Category Archives: dw

Shakin’, Rattlin’ and Rollin’ and How to be Prepared

First off let us recap this week- ’cause I’m sure y’all are dying to know all about it!

  • Monday: Back to school! We are now the proud owners (!?) of a 10th grader. But I refuse to talk about driver’s ed…Sold some drum goodies on eBay – snare parts and mounts and a little DW 8″ piccolo tom – and got held up at gunpoint by Paypal. (no, not really, they just have some random new “hold your money for no reason” policy even if you are an excellent eBayer and have been for years, but I digress…)


(good-bye cute drum!)

  • Tuesday: EARTHQUAKE!! We were lucky- no damages to home, persons or drums. (A co-worker’s deer head in his office didn’t fair as well….I warned you we live in the sticks..) Kids got a nice afternoon of hanging on the football field when they evacuated school. I finally stopped shaking a few hours after the ground did. (Props to you California for living with this sorta event all.the.time. Yeah, we know, we’re wusses when it comes to the whole earth-shaking thing that’s why we chose to live way over here… but we can take your jokes! Some folks did have some significant damage though and we can now say that Central VA is responsible for cracking the Washington Monument…)


(image borrowed from here)

  • Wednesday: More Earthquakes, well aftershocks, followed by blizzards (the ice cream kind!)
  • Thursday: MORE Earthquakes (aftershocks can end at any time now thank you!) and a helluva thunder-storm that I think may be a preview to the impending doom predicted for the east coast this weekend (aka Hurricane Irene…hopefully it won’t be this bad…)


  • Friday: It’s early so I can’t say how the day will play out just yet. We should be preparing for this new disaster of biblical proportions I suppose, but we have no generator to buy gas for and the guys aren’t big on tuna or other non-cooked meals that one should have on hand to survive should the storm render us powerless. So we’ll just play drums and guitar in the dark, drink our bottled water and Coke, eat jalapeno potato chips and wait for the next big thing! Since we already had the fires last week (well just some overzealous boy scouts in the camp behind our house who weren’t familiar with operating dampers on the big cook stove they were using and in return smoked us out and made us think the woods were on fire) I figure the locusts and the plagues should be here about Thursday next week…. 

Now in the spirit of being prepared, I give you a list of things to know if you are soon to be living with, working with or dating a drummer:

  • They will carry drum keys everywhere they go {it’s like an unwritten rule or something…}
  • They will carry sticks most of the time too – these are used for beating on the dashboard in the car or the practice pad or whatever else they can beat on wherever they are


 (“drumchucks” image by drumlove)

  • They have their own language meaning they will talk to each other in “drum” sounds -I would give you an example but I can’t speak it yet let alone type it correctly!  
  • They will use funny sounding musical terms like paradiddle and triplet
  • They will teach you that RLRR LRLL is not a texting abbreviation like ROTFL 
  • They will introduce you to tons of new music- this past year alone I’ve been privy to a whole new world of sounds including Slipknot, Shinedown, the White Stripes and marching band music (the last two by the way are phenomenal for getting stuck in my head And I keep telling the boy I can play drums as good as Meg if he’ll play Jack’s part, but he just shakes his head…)
  • They may not always hear you when you call to them from the other room…or sometimes in the same room…
  • They will be entertaining {have you ever met a drummer who wasn’t funny?}
  • They will make great husbands {hi hunny!} and step-sons {yo!}

So bring it Irene! We can take it! Batten down the hatches my friends and lock up what you still want to own and have a lovely disaster free weekend!


The Old Switcheroo

As a rule of thumb, things just can’t stay the same around here for long – furniture and cabinet contents are never guaranteed to be in the same place from month to month so why should drums be any different? Remember our little black beauty? And our bamboo surprise?

Well they got a little makeover and went from this


and this


to these!


“How you doin’ ?” 

Not sure what prompted the revamping although a few weeks ago we were trying to sell the bamboo on eBay but it wasn’t garnering much interest. Maybe that was the catalyst for the makeover. {I know new jewelry and some mascara always make me feel more glamorous!}  Either way, that little bamboo number with the black hardware is now our collective favorite. The menfolk alone spent an hour talking about how cool it turned out. And all they did was switch up the hardware.

I do kinda miss the black on black action that used to be on the ebony satin oil snare though. It had that dark and dangerous feel like it belonged in a death metal band. But it does blend more with our DW black ice kit now that it has chrome hoops and lugs. The problem now is getting the boy to agree to sell the souped up bamboo snare with black hoops…. but if we give it a week or two I’m sure like everything else, that’ll change.

Drummer’s Paradise

So a few weekends ago we ventured over the river and through the woods and north on 95 and 15 to a quaint little (I use that word loosely – 2 levels encompassing 4,000 square feet maybe isn’t little, but it was a welcoming and homey place) drum shop that we had been wanting to visit. Well, my dear husband had been wanting to visit…and the boy went because we said the word drum and he knew the trip would end with a concert…and I’m the designated navigator so they needed me! haha! 


Getting there was half the battle- hello people in Northern VA and MD why must you all drive so crazy at the same time in the same place???…one more reason we will live in the sticks forever! But the afternoon we spent browsing through the shop was well worth the traffic. And even I who came along only for the scenery and promise of seeing Tommy Lee at the end of  the weekend couldn’t resist the allure of allll the shiny pretty weapons of mass percussion!

Dale’s Drum Shop has been in business for almost as long as Crüe has been a band which is almost as long as I have been alive!It was opened in 1982 by Dale and Gail Wise in Harrisburg, PA after his 7 year stint as Buddy Rich’s drum tech. And it was like walking into our home away from home as soon as we stepped in the door. Unfortunately we didn’t get to meet Dale or Gail because they were both out that day, but everyone else there was very cool, helpful and friendly.

Come on in! If you’ve got any questions just give a shout. By all means go up stairs – there’s lots more to see. Take your time and look around. We really appreciate you coming such a long way to visit our place! Sure you can sleep here among all the DW’s.” (Well that last sentence isn’t quite true, but the boy did ask if he could stay there that night or maybe it was live there…)

There were racks and racks of cymbals…


And enough snares to beat the band….


And more DW’s than you could shake a stick at!


Now I know this wasn’t a DW kit (sorry hunny!) But it was probably one of my favorites in the whole shop!


We wanted t-shirts but they were all out so we settled for a drum key and wait for it…. something that makes noise! It’s called a thunder tube and it really does sound like thunder.


So until our next trip, I leave you with parting pictures of drum heaven {upstairs fittingly!} in Dale’s:




And thanks again to Dale’s for their wonderful customer service and for letting us wander around and snap pics of all their cool stuff!


First of all, I tried a new cardio jam class at the Y the other night and the former army drill instructor nice lady fitness teacher tried to kill me, I think. I am still sore. It hurts to type. But if I keep this up through the summer by Labor Day I will be like the title of this post says. {haha…mabye}

But that’s a whole other topic that probably doesn’t belong on this blog. Let me instead turn your attention to these stacks…


Yeah that’s more like it! Last summer the guys were collecting these. Yes in addition to drums and guitars, we also had a collection of amps and cabinets going on. Are we music hoarders? Is there a show for that? Anyway they aspired to the arrangement above but only made it to this:


It was a noble attempt.

 (Again I apologize for the fuzzy picture- it’s not your eyes! Just another blurry cell phone pic…Note to self: Use real camera from now on…)

This summer, the bottom cabinet a JCM 1936 (2 x 12) is still in our possession but the top 2 micro stacks went on to new homes to make funding and room for this:


A Marshall JCM900 50 watt tube head

If you thought this house was loud before you should hear it now…! {Gotta love living in the country and having older neighbors who don’t care probably ’cause they can’t hear the ruckus anyway!}

But you know with us enough is never enough! While the amp and cabinet we have now is great for the guitar we’re still looking for a good deal for a decent power amp and speakers for amplifying our SPD-20 electronic percussion pad. The guys currently use it as a drum module to sample sounds but can only hear the result through headphones. And if we had a power amp we could set that up with our triggers again….

What’s a trigger you ask? Well, besides being Roy Rogers horse, it’s also a device that clips on the drum and makes your acoustic kit sound like an electric kit.

Here’s a pic of the kind of triggers we have:


{Not our drums, but you get a better idea of what they are and how they mount to the hoop.}

Triggers get you get a tighter ‘bigger’ sound ala Tommy Lee, Frank Beard and Joey Jordison and when hooked into a drum module you can even assign different sounds and patches to play when you hit certain drums. So your rock DW kit equipped with triggers could sound like a tympani or steel drums with the right patch. It’s a very cool setup that gives you endless ways to play and annoy your pets and neighbors!

And that is my rambling story about working out, amps, triggers and drums for today. I’m off to pick up the boy from camp {yay!} and apologize to the neighbors that can hear ’cause it’s about to get loud again.

Drum Roll Please

Now that I’ve made you wait almost a week… I finally have a picture of our newest arrival!

You knew it had to be a snare right? They outnumber the people around here 2 to 1. It’s like a sickness. Must.have.more.snares!

This one is so cool the picture hardly does it justice.

Here’s the lowdown. It’s a DW 5.5 x 14 maple VLT snare with an ebony satin oil finish and black chrome hardware. Or you can be like me and call her Black Beauty- whichever floats your boat!


Now if you’re that girlfriend or wife who wants to look cool and totally impress her significant other with how much she knows about drum gear (Hi hunny!) here’s how to decipher those specs above (and if you just want to know more about drums in general I’m talking to you too!) So away we go!

Manufacturer: DW or Drum Workshop- this used to be the drum company of choice for Tommy Lee…now he’s defected over to Pearl….! It’s hard to read from the picture, but the badges say Collector’s Series under the dw which is their primo line.

Size: It’s 5 1/2″ deep x 14″ in diameter. Ok easy enough!

Shell: Maple- pretty standard wood choice here. Provides you a lower, warmer tone than a birch shell. They are also making some shells out of bamboo nowadays like this one seen here.

Construction: VLT (Vertical Low Timbre) All this means is that instead of it being a typical shell made of  10 laminated plies of wood going in the same horizontal direction, this baby’s grain runs the vertical direction on the outermost and innermost plies which places less tension on the shell and gives it a lower fundamental pitch because it can vibrate more freely.

Finish: ebony satin oil- the black stain allows you to see glimpses of the wood grain through the stain and the satin protective coat is more matte than a shiny lacquered finish.

Hardware: black chrome. It’s like jewelery for your drum! haha! So many choices! Although I don’t think 24k gold lugs would have had given this snare the same look. However the menfolk were talking about switching them out to chrome just for fun… yeah that’s how we roll….!

So there’s a quick walk-through of what you’re looking at- now go impress somebody with what you know and have a fabulous weekend!

Look what followed me home

Well, it didn’t exactly follow ME home – it followed the boy.

I’m learning that around here it’s, “like father like son” when it comes to acquiring drum stuff. Of course the first question was can we keep them? But, unfortunately we had to say no. Hey it’s a 3 bedroom, 1 bath house and when the drums start outnumbering the living things, ya gotta draw the line somewhere.


Now don’t get too excited. I know it looks pretty in the picture but it was just a little Rhythm Art kit that needed some fixing up. Or deconstructing into some drum inspired furniture! It was a fine line given the pieces and parts on it that needed replacing or repairing.

Now what’s not pictured here that the boy also scored with this kit is….

wait for it….

the icing on the drum cake…..

a DW 9300 snare stand.


Way to go son! Of course we did let him keep that.  What kind of parents would we be if we didn’t?

So the little shiny red kit will be off to its new home hopefully this evening.

And maybe later this week I’ll have a picture of the latest find from this weekend…..

I’ll give you a hint: It should pair up nicely with that stand pictured above! SO Stay tuned!

Drumming Keys for Success

Newsflash for me! Drums have keys! I never knew this before the “engagement drums” as I like to affectionately call them, made their way into the house. That’s a funny story I’ll share later! Remember it’s my job to entertain you folks! Anyway, a drum key is a specialized little T-shaped wrench, I guess you could call it, with a square hole on the end like a small socket that fits over the square end of the tension rod. Turning the end of the tension rod which screws into the lug allows one to adjust the tension around the hoop that holds the head in place and in turn, tunes the drums. Whew! Did ya get all that? And yes even drums can be tuned! Who knew!

There are fancy ones like this cross-shaped one we bought for the boy recently:


{Note to those of you in the market for this one– objects in the picture appear smaller than they are in real life! It was a little too big to be worn as a necklace on the lanyard…a little too much bling for his taste! But still cool! And another sidenote- it broke just the other day! Come on Vic where’s the quality??}

And they can be simple like this good old stand by:


Prior to my introduction to drum keys, the only other experiences I had with keys involved me as a single chic locked out of my own house or car on multiple occasions.

Like the time I locked myself out of the rental house on my way to the gym. Thankfully upon casing the joint, I found the back door unlocked but chained. Pass! followed by a definite Fail! But I had a sweet older neighbor couple who lent me a short-handled screwdriver that I could get through the crack in the door and unscrew said chain from the trim to break into my own house.

Or the time I locked myself out of the new house in my pj’s and flip-flops on a 50 degree Saturday morning. I guess hearing too many times as a kid, “Shut that door! You don’t live in a barn” ingrained itself in my psyche so deep that I don’t always think it through when I walk out of one sometimes. This time though all the new sweet old neighbors were gone so I had to resort to vandalism, i.e. breaking out the bottom window of the back door to get back in. Soon after I had lots of extra keys made…

And who can forget the trip to Lowes when I got out of the car, purse in hand locking and shutting the door behind me only then to notice laying on the seat on the other side of the glass were my car keys. My saving grace here was a cracked window and a store full of spools of wire and other implements to use in fishing out those pesky keys.

But enough about breaking and entering! Here are some keys to becoming a successful percussionist we’ve been hearing from other drummers and trying to put into practice around here.

1. Master the basics. Learn and practice all the elementary rudiments like rhythms and paradiddles and how to read music. (More on those para-thingys on a later post!) I can’t tell you how many rockin’ heavy metal drummers we’ve seen who have started out in high school band. Joey Jordison just to name one! No matter how much style and flair and flutters and fills those guys have mastered now, they have so much more to draw upon because they have that technical foundation under them. And don’t be afraid to take lessons either-no matter how old you are!

2. Listen, appreciate and try playing with all different kinds of music. {Thanks to Shinedown for this piece of advice!} Jazz, rock, country, big band, they all have something to teach about style and technique. Besides, it never hurts to be versatile when you’re trying to find your place in the drumming world.

 3. Take every opportunity to play out that you can reasonably manage. Granted the boy isn’t at rock star level yet- heck he’s still in high school, but every time he gets a chance to perform- whether it’s in talent shows, marching band, friends houses, church events, or playing with the symphony on their community day, he’s there.

4. And to build on #3, it’s not who you know but who knows you. If you’re really serious about getting out there and playing you gotta get your name out there. Be friendly. Be confident but modest. Pride goes before the fall ya know and you do catch more flies with honey! So get to know those people you play with. Introduce yourself to other drummers and bands you meet along the way or make videos of yourself playing and post them up on your favorite social media site. If someone needs a drummer but doesn’t know your name, how are they gonna find you?

And note to self, that thing under the vanity sink that looks like a drum key isn’t a drum key. It’s a valve key — there is a difference! You get very strange looks from your family when you inquire as to why they store a drum key in the bathroom drawer! In my defense though when you live with drummers, you never know when and where you’re gonna find those things!