Drums Tension Rod Slipping Out of Tune

Do you have problems with your tension rods detuning themselves as you play a gig? I have been a drummer since 1995 and have almost always had at least some kind of issue with a lug or a couple of lugs on my drum set backing out and detuning themselves over time. When I would go and play gigs with my band, I would sometimes find myself trying to tune my snare drum back up after a couple of songs because usually the lug nearest to where I hit my rim shots ends up detuning and dropping the drum’s overall  pitch. This just made me frustrated…until I found out about Loctite Thread Locker Blue.

Loctite is a product that is not necessarily made for keeping drums in tune, but it really does work well in that context. It has been great for me for the last couple of years that I’ve used it on my kits. I apply just a small amount to each tension rod on every drum. You have to be careful because this stuff can get messy. If you’re not careful you’ll end up applying too much and you’ll drip it all over your lugs and drums.

For drum building, I have also started to put it on all of my hardware screws and lugs screws that attach the hardware and lugs to the shell, that way you prevent any lugs or pieces of hardware from vibrating out over time. I have had some of the threaded air vents vibrate loose over time, but by putting Loctite on them, they generally stay put! One mistake you definitely don’t want to make though is getting the permanent Loctite thread locker. There are multiple ratings of adhesive-ness (is that even a word?) for Loctite and you have to make sure you get THREAD LOCKER BLUE REMOVABLE.

There are also some other options to help keep your drums in tune that won’t be as messy as this solution. One last note about Loctite is that it is probably the most cost effect way and fastest way to keep your drums in tune – you can just go to your local hardware store and get this stuff for about $5.

Tight Screw is another solution. They have a milled channel with a nylon insert that stops drum detuning and is 100% guaranteed to work.

There is also a product called Lug Lock that is extremely simple, but very effective.

I first saw this product at a music festival I was playing at where the drummer for Switchfoot had these on his snare drum.  This plastic square cap is simply pressed on to of the tension rod and holds the rod in place. I haven’t actually used these, but they seem like something I could see myself using in the future. I have also heard that Lug Locks can wear out over time, so once you put them on your drums, you won’t want to do a whole lot of tuning and detuning or you’ll wear out the effectiveness of the Lug Locks.

When it comes down to keeping your drums from detuning, all of these methods are great, and it’s up to you to decide which one is best for your drumming needs.