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Palen Music Center Quick Note

Monday, March 8, 2010


The PMC Quick Note is a service provided to all area directors. It is part of our mission to support the lives of band directors across the Midwest. The Quick Note contains helpful tips and suggestions from area directors, spotlights on area college and university band programs, calendars of upcoming events, advocacy articles promoting music education, links to helpful web resources, and much more.  Comments, suggestions, ideas, and articles are always welcome.


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Timpani Pedal Adjustments by Phil Myers
Phil Myers is a percussion specialist and road representative for Palen Music Center working out of our Springfield location. If you have additional questions for Phil, you can contact him at

Q. The timpani pedal moves when I remove my foot. How do I fix this?

A. This is a very common problem among timpani that use a spring tension pedal system and tends to be the result of improper head tension. Before I discuss this process let me say one very important thing----DO NOT ADJUST ANY KNOBS AT THE BASE OF THE DRUM!!!!!. This tends to be the first course of action and could result in making the problem worse. The symptom of a "slipping pedal" occurs only with timpani that use a spring tension pedal system. A spring, located in the base of the drum, acts as a counterbalance to the tension created by the head. When the tension is unequal the pedal will slip. Usually, the head loses tension from wear or weather changes: heat will make the head expand, cold will make it contract. The spring is designed to counter a specific amount of pressure. In order to restore this tension the head must be tuned to a specific pitch interval (D-A as opposed to C-G). The best way to accomplish this is to tune the timpani's lowest pitch. This will restore the drum to factory specifications. Push the pedal so that the drum plays the lowest possible pitch (the heal of the pedal should be on floor). Tune the timpani accordingly. 

  • 32"-Lowest pitch D
  • 29"-Lowest pitch F
  • 26"-Lowest pitch A
  • 23"-Lowest pitch C
  Once the drums are tuned to the appropriate pitch the problem should be solved. But, if it does not, the tension in the spring must be adjusted. Find the adjustment knob at the base of the timpani. On Ludwig drums it will be a large knob directly in front of the pedal. On Yamaha drums it will be found under the heal of the pedal. If the pedal lunges forward then loosen the tension knob. If the pedal lunges back then tighten the tension knob.

Contact Your Local Palen Music Center Representative


Can we assist you with anything?  Please contact your local Palen Music Center school road representative for all of your music education needs.


Springfield Bob Hopkins, Phil Myers, and Paul Bowen (417) 882-7000
Columbia Robert Pitts and Jake Herzog (573) 256-5555
Liberty Ken Crisp and Dick Murdock (816) 792-8301
Joplin Wayne Blades, Scott Frederickson, and Chelsea Samuel (417) 781-3100
Broken Arrow Mark VanVranken and Tiffany Dempsey (918) 770-6827


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