Motor Rhythms

Motor Rhythms

January 25, 2011

Gas Tank Bass Drums

One of the main parts of a normal drum set is the bass drum. I knew my car part drum set would need some sort of bass drum. I decided the only option would be a gas tank. A gas tank that was made out of plastic, not metal. Most newer model vehicles have plastic gas tanks. They will never rust and they weigh less than metal tanks. I have been working for six years in the shop I am at now, and in those six years I had never replaced a gas tank. I did not have much hope that I would get one anytime soon so I decided to go to the junkyard and buy a used gas tank. On my lunch break one day, I drove over to our local junkyard and found a wall of gas tanks.

After pulling down different gas tanks and beating on them with drum sticks, I settled on a small tank from an early 2000's Ford Focus. It has a 10 or 12 gallon capacity. Once I got the tank back to the shop I removed the fuel pump and cleaned all the old gas out of it.

This is what the gas tank looks like still in the vehicle.

(part of the tank is covered by a heat shield to protect it from the exhaust)

As luck would have it, two months after I bought the used tank we got one in at the shop. A 2006 Chevy Express Van was towed in because someone had drilled a hole in the gas tank to steal all the gas. The customer needed a 700 dollar new gas tank, and I got the old one. This tank was a lot larger than the one from the junkyard. It is over 5 feet long, and has a 30 gallon capacity.

These are the holes that were drilled in the tank.

The trick for both gas tank drums turned out to be the beater. When I played them with a regular felt bass drum beater they did not sound very good. They had no resonance. After trying several options I discovered that a tennis ball made an excellent beater. So I made several beaters out of old tennis balls.

Here is what the two bass drums sound like. The small drum is the washer bottle foot drum from an earlier post.

January 9, 2011

Ear to the Ground

I wanted this to be one of the first posts on this blog, but it has taken until now to find the 'Ear to the Ground' video. First of all I need to give credit to my wife and our friend Liz for finding this video on YouTube. I had been looking for it for several months now.

I first saw part of this video, by David Van Tieghem, on Sesame Street when I was a little kid. It has stuck with me till now. If I were to point at one reason as to why in the fifth grade I wanted to play the drums, this would be it. It is also a big part of the reason I started this blog and the Motor Rhythms project.

David Van Tieghem is a percussionist, composer, and performer. Visit his website with the link below, and check out his other videos on YouTube.

Watch the 'Ear to the Ground' video below. This video was filmed in 1981, on the streets of New York City.