Nylon washers for tension rods?

stickmakeboom

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I recently heard this can improve how the drum sounds, since it eliminates the metal to metal contact on the area of most tension. It seems to make sense but I'm not entirely sure. Was wondering if any have had experience trying this? And how does it change the sound/is it worth trying?
 

drumtimejohn

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There are some pretty famous songs out there on snares without nylon washers. Like noted above, someone here anecdotally stated they help with staying in tune. It would be ideal to read some research on that work.
 

stickmakeboom

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Worm can open you have.


I have both metal and nylon and, perhaps due to some tinnitus, cannot hear a difference.
Sorry to hear about the tinnitus...I have it too albeit not as bad as some. Mine isn't from drumming though.
There are some pretty famous songs out there on snares without nylon washers. Like noted above, someone here anecdotally stated they help with staying in tune. It would be ideal to read some research on that work.
I might just have to do my own research!
 

repete

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I use them to avoid metal to metal contact and feel tension is held in place a little better. I think most newer drums would have them already. How new (or how far back were they being used is anyone’s guess) Sound difference with metal or nylon isn’t a concern for me.
 

repete

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There are some pretty famous songs out there on snares without nylon washers. Like noted above, someone here anecdotally stated they help with staying in tune. It would be ideal to read some research on that work.
About staying in tune. There are a few things to consider, I would say mostly how hard you are hitting. I feel that vibrations between a metal hoop, metal washer and metal tension rod would tend to loosen up quicker over having a nylon washer in the mix but that’s just my opinion.
 

JimmyM

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There are some pretty famous songs out there on snares without nylon washers. Like noted above, someone here anecdotally stated they help with staying in tune. It would be ideal to read some research on that work.
Well you just read mine ;) I wouldn’t begin to call it qualified research, though. Just seems like they do stay in tune longer.
 

drumtimejohn

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Well you just read mine ;) I wouldn’t begin to call it qualified research, though. Just seems like they do stay in tune longer.
Wouldn’t be surprised. I don’t own many modern drums but the ones I do I leave the nylons on out of faith the manufacture put them there for some valid reason. Only functional reason I have to remove them comes when I need extra threads on a really loose tuning.
 

JazzDoc

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The concept of metal to metal rubs me the wrong way. Too bad most tension rods come with a captured metal washer at all.

As to nylon washers I believe they make a minor difference with regard to diminishing the edgy end of a snare drum’s tone but I have absolutely no scientific data to support that claim.

Insofar as keeping the drum’s tension, I’m not sure about nylon but I’m pretty certain that Canopus leather BoltTites do help there.

In summary, BoltTites or nylon washers for my snare drums, please.
 

Madmarian

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uh, and no trigger warning. jeeez..

I am a drum builder. when I started 18 years ago I used nylon washers because, everybody said they make sense. I do not use them anymore for several reasons:

1) Metal-Metal-contact is nothing bad, only if something is ratteling. But that would mean you did not tune your drum, and a screw is loose. As matter of fact, expecially with snare drums, nylon washers and rubber gaskets on steel snares are a bad idea as you actually play the whole instrument when doing rim shots, and the hoops and shell sing better when there is direct contact. We WANT direct contact for sound reasons.

The idea of isolating the shell with rubber gaskets has a funny history: when the first drum company made all maple shells with no wrap around, they had issues with the hardware being slightly undersized now as the shell molds where sized for shells which got wrapped. So they used old wrap pieces, cut out the footprint of the lugs, to make sure the height is still the same as with wrapped kits. And when you have an USA made Gretsch, you might be lucky to still have gaskets cut out of old delmar wraps; they use those wraps that have a black back. When the drum magazine reported about these beautiful drums, they assumed that the good sound of the drums had to do with not choking the shells with wraps, and further even using rubber gaskets for the lugs (which literally was the wrap back then!), and so gaskets became the new must-have on premium drums. it became so much synonyme with premium drums, even the Yamaha Product manager complained (i might find the interview somehere, the website it offline sadly) about the sound issues they run into due to gaskets, but when not using them, customers assume they are being cheap.

This is yet again another case of drum makers learning how to build drums by drummers who are being mislead by advertisement. I add this to the list which also contains different depth sizes for different drum diameters (makes no sense sonically, i wrote another article about this) and the deep kick size fad, or the wide snare wires on shallow drums etc...

2) I have not seen an improvement of screws being tighter. Rather the oposite - nylon washer make the tension rod slip easier.

3) i dislike the look of it.

4) steel washers age with more grace. Look at nylon washers on snare drums, they usually get really messy, squezed and even destroyed when tuned high enough over time. Leather washers are aging even worse under high pressure.

There are certain inserts for hoops which feature a nylon washer. I used them many years ago - our hardware manufacturer was one of the first to come up with it. I hated them for several reasons: a) they cost more b) they were too tight - as drum builder there is a reason why there are tollerances in the hoop, the hole is larger than it needs to be to be tollerant to the lug placement and the varying size of shells - not all shells are exactly the same diameter. This was the main reason to not use them. Also, the lugs come by default with a washer, which cannot be taken off (and I would not want tension rods anymore which have washers that come off, when you handle tension rods 24/7 you know what I mean!) so this is always an additional part, which just makes no sense to me. They are marketed as solution to keep them from slipping, but i use certain lugs for that, plus there are better solutions for drummers who need this.

So i do not use nylon washers. Gaskets I use when I think they look good, but not when they choke the sound. On a metal (snare) shell I never use them, unless I need them for mechanical reasons.
 

Madmarian

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TL;DR: Nylon washers are a way to market drums and gadgets for drummers. Do what you like, but as I see it, even drum companies are mislead by their own marketing efforts. It pisses me off bc it seems like nobody knows what is important and what is not. Drum making is more magic than science these days, we put gaskets like a spell on a crapy drum and call it blessed. Jeeeeeeeez...
 

Kevinpursuit

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Personally I think it makes no difference at all unless you have really major acute hearing which most people don't have. Its like adding those sonic feet to the feet of stereo equipment.
The mix and miking will override anything if any result from them.
 

DavedrumsTX

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I recently heard this can improve how the drum sounds, since it eliminates the metal to metal contact on the area of most tension. It seems to make sense but I'm not entirely sure. Was wondering if any have had experience trying this? And how does it change the sound/is it worth trying?
I think it’s a great theory and it makes perfect sense. The problem there is that metal to metal contact is everywhere on most drums. You could solve the washer issue, but would have address lug screws, the lugs themselves, etc.

However, I have drums that have both and I have never heard any difference.
 

Rik_Everglade

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I bought a bag of nylon washers. My snare sounds great! Not because of, or lack of these washers. I do like the subtle change in the look, matches my gold hardware/gold shell, they have a thin shaft part that centers them in the hole for the tension rod. I bought a bag of 100 and have lasted quite a while.
I use these:

1657109676008.png
 

little rock

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I have nylon washers on top of metal washers on all the tension rods on my Catalina Club Bop set. I've always thought that they were to take a lot of the friction out of turning the rods. I wasn't aware that they might make a difference in sound. DUH
 

microkit

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I actually forget why I use them, but I want to say they're good, and they get crushed easily, so they last much longer if you stack them with a metal washer.

I got a bag of 100 or something for cheap on Amazon, I just looked up the approximate size of drum washers and looked for the closest thing from a bolt-nut-screw-hardware seller.

Mine are no longer available but this was the measurement and description:

1/4" x 1/2" OD Nylon Flat Washer, (100 Pack), 0.062" Thickness​

 

BennyK

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There's a school of thought that believes impact vibrations are also transmitted to and down the shell via hoops and t-bolts and nylon washers can interfere with that pathway .

I don't care for them on snare drums , but am unconcerned about toms . As previously stated , metal on top of nylon is a good idea , but I try not mix them singly on the same drum .

Maybe I'm hearing / not hearing things . Who knows ?
 


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