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Drum Center of Portsmouth Blog

Events, Cool Products and Videos from Drum Center of Portsmouth

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    Narrowing Down Your Drum Kit Buying Decision

    Learning how to play the drums offers so many benefits that go beyond it being enjoyable. It’s not just for professionals on the road. Research has shown that drumming reduces stress, anxiety, and even boosts the immune system. Studies have also shown that playing the drums is a great workout for the brain. It releases tension and even helps control chronic pain.

    Choosing the perfect drum set for you can be a difficult process because there are so many different factors to consider. If you invest in the first set that comes your way, you’re risking getting a product that lacks quality.

    If you’re on the market for a drum set, you have come to the right place. We are here to help you narrow down this process. By the end of this guide, you’ll be matched with the set that’s best for you. Here are the top 10 drum kits currently trending the market that we love, and we’re sure you will, too:

    1 Tama Star Walnut 4pc Drum Set - Best for Top Notch Quality


    image

    Pros

    • Includes a super resonant mounting system
    • Unique blend of modern and vintage tones
    • Has the look of a collector’s showpiece item

    Cons

    • The snare drum, cymbals, and hardware are sold separately

    This set may just be as good as it gets – let us tell you why!

    With this set, you will receive a 22x18 bass drum, 10x8 tom, 12x9 tom, and 16x14 floor tom. There is something to love about each one of these. For instance, with the 22” bass drum, you’ll get the amazing low-end frequency. The toms project thick tones with a nice impact when struck.

    This set also includes 12 hand-applied finishes that give it the look and feel of an actual collector’s showpiece. It really doesn’t get better than this! The hardware and cymbals are not included but can be purchased separately.

    Get the Ludwig Classic Maple 3pc Drum Set!

    Shop Now

    You can make the Ludwig Maple 3pc drum set yours today by purchasing directly from our website. Still not sure if it’s the right option for you?
    Get in touch with us to learn more about this set. We’re here to answer any questions you may have about this remarkable item.

  • Pearl Masterworks Stadium Drum Set Review

    If you walk into the Drum Center of Portsmouth at any given time, chances are good you’ll hear so 80’s metal playing through our speakers.  It’s no secret the owner likes his big drum sounds from this era. That’s why we weren’t surprised when he returned from the 2018 NAMM show with the biggest Pearl Masterworks Stadium Drum Set we’d ever seen.

    Pearl Masterworks Stadium Drum Set

    What’s Old is New

    Pearl Masterworks Stadium recipe shells are the sound from big 80’s rock.  Originally made popular by the Sonor Signature line, thick shells and deep toms were the fashion of the day. Other manufacturers followed - Tama released their famous Artstar Cordia line, and Pearl followed up with the “Custom Z” series.  As the 90’s rolled around, grunge worked its way east from Seattle, taking most of the big drums with it.

    Power. Toms.

    If you identify with the huge, rumbling tone of 80’s drums, the Pearl Masterworks Stadium Shell Drum Set is right up your alley.  Our review kit features thick 8-ply maple toms with 10-ply floor toms, bass drums and snare drum. The 10, 12, 13 rack toms are in “power tom” depths (of course) and the floor toms are a massive pair of 16 and 18 inch beauties.

    THICC Maple shells

    Refined Rumble

    The Pearl Masterworks Stadium Drum set is indeed 100% rock in tone, but its build and appearance is nothing short of breathtaking artistry.  The massive maple shells are wrapped in Artisan Exotic Zebrawood and finished with transparent Tiger Yellow Gloss. The 2.3mm Power Hoops and Reference style lugs are nickel plated, tying everything together nicely.

    2.3mm Pearl Super Hoops

    Power vs. Practicality

    Let’s be completely honest.  An 8-piece double bass drum set in 80’s power tom sizes isn’t the most practical kit for every gigging drummer.  Sitting behind this kit is the equivalent of a rollercoaster ride with Iron Maiden blasting in your ear drums - it’s intense!  Every drum rumbles with powerful low end projection and tremendous sustain, especially the floor toms. The 18x16 is just plain scary.  The 14x6.5 Snare drum is among the best maple snare drums we’ve played, featuring die cast hoops and a magnificently sensitive strainer.

    The perfect Maple snare

    If you long for the drum sound of Steve Smith and Nicko McBrain in the 80’s, the Pearl Masterworks Stadium shell recipe is just what the doctor ordered.  As an added bonus, you get artisan grade aesthetics and elite craftsmanship, ensuring these drums will still be around when it’s cool to have a mullet again!

    Trust Drum Center of Portsmouth for Your Pearl Masterworks Build

    Creating your own Pearl Masterworks Drum Set is amazing because of the limitless options you have to choose from.  Creating your own Pearl Masterworks Drum Set is also somewhat daunting because of the limitless options you have to choose from.  We speak Masterworks. Talk to the pros at Drum Center of Portsmouth to confidently craft your ideal Pearl Masterworks drum sound!

  • Ludwig Super Series Snare Drums

    Ludwig is releasing a handful of new snare drums and drum sets to celebrate their 110th anniversary. Super Ludwig Series Snare drums are aesthetically new takes on some of the most popular snare drums in history. We checked out 2 of these in our latest snare drum review video.

    New for 2019 - Ludwig Super Series Snare Drums

    A New Standard

    Originally released in 1960, the Ludwig “Standard” model snare quickly became popular for its incredibly unique tone. Super Ludwig series drums pay homage to the original workhorse, with the convenience of modern manufacturing techniques.

    Ludwig Super Brass - LB403

    A New Look

    The Super Ludwig (LB402BN) model is chrome over brass shell while the Super Brass (LB403) is a lacquered brass shell. Both models are trimmed in nickel hardware and the ultra-reliable P88-AC throwoff. These two models also fashion highly-collectible transition badge versions that were predecessors to the original standard 1960 models that featured chrome hardware.  Ludwig Super Series Snare drums are available in 14x6.5 and 14x5.

    Transitional-Era badge

    The Same Great Sound

    Ludwig Super Series Snare Drums sound just like their traditional counterparts - perfect for stage or studio. The 1.2mm seamless brass shell delivers the bright, vintage vibe of yesteryear. The chrome plating on the Super Ludwig Model bumps up the brightness and crispness just a touch from the lacquered shell of the LB403. Tuned up or tuned down, these snare drums deliver THAT unique Ludwig sound that studio engineers lust for!

    Ludwig LB402BN Seamless Brass Shell

    It’s no secret that we love Ludwig snare drums. We stock a huge selection of Ludwigs, and our sales staff is the most knowledgeable when it comes to the iconic Monroe, North Carolina company. When you are ready to up your snare game, give a pro drummer a call at the Drum Center of Portsmouth!

  • Keplinger Snare Drums - Stainless Steel vs. Black Iron

     

    The Keplinger Story

    Gregg Keplinger is a rare hybrid of drumming talent and percussive artisan. After finding a 1930s Ludwig 6.5x14 steel snare with an otherworldly tone, Gregg was inspired to improvise and innovate his own snare drum. Sourcing stainless steel from an industrial pipe manufacturer in Seattle, Gregg set to building the first of many custom snare drums.  Thus the "Keplinger" vision - for hefty metal-shell snares, and percussion with an industrial personality - was born.

    The Keplinger Sound

    You may not know about Keplinger Snare Drums, but you probably know their sound.  Gregg worked closely in-studio and on stage with a young Matt Cameron during Soundgarden's "Superunknown" glory days and continued on with Matt to work with Pearl Jam. That unmistakable crack on many of Matt’s most famous tracks - that’s the Keplinger sound!

    Keplinger Steel Snare Drum - 14x7

    The Keplinger Shootout

    Gregg’s snare drums became most well-known when he worked primarily with stainless steel. Today, Keplinger snare drums are sourced from all kinds of alloys.  For our latest snare drum showcase, we focused on our 2 best selling Keplinger metal snare drums - Stainless Steel and Black Iron.

    Steel or Black Iron?

    The Keplinger Steel snare drums project the legendary “crack” that is so familiar from Matt Cameron’s recordings .  Both 7 inch and 5.5 inch drums are exceptionally sensitive despite relatively underwhelming stock snare wires. The steely overtones are heavy, smooth and very pleasing to the ear. They are bright, but with a smear of darkness that give them a remarkable complexity.  And yes, they are loud af.

    Keplinger Steel Snare Drum - 14x5.5

    Keplinger Black Iron snare drums share similarities with their steel siblings - just darker.  These drums are MEAN. They have an uncanny low end projection and a built-in reverb sound that is unique.  The 4 inch Black Iron snare has a huge tuning range, and sounds great tuned down low or cranked high. The 8 inch model is an absolute BEAST that sounds like an evil church bell.

    Keplinger Black Iron Snare Drum - 14x7

    We are super-impressed with all 5 Keplinger Snare drums we currently have in stock.  Each one would make an incredible studio workhorse.  They would also be right at home on any (large) stage, we just recommend you get a roady to haul it around for you!

    Get Your Metal On at Drum Center of Portsmouth!

    Surprisingly versatile 14x4 Keplinger Black Iron Snare Drum

    We are huge fans of Gregg’s snare drums.  They are not made to be admired for their aesthetics.  They are no-nonsense instruments meant to be wailed on.  There are many boutique builders, but very few legendary studio sounds.  Keplinger is one of those sounds. Get yours at Drum Center of Portsmouth!

     

  • 10 BEST Drum Sets in 2019

    Narrowing Down Your Drum Kit Buying Decision

    Learning how to play the drums offers so many benefits that go beyond it being enjoyable. It’s not just for professionals on the road. Research has shown that drumming reduces stress, anxiety, and even boosts the immune system. Studies have also shown that playing the drums is a great workout for the brain. It releases tension and even helps control chronic pain.

    Choosing the perfect drum set for you can be a difficult process because there are so many different factors to consider. If you invest in the first set that comes your way, you’re risking getting a product that lacks quality.

    If you’re on the market for a drum set, you have come to the right place. We are here to help you narrow down this process. By the end of this guide, you’ll be matched with the set that’s best for you. Here are the top 10 drum kits currently trending the market that we love, and we’re sure you will, too:

    1. Ludwig Classic Maple 3pc Drum Set

    The sound this drum set offers is timeless. Ludwig has always been extremely advanced when it comes to making straight maple shells. This Classic Ludwig set is a perfect choice for professionals looking for tonal versatility. It offers a wide tuning range with a sharp attack for live performances.

    This set includes a 7-ply shell, bearing edge, and RFST molding. All mounting hardware will be included with this set, giving the user an easy way to start playing!

    The bearing edge was designed carefully to achieve that unique Ludwig Sound. It is hand-sanded. The smooth, flat surface makes the head seating easy. Another great feature of Ludwig USA shells is that they are all made using Radio Frequency Shell Technology (RFST). This increases stability throughout the entire drum.

    Does the Classic Maple series have any disadvantages? Not really – besides the fact that it requires cymbals to be purchased separately. This is expected. However, some drummers like purchasing a complete drum set. Other than this, the Ludwig Classic Maple is a great set to have and one that will allow drummers to rock out to amazing tunes.

    Get the Ludwig Classic Maple 3pc Drum Set Here

    Pros Cons
    Beautiful golden chrome color No cymbals are included
    RFST molding offers amazing sound

     

    You can make the Ludwig Maple 3pc drum set yours today by purchasing directly from our website. Still not sure if it’s the right option for you? Get in touch with us to learn more about this set. We’re here to answer any questions you may have about this remarkable item.

    2. Sonor SQ2 Heavy Maple 5pc Drum Set

    The Sonor SQ2 is often arguably the best of the best (and for good reason)! All the way from its stunning design to playing capabilities, Sonor really went the extra mile on this set.

    This brand has over 137 years of manufacturing experience, so drummers can be confident they are investing in a quality product. SQ2 has a wide variety of shell, finish, and size combinations, allowing every drummer to play it in accordance to their personal liking. You get a signature sound that’s special with this unique set.

    Buyers will receive a shell pack that includes a 22x16 bass drum, 10x9 tom, 12x10 tom, 14x14 floor tom, and 16x16 floor tom. The shells are all designed with a Black Sparkle Lacquer finish and matte black interiors. It does not include the hardware or cymbals as these are sold separately.

    Get the Sonor SQ2 Heavy Maple 5pc Drum Set Here

    Pros Cons
    Offers an almost unlimited variety of shell, size, and finish combinations Hardware and cymbals are sold separately
    Gives drummers the ability to create their own signature sound

     

    We really love the uniqueness of this set all the way from its design to playing capabilities. If interested, you can purchase this set directly online. Need some more information? Get in touch with one of our drum experts today!  

    3. Tama Star Walnut 4pc Drum Set - Best for Top Notch Quality


    This set may just be as good as it gets – let us tell you why!

    With this set, you will receive a 22x18 bass drum, 10x8 tom, 12x9 tom, and 16x14 floor tom. There is something to love about each one of these. For instance, with the 22” bass drum, you’ll get the amazing low-end frequency. The toms project thick tones with a nice impact when struck.

    This set also includes 12 hand-applied finishes that give it the look and feel of an actual collector’s showpiece. It really doesn’t get better than this! The hardware and cymbals are not included but can be purchased separately.

    Get the Tama Star Walnut 4pc Drum Set Here

    Pros Cons
    Includes a super resonant mounting system The snare drum, cymbals, and hardware are sold separately
    Unique blend of modern and vintage tones
    Has the look of a collector’s showpiece item

     

    STAR Walnut has been at the top of the drumming industry for a while now, so when this new set came out, you can believe it was at the top of many drum players wish lists. Luckily, you can make this set yours today directly from our website while supplies last!

     

    4. DW Collectors Cherry/Mahogany 4pc Drum Set - Best Organic Drum Sound

    The DW Collectors 4-piece set is a unique beauty that is made from more than one type of wood. We really enjoy the wide range of sonic possibilities that this set offers. It’s perfect for drummers who like that organic drum sound.

    This top-of-the-line set offers a full range of sounds that you need while playing. It’s an outstanding selection with a high-end finish and unique design. Tom sizes come in 10x7, 12x8, and 16x14 with a bass drum size of 22x16. Only the drums are included in this set – hardware and cymbals are sold separately.

    Get the DW Collectors Cherry/Mahogany 4pc Drum Set Here

    Pros Cons
    Offers a unique, “woodsy” sound Hardware and cymbals aren’t included
    Exceptional craftsmanship & professional quality Some viewers aren’t too crazy about the look

     

    If this sounds like the right set for you, you may purchase directly from our site. If not, keep browsing through this top 10 list until you reach the perfect option for you. Like always, DCP is here for any questions, comments, and concerns. Get in touch with one of our drum experts for more information.

     

    5. Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5pc Drum Set - Best for Those on a Budget


    You cannot go wrong with Yamaha, and the Stage Custom Birch set is no exception! This drum set will give any drummer the value, quality, and look that they need to continue to improve their skills.

    You’ll love the versatility of this set. It’s amazing for beginners as well as professional drummers.

    It comes with 5 integral pieces which include a bass drum (22x17), snare drum (14x5.5), and tom’s in the following sizes: 10x7, 12x8, 16x15. The set produces a range of warm tones.  Setting up is made easy with the included stoppers, and the claw hooks that come included work nicely to reduce noises. It really is an amazing value, especially for its low price.

    Get the Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5pc Drum Set Here

    Pros Cons
    Stunning, shiny pure white color Some customers aren’t too fond of the cymbals
    Affordable pricing
    Versatile drum set

     

    Make this Yamaha 5pc Drum Set yours today! If you need additional information, get in touch with one of our specialists. We look forward to working with you and getting you one step closer to your dream drum kit.

     

    6. British Drum Company Legend Fusion 4pc Drum Set - Favorite Palladium Look

    Looking for a drum kit with sharp, pronounced lows? Look no further! The Legend series from the British Drum Company has so much to offer all the way from its stunning Whitechapel finish to its amazing quality. You’ll receive hand cut 45-degree round overbearing edges, sophisticated palladium fittings, and a proprietary cold-pressed molding of the drum shell.

    The drum kit itself includes a bass drum, snare drum, mounting hardware, and 3 toms. Previous buyers have enjoyed playing this set on their own or with their band. It delivers an unbeatable sound quality for both loud or soft volumes. It seems to stick more with players who enjoy pop, indie, or contemporary rock.

    Get the British Drum Company Legend Fusion Drum Set Here

    Pros Cons
    Offers crisp attacks and low pronounced tones Not an ideal option for punk or rock bands
    Great for any level of playing Hardware and cymbals are not included
    Beautiful Palladium look

     

    For more information on this set, get in touch with one of our experts. We’re confident you’ll enjoy its versatility, low fundamental tones with sharp attacks, and controlled sustains. If you’re ready to purchase, you can do so right here from our site.

    7. Canopus RFM 5pc Drum Set Navel Oil - Great For Any Level


    This shell pack includes 3 tom’s sizes 22x15, 10x7, 12x8 with 2-floor tom’s sizes 14x13 and 16x15. We really like the satin finish of this set and the careful planning that was taken to develop the maple shell drums.

    As Canopus developed their R.F.M series, they noticed some things that were going very well like the solid sound it offered. It is also an amazing option for all genres of music, which is hard to achieve in most sets. The versatility it brings is amazing.

    The makers of this drum set also took into consideration some of the negatives of maple shell sets. It was concluded that maple did not resonate enough. There were unwanted overtones from time to time, and the mid-range didn’t sustain enough. With these in mind, they designed the RFM series to overcome all these issues for a clear, bright sound.

    Get the Canopus RFM 5pc Drum Set Navel Oil Here

    Pros Cons
    Nice navel oil satin finish Snare drum, hardware, and cymbals sold separately
    Improved R.F.M series design Some drummers still think the shell doesn’t resonate enough
    Great option for all levels

     

    Only the drums and mounting hardware are included – the hardware, snare drum, and cymbals are sold separately for this set. If you’re interested in purchasing this drum set, you can do so directly from our site. For additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts at DCP.

    8. Noble and Cooley CD Maple 4pc Drum Set - Best Option For Professional Drummers

    This brings us to this pro-level option great for those serious about their playing. Noble & Cooley customizes drums for clients using nothing less than quality workmanship and materials. They engineer every piece of their set to offer the best sound possible.

    This set has Noble and Cooley’s patented suspension system, ply configuration, symmetrical venting, and lug locking. All of these contribute to the amazing tonality and versatility of this kit. Noble and Cooley are not afraid to step outside the norm. Through extensive research and trial and error, they have engineered a drum set that offers exceptional quality and more.

    Going back to ply configuration, their 8 – 13” toms are 5 mm thick while their 14 – 18” toms are 6 mm thick. All their bass drums are 7 mm thick. They have found these combinations allow drummers to create the best sounds possible.

    Get the Noble and Cooley CD Maple 4pc Drum Set Here

    Pro Cons
    Unique, customized drum set Cymbals and hardware are sold separately
    Amazing design features
    Allows customers to specify their drum sizes

     

    We love the sleek, elegant look of this drum set. Noble & Cooley really paid attention to detail when designing this kit. It’s one that we highly recommend for aspiring drummers and seasoned players. Experience these drums for yourself and buy today!

     

    9. Gretsch Brooklyn 3pc Jazz Drum Set Gray Oyster - Best Vintage Option


    The Gretsch Brooklyn Series is hard to beat. With this set, you’ll receive vintage tones full of punch and warmth. Drums are designed with 6-ply North American maple shells, toms are .220” thick, and the snare and bass drums are .310” thick. This is just a bit thicker than the standard USA Custom shells.

    The Gretsch Brooklyn looks as good as it sounds! Drummers love the gray, subtle color of this kit. The sound, the shell, the hardware – it’s a tough deal to turn down! It’s also important to know that only the drums are included within this kit – hardware and cymbals are sold separately.

    Get the Gretsch Brooklyn 3pc Jazz Drum Set Gray Oyster Here

    Pros Cons
    Warm vintage sounds full of punch Hardware and cymbals are not included
    Amazing tuning range
    Affordable pricing

     

    You can make this set yours today by purchasing directly online. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We are here to answer any concerns you may have, getting you one step closer to the ideal drum kit for you!

     

    10. Tama Imperialstar 5pc Complete Drum Set - Best For Beginners


    This is the best-selling drum set in its class and for a good reason! TAMA has over 40 years of experience manufacturing drums. That is why we’re confident in their ability to give drummers what they want. The Imperialstar is an award-winning line and continues to deliver remarkable sounding shells, consistency, and hardware that is ergonomic and durable.

    The Imperialstar 5pc is an all-inclusive set, giving beginners the ultimate playing experience. It comes with all the hardware and cymbals, a bass drum, 3 toms, and snare drum. Sitting at an amazing price, you can’t turn down this quality 5pc drum set.

    Get the Tama Imperialstar 5pc Complete Drum Set Here

    Pros Cons
    All-inclusive drum set Not an ideal option for professional drummers
    Great option for beginners
    Low price

     

    For more information about the best drum sets, get in touch with one of our DCP drum experts. We’ll get you one step closer to the best option for you.

    Read more: The best drum kits under 800$

  • Drum Sets—Do Looks Matter?

    One question many drummers wonder about from time to time is whether or not the appearance of their drum set really makes a difference. This is a difficult question to answer because in certain situations it does matter. In others, it really makes no difference.

    For the most part, this is a matter of personal preference. But the way your drum set looks can shape the way that people might look at you, your band, and your ability to play the drums. These are some things you may want to consider about the way your drums look.

    The Material the Drums Are Made of

    There is a big difference in the way different drums look because of what they are made of. A snare drum made of metal is going to look quite different than a wooden one. In the same vein, wooden drums that are simply lacquered will look different than drums that may be painted or have a coating put around the drums.

    Metal drums can be polished to a high shine so that the lights will sparkle when it hits them. Wooden drums, on the other hand, can be lacquered with different types of polish or they can be wrapped in a synthetic coating. This allows any kind of graphic to be printed on it, or they can be one uniform color.

    But the material of the drums is the looks and more. In the end, the look of your drums also depends on what you feel sounds the best. Wooden vs metal drums produce different timbres and tones.

    The look of the drums also speaks volumes about the condition you keep them in. The condition you keep your drums in can affect the way that people think of you. If you have bits of tape stuck to the shells, people may think less of your talent simply because your drums look to be in bad shape. If your set looks clean, people may think you are a better player. It isn’t exactly fair but it the way people think at times.

    Big Sets vs Small Sets

    This is a never-ending question among drummers. In truth, there is no one size to a drum kit that is perfect for everyone. But the size of your set can make a difference.

    There is the popular story of the drummer who goes to an audition for an up-and-coming rock band that cares about their looks. The drummer is great but only plays a small five-piece kit with a couple of cymbals. When the audition is done, the band tells him he is an excellent drummer. However, they want someone who plays a massive set with two bass drums and a bunch of toms and cymbals attached to a giant drum rack. Then the band goes with a drummer who isn’t as good but who plays a huge drum set that fits the image they are trying to create.

    Conversely, there are tales of guys who want to play in a jazz combo but show up with a set complete with double bass, 5 or 6 toms, a dozen cymbals and a variety of ethnic drums surrounding his kit. Despite looking like he can play really complex rhythms, he is terrible at keeping a beat.

    All this is to say that your drum kit only needs to be as big as what you need to achieve the sound you desire. Unfortunately, sometimes bands may want you to have a kit that fits into the image they desire.

    Graphics on Your Bass Drum Head

    This is a matter that is up to you as it makes no difference in the way you will sound. Many drummers will get a bass drum head with the logo of their band on it. This is a great way to get your band’s name remembered by members of the audience. Just know that it is expensive to get a custom design printed on a drum head.

    When you are on tour, it is easy to puncture one of these drum heads. They can be difficult to replace if you aren’t carrying extras with you. For this reason, many drummers won’t bother with putting a logo on their bass drum. Instead, they opt for the best heads they can afford to ensure they have a great sound.

    Graphics on Your Shells

    Again, this is a matter of personal preference. It doesn’t affect the sound in a way most people can hear. One thing that is really cool about playing drums is that drum manufacturers have countless designs that they can place on their drums. It can be cool to have graphics of lightning or flames if you play in a metal band. Alternatively, you might have some sort of western design on your drums if you play in a country western band.

    If you aren’t into being flashy, then you can opt for a natural wood finish accented with a lacquer or a uniform color. This can make it easier to add drums to your set whenever you want. All you would need to do is find a drum you wish to add that has the same color as the rest of your set.

    Cleaning Your Drums

    One thing you should do regularly is clean your drums. If your drum kit looks dirty, it’s time for some TLC. This will keep them from looking too shabby and keep them sounding their best.

    The safest way to clean your drums is to take a soft cloth and some warm water. Wipe your drums down when they start to accumulate dirt. You don’t need to clean the drum heads though. The water could potentially cause problems with them. You will also want to do the same thing with all of your stands.

    Once you have wiped them with a damp cloth, take a dry cloth to wipe away any excess moisture. Another thing you can do is to use metal polish on your cymbals, so they will shine brightly under the lights.

    The way you let your drums look is up to you. You can get them to look however you want for the most part, but remember that some people will judge you and your abilities on the way your set looks. You should always be aware of what your audience and fellow band members are expecting your kit to look like. But no matter the way they appear, you want to make sure that they sound good. This is why it can be wise to keep your drums looking clean since that will help keep your drums sounding their best.

  • What Drummers Can Expect From Life In A Band

    Drummers who play in bands typically fall into playing in two very different ways.  The first is playing with marching bands, drum corps, orchestras and symphonies or with a pipes and drums band.  Some, for lack of a better term, consider these to be traditional musical ensembles. The other style of drumming is playing a drum set in a band.  

    These are both very distinct ways of drumming with cultures all their own.  What most people can’t grasp until they experience it for themselves though is what their life will be like playing in these types of musical groups.  The following are some of the things that drummers should expect to experience when playing in both types of bands.

    Traditional Musical Ensembles

    Playing in a traditional type of musical ensemble requires excellent technique, music reading ability, and chops for days.  These are all qualities you can strengthen by practicing on your own. However, the following are some of the other things you will have to deal with.

    Practicing for Days

    One thing all these musical ensembles have in common is that they practice all the time.  Orchestral and symphonic groups sometimes practice every day for several hours when learning to play a new piece of music.  

    Marching bands and drum corps practice even more.  There are practices with the entire group where you work on the show you will perform together while running through all the set pieces. On top of that, there will also be regular practices with just your fellow members of the percussion section.  

    It is common to practice so long that you will develop bad blisters.  If you don’t enjoy practicing, then don’t join these types of groups.

    Wearing Uniforms

    These types of musical groups will either wear a uniform of some sort or a tuxedo for orchestras and symphonies.  They are not the most comfortable outfits to wear.

    Most marching bands perform in polyester uniforms that will have you sweating profusely in the summer and freezing during the winter.  These aren’t always outfits that are conducive to playing difficult music at times.

    Being the Butt of Jokes

    People love to make jokes about people in marching bands.  Blame it on the film American Pie and the whole “one time at band camp” joke. You should be prepared to hear it over and over. But this doesn’t have to be as awful as it sounds. Eventually, you’ll get to the point where you won’t even pay attention to the jokes.  

    You also might get a bit of teasing from people who play in bands that perform more popular music like rock bands or jazz combos.  This joking is good-hearted though. Drummers are part of a rare community. No matter what music they play, other drummers will respect your talents even while giving you a hard time.

    Playing A Drum Set in A Band

    Drummers who play the drum set in rock bands, jazz combos or country music bands have different things they have to deal with.  Some are annoying, and some are just part of playing music. They are all part of life as a drummer.

    Lots of Travel

    The main way you make money playing in these types of bands is from playing live.  If you play in a band that only plays locally, you won’t have to deal with this. However, if you tour at all, be prepared for a LOT of travel.  

    It is common to play a show in one town until 2 in the morning and then have to make a 6-hour drive to the city where the next venue is.  This can be exhausting and when you add in being packed into a van or tour bus.

    However, all this travel can help you bond with your fellow band members. Sharing times on the road together, you will learn the most intimate details of their life.

    No Respect

    There is a history of drummers getting little respect. For some reason in the hierarchy of instruments in the band, the singer and guitarist are at the top. The bass and keyboard players come after, followed closely by the drummers.  

    Unless you are a drummer with talents like a Neil Peart, Keith Moon or Stewart Copeland be prepared to not get the attention you deserve. Your bandmates might demand that you only play generic rhythms when you want to go off the charts. To make sure you get the respect you deserve, be open about what style you want to play. That way, you get your moment to shine on stage, just like the guitarist.

    Having to Play the Venue’s Drum Set

    This is something you don’t hear much about, and it can be really frustrating.  Sometimes when you play on a bill with multiple bands, the venue will have a house drum set. They will demand that all the drummers play on the house set.  

    This can make playing your set very difficult if you use a large kit or have special drums you use.  Even worse is that many times, these house sets are not all that great. In fact, they can sound terrible.  It is just one of those things you have to deal with from time to time.

    Girls

    Everyone has heard about how girls love guys in bands.  It is a fact of life that certain women have a thing for musicians.  When you play live shows, it is inevitable that you will be approached by women with all sorts of interesting propositions at times.  

    One joke you will hear over and over is whether or not it is true that “drummers do it with rhythm”.  It helps to come up with a witty response to this question since it can be a great ice breaker. It may not be the most politically correct way to act but let’s face it, rock music is meant to offend on some level.  

    Playing in a band can be a lot of fun.  Whether you are playing in a traditional musical ensemble or a rock band, playing with a group is what most people want to do when they pick up the drums.  Just be prepared to experience some of things mentioned here as well as any number of other things you may never expect to occur. One thing is for sure. Playing in any type of band will leave you with all kinds of interesting stories to tell friends and family.

     

  • So You Got The Drum Set - What Next?

    Perhaps you recently purchased your first drum set, but you now have no idea what you should do next. Clearly, the first thing you will try to do is take a pair of drum sticks and attempt to start playing the set. If you have a natural talent for playing the drums, then you might sit down at a kit and have no trouble playing some killer rhythms.

    However, if you are like most people, you will probably not be all that good the first time you try to play your new set. The following are some of the things you should do once you have bought your first drum set.

    What Grip to Use

    The first thing you will need to figure out is the way you will hold your drumsticks. The majority of drummers play with a match grip where the drum stick is held firmly between the index finger and thumb. This allows the drumstick to pivot and be moved by the other three fingers on the hand.

    The other option is to use a traditional grip. This has your dominant hand that hits the snare holding the drum stick with a match grip. The weaker hand that you play the hi hat with will hold the drum stick between the thumb and index finger. In this grip, keep the wrist rotated so that the palm is facing upwards. The drum stick will rest against the ring finger.

    Drummers who play in the percussion section of marching bands and jazz drummers mostly use the traditional grip. Most drummers in other genres of music use the match grip because it is easier to master.

    Learn Your Rudiments

    Once you determine the grip, you will need to learn the rudiments. There are 31 essential rudiments you will want to learn. They have names like flams, paradiddles, flamadiddles, ratamacues and double stroke rolls. There are numerous books that cover the basic rudiments. These come with practice exercises that will help you master these basic building blocks of drum rhythms.

    You will want to start off by playing these rudiments slowly. Then, you can gradually increase the speed at which you play them until you are playing them as fast as you can. But it’s not all about speed. You’ll want to go from fast playing to gradually slowing down the speed until you are playing as slowly as possible. Doing this daily will build up your stamina as well as your ability to play the basic rudiments.

    Learn About Drums, Drummers and The History Of Drumming

    While you are learning and practicing your rudiments, you should also learn as much as you can about your instrument. For some people, it is good enough to get a subscription to a drumming magazine like Modern Drummer or Drum! Other drummers may want a more in-depth education about drumming.

    The best solution is to go to your local music store and buy some books about drumming. You will want to learn about all the different types of drums, their different uses, and the history of drumming. This will help you to understand the ways that drumming has changed over the years and gotten to where it is today.

    You will also want to learn about and listen to some of the legendary drummers. There are the early jazz stars like Buddy Rich or Gene Krupa, or more modern masters like Neil Peart of the band Rush or Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham.

    Learn to Read Music

    You won’t really need to learn the different notes of a scale unless you intend to also play a xylophone or glockenspiel. However, ou will need to learn the different types of notes like 1/4 notes, 1/8th notes, 16th notes and sixes.

    Most sheet music of drum patterns just have these notes on the staff. However, drum patterns for a drum set or for marching band drums like quads, quints and bass drums will have a different drum matching up with a different line or space in the measure of printed music.

    This may sound a bit confusing to new drummers. However, it is fairly easy to pick up and understand if you get a good primer on music theory. This can also help you understand the different ways that you can mix time signatures or musical scales. Knowing the musical theory can improve your improvisational drumming skills.

    Take Lessons

    The best and easiest way to improve your drumming skills is by getting lessons. Even the best drummers in the world take lessons from time to time. Lessons help to hone their abilities that they may not be as good at or to learn a new approach. Never think you are too good to take lessons.

    The best way to go about finding a good drum instructor is to visit your local music store. Most music stores will have instructors for a variety of instruments who work there. If they don’t, they can easily put you in touch with a good instructor. Another way to find a teacher is if you are friends with a drummer in a band. Many performing musicians take on students to supplement their income.

    A good instructor will work with you on mastering the rudiments. At the same time, they will also educate you on the history of drumming while helping you learn to drum in the style you wish to learn.

    Purchasing a drum set is the first of many steps you will take to becoming a proficient drummer. Like most things you learn, you will need to build a foundation based upon the elements of drumming. Once you master these basics, you will be ready to move on to more advanced areas of drumming. With continued practice and dedication, you will eventually become a great drummer.

     

  • Canopus Snare Drum Showcase

    Our #1 Selling Snare Drum Brand

    When a customer visits Drum Center of Portsmouth and is searching for the best sounding snare drum, we invite them to try out all the major manufacturers. Eventually, we'll invite them to take a Canopus Snare drum for a spin.  7/10 times, they will walk out of our shop with a Canopus.  So, what exactly is it about Canopus snare drums that make them sound so good?

    Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

    Canopus snare drums are made by a small group of master craftsman in Japan.  Every component on their drums has been R&D'd with the sole purpose of creating the best possible sound.

    Canopus Snare Drums feature SOLID brass lugs

    Their single point solid brass lugs are designed to sympathetically resonate with the shell, unlike Zinc lugs.  The tuning rods are held firmly in place with their "Bolt Tight" washers.  Canopus Bolt Tight Washers are made from premium leather, and reduce unwanted overtones due to loose rods.  Canopus typically favors 8 lugs as opposed to 10 on their snare drums to promote a more open tone.

    Canopus Bolt Tight Washers

    Canopus snare wires are also the best wires in the business, as far as we're concerned.  They manufacture a variety of snare wires from dry vintage to fat backbeat.  Each model provides incredible sensitivity and excellent dynamic range.  Add all of these components together and you end up with the premium sound that is unmistakably Canopus.

    Canopus Snare Wires - 30 Strand

    The Shells

    Canopus shells are designed and handcrafted in-house.  The variety of materials and composition are seemingly endless.  Each shell provides a unique sound that offers something for every style of drummer.

    Canopus Bubinga Ply Shell

    Canopus is perhaps most well-known for their Zelkova snare drum, which is made from a hollowed out tree-trunk.  While this is an extreme example of their creativity, they also make what we consider to be the industry standard maple snare, simply named "The Maple."  Canopus also offers everything between these 2 extremes, including carbon fiber, stave bubinga, birch, steel, brass and much more!

    Canopus Custom NAMM Showcase Snare Drums

    For our latest video, we are featuring ten 1 of a kind snare drums featured at the 2019 NAMM show.  These magnificent instruments showcase a variety of exotic materials including beech, bubinga, chestnut, Birdseye maple, Olive Ash and more!

    Canopus One Of A Kind Beech Snare Drum 14x6 Gloss Walnut Burl

    Each one of these unique Canopus snare drums sounds absolutely KILLER, and would make an excellent workhorse (and conversation piece) for some lucky drummer!

    DCP Knows Canopus Drums

    We carry more Canopus drums than anyone else, and our staff can help you find the perfect Canopus snare or to inspire your creativity. Give a call or send us an email to get started on your Canopus journey today!

  • Yamaha Live Custom Hybrid Oak Drum Set Review

    The Ideal Live Sound

    Yamaha Drums is constantly evolving.  What were the Oak Customs had changed to the Live Customs, and now we have the Live Custom Hybrid Oak line. This latest iteration of their Oak series of drums is a re imagining of the ideal live drum sound.

    The Shells

    At the heart of the new Yamaha Live Custom Oak Drum Set is the Hybrid shell design. Yamaha’s Hybrid series shells are based off the wildly successful PHX line, which feature a dense center ply of Jatoba. The Absolute Hybrids feature a center ply of Wenge, and Live Custom Hybrids now sport a center ply of Phenolic.  The Phenolic is a super-dense synthetic resin that, when combined with Oak, allows for unparalleled projection - perfect for live performance situation.

    Even more innovative than the addition of Phenolic are the weights inside of the bass drum.  We’re not sure how Yamaha stumbled across this idea, but it absolutely has a tangible effect on the low end! The 22” kick has the focus of a 20, with the deep rumble of a 24 or 26. When we first laid into the Yamaha Live Custom Hybrid Oak bass drum, we all agreed this was perhaps the best sounding thump we’ve ever experienced.  It’s THAT good!

    The Hardware

    It’s no secret that Yamaha hardware is a favorite at Drum Center of Portsmouth.  The shells feature absolute single-post lugs, which maximize shell integrity and promote maximum resonance and open tone. 2.3mm Dynahoops on the toms also allow the shells to speak at maximum volume.  Finally, the revamped YESS III tom mounts provide optimal stability along with superior sustain.

    The Finish

    Yamaha Live Custom Oak Drum Sets boast five stunning traditional Japanese uzukuri finishes. This proprietary formula for applying the lacquer gives the drums a textured, three-dimensional look that resembles fine furniture.

    The Price

     

    At nearly double the price of the previous iterations, many eyebrows have been raised at the hefty price tag, including our own.  Once you get your hands on the new Yamaha Live Custom Oak Drum Set, you begin to understand the amount of R&D that has gone into this line.  Every new detail on these drums, from the Phenolic center ply, to the single point lugs, to the bass-enhancing weights contributes to a truly unique sound.  These drums might be the PERFECT live rig - and isn’t that what the “Live Customs” should be?

    Your Home for All Things Yamaha

    We are champions of Yamaha Drums at Drum Center of Portsmouth. We’re all gigging drummers, and can appreciate the quality and reliability of Yamaha drums and hardware.  From the Stage Custom to the PHX, we have the perfect Yamaha kit for your individual needs.  Hit us up with any questions, we love talking drums!

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