In this post I’m sharing my experience converting 22 x 18 Tama Swingstar kick drum.
- 8 x L-brackets (2”) are attached to the drum shell using existing lug screws
- Round plywood platform is resting on the 2” L-brackets
- Metal framing bracket is attached to the plywood platform. It could be moved closer to the drum rim to adjust trigger position
- Furniture leveling foot is attached to the L-Bracket and acts as a trigger platform. It is used to adjust trigger height.
- 22” Mesh head is used on the beater side. Stock logo head is used on the resonant side, no vents in it.
- Foam cushion is installed in the middle of the drum, under the beaters to reduce undesired “bounce”. Roland uses memory foam in KD-120. I did not have memory foam and did not want to buy and cannibalize memory foam mattresses/pillows. Multiple layers of foam from thick exercise mat have done the job
- Furniture leveling feet (1)
- Framing L-bracket
- 8 x smaller 2” L-brackets
- ½ x 24” x 24“plywood
- Screws (10-32x2”)
- Washers (3/16)
- Lock nuts (10-32)
- 3M Super 77 spray adhesive
Lock nuts (with elastic stops) are essential for this build to stop nut from loosening.
- Soundproofing egg-crate foam.
- Piezo triggers
- Foam cone
- Double-sided foam tape
- ¼ Stereo connector
- Plastic cable bracket
Quartz sells all pieces as a dual trigger package. I have placed special order for 27 mm triggers.
- 22” Mesh head
- Double Bass Drum Patch.
I have used Evans EQ, mainly because it was in stock. Essential when using felt beaters – direct contact with felt beater would damage mesh head.
Step 1. Measure inside diameter of the cut circle out of plywood. I have cut the circle about 1” smaller than drum’s internal diameter, allowing plenty of space for support brackets. Router and plywood jig used to cut the circle
Step 2. Cut 3 holes to reduce platform weight. The side of the platform without the hole will be used to mount the trigger platform on metal bracket.
Step 3. Install L-brackets using existing lug screws.
Step 4. Attach the platform to the L-brackets. Make sure drum’s vent hole is lined-up with the side of the platform without the hole in it. Stereo connector jack will be installed in this hole, and the trigger will be installed on the same side.
Step 5. Bend framing L-bracket, giving it C shape.
Drill two holes to attach bracket to the plywood platform, another hole for the leveling foot, and a hole for cable management bracket. Make sure the holes in the top of the bracket line-up with the bottom holes, top hole will be used to access heads of the attachment screws.
Step 6. Install stereo jack using existing vent hole. I had to remove metal vent hole grommet. So far, this is the single modification to the drum itself.
Glue the foam circle in the middle of the drum. I have cut multiple circles out of the foam mat (roughly 8” in diameter). Foam pad is thick enough to be even with the drum rim. In my case, exactly five layers of foam provided desired thickness. All layers were glued together using spray adhesive.
When both stereo jack and foam are installed, locate bracket position. I have not used any science to figure out how far the trigger should be from the rim of the drum – just eyeballed it where it looked good. Center of the trigger cone ended-up 3” from the inside edge of the drum rim.
Step 7. Secure the trigger bracket to plywood platform and install furniture leveling foot. Main purpose of the leveling foot is precise trigger height adjustment.
Step 8. Install the trigger and trigger cone, attach and secure the cable using plastic bracket. I also have used rubber foam to wrap the trigger cable. Adjust the trigger height, so it is 1.5 – 3 mm above the rim.
Step 9. Line-up insides of the drum with acoustic egg-crate foam. I have used spray adhesive to glue the foam to the platform. Foam on the sides of the drum is press-fitted. Nothing is glued to the drum itself. This keeps A2E conversion fully reversible.
Step 10. Install mesh head and drum hoop before flipping the drum. NOTE: Trigger cone sits above the drum rim. Installing mesh head and hoops would protect trigger cone from damage when handling the drum.
Install acoustic foam on the resonant side of the drum. Again, only bottom layer is glued to the plywood platform. Side pieces of the foam are stuck together using tape and pressed against the drum shell. Last piece of the acoustic foam is made into a circle, and it is located directly under resonant head. This would remove any unwanted vibration and buzzing from resonant head.
Step 11. Mount the drum and install drum head patch. This is critical for felt-beaters to preserve the drum head. Felt beater would eat away the mesh head in no time.
Step 12. Adjust the controller module. For Roland TD-12, trigger type is set to KD140. Sensitivity is set to 21. No other settings were changed. I did not have to adjust re-trigger values.
- Kick drum looks and works great
- No issues with triggering, or double-triggering. Foam cylinder under the beater removes all mesh head vibration
- Noise level is comparable with Roland KD-120.
Problems and solutions
Problem: Mesh head is rubbing against the blue foam inside the drum, right under the beater. This grinds the foam, eating it away, and creating dust inside the drum.
Solution: Install double-bass patch inside the mesh head. Now instead of the mesh head, slick patch is rubbing against the foam. No more foam grinding.