How to Locate and Eliminate Annoying Timpani Rattles

Oh, Those Annoying Rattles!

There isn’t a timpanist anywhere who hasn’t experienced the frustration of trying to locate an unwanted rattle on one of their drums. They can be tricky to find and fix, but if you know some of the notorious rattle traps you have a better chance at fixing them.

Rattles on timpani occur when parts are loose or bent so that there is metal on metal or metal on hard plastic that vibrates sympathetically when the drum is played.

There are several parts to the tuning gage that can cause the drum to rattle.

In this video I talk about looking on the tuning gage of a Yamaha 6000 series drum as a common rattle source

What are some Notorious Timpani Rattle Causes?

  • The note indicator tabs can come looseTighten the screw that holds in on to the gage if you have a Yamaha drum. If your gage has thin metal note tabs that can’t be tightened it might be better to remove them and then use a piece of tape on the gage and then write the note names where you want to place them. This method will ensure that your gage is less likely to rattle at all
  • There are a few nuts and bolts that hold the gage on to the drum, so make sure to check periodically that they are snug and in place
  • The cable that is a attached to the gage and then to the pedal mechanism has a couple of nuts that can become loose so make sure to tighten them properly
  • The gage indicator marker can sometime get bent and therefore it will vibrate against the gage or even the rim of the drum. Make sure that the gage is in the proper position and if its not that may cause it to be too close to something. If the gage is in the right position you may realize that the thin metal of the indicator marker has been bent out of place, so don’t be afraid to bend it so that it won’t cause a vibrating problem

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