Setting up a Drummer Survival Bag

As a new drummer, you’re going to learn that there’s a lot more to your instrument, componentry-wise, than your fellow musicians. It’ll become fairly clear the first time you have to disassemble your kit and reassemble it at a rehearsal space or perhaps even your first gig. There are many parts to a drum set, and it is often the smaller ones that either break or go missing. There is nothing worse than realizing just how integral that little piece is to your performance when it’s 7:30 in the evening and the music store is long since closed.

There are certain parts of a drum set that fail or become misplaced more frequently than others. Accordingly, it is wise for all drummers, from beginners to pros, to carry these replacement parts in a “survival kit.” Find yourself a small container of any sort that you can tuck into your stick bag, for example, and include the following items:

Snare drum batter head

Okay, this one might be difficult to fit in a “small” container but you could tuck it into the back of your cymbal bag. You really should, because the snare batter takes more abuse than any other part of your drum set and it is not difficult for an exuberant drummer to put a stick right through even the newest of heads. It goes without saying that should this occur and you don’t have a replacement head, the show or the rehearsal is pretty much over. Always keep a second snare batter head with you.


Snare wire retainer straps

These small, long nylon or fabric straps loop through either end of your snare drum wire housing and are the conduit for the tension required to create your desired snare sound. It’s surprising how often and how randomly they can become structurally compromised, usually by being stretched too much. They can be easily lost when changing a snare wire as well. Keep a couple of them in your survival kit at all times.


Cymbal stand wing nuts

These T-shaped nuts restrain your cymbals on the top of your cymbal stands and as such provide a fairly important service to your drum set. They can easily come off during transport of your hardware and if you are forced to set up without one or more of them you will have difficulty controlling your cymbal sound and / or risk damage to your cymbals. They are universal-fit, so when you purchase some back ups don’t concern yourself with buying the same brand as your stands.  Carrying 3 in your kit is a good idea.


Cymbal sleeves

An important one. These clear plastic cylindrical sleeves rest on the threaded post at the top of your cymbal stand and provide a barrier between the precious metal of your cymbal and the potentially-harmful threaded steel of the post. Again, they can easily come off and be lost without your being aware of it when you are packing down your kit, and you don’t want to discover the loss of one or more the next time you are setting up. As they are just small plastic sleeves they cost very little for a 10-or so pack. Get one and keep a few in your kit.

Cymbal felts

These felt cushions sit above and beneath the port on your cymbal and provide a comfortable and safe buffer for your cymbal. Again, they can be easily lost when tearing-down or transporting your kit. Also cheap to buy a 10-pack of them and throw 3 or 4 into your survival kit.


There are many types of dampeners that can be applied to the batter or resonant head to take away undesirable overtones on any drum.  Why it is important to carry some with you at all times is, despite how well the drum may sound in its home environment, you may find yourself with in a pinch at a venue or rehearsal spot.You need to quickly troubleshoot an overtone

issue on one of your drums with no time to re-tune the drum. Putting a dampener on the head can often remedy the situation.  Remo Moongels and Evans E-MADs are popular and affordable choices. Keep a pack of them in your kit.

Drum Key

A no-brainer really. Having a drum key with you at all times is a necessity. Preferably more than one to be honest. See to it two or three drum keys are in your kit at all times. Lose one, buy another.

A drummer survival kit containing these items will keep you in good stead every time you take your drum set out for rehearsal or a gig. Keep it stocked by replacing the items you use, and over time you’ll find you want to add other items based on your playing style and the particular components you tend to go through more quickly.

Phil Barrow

Phil Barrow

Phil discovered his passion for music in his early teens when he began learning to play the guitar. He attended the VCC School of Music where he studied jazz and contemporary guitar performance. Phil joined Resound as a guitar teacher in 2013 and has been the school’s Director since 2014.

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Resound School of Music was started in 2009 with a vision of providing the finest music instruction available from the comfort of your home. But don’t be mistaken; we’re not your typical, stuffy music conservatory, nor do we want to be. Instead, we are the music school that was designed with you in mind.

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