(Every Percussionist Should Know…)
…How to correctly adjust the balancing action on a Ludwig timp so the pedal doesn’t creep. The video below explains how to do it properly.
Below is a cross sectional drawing of the ludwig mechanism:
So as the pedal (1) pushes down it pulls the central tuning rod down (5), which stretches the head to get a higher pitch. The spring adjustment screw (2) winds the spring towards itself making it tighter, so the spring is pulling in the same direction as the pedal movement, ie. pulling in the opposite direction (in the mechanism) as the drum head.
The problem in the design is that the elastic properties of the drum head change with the diametre of the drum, but the same spring is used throughout. The further a spring is stretched, the harder and harder it becomes to stretch it; these properties of a spring were used to good effect in exercise products:
What this means in the real world is that on the larger drums the spring is too powerful, and on smaller drums not powerful enough. It is however way more complicated than that, but you just don’t need to worry about it, let’s face it, the manufacturers don’t even understand it, otherwise they would use the correct springs!
Obviously this problem quickly became apparent as Ludwig increased the range of drums they made, so the solution was to put a bicycle brake caliper in the only place they could put it, between the pedal and the balancing mechanism. And there it has stayed ever since, through many “completely new designs” that the company have launched over the years.