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Complete Music for the Fife and Drum - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com
Complete Music for the Fife and Drum By Walter D. Sweet. Published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc. (95483)
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Description of how to change a drum head on a rope tension drum: This process is quite intuitive and obvious but there are a few bits of information that the drum-tensioning-newbie might find useful.
Make note of the relationship between the vent hole or other land mark on the shell and the sling attachment or other land mark on the counter hoops so that when you put the drum back together, it is properly aligned.
Untie the drag rope and then loosen the knot that secures the rope (unwrap the pig-tail or just unhitch whatever is there)
Pull through several feet of rope onto the first loop beteen the counter hoops
Pull those several feel through to the next series of loops gradually reducing the length of your pull until you have pulled the initial several feet spread out through the entire drum circumpherence
Back at the end of the rope, continue pulling through more and more until the top counter hoop is loose enough to completely pick up off the drum

Make a decision, do you pull the entire drum apart and clean it, preparing the bearing edge for a new head with wax (if you use it) or do you simply replace the head and tighten the drum?

If you choose to clean the drum, pull the rope through enough that the barrel can fit through a gap in the ropes, i.e. the batter side counter hoop or snare side counter hoop can slid off the drum
Slide the hoops off and pull the barrel out. Inspect. Use a damp cloth or sparingly use some light wood cleaner to wipe down the bearing edge and shell, maybe use a vacuum cleaner to suck out any bugs or bits of junk in your shell.
Let the shell dry if any moisture was used to clean it.
If you have wax handy, apply a thin coating to the bearing edge (again, only if you desire it, many don't use wax at all) by running the wax repeatedly over the bearing edge. Why wax? It closes pores, smooths the bearind edge and provides some water proofing where there is normally no finish.
Put the new head(s) on the drum, aligning as you wish, the only gotcha in alignment might be if the snare flesh hoop has a place for the snares, and if there's a logo on the drum head (email for information on how to remove logos from commercial drum heads!).
Fit the counter hoops back on the drum after their inspection and cleaning (drying), aligning to the place you made note of at the start of the process.
Start adding tension to the ropes from the far end (nearest the anchor) to the loose end, take your time pulling just a few inches of slack out of each run of rope around the drum. If you pull all the slack out, and the counter hoop falls of the drum on one side, it will take much longer to realign and remount the counter hoop than if you just left some slack in the lines until the last run around.
Keep pulling slack out in ever increasing pressures, evenly applied around the drum.
On the last few runs you can pull quite a bit (or use a press, if you have one and don't fear the crushing forces applied to your favorite instrument), and move the drum around so as to get the best angle for pulling excess rope. As you near the end, make one last run around cranking the last bits of rope through the hoops ending with a strangle hold on the loose end where it passes through the anchor. Apply the pigtail knot and retie the drag rope.



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