Today was one of, if not the most productive day I’ve had of the New Year. I was up by 10 am - early start - and was in the drum room by 11 am to do some moderate overhauling on the bass drums. That sounds contradictory - is middlehauling a word? According to spell check, it’s not. But you get my point. The plan for the day was to do a complete head change of the bass drums along with adding 4 new air holes to each drum.
I wanted to do this job right for several reasons. Most importantly, this is not my equipment. Aimachi has put their faith in me to physically drill holes (approx. 1 cm in diameter) in the shell of their bass drums. Among the things that could go wrong are the damage of the outer shell - important for esthetics - or worse, the cracking of the drum shell itself which would be a very, very big problem. The purpose of drilling holes is to improve the sound quality of the drums so the better job I do, the better our drums would sound (ideally). And finally, if you’re going to do a job, DO IT RIGHT!
I took it slow; I planned ahead; I measured twice and cut once. I’ve been fortunate to have some great mentors over the years - namely my Dad and Grandfather - who taught me how to work with tools and wood and I put that all to use today. I got better as I went and I always thought about safety (the drill I was working with seemed industrial in strength). After that, I put a protective metal casing through the hole to protect it and make it look nice. These were sent over from America by our drum manufacturer just for this purpose.
I was really happy with the way it all turned out. The combination of the air holes and new heads should make our overall sound quality go way up. The one caveat here is the heads are not yet tuned as high as they should be - they need a few days to stretch - and the new heads are black which are notorious to have bad sound quality. We’ll know in a few days if we want to stick with them or not. In the case of the latter, we have some new white heads I could change out in half a day. The one cool thing about the black heads is they look sweet.
5 bass drums = 10 news heads and 20 new air holes. I became pretty efficient as I went along but still finished at 7:30 pm having worked for nearly eight and a half hours straight. I was faint with hunger by the time I was done but having missed lunch, I didn’t feel guilty about having double portions.
Uichi - the “assistant director” of Aimachi, my contact before I came over here, and the Japanese native with the best English - came up to me after rehearsal and commented on the new heads. I assured him once they get up to pitch we’ll have a better idea of the sound and then I showed him the air holes. He expressed his gratitude for everything I am doing for Aimachi. Not only the bass drums but also helping with the rehearsal videos that he said are proving to be a big help for the designers back in America. I really appreciated him saying that. Not because I am searching for recognition, but because I am doing something that is helping people and improving this program. That really does mean a lot to me.
I’m feeling good tonight.