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Snare tension rods
Old 1st February 2012
Lives for gear

Thread Starter
Snare tension rods

Hey all - so first the good news - I really made a tuning breakthrough last night! I watched the John Good (of DW) tuning video and it really helped me out. Hitting the drum with my finger like he does allowed me to hear the pitches much more clearly without being so distracted by the attack from the stick. Also, tuning the resonant head first then matching it pitch-wise in the batter worked great for me. I think I might sell my drum dial lol!

Anyway, I got my toms sounding killer, and turned my eye to my Yamaha snare that's been "naughty". Using Bob Gatzen's video I got the snares aligned correctly (which I think was the root of my issue with that drum - it's got an adjustment on both sides of the drum for snare tightness, so it's easy to accidentally off-center the snares), reseated the res head which was a little wonky, and got a pretty okay snare sound.

However, the force required to bring my drum up to pitch seems like a lot - do you guys normally have to really almost fight your tension rods? It also seems like some of them are mis-aligned or something. Do I need some kind of lubricant in there? Basically by the end of it some of them didn't feel like they could go any tighter. And I didn't even tune it really high... I don't know I guess I don't have a well-phrased question here but does this sound normal?
Old 1st February 2012
Gear addict

sounds like they might needs some oil
Old 1st February 2012
Lives for gear

Thread Starter
What kind of oil? How much?
Old 1st February 2012
Gear Maniac
I don't know what kind of snare you have, but if it's a deeper one that you are trying to pitch high, and it's an old head, you might end up screwing the rod as far as it can go to get it to the tension you want. This'll happen because the head is already stretched.

The best thing to do is start with a new head, and seat it well before you tune it. You'll need less tension to bring the head up to the pitch you want and you can make sure you're tightening evenly around the head.

As far as oil, you can use a drop of 3-in-1, or a little spritz of wd-40, or white lithium grease (what I use on older, cranky tension rods). Some people even use Vaseline. Whatever you use, you don't need much at all, just a tiny little bit. Lithium spray, I think, is the best…it's clean and just needs a little wipe.

If your tension rods are smooth up until you can't tighten them any more, you're probably just at the end of the rod's travel…doesn't sound like a lubrication issue.

Also, Yamaha lugs usually have a nylon insert inside which helps prevent the lug from backing off under tension but provide a little resistance when tuning.

Whatever you do, don't over tighten the rods if they're fighting back…you can end up pulling the head or stripping the lug nut.
Old 1st February 2012
Lives for gear

Thread Starter
Thanks I will try a little drop of 3-in-1. Do I put a drop on and screw it in, or put a drop on and polish the rod a little before I put it back?

There are 2 snares: 14x5.5 acrolite and 14x8 Yamaha Rec custom (birch).

They are both a little cranky. I'm not tuning them all that high so I think the lugs just need a little help.
Old 2nd February 2012
Gear Maniac
I'd put a drop on, rub it in the threads.

I'm not a fan of 3-in-1…it's dirty, seems to get all over your fingers every time you swap heads, and will trap dirt and dust. But whatever works! I've used olive oil on a rusty rod once, worked great.
Old 2nd February 2012
Lives for gear

What kind of heads are you using?

I can't crank my Acrolite up too high with a heavy (emperor x) head.. but a medium weight 1-ply.. pop!
Old 2nd February 2012
Gear addict

3 in 1 has vegetable based ingredients and will get gummy over time. Petroleum, teflon, or other synthetic based products offer better long term results.

What pitches are you trying to get out of the batter heads?
Old 2nd February 2012
Lives for gear

Thread Starter
Aight so I took all the lugs off the res side of the acrolite - that's all I had time for. I put some 3-in-1 (oops!) on some paper towel, use my fingernail outside the paper towel in the threads and used the oil to clean the lugs. There was all kind of black gunk on there. After that I wiped them off again with a dry paper towel - worked great, those lugs were much smoother. I will do the same to the others when I get a chance.

Hmm which heads are on there... not 100% on the res heads. Some kind of normal res-side snare head, in fairly good condition. The ludwig I think just has a normal coated ambassador, and the yammy has some kind of "vintage" coated ambassador. I'm pretty sure they're single-ply.

Anyway, luckily my session today wanted a ringless fat snare sound. The yamaha with a remo ring fit the bill perfectly.
Old 2nd February 2012
Gear nut

Another vote for white lithium grease. Just be sure to clean the tension rods and lugs first. I use it often on high-tension snares and my brother uses it all the time for tuning/maintaining drum corps snares.
Old 5th February 2012
Gear interested

Yeah, definitely stay away from 3in1, it tends to gunk up which isn't what you want in your lugs. There's something called GT85 whichI find it tends to do a better job than WD40 as it's got teflon in it. I use it on all my drum hardware (cymbal stand wing nuts, iron cobra etc) to keep things running nice and smooth.
Old 11th February 2012
Gear Guru

Originally Posted by drummerGlyn View Post
Yeah, definitely stay away from 3in1, it tends to gunk up which isn't what you want in your lugs. There's something called GT85 whichI find it tends to do a better job than WD40 as it's got teflon in it. I use it on all my drum hardware (cymbal stand wing nuts, iron cobra etc) to keep things running nice and smooth.
I like trumpet valve oil.

Trumpet valve oil is a mineral based oil, doesn't get gummy. And best of all for drummers, it comes in a bottle with a screw-on cap so it won't pop open in your gig bag like 3-in-one might. I use it on my lugs and all my pedals as well.

You can use WD-40 to clean the rust and grease, but WD-40 is not a lubricant. You have to follow up with something that lubes.
Old 7th March 2012
Gear interested

I've always used white lithium grease too. I've used it with marching snares too for high tension stuff. Works well and doesn't go anywhere anytime soon.
Old 7th March 2012
Lives for gear
12ax7's Avatar

The very BEST lube I've found for this purpose is a product called CLP (often sold under the trade-name "Break-Free").

It was originally designed for the Cleaning, Lubrication and Preservation of military firearms.

This is my favorite brand:
Put the stuff on the threads, and use it as a cleaner.

...Then wipe it ALL off.

Enough stays IN the metal to do the job without attracting dust, dirt, and funk.

...And a tiny little dropper bottle will last you for years!
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