Useful Things For Drummers! (And not particularly ‘gift ideas’)
Yep, it’s after Christmas, so the concept of ‘gift ideas for drummers’ is a little pointless. But, I’m not going to be distracted by that sort of thing, so here are a few little bits and pieces which are both useful and can be cool to have.
It’s important to note with this items that I’m not promoting any specific brand, rather that these are things that I have used or purchased myself. And, with all of these items mentioned, there are multiple examples of each on the market from other manufacturers.
Vic Firth High Tension Drum Key
Yep, everyone needs a drum key, actually, many drum keys, but, do you need a high tension drum key? Ok, possibly not, but the reason why I like this key is because I find it less fiddly than some more standard sized drum keys. Vic Firth states this key offers ‘outstanding comfort and torque’ and that the ‘plastic grip cushions your hand’. I’m not completely sure about the comfort aspect, but I have to agree that the key is easy to use and does perhaps make changing a head a bit quicker due to being able to manoeuvre the key faster. In addition, the carabiner makes it easy to clip the key onto your drum, hihat stand or stick bag.
Meinl Percussion Soft Ching Ring
So I know the Ching Ring has been around for ages but it’s something I’ve never owned or messed around with before. This small 6” ring features six pairs of stainless steel jingles. If you put it, as I’ve done, on a top hihat, it’ll fit comfortably over the bell, and this would be the same for most ride/crash cymbals too. In use, I like the fact that it’s lightweight and so doesn’t affect the cymbal it’s mounted on. I’ve also found it easy to vary the volume when on top of the hihat using the pedal. The Soft Ching Ring is a bright sounding fun addition too.
Tama TMT9 Multi Tool
I carry a full rolling toolbox with me to gigs. Ok, it isn’t exactly full of tools, but I do carry some basic tools such as spanners, screwdrivers and lots of drum keys. I have also historically carried something like this multi tool, albeit one that was intended for cyclists because it had hex keys included. The Tama Tool includes a hex wrench 5.0mm/4.0mm/3.0mm/2.5mm/2.0mm, keychain link, hex nut driver, phillips screwdriver and drum keys (x2). It also has a wing nut loosener built into the frame, which I think is a great idea.
Tama Bass Drum Hoop Protectors/ Pearl HPP-2 Bass Drum Hoop Protector
I find it a bit bizarre that in 2022/23 you can buy a brand new drum that does not come with even the most basic of protection for your shiny new bass drum hoops, but it’s true and has happened to me numerous times. Obviously, there are several products available on the market to address this and these are two that I’ve used. The Tama Bass Drum Hoop Protector is a soft foam/rubber pad which is glued to the hoop. I can happily say the glue used is very strong, although with that you need to be pretty happy with your placement on the first attempt. The protector works well enough and I don’t recall my hoops being damaged whilst using the drum with them on. Personally, I think they could be a bit bigger, but they are simple and effective.
https://www.tama.com/eu/products/detail/whp2.html and The Pearl protector is a different take on the same basic premise but is longer and made of metal. The plate is 105mm long and so covers a reasonable amount of the hoop. Fixing the pedal can be done easily with no issues. Also included is a piece of grip tape for keeping the pedal in place. I have both, I know which I prefer, but I find them both to be perfectly useable and solid enough. Most importantly though, they work and keep hoops from being damaged.
https://www.gear4music.com/Drums-and-Percussion/Pearl-HPP-2-Bass-Drum-Hoop-Protector/3J5K?_gl=1*1mozja8*_ga*MTE5NzI5NDk5NC4xNjczNjE4MjU4*_up*MQ.. (I couldn’t find a Pearl link)
Milisten Cymbal Sizzle Chain
I generally don’t have much use for sizzles in the music I tend to play but I thought it still might be an idea to have an option available if I did want to utilize something. When I was much younger, I dabbled with this idea and used an old dog lead/chain draped over the cymbal but that, understandably, was quite heavy and muted the cymbal. For those who have never come across sizzles before, the aforementioned personal scenario kind of kills the feels quite a bit and is somewhat pointless for any serious use. Anyway, I looked into the options available and I chose this one. Admittedly, my two main criteria for this were cost against probable use, so I wasn’t looking to spend a lot of money. There are more expensive – and on that basis, probably more potentially durable – options out there. I can’t say how durable this particular chain is, but I think for my intended light use it meets my criteria. Failing that, if you can’t find a commercially made version you like, go to a hardware story and buy/modify a sink plug chain and you’re most of the way there with exactly the same result.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Milisten-Cymbal-Sizzler-adjustment-Crashes/ dp/B09SHGH8TL?th=1 and the Meinl version
Stagg ACTR-2515 BK Accessory Tray with Clamp
This is possibly one of the more dull and unexciting things you could buy for a drum kit (although maybe a little less dull for a percussion rig). It’s basically a small table with a clamp on it so you can attach it to a stand. Granted, it’s not exactly fancy and full of features but it is very useful. The table’s dimensions are 25 x 15 x 2.5cm, which means it’s big enough to put some shakers, personal effects or other smaller items on which you might need immediate access to when playing. I generally use my table for my drum key, wallet and keys when I can’t put them anywhere else and attach it to a lesser-used cymbal stand. It’s a small and convenient option and the clamp is sturdy enough to keep the table firmly attached to the stand. Simple but effective.
Gibraltar Hole Cutter
I think it’s probably fair to say that most drummers either have a hole in their bass drum’s front head, or have at least played a kick with a porthole in it. Cutting a porthole, I’ve always found anyway, can be incredibly fiddly and frustrating. I’ve tried the heating up a tin can method – failed miserably and didn’t work; I’ve tried sticking a hole protector on and then cutting round it with a knife – that sorta works but tends to leave jagged edges – and I’ve tried using a proper hole cutter. The Gibraltar hole cutter works. It’s adjustable and, if you do it right, you get a nice round, clean hole.
So there you go. A few bits and pieces that are all pretty cheap, are useful and could be nice little gift ideas too (for any time of the year).