Snares with hard to turn tension rods

mcirish

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I recently picked up a very slightly used Mapex Armory Dillinger. I bought new heads (Amb snare side and Remo CS on top. While replacing the heads and tuning up, I noticed how much stiffer some tension rods were than others. I was tuning up with a key on each side and going in a star pattern. All pitches were correct but I'd have some tension rods that felt very tight and some that turned smooth and "felt" looser, though the head was tuned. Is that just the drawback of less expensive snare drums? I was actually thinking about getting a 12-24 tap (I think that is the size) and retapping the lugs. Anyone else run into anything like this? I did put a bit of lithium grease in each lug to coat the threads. That didn't have much effect on the non-smooth feeling of many of the rods. Maybe I should buy some new lug inserts? I hate investing much in this snare. It looks nice but it's kind of obvious the hardware isn't great.
 
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marc3k

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I have similar issues with a rather expensive new snare drum. However I think in my case it's caused by misaligned lugs. Maybe your hoops are warped?
 

mcirish

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Hoops were round. I will check if there are any lugs slightly off. Thanks for the tip.
 

shuffle

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I dont let that kinda stuff bother me,if it tunes up,it works.
Even the best lugs can bind up.
 

hsosdrum

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Rotate the drum on the stand so that the lug that's binding is nearest to where you it the drum on 2 and 4, especially rimshots. This may keep the drum from detuning as you play it.
 

Skeet6

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Buy a set of new tension rod washers. You'll see a big difference. In the meantime, a drop of oil on the rough ones (and the threads) may help quite a bit.
Mike B
 

ARGuy

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I picked up a Ludwig Breakbeat kit recently in a trade. Part of the reason for the trade was that 2 of the tension rods on the snare drum were wedged so tight into the swivel nuts on the lugs that I had to take the lugs off the drum and use a hack saw to cut the rods so I could replace both the rods and nuts. I ended up running all the tension rods on the kit through a 12/24 die. Most were fine, but some really needed to have the threads cleaned up or they might have become jammed like those on the snare did. With all the tension rods being made overseas there's bound to be some batches of them that barely make the specs, not that each one gets checked. I think it's worth getting a tap and a die in 12/24 just to be safe.
 

Joe61

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I was actually thinking about getting a 12-24 tap
I did this very thing to my snare. It did help with the binding but not completely. I then purchased the nylon "T" washers and installed them. This fixed almost all of the binding. But as the saying goes...you dont get something for nothing. The rods will de tune around the area where you crack a rim shot. I just check for tuning on occasion.

IMO, the binding is the rim/washer/rod head interface more than the threads.

Joe
 

JCW

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I picked up a Ludwig Breakbeat kit recently in a trade. Part of the reason for the trade was that 2 of the tension rods on the snare drum were wedged so tight into the swivel nuts on the lugs that I had to take the lugs off the drum and use a hack saw to cut the rods so I could replace both the rods and nuts. I ended up running all the tension rods on the kit through a 12/24 die. Most were fine, but some really needed to have the threads cleaned up or they might have become jammed like those on the snare did. With all the tension rods being made overseas there's bound to be some batches of them that barely make the specs, not that each one gets checked. I think it's worth getting a tap and a die in 12/24 just to be safe.
I had this exact thing happen with my Breakbeats snare--two rods seized and had to be cut. I replaced all of them and tuning is much smoother now.
 

mcirish

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Thanks for all the input. I did get a 12-24 tap and I will work on that as I get some free time. It's worth a shot.
 

LRod1707

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I've got 3 Ludwig snares and 1 Gretsch (all bought new) and since day 1 none of the tension rods have been totally smooth. Not real rough but definitely not smooth. Must be a snare thing because my toms' & kick's tension rods turn like silk.
 

Buffalo_drummer

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Are the tension rods perfectly straight? I had a drum that had some binding and it was a few slightly bent rods.
 

thin shell

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Most modern lugs have a nylon insert just below the threaded insert that serves two purposes.
First it holds the threaded insert in place.
Second it provides friction for the tension rod so they don't back out so easily.

You definitely want to test the threads with the heads and hoop off to eliminate the rod to hoop friction as a variable.

You can remove the head and take a tension rod that you know threads smoothly and thread it in by hand until you feel resistance. Should be anywhere from 3/8" to 3/4" depending on how long the threaded insert is. Do this to each lug. If they all thread in smoothly then the inserts are fine and the Nylon inserts are what you are feeling. if not then you have some bad threads on some of the inserts. It is possible for the nylon inserts to crack or wear so they don't provide much resistance so you could end up with some that feel tighter than others.

If you run a tap through the inserts and they happen to be plated then you will remove all of the plating from the threads.

If your lugs have the nylon inserts then running a tap in to the lug while the lug is still on the drum you will cut threads into the nylon inserts and they will no longer do their job.

I prefer to make a thread chaser from a good rod. I cut a slot the length of the rod along the threads with a dremel tool with a cutoff wheel. This will remove any gunk that may be in the threads and help to remove any rough spots in the thread without removing any material other than the rough spots.
 

gbow

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Are the tension rods perfectly straight? I had a drum that had some binding and it was a few slightly bent rods.
For sure check this.

When I was a kid, and had a snare that wouldn't stay tuned, we would take the rods out and whack them with a hammer to slightly bend them. Made them bind a bit so they didn't detune.

It works and I suspect there are many drums out there with bent rods. These days there are better options for ways to fix rods that detune, but it's undeniable that bending them does work and it's cheap. Two qualities that we were looking for when we were young and dumb and playing every night. :)

gabo
 


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