Monday, November 30, 2009

more music / bike mixing

One of my many drums is a synthetic West African djembe. I chose this type over a real one mainly because it requires zero maintenance, and can also endure a certain amount of abuse, which is handy when I use it for street events and that sort of thing.
Usually this type of drum is played either standing up with a strap, or sitting down with it between your knees, and you either rest the base on the ground (tilting it to allow the bass tone to come out) or hold it up off the floor with a waist strap or on top of your feet.

With the Propeller Dance groups I need to sit, and it can be awkward holding onto it when I have other instruments to play, as at the very least I have the synth and sometimes also the e-drum pad, the laptop, and other devices (see my post on the gear). There are commercial floorstands available, but they cost money and seem a bit bulky. Being both cheap and reasonably creative I decided to make a stand based on available materials.

First up was a RIMS mount for a 14" floor tom. The RIMS has the legs attached to it and the drum sit in the cradle, as opposed to the legs directly attached to the drum. This is to reduce resonance losses from the legs touching the drum then the floor. (I've personally never had a problem with a big floor tom not ringing enough, but the system they use for rack toms works very well indeed, and I've been using them for 25 years now). I bought this thing cheap many years ago and never used it for its intended purpose.
The challenge is that the djembe is 12" in diameter, while this is 14". So the opening needed to be narrowed down. So, I scrounged through my pile of surplus drum bits (it's about the same size of my pile of surplus bike bits) and found a 13" rim.
Two opposing lug holes handily lined up with two on the RIMS, so they were bolted together.
It still needed to be narrower, but I also needed some way to cushion the drum. I first thought of using a 12" bicycle innertube, but that'd probably be too bouncy. Then I came up with this:

A solid foam 12" tire - excellent! :) And taped it in place.
One drawback, which became obvious when I started using it, is the how the legs attach. This is an early version of the RIMs concept, and the old "screw pushing against the chrome metal plate" does not grip all that well.

New versions have a better set-up (see link above), and I'll take some old floor tom leg brackets I have and MacGyver those onto this rim. In the meantime, it more or less does the job and does not look too shabby.
One added benefit to the bike tire is that I can use it with the drum off the stand. Because when sitting the bottom of each tuning lug tends to dig into one's thigh, and the tire will act as a cushion against this.

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