I *love* my Sleishmans, but one persistent problem I’ve had are rattles from my floor tom. The depth of that drum requires fairly long tube lugs, which in turn have a significant amount of play at their longest extent. I do keep that drum tensioned fairly low (about low to middle I’d say) and it’s actually possible to grab the top rim like a steering wheel and turn it a couple degrees either way. Tightening the drum might keep it from being able to twist like that, but that’s a tuning compromise I’d rather not make.
When the rim is not twisted and the lugs are correctly positioned at 90° to the hoop, then all is well. However between bouncing around in the car during transport and being pulled out of the case by the rim it inevitably gets twisted a bit. When that happens one or more of the tension rods can be in contact with the side of its hole in the hoop. This metal-on-metal contact is what’s causing my rattle.
Up to now I’ve just been living with it. Anytime I’ve had to move the drum then I’d invariably have to go around to each lug, tapping and tugging until the rattle goes away. Recently however I can across a product called Sleeved Washers distributed by a company called Hendrix Drums. These are standard sleeve washers, but in a size and diameter that perfectly fits any tension rod. The simple concept is that it would keep the threads from contacting the sides of the hole in the rim, eliminating the metal-on-metal contact.
You’ll note that I left the original rubber washer in place. These are designed so that the tuning does not back out at low tension. I merely replaced the lower white plastic washer with the new sleeved one. This keeps the tension rod from being able to rub against the hoop.
So you’re probably asking how it turned out? In a word, “fantastic”! The rattle is gone, and the drum is holding its tuning as well as before. There also is less deformation of the rubber washers as the old white ones were not that rigid and were affected by the curvature of the flanged rim.
If you’re suffering from rattles, I wholeheartedly recommend Sleeved Washers. They’re quite inexpensive and do a fantastic job of isolating the rods from the rim. I have a couple non-Sleishman snare drums in my collection that I know can benefit from this as well.
Darin May 11th, 2013