Marching Drums

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Marching Drums

What are marching drums?
Marching Drums (or marching percussion) are instruments designed to be played on the move. Their use varies from military bands, pipe bands, marching groups, religious gatherings etc. Their use is mostly outside or in very large spaces such as arenas. The instruments are carried either on a harness or a baldric (which is effectively a belt worn over the shoulder – very often highly decorated) As they are designed for such large spaces marching drums are usually designed to produce a sharp “clean” sound and to maximise volume.

How much do marching drums weigh?
A full size bass marching drum (28” x 12”) weighs in the region of 12 kg. So they’re not insubstantial but probably less heavy than you might imagine.

How are marching drums made?
Marching drums have high strength shells to allow greater skin tension which in turn provides louder volumes ideal for their use in large spaces. The tougher shells are also able to withstand the movement they go through as part of their life. The skins of marching drums can be made from PTFE, woven Kevlar or more traditional materials.

How can marching drums be protected from bad weather?

If you have to play in the rain there is little you can do about it but you can be prepared to take action the moment you stop playing. Bring plenty of towels so you can dry your instruments inside and out, take the heads off to make sure that the process is complete and if it’s possible use a hair dryer as well to make sure that all the moisture is removed. To help this process it’s useful to co-opt helpers in advance so the process can be completed quickly and efficiently. Once done inspect all the marching drums and re-assemble greasing where necessary as you go before you put them back in the bags.

Why are marching drums deeper than traditional drums?
 Marching drums and especially the snare drums are deeper for two reasons, the first is to provide the strength necessary for drums “on the move” and secondly to get the greater head tension to produce the volume required.