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What Are Bass Drum Spurs?

Wanda Marie Thibodeaux
Wanda Marie Thibodeaux

Bass drum spurs are a music accessory whose function is to stabilize the drum for playing. These accessories are comprised of rods placed on the bass drum of a standard drum set. A typical bass drum uses two bass drum spurs, one on each side of the drum. Together, the two spurs act as a sort of stand for the instrument. The spurs always attach directly to the shell of the bass drum via the spur mounting brackets, and it is extremely important that the spurs be attached properly, because poor assembly can put the brackets at an undesirable angle or stress the shell of the drum.

Bass drum spurs generally are metal, most commonly, stainless steel. Using this material provides excellent durability while at the same time protecting the spurs from problems such as corrosion. A drummer might choose spurs of other materials depending on the other metals within his base drum. The only real requirement is that the spurs have to be strong enough to withstand the weight of the bass drum consistently.

Man playing a guitar
Man playing a guitar

Manufacturers usually place rubber tips on the bottom of bass drum spurs to prevent the spur from slipping on smooth surfaces, which provides greater stability. Some bass drum spurs have spiked tips which are designed to stab the floor to grip it, so they aren't suitable in all venues. Some spurs are combination spurs, meaning that the drummer can twist or remove the rubber tip to reveal a spike.

The body of a bass drum spur normally is telescopic, meaning a rod of metal fits inside of and can slide out of a slightly larger tube. A screw mechanism roughly around the midpoint of the spur allows the drummer to tighten the inner rod at the right height within the tube. Drummers quickly become adept at determining whether the drum is level and which rod needs adjustment. Another screw near the spur bracket lets the drummer fold the spur out for performance or back toward the drum shell for transport and storage.

Similar to any other instrument accessory, bass drum spurs have a wide range of grades and quality, and they do wear out over time. Drummers who need to replace their bass drum spurs or the bass drum spur tips easily can do so by visiting a local music shop or online store. Most spurs are relatively inexpensive, but a drummer should expect to pay more for higher-quality spurs designed for professional use.

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