View Full Version : what's the deal with bearing edges?
01-16-2006, 01:16 PM
I often hear about bearing edges on vintages drums and how they need to be in good clean shape? I don't understand this. How do they get messed up and how does this affect anything? Just don't know anything about this topic at all and would like to be educated, thanks in advance
01-16-2006, 02:23 PM
The bearing edge of a drum is like the bridge on a guitar. It's the point at which the moving part meets the resonating body. The ideal situation is to create as air-tight of a seal as possible.
There was a period of time (back in the 70's, mostly) when people removed the bottom (resonant) heads in order to achieve the preferred sound of that time. As a result, many of these vintage drums' bearing edges became nicked and chewed up from being exposed.
So, when you see an old kit on Ebay or something, one of the first things to check is to see if the drums are intact and in original shape. A sure sign of use/abuse will show up at the bearing edges.
In my personal experience, I have found that an occasional nick here and there won't really make a world of difference, but when the damage is more severe, it can cause buzzes to occur. A small ding from an errant stroke of the stick probably won't create a problem. I have several vintage drums with dings in the edges and they sound like....vintage drums. If I were to re-edge them, then they certainly would not sound the same.
Most drumheads can conform to the slight uneveness of most vintage bearing edges because plastic stretches.
01-16-2006, 02:44 PM
I also have in the past used paraffin wax or similar to the bearing edge if it has imperfections (or not).
This was used on timpani to provide less friction between the head and the rim.
I use it on metal and wood drums
I'm pretty sure other waxes will work and it is similar in principle to a surf board and or ski's that need as little friction as possible.
Other then that I have no idea if anyone else does this or if it even plays a "roll" in better sound. It really is just an old habit when I work on drums.
01-16-2006, 03:05 PM
I have used parafin wax on edges of drums with calfskin heads. It's actually an old trick. I think it came about because calfskin heads would sometimes get sticky and didn't move over the edge (or should I say "mooooo"-ve over the edge?...*DOH !*). I have one of those emergency candles -just a regular parafin candle- and I very lightly go over the contact area of the bearing edge on my drums with vintage calfskins. I know it works in that application.
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