The 20 Inch Timpano

Sort of a continuation of a previous post, I found a fifth timpano for my set. This was a little project for me and probably the most difficult of all the drums. This drum came with all the same little issues as the previous 23 inch drum: It needed a thorough cleaning. It did not come with any gauge or mounting holes in the bowl for the gauge, and it did not come with a powder coated rim. Unlike the 23″ drum, it also did not come with pre-drilled holes in the pedal for the gauge. And of course, the head needed to be replaced.
What’s worse, I wasn’t able to ask who I normally ask for help drilling the holes into the metal.
Like the 23″, I sent the 20″ rim off to get powder coated, and I ordered a pedal gauge and head. There was some confusion about the tuning. Since the 32″ and 23″ use the same gauge (D-B), the store assumed that the 29″ (E-C) and 20″ use the same gauge. They do not, as the Ludwig manual states that the 20″ is meant to be tuned F-D.
Since I would be doing this myself, I ordered a set of titanium drill bits and countersink bits. I’ve drilled plenty of times in my life, but only wood. For some reason, drilling holes into the copper bowl and aluminum pedal of a $1,500+ instrument made me a little uneasy.

I went into a brief discussion with myself in my head thinking about who I could ask to help me do this, but quickly decided that of all the people I would feel comfortable asking, I was probably the most “handy”. I thought maybe I should just ask a local music store to do it for me, but I reluctantly decided to just do it myself. It actually ended up not giving me too much trouble. The biggest trouble was drilling into the pedal. It wasn’t harder to drill into, but the small holes did not align perfectly with the mounting block. Expanding the hole a bit fixed this.

I am probably patting myself on the back too much, but I think it turned out pretty good! Tuning the 20″ drum was/is difficult. I think my ears don’t like those high notes. I find it hard to tune because all the notes sound much higher than my mind thinks they should. You just don’t hear timpanists playing those high A-D’s very often.