How To Check Your Bearing Edges

The bearing edge on a drum is arguably the most crucial part of the equation when you’re tuning your kit. Everything helps, the head, hardware, hoops, your own tuning experience, but if the shell is out of round, or the bearing edge isn’t flat, it can render a beautiful expensive kit completely useless.

Matthew McGlynn from Recording Hacks had this problem with a kit he recently bought. He wrote an article about what happened and how he was able to check the edges.

Take-home message from Matthew’s article:

1. If the drum is impossible to tune properly, either the shell may be out of round, the bearing edge not straight, or a combination of both. On new drums, especially high-end, this is bad. On 2nd hand drums, it’s still bad, but can be the result of use and abuse over the years.

2. You can check this yourself, without spending zillions of dollars on high tech equipment.

3. If the drums are new, make sure you take advantage of the warranty. It may be a bit of hassle, but it’s the best way to make sure that you get drums that tune properly, and also the company gets valuable feedback on their product.

4. If the drums are second-hand, get the edges re-cut. There’s going to be at least one drum maker in your area that can do this for you. You’d be paying between $20 and $50 per drum, but it is well worth it. The results could last a lifetime.

I found this article to be very valuable. I haven’t had major problems with bearing edges in the past, bar one 2nd hand maple snare drum with a couple of nicks in the top bearing edge. Have you experienced anything similar?


~ by Tim on February 21, 2010.

2 Responses to “How To Check Your Bearing Edges”

  1. Hi thanks for your article. I just bought a new set of really nice yamaha birch drums. After trying to tune for a month I found out that all the drums were bad I was honest and said i could’nt accuratly test the floor tom and the kick because of their size. All the other drums were bad though and not just a little. The fellow at the store said my snare was fine because of the snare bed. However this is bs the new snare wires were stretched on the outside as a result of the drum being so wavey and the reso head not being flat. So I recieved an email saying they were only going to send new toms. I replied politly and said I want a whole new set or a refund. My reso heads are probably ruined the snare is no good. I spent a lot of money and expect perfect drums. What are your thoughts? Am I going to get grief over this?

    • Wow, that’s pretty heavy. I couldn’t really say without seeing the kit.

      The snare beds are the one exception to the consistent bearing edge thing, purely so the snares touch the reso head all the way across. The snare beds are carefully machined, so if there are other dips in the bearing edge apart from those two, you might have a case.

      If it was me, I’d be pushing pretty hard for a whole new kit. I’ve found that a new tom may be inconsistent either in sound or finish with the rest of the kit, and look or sound out of place. You bought the kit as a whole, so you might find it worth your while to get the whole thing replaced. I cannot guarantee this, however. It would be a good idea to find either a drum builder or an experienced drummer in your area to have a look at the kit and get their opinion.

      I hope this helps! I wish you all the best.

      TK >O

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: