Before emailing, please read the FAQ for answers to commonly asked questions.
For all support issues please email email@example.com. If a phone call is needed, we will gladly schedule a call with you.
Where are you located?
The address is 2119 Lake Shore Blvd. West, Apt 911, Toronto, Ontario M8V4E8
What happens if my item gets lost?
All items ship with some form of insurance. The cost of Insurance may or may not have been added to your bill depending on the item and where it is being shipped to. Either way, if an item is lost we will work with you and the shipper to claim a refund.
What happens if my item gets damaged?
If an item is damaged, it will need to be returned for a replacement. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org before returning an item.
Why do you give away free educational products?
The reason that very little exists in the form of educational materials for pipe band drummers is that the cost and effort to put out new material isn't always justified by the income generated. It is a labor of love for those who do manage to do it but for most drummers there just isn't enough time in the day or the money to justify the expenses involved. However, education is an important part of any idiom and the online store was started as a way to offset the cost of creating new and as much as possible free educational content for pipe band musicians.
When will Volume 2 of Doug Stronach's Tutor Book be available?
There are no plans at the moment to come out with volume two or three. When we do, they will most likely be in eBook or PDF format as the cost of manufacturing books and CDs is often very expensive. Doug's Infinite Sticking, Massed Band Tutor and Duple and Triple are books that can be studied after Volume 1 of the tutor book.
What experience do you have with drums?
Doug is hired and partners with Hugh Cameron and Cameron's Drumming Studio to do all the repair, setup and custom work on hundreds of snare, bass and tenor drums each year. Cameron's are now the Canadian Distributors for Premier products and Doug checks and sets up every Premier snare, bass and tenor drum supplied from the factory. Doug has also setup and played Pearl Drums and Andante model drums in Grade 1 bands and has been part of a series of custom modifications designed to improve the weight, tone and response of Premier, Pearl and Andante model drums.
Doug has also been a grade 1 leading drummer with both the Peel Regional Police Pipe Band and the Toronto Police Pipe Band, and is the winner of two North American Drum Corps Championships. His bio is here.
What is the correct top head tension for my HTS700 or 800 snare drum?
We recommend buying a Jim Kilpatrick tuning block to tension your top head. A brand new REMO Cybermax drumhead fitted to an HTS700 or 800 drum will go to number 5 on the tuning block right away. Over the next few weeks, and after regular playing and tuning intervals, the head will eventually go all the way to 8 and 9 and sometimes beyond. The key is to go slowly, tension evenly around the head with no more than a 1/4 turn at any one time. If you're using a different head and/or drum combo then you'll have to experiment to know where the limits are.
If you are a competition drummer, then you will most likely break heads in your search for good sound. Other drum corps are pushing pitch and therefore to be competitive, you'll have to do it also. If you are not in competition, then you can keep the head tension lower (a final setting of around 7 on the JK tuning block) Once stable, the head can provide years of trouble-free playing.
Ultimately each drum is slightly different and therefore needs different amounts of tension to achieve the desired sound. Similar to tuning bagpipes, it can take years of experience and a few broken heads to know how to tune a drum effectively. There are no warranties available on drum heads so please be careful when pushing the drum and head to its limits. If in doubt, seek some professional advice.
How do I set the top snares on a snare drum?
The number one problem with top and bottom snare tuning is over tightening. The 'rattle' produced by the snare is beneficial to the sound and therefore should not be tuned out. Snares that are over tightened will be stretched and therefore ruined so you should never do this.
Top snare mechanisms require a quick check and sometimes setup before tuning. The is done with the top head off, looking at the snare and making sure the height and tension are all working evenly. Place a ruler or level across the suspension ring to check that the snare is rising and tensioning evenly on both sides. Shimming, leveling and camber adjustment can all be done but that's outside the scope of this FAQ. Eventually we hope to have some setup and tuning videos on the site. If in doubt, then have an expert look at the drum and advise you on what to do.
Once the snare is properly setup, there are two positions for it to sit under the top head:
Position 1: Set the snare at it's loosest tension which will create a 'bridge' (rise in the middle of the snare). This is then very gently deflected against the top head and allowed to vibrate freely. Depending on the type of snare setup this may or may not be an option for your particular drum. This position will give you least trouble with rattling snares but because the snares are loose will give a very wet and lower pitched sound especially when listening from behind.
Position 2: Set the snare with medium tension (and therefore less of a rise in the middle) and allow the snare to go up and into the head to the point where you will see the snare shoes poking through the top of the head. This will produce a more unified sound and higher pitch but may also produce excess rattling and/or choking depending on how the snare is setup. This is the default setting for most competition drummers as it produces the highest pitch and cleanest sound. However it places strain on the snare mechanism and snare and wears heads out quicker.
In both cases, set the tension conservatively first, then raise the height slowly and tap with your finger (not a drumstick) to hear the action of the snare against the head. When the snare stops rattling then you've gone too far with either height, tension or both. If you have excess rattling (more than one or two loose snare wires), then your snares are probably not adjusting evenly and you will need a setup and/or new snares to fix this. Applying more tension at this point to reduce the rattling is the mistake most people make. Some rattling is desirable so try to not tension this out of the snare. How much rattle is a matter of taste and experience in knowing what a good sound is.
Another point to bear in mind is that drum sound should always be evaluated from a distance. If you're a competition drummer then about 10 feet behind is a good place to start (the judges position). What sounds good when you're playing the drum is not always the best sound when standing back a little.
How do you tension the bottom head?
The minimum tension on the bottom head is when the bottom hoop clears the snare beds on either side of the shell allowing the bottom snares to sit flat on the head. Any tension less than this and the bottom snares won't work.
Some bottom heads (Aquarian for instance) have very tight collars on the drum head and sometimes struggle to make the first tuning point without breaking. If you're using this type of head then go very slowly, bringing the head down over a couple of days. We recommend the AM Hazy bottom head for Premier drums.
Again, make sure you get it to this first point evenly. If you hear excessive cracking from the head while tensioning then stop and allow the head to settle before adding more. The head is very thin and if tensioned too quickly will break.
The bottom head can, over time, stretch all the way until it levels out with the bearing edge of the shell. At this point it will definitely need replaced.
How do you set the bottom snares on a snare drum?
Raise the 4 height adjusters up and attach the bottom snare to the snare mechanism. Add tension by hand until the snare straightens out (minimum tension). Do not over tighten.
Use the 4 height adjusters (two on each side) to lower the snare into the snare bed of the drum shell. Tap on the snare at the point of the snare bed to listen for excess rattling and/or look at the snare as it approaches the snare bed. You want the snare to 'hug' the contour of the head and shell.
Once done, the snare will have tightened so release the tension completely and re-apply until the slack is taken out again. You may have to fine tune the height again after doing this. Minimal tension is important on the bottom snare or it simply won't move when air is transferred through the drum.
The final check is to run your fingers gently across the middle of the snare and listen for any loose buzzing or unevenness from one side to the other. The snare should have a smooth rasp-type sound with no excess rattling.
How often should I change the heads and snares on my drum?
We recommend at least once a year. This way you can also give the drum a good clean and oil the moving parts. The biggest problem with older drums are seized bolts, uneven and constant head tension causing warping, and over-tightened snare mechanisms.
How do I know if my top head is broken?
Heads don't all break in the same way. Some pull out from the rim gradually and others rip immediately. You'll know when the drum head rips as you'll easily see it but when it gradually pulls out from the rim the only way to know is by carefully applying tension and checking with the drum key if one section of top bolts seems to be looser than the others.
Eventually and with more tension the head will pull out completely but you're better not to go that far as you'll be applying uneven tension which is not good for the drum and could cause the top hoop to warp or break.
Also, the pitch of the drum will drop quickly so you will probably hear a change in the drum sound. Basically if your drum all of a sudden doesn't sound quite right, you've probably got a broken top head.
Drum heads will often break while they are stored away in their cases during the off season. If your drum hasn't been used in a while check it out with enough time to change any heads and snares before your first performance. New heads often break more frequently than older ones mainly because drummers are in a rush to bring the head up to tension for a competition or performance. Regular maintenance will minimize any of these costly issues.
How do I tune a Premier Hosbilt Bass and Tenor Drum (or Premier Professional Series Bass and Tenor Drum)?
The wonderful thing about Premier Hosbilt drums (now Premier Professional Series) is that they are really easy to tune. Because the drum comes with internal dampening it's ready to go right out of the box. There are two main schools of thought:
1. Tune to a specific note on the bagpipe chanter. This requires a tuner , a good ear and some knowledge of notes, scales and harmony. Each Hosbilt drum has been designed to produce a specific range of pitches on the bagpipe scale. Please check that the drum you are purchasing is capable of producing the notes you want it to play.
2. Tune the drum to itself. This requires a good ear and an idea of the desired sound. Basically you tune the drum to where it produces a clean tone and with the longest decay. This is the maximum resonance for the drum where the head and shell are working together most efficiently. From this point you can then tune up or down to match other drums in the corps. No reference to the bagpipe chanter is needed if all drums are tuned this way.
We recommend a Tension Watch to set the head tension. Start by seating the head in the hoop and tensioning the head slowly and evenly. With a Remo Gleneagles or Premier Everplay head, you can set the tension to approximately 74 - 80 on the dial and the drum will be close to it's optimum point. Both heads are tuned together so there's no need to set the bottom also. Ultimately you will have to experiment to know exactly what your particular drum, head and stick choice will produce for you.
Some players like to start by over-tensioning a new head to 'seat' it into the hoop and bearing edge of the drum to create a tight fit. This can be beneficial to tuning but as always over tightening a drumhead can cause problems so you have to be careful. You can get a good sound with most heads and drums without having to do this.
Going to schools and workshops with professional players is a good way to find out more information on tuning bass and tenor drums.
How do I tune a Traditional Premier Bass and Tenor drum?
These drums will usually require some internal dampening before being tuned. We recommend either a full or partial REMO muffling strip to be added to the drum. This can be done for you when you purchase the drum. You can also buy drum heads with the dampening built in which we also recommend. The choices are many so you'll have to investigate and experiment to know what will work best for you and your sound.
Both tuning methods as described above for the Hosbilt drums are available. Once the drum has dampening installed, you can then tension both top and bottom heads to approximately 74 to 80 on the tension dial. Depending on your head choice you may have to apply more tension or less to achieve the maximum resonance point for the drum.
Once you find this point (a clean, pure tone with maximum decay), it's a good idea to find the pitch of it with a tuner. This will give you a reference point for future tuning and an idea of what note the drum is capable of producing if you want to tune it to the specific notes on the bagpipe chanter. Tuning up or down by a couple of notes from the drums most efficient spot is probably workable for most drums but if you go more than that distance then the overall drum sound will start to suffer.
Some drummers like to tune the bottom head slightly higher in pitch creating a tone with more ring while others will drop it slightly to create a natural dampening effect. Others will try to get both heads perfectly in tune together.
Tuning any drum is a constant series of experiments. You never know what you'll come up against and each drum will be slightly different. No two wood products are ever the same so experimentation and experience are crucial to being able to deliver a good sound consistently.
I'm a beginner drummer. What should I focus on?
You should focus on stick control and technique, as well as reading and basic rudiments.
How long should it take me to go through Doug Stronach's Volume 1 Tutor Book?
Some students go through it in 6 months, while others take over a year. It depends on you and your practice time. Hiring a teacher as well as attending schools and workshops will speed things up considerably.
When can I start playing on a drum?
A good time to start is as soon as you can play the first three drum scores in Doug Stronach's Tutor Book Volume 1 at a march tempo of approximately 75 bpm.
I hate rudiments and exercises. Why do I have to play them?
Rudiments are the basic building blocks of scores. You must know them for the scores to ultimately make logical sense to you and for you to be able to memorize them effectively. Exercises offer repetition and that teaches control, stamina and endurance, helping to build weak hands into strong ones very quickly. Think of scores as the race and rudiments and exercises as working out in the gym preparing for the race.
How do you go about pairing the DS1 Snare Sticks?
The sticks come in from the factory unpaired and without a logo on them. We weigh the sticks first, then we roll for straightness. We then pair for pitch and sound in batches by weight. High pitched sticks and weights between approximately 56 and 66 grams become finished DS1 Snare Sticks.
Lower pitched sticks become the handles for the RJ1 bass and DS1 rhythm tenor sticks. Sticks with slight cosmetic defects become DS1 2nds and will not have a logo attached to them. We feel that this process allows bass, tenor and snare drummers to get more of what they want from a stick.
The logo on my snare sticks is peeling off. Why don't you use a stamp?
Because we weigh, test and then decide after the factory process whether a stick will be a DS1 regular, DS1 2nd, RJ1 bass or DS1 rhythm tenor stick, it was impossible for us to stamp the stick at the factory.
We had done testing on the original DS1 snare stick that used an oil-based finish and which the sticker worked very well on. However we moved to a water-based finish to produce slightly lighter sticks with more grip and the stickers never worked quite as well. We have since invested in our own pad printing machine and now all batches are stamped.
The sticker can simply be peeled off and the excess glue cleaned with mineral spirits or a product such as Goo-Gone.