High quality percussion instruments are a major investment, so it’s important to maintain proper care and storage of your instruments in order to ensure years and years of quality performance.
It’s essential that you properly clean your instruments. Not only will a clean instrument look better, it can sound better, too.
Thoroughly cleaning your instrument before placing it in storage allows you to closely examine the entire instrument to check for any damaged areas that need attention. Use a soft cloth, avoid harsh chemicals, and always make sure to look for any rust or corrosion on metal pieces.
- Cleaning cymbals
Cymbals require a special cleaning solution instead of regular all-purpose cleaner. Check with your cymbal manufacturer or a music store to acquire it.
- Drum tension
For most drums, you should reduce the tension on the heads by about half before storage. However, the heads should still be taught enough to keep the tension rods in place.
For snare drums, the vertical tension should be loosened slightly as well. Drums like timpani and concert basses are exceptions to this rule. Instead of reducing their tension, they should remain in tune.
- Xylophones and similar mallet instruments
After cleaning, remove the bars from these instruments. The bars should be stored in a soft blanket or bar bag and kept up off the floor.
- Cover and case
Put a clean drum cover on after you have cleaned it and adjusted the tension. Then put the instrument into a quality case.
Soft cases are more affordable and provide adequate protection, however hard cases can provide even more protection against impacts, which is important if you will have to transport your instruments.
- Climate control
Excessive temperature and humidity fluctuations can damage and warp your instruments. Wood elements are particularly vulnerable, since they can expand and crack under these conditions.
Too much moisture can also allow mildew to flourish. Your storage space should be kept consistently cool and dry to keep your instruments in good condition.
- Low traffic location
If your storage locker also receives a lot of foot traffic, make sure that your instruments are stored out of the way where they will not be bumped, scuffed, or knocked over. High and sturdy shelves are a good place to keep instruments out of harm’s way. Just be sure to exercise caution when moving them on and off shelves!