Originally designed with the help of renowned big hitter Mark Richardson (Skunk Anansie, Feeder), British-made Tuner Fish Lug Locks have been in development for the last 10 years.
Tuner Fish says it is now "as close to perfect as possible and ready to shout about". Championed by many high-profile artists such as Thomas Lang, Abe Laboriel Jr and Ash Soan, some of you may have caught a glimpse of them before. Let's take a closer look at the Locks, and the new Secure Bands.
Simple and sleek in design, the small teardrop shaped pieces of hard plastic have an eight-point star cutout on the flat bottom side of the large rounded end, which allows them to fit snugly onto regular square-head tension rods.
The thinner 'tail' then sits against the drum hoop, preventing the rod from turning anti-clockwise and therefore loosening off. So in principle, once you have your drums sounding just right, there should be no reason to be reaching for a drum key no matter how hard you're hitting.
Each Tuner Fish features four small grooves which allow them to be used with the separately available Secure Bands. These small elastic bands wrap around behind the tension rod and under the hoop which pulls the lock down, keeping it snugly in position.
For the players who might prefer to use only a few on the areas that take the most abuse, a pack of four Locks will set you back £4.99, or £8.99 for eight. For the real animals out there, packs of 24 and 50 are also available. A pack of Secure Bands will cost you a mere £2.50.
The plastic fish themselves are a doddle to fit and feel fairly secure sitting on the tension bolts. Once attached, the tails need to be pushed against the hoop which can result in the rod being down-tuned slightly, ironically.
Of course this would only ever be a maximum of an eighth-turn but we found it useful in these cases to slightly over-tighten and then push back into place to preserve the tuning.
After a fiddle fitting the elastic bands, the locks are noticeably more stable. There are no issues using them without the bands although they do add a certain peace of mind. Of course the bands also make it possible to use the Locks on bottom heads too.