How To Make Your Old Drums Look Like A Million Bucks – Part 2: Hardware Upgrade

How to make your old drums look like a Million Bucks - Part 2: Hardware Upgrade

|  By: Jay Fenichel  |  Dec 20th, 2018  |  

Share this post:


This past Summer (2018) I embarked on this journey to restore my old Pearl drum set. I know it's hard to tell from the last post, but initially I only intended to update the hardware.

Basically, I wanted to ditch the chrome and make all of the hardware black.

The video attached to this post is Part 2 outlined the steps I took to restoring... or upgrading the hardware.

What were my choices For upgrading the drum set hardware?

My first thought was to have all of the drum hardware powder coated black.  Since I lack the gear and the know-how to do it myself, I had to look into a service.  I called a bunch of places.  Out of the three shops that got back to me, the price quotes were well beyond what I was willing to spend on this rag-tag drum set.

The next choice was to look into buying the black hardware new.  The main challenge was... Pearl Hardware has changed in the past 30 years.  I couldn't find hardware that would match the exact spacing of the holes drilled into the current shell.  Then, there was the cost of new hardware...

The final option was to do the job myself.  I opted to spray paint all of the drum hardware.  It seemed like the cheapest and easiest solution.  The only downside I can see is that the paint will be less durable to the wear and tear of touring.  For that reason... I deemed this drum set for studio work only.

I also made sure to only paint hardware that would not come into direct contact with the drum sticks.

Here's the Breakdown of all drum hardware being restored. 

Hoops:

For the top hoops of the rack and floor toms I decided to bite the bullet, stick a crowbar into my wallet and just buy them.  They are black nickel plated.  I tried to find powder coated hoops, but it turns out that a 14 inch Tom Tom with 6 lugs is pretty rare these days. Most have 8 lugs at that diameter.  So the black nickel plated hoops were really my only choice.

I did paint the bottom hoops and the outside hoop of the bass drum.

Lug Casings & Lugs:

I had to remove and paint all lug casings and Lug screws.  I was careful not to fully paint the threads of the lug screws themselves.

Pearl Badges:

I wanted to preserve as much of the original drum hardware as possible.  The Pearl drum badges weren't in the best shape.  So I went at them with a black paint pen to clean up any obvious scratches and blemishes.  I also reinforced each metal badge with a hard plastic backing the I got from a Chinese food combo container.

The badges were originally tacked on with tiny nails.  The nails were so tiny they didn't even penetrate the drum shells all the way through.  I decided to replace those with tiny pan head screws that I found on Etsy. These were tough to find, so... Here's the link if you're interested:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/ReSupply

I used the nail holes as a template and drill through the shells with a 1/16th drill bit.  I had to put the tiny bolts on with tweezers.

Grommets:

The grommets were the trickiest thing to restore.  In case you are not familiar... every drum has a little metal grommet that protects the small air hole on the side of the shell.  Sometimes the grommet is part of the actual badge, but that was not the case here.

These original grommets were attached by pushing the metal grommet through the vent hole.  Then the inch long metal body part of the grommet that fits inside the drum is bent back in to a series of metal flaps. (I guess with pliers...) Then the flaps are hammered flush to the inside of the shell to hold the grommet in place.

I had to manually pry each of these metal flaps away from the shell and squeeze them into a shape smaller than the actual vent hole to get them out without damaging the drum shell.  This was a giant pain in the ass.

The original Pearl grommets were completely destroyed in this process, so I was forced to buy new ones.  The new Pearl grommets are much nicer and work the way a normal grommet should, with a front and a back piece that fit together.

Final Thoughts on the Drum hardware Upgrade...

Overall I am very happy with how the drums came out with the new hardware.  It really adds a nice slick look against the finished drum shells.

The only downside with finishing the hardware in this way is the fact that you have to be more careful with the drums.  Even though I used durable spray paint... it's still spray paint... It's probably gonna chip over time and eventually may need some touching up.  But, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

In the meantime... Thanks for checking out this post.  Stay tuned for the next one.

What are your thoughts on my drum hardware upgrade solution?  Do you like what I did?  Would you have done it differently?  Let me know in the comments below. 

How To Make Your Old Drums Look Like A Million Bucks - Part 2: Hardware Upgrade

|  By: Jay Fenichel  |  Dec 20th, 2018  |

Share this post:


This past Summer (2018) I embarked on this journey to restore my old Pearl drum set. I know it's hard to tell from the last post, but initially I only intended to update the hardware.

Basically, I wanted to ditch the chrome and make all of the hardware black.

The video attached to this post is Part 2 outlined the steps I took to restoring... or upgrading the hardware.

What Were My Choices For Upgrading The Drum Set Hardware?

My first thought was to have all of the drum hardware powder coated black.  Since I lack the gear and the know-how to do it myself, I had to look into a service.  I called a bunch of places.  Out of the three shops that got back to me, the price quotes were well beyond what I was willing to spend on this rag-tag drum set.

The next choice was to look into buying the black hardware new.  The main challenge was... Pearl Hardware has changed in the past 30 years.  I couldn't find hardware that would match the exact spacing of the holes drilled into the current shell.  Then, there was the cost of new hardware...

The final option was to do the job myself.  I opted to spray paint all of the drum hardware.  It seemed like the cheapest and easiest solution.  The only downside I can see is that the paint will be less durable to the wear and tear of touring.  For that reason... I deemed this drum set for studio work only.

I also made sure to only paint hardware that would not come into direct contact with the drum sticks.

Here's The Breakdown Of All Drum Hardware Being Restored.

Hoops:

For the top hoops of the rack and floor toms I decided to bite the bullet, stick a crowbar into my wallet and just buy them.  They are black nickel plated.  I tried to find powder coated hoops, but it turns out that a 14 inch Tom Tom with 6 lugs is pretty rare these days. Most have 8 lugs at that diameter.  So the black nickel plated hoops were really my only choice.

I did paint the bottom hoops and the outside hoop of the bass drum.

Lug Casings & Lugs:

I had to remove and paint all lug casings and Lug screws.  I was careful not to fully paint the threads of the lug screws themselves.

Pearl Badges:

I wanted to preserve as much of the original drum hardware as possible.  The Pearl drum badges weren't in the best shape.  So I went at them with a black paint pen to clean up any obvious scratches and blemishes.  I also reinforced each metal badge with a hard plastic backing the I got from a Chinese food combo container.

The badges were originally tacked on with tiny nails.  The nails were so tiny they didn't even penetrate the drum shells all the way through.  I decided to replace those with tiny pan head screws that I found on Etsy. These were tough to find, so... Here's the link if you're interested:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/ReSupply

I used the nail holes as a template and drill through the shells with a 1/16th drill bit.  I had to put the tiny bolts on with tweezers.

Grommets:

The grommets were the trickiest thing to restore.  In case you are not familiar... every drum has a little metal grommet that protects the small air hole on the side of the shell.  Sometimes the grommet is part of the actual badge, but that was not the case here.

These original grommets were attached by pushing the metal grommet through the vent hole.  Then the inch long metal body part of the grommet that fits inside the drum is bent back in to a series of metal flaps. (I guess with pliers...) Then the flaps are hammered flush to the inside of the shell to hold the grommet in place.

I had to manually pry each of these metal flaps away from the shell and squeeze them into a shape smaller than the actual vent hole to get them out without damaging the drum shell.  This was a giant pain in the ass.

The original Pearl grommets were completely destroyed in this process, so I was forced to buy new ones.  The new Pearl grommets are much nicer and work the way a normal grommet should, with a front and a back piece that fit together.

Final Thoughts On The Drum Hardware Upgrade...

Overall I am very happy with how the drums came out with the new hardware.  It really adds a nice slick look against the finished drum shells.

The only downside with finishing the hardware in this way is the fact that you have to be more careful with the drums.  Even though I used durable spray paint... it's still spray paint... It's probably gonna chip over time and eventually may need some touching up.  But, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

In the meantime... Thanks for checking out this post.  Stay tuned for the next one.

What are your thoughts on my drum hardware upgrade solution?  Do you like what I did? Would you have done it differently?  Let me know in the comments below. 

  • 24" X 16" Bass Drum
  • 12" X 8" Rack Tom
  • 14" X 14" 2nd Rack
  • 18" X 16" Floor Tom
  • 13" X 2" Pearl Piccolo Snare Drum (Non Matching)

He was also throwing in some old Zildjian cymbals (Avedis Hats, a ride, and a crash) and an old throne.  The drum set really looked beaten up but I noticed that the badge on the side simply said "Maple Shell." I had never heard of a Pearl drum set line that was just called "Maple Shell."

Because of that I decided to pull the trigger.  I talked him down to $300 for everything. He was psyched and jumped at the deal explaining that he was flying out tomorrow and if he didn't sell the kit, he'd be forced to just dump it at a music store for next to nothing.

I got the kit back to my studio and went to work removing that horrible wrap.  It wasn't so bad since they were already peeling on every drum.  Once the wrap was off, to my surprise and delight, the shells were in great shape and indeed maple, just like the badge stated.

A quick trip to Home Depot and a couple of hours of staining with Minwax Dark Walnut stain ...and drums looked great.  I decided not to even seal them.  I liked the matte unfinished look.

...And that's how those drums stayed for the next 15 years.  Enduring hundreds of hours of students, sessions, gigs, etc...  I eventually put aside the 24" kick and converted the 18" floor tom to a bass drum, but everything else stayed the same.

That brings us to today... After doing a little research I found out that these Pearl MX "Maple Shell" drum sets were a precursor to the Pearl Masters kits.  They were only made from 1981-1983 and the drum shells are Keller.  Well, after finding that out... it was good enough for me!

I love how the kit came out and can't wait to share the entire process with you all.  Leave me a comment below if you dig the process so far... or if you totally disagree with my approach.

I am definitely a novice when it comes to drum restoration... so if you actually know what you're doing, criticism will only help me get better ...so don't be afraid to let me have it!  Thanks and I'll see you on the next post.

>