, every single drum was played by an only person. Later, due to space problems, the need arises to assemble the drums. For example, on a stage in a bar, there was little space and all those people were too many to maintain a drum each. To the drums, later the plates were placed side by side, to counterbalance a more acute sound than the serious one of the drums.
Manufacture of drums
The most widely used element to build a drum kit is wood. The snare drum can also be made of metal.
The main types of realization are the following:
- Fusti multistrato piegati a caldo: è il tipo di lavorazione più largamente utilizzato per la realizzazione delle batterie, in quanto la lavorazione del legno multistrato è la più semplice. Con questi fusti si realizzano batterie dalle più economiche alle più costose, quello che fa la differenza è il legno usato per i vari strati. Generalmente nelle batterie economiche gli strati più esterni sono costituiti da legni truciolati o compensati e il più interno è un foglio unico di legno. Nei modelli di tamburi leggermente migliori lo strato più interno è costituito da un foglio di acero, in quelle professionali tutti gli strati sono dello stesso tipo di legno (in generale si usa l’acero) fra quelli sovracitati.
- Solid wood staves: they are drums obtained by combining and gluing together rectangular (or better, trapezoidal) teams of solid wood to form a cylinder. It is the most used way to build reliable wood batteries and has pros and cons: in favor there is the fact that the drum will be made of solid wood, so the wood will sound more harmonious and warm, on the other hand ‘is the fact that the slatted construction is susceptible to temperature variations, so after a few years the slatted drum, typically tympanum or bass drum, can detach itself if subjected to large temperature and humidity variations.
- Steam bent solid wood drums (steam-bent shell): this is the primary way to make drums, typically snare drums, in solid wood. A single sheet of seasoned timber is used, of a thickness approximately equal to that of a multilayer wood, it is bent to heat/steam around a cylindrical shape, and it is left for a specific time, to realize a cylindrical stem.
- Drums in solid wood dug (solid shell): they are obtained from a section of tree trunk dug and polished internally and externally to get a drum with a warm, powerful and deep sound, full-bodied and resonant, to meet the needs of drummers and percussionists more insatiable. Only a few niche brands use this type of realization and produce few pieces to order for wealthy and demanding musicians. The only drawback of these batteries is their weight.
- Metal drums: the metal drums are widely used for the manufacture of snare drums, for their ringing, deep and resonant sound. Usually, the metals mentioned above are used, but sometimes also metal alloys obtained from the collaboration of drum manufacturers with plate manufacturing companies. There are also models of completely metal batteries, but they are no longer on the market since the 1980s.
The drum kit can be configured as you like. To the principal components, others can be added, for example, the double carcass, the doppio pedals.
Chopsticks are usually used to play drums, but brushes, hands, rods, etc. can also be used. The tips of the sticks can be spherical, oval, conical, or cylindrical. The length is usually 40 centimeters. The most used models of bags are:
- 5A: the most used, they are very versatile sticks and can be used for all kinds of music. They are balanced in the center.
- 5B: a little thicker than 5A, used for rock and pop. They are balanced in the center.
- 7A: very light rods, typically used to play for jazz, generally favor low volume playing. They are balanced in the center.
- 2B: very heavy rods, used for hard rock. They are balanced in the center.
- 8D: jazz wands, quite heavy, but balanced in the tail.
Tom and timpani tuning
After unscrewing the screws holding the rims of the tom tine, position the new skin and reinsert the side in its original position. Screw all the screws in such a way that they touch the rim, for now, without yet tightening them. Now insert the key on a screw and give a complete turn, then one to the diametrically opposite screw. Now provide a twist to the pair of screws diametrically opposite to the newly tightened couple. Repeat the procedure for all the pairs of screws on the drum, taking care to pull the most “distant” pairs of screws possible between them, until they are all tightened. Continue to stretch the leather (with one-turn, 1/2 turn or 1/4 turn depending on the tension you get) following the same order used for the first round, until you reach a medium pressure.
During this procedure, two things must be checked at the same time:
- the note of resonance of the drum;
- if the skin is evenly stretched.
For the first, the exact center of the skin must be tapped with a stick or finger to check the volume of the drum; for the second one, it is necessary to drum with a stick or a thumb at about 2 – 3 centimeters from the screw of the circle with the procedure previously mentioned of the opposite screws: check first the skin in correspondence of a screw and immediately the diametrically opposite one. The tuning will be achieved as soon as the resonance is high (ie, if the emitted note is long – point 1), and the skin at all the screws emits the same sound.
Snare drum tuning
The snare drum is the most challenging drum to tune since each snare drum has its personality, but also every drummer. To reconcile the two, it can be said that the snare drum does not have a “final” tuning, but depends on the environment in which it is played, the genre, the groove that you want to give to the piece to play, and also the mood of the drummer.
In general, the tuning of the snare drum follows the steps of that for the tom/timpani, but with the following precautions:
- The screw turns to tune the snare drum is no longer to refer only to 1/2 turn or 1/4 turn, but also to small fractions of them.
- for a sound richer in harmonics, the resonant skin must be slightly slimmer (ex: funky / jazz music)
- For a deeper tone to tend less the latter (ex: rock music).
- For a more sensitive snare drum stretch the beating skin slightly: in this way, the tailpiece will sound first (ex: jazz music).
- for a less painful snare drum, lightly release the beating leather: in this way, the tailpiece will look with a slight delay and with stronger blows (ex 80s pop/rock)
A useful way to see if the skin of the snare drum you are playing or tuning is stretched evenly and that of drumming with a rod near the tie rods of the snare drum, the tapping must be performed giving light blows to the skin at the same distance from the rod and the center of the snare drum, for all the tie rods: if the sound near all the tie rods is similar then the skin is well stretched, and there will be no problems in continuing with the tuning.