Instrument Repair

The majority of my time is spent servicing, repairing and modifying percussion instruments. The posts below demonstrate the diversity of instruments that I work on and my approach to the job.

Adams Universal Timpani (Job No: 1263)

When these Adams timps were brought in to be overhauled, the customer was complaining, amongst other minor issues, about the drums buzzing. As soon as I heard the drums I knew what the problem was:
Adams universal timpani are built using the same method as Ludwig timps; the bearing edge is formed from a steel extrusion which is fitted into the bowl. In this case the bowl is copper, but the same process is used with their fibreglass timpani. Between the copper bowl and the steel ring is packing tape to fill the gap. This post shows what I do to solve the problem.

Deagan Aurora Overhaul (part 1) (Job No: 1256)

Deagan vibraphones are my favourite, they have such a nice sound, and are really well made. This Aurora is played every day, admittedly it is too heavy to regularly gig like the it used to be (the player now has several vibes for that role) so it stays set up in the player’s home. Even so, it has seen a lot of use and now it is in need of some attention.
In this post I look in detail at the damping system.

Calfskin Bass Drum (Job No: 1267)

When bass drums are left in low tension, the hygroscopic nature of calfskin results in the head shrinking making the head tighter and raising the pitch. The next time is is played, the head is slackened further and the process repeats. This job demonstrates the end result and what I had to do to make the drum usable again.

Military Snare Drum Hoop (Job No: 1234)

A simple little job of repairing and repainting counter hoops off a military snare drum. In reality it is the type of job that takes time.

Premier 701 Vibraphone (part 1) (Job No: 1260)

Sometimes a monster enters my workshop. A true beast in every way, this vibe has been through several hands, and the catalogue of errors is just incredible. All I have to do is replace the damper bar…

Premier Series 1 timps (part 2) (Job No: 1228)

As usual with these old timps, over the years they have accrued many little problems, a multitude of missing parts and a good deal of damage. The list is too long (and boring) to go through each item, so I have picked out the worst – I couldn’t believe my eyes, the term cowboy springs to mind!

Small Bass Drum (Job No: 1257)

This drum measures 20″ in diameter and 12″ in depth, and what a great sounding drum (well after I was finished)! It just needed a clean up and new head fitted. This post explains the stages.

Vintage Bass Drum (part 1) (Job No: 1233)

These old bass drums are great; the dimensions of the drum makes me laugh, and the wrap is just beautiful. Sadly this drum has seen better days, so in this part I start making new parts to bring it back to life.