My name is Keith Anderson. I am the owner and president of Risen Drums® located in St. Paul, Minnesota. My company specializes in making high quality custom made drums.
I recently came across a situation I felt was very important in making drummers aware of concerning suspension mounting and the ultimate effect it can have on drums.
A drummer who plays quite a bit locally had several drums made for him about 3 years ago. He asked me to do a ‘make over’ and re-do the bearing edges. The drums had all been ‘rack’ mounted by a drum suspension system that attempted to copy the original RIMS® system. I am familiar with how this system works since we use authenic RIMS® mounts on all Risen Drums®.
The first drum out of the case was his 13” drum in question. As I ‘buzzed’ the tension rods off I noticed that both the heads and the counter hoop were binding and somewhat tight against the shell when coming off the drum. When I attempted to removed the ‘generic’ drum suspension system from the drum it was even tighter to get off than the head and counter hoop. At this point it was obvious to me that this drum was ‘out of round’!
After some pushing and pulling and checking from different angles, the drum owner and I along with everyone else in the room, came to the conclusion that the drum suspension system used on this drum was a slightly smaller diameter than the drum itself and as a result had substaintially pulled the drum out of round. The shell was so distorted that if the drum suspension system was rotated by one lug to the left or the right so that each hole was now positioned over a different lug you could not get the generic suspension mount to fit back on the drum. In fact, the drum was so ’out of round’ having been damaged by the suspension system that it would only fit back on the drum in its original position. I have seen out of round shells before but never on a drum this size and definitely not after only 3 years!
The reason this is such a big problem and worth writing about is because an out of round drum is a bad sounding drum that cannot be fixed. In this case the generic suspension system had put enough pressure against the tension rods to not only choke out a lot of the drum’s resonance but to severly pull the shell out of its original shape. This is not a condition that can be repaired since the head will not rest correctly or evenly on the bearing edge. This makes the drum impossible to tune so pretty much unusable as an instrument.
I don’t make mounting systems and can only speculate, but it seems obvious that the ‘after market’ drum suspension system used on this drum caused substaintial and irreparable damage to the shell.
After what I have discovered,I felt drummers should be aware of the damage a poorly made suspension system can have on the drums they play.
Custom Drum Maker