Care and Maintenance of a Drum
Care and maintenance of the lugs
These parts are small but very important
Though they are some of the smallest parts of a drum, the lugs are vital parts that also require care. Lugs are the fittings that are attached to the shells. The lugs secure the rims and the head and are used to adjust the tension on the heads.
Lug types include the high-tension lug, a single unit that holds both the top and bottom heads, and the single lugs, which are used on one head. In either case, the basic structure is the same, and they serve an important role in adjusting the tension on the heads.
Because the lugs are normally in a state of high tension, they are subject to more wear than one might imagine. The snare drum in particular has a much higher tension that other drums, and so the snare drum lugs probably wear out faster than the others.
Inside the lug there is a female screw called a lug nut and a tightening bolt that screw together. If these parts are put together when damaged, the bolt will be difficult to turn. This in turn makes it impossible to tune the heads properly, or makes the tuning unstable, so care must be taken with these parts. Replacement lug nuts and bolts are available. Do a close inspection of the lug nuts when changing the heads. If they are damaged, it is probably a good idea to replace both the lug nut and the bolt. As a rough guide, the snare drum, which is played the most, should probably have its lugs replaced about once a year.
Prolonging the life of the lugs
If the lugs receive a small amount of daily maintenance, wear can be reduced dramatically. As shown in the photograph, just wiping the lugs carefully with a cloth as a habit can keep them in top condition for a long time. Wiping them with a dry cloth in this case is fine, but they must be given a very small amount of brass-instrument grease, a drop about the size of a match head, applied with a cloth to keep the bolts turning smoothly. Try it for yourself.