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  • Writer's pictureDave Harris

Lockdown Madness (Part I)

One of my favourite aspects of drumming and drum equipment is the ability to combine equipment to solve problems/increase usability.

I’m frequently creating hybrid equipment for other drummers, but every now and again I get to go a bit bonkers and do some projects for myself - sometimes just to see if it can be done, and with varying degrees of success.

The lockdown gave me the time to take on two of these mini-projects, so I thought I’d do a blog post on the "hows and whys" of how I kit bash equipment.

Project one is a rototom.

I’ve always quite liked the sound of rotos, but have always hated the stands/mounts they come with. I have never understood why they are so deep (they come with very long tuning bolts and very long central mounting bolts) plus the most common arrangement of 6”, 8” and 10” toms on a single bar takes a lot of kit space (which I don’t have) and seems a little all-or-nothing (you don’t have to use all three toms, but it’s a lot of metalwork for just one drum).

Trawling through eBay yielded an individual 6” Remo rototom, in good condition for £50 (perfect as my top tom is an 8”).

Mu first step was stripping the drum down to components and giving everything a good clean - as it was NOS it had a few blemishes but nothing frightening.

From there I did a quick rebuild with shorter tension bolts and tried out the drum to see if I was losing any functionality. Even with the shorter bolts the head could go from marching band tight down to a totally slack head saving about and inch of depth with no noticeable downside.

I then had a rummage through my DW spares and came up with the lower adjusting part of a DW SM909 which has a convenient locking screw as well as the fitting to connect to a DW cymbal arm.

The mounting hole was a little small to take the M8 central mounting bolt from the rototom but some careful use of a step drill bit and some old fashioned round filing soon had the two bits lining up nicely, plus when the cymbal arm is connected the flat edge on the down screw adds another level of rotation resistance.

Now happy with the new mount I could then trim the excess screw thread leaving me with a cymbal arm mountable roto tom with a massively reduced cross section and heaps of positioning flexibility.

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