Old Becomes New

 

About a year ago, I bought a new drumset. That makes four kits in total; A new Tama Superstar kit, an older Tama Rockstar kit, a TD-12 v-drum kit, and a TD-9 v-drum kit.

Shortly after I bought the new Tama kit, I refinished the old one. I removed the old, beat up, wine-colored plastic wrap from the wood. This was an intense process as the wrap is glued, and has set for nearly 20 years. A hair dryer and lots of patience was involved. I then sanded. Sanded some more. And finally stained the now-raw wood drums.

The newly refinished drums came out OK — not amazing, but passable. However, they then sat, in a neatly stacked pile for about a year.

During that time, I rekindled my love for the v-drums. I combined the high-end TD-12 kit with the low-end TD-9 kit. I’ve been using this frakenkit as my daily driver. Its perfect for practicing any time without disturbing the neighbors, or waking the kids. The left over bits from the TD-9 kit have since been incorporated into the new Tama Superstar kit to create the hybrid kit I’ve been playing out with for the past 9 months.

With my newly found passion for electronic drums, I decided to bring the refinished kit back to life as an electronic kit. Its a fairly simple process that involves a set of triggers attached to each drum which are connected to a sound module, or “brain.” I purchased some triggers online, and I expect they’ll be here any day.

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Since the “brain” and triggers do all the work and create the sounds, there’s no need for traditional drum heads. Instead, most electronic drums use drum heads made of a fiber mesh. These mesh heads can be tighted to feel just like a traditional drum, but are relatively silent in comparison. You can buy mesh heads online, but they cost $60 and up for each drum. I would need at least 4 of them, including a bass drum head which can cost way more. Instead of wasting money, I found that normal window/door screening available at any hardware store is a great substitue.

 

Making my own mesh heads wasn’t tough work. I took an old drum head and cut out the plastic from the rim. I then used a special type of window screening made for “sunshading” purposes. I chose this type of screening for its durability, and also because its really looks cool on a drum. I cut out a circle about 3″ bigger in diameter than the drum head rim. Then I got out the old sewing kit, and sewed the screening around the rim. It was a little time consuming, but made for a perfect activity to accomplish while watching some TV.

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This is the first iteration of this experiment. The triggers I bought online, the Ddrum Red Shot, is a low-end trigger. However, there’s honestly not much involved in a trigger, and they’re mostly all exactly the same. The next part of this project is to build my own custom-made triggers inside of the drums. Doing so would avoid having the trigger connected to the top of the drum, where its just asking for to be hit with a stick and busted. After that, comes some more sophisticated cable management. Then, perhaps I’ll cut the drums in half to reduce the space need to haul, store, and setup the kit.

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