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  • Sheet Music & Drumming - Everything to Know

    Learning to understand sheet music is an integral part of your transformation into a real musician. It’s not always the easiest thing to pick up, but with careful practice and taking the time to learn the basics, you’ll be a pro in no time.

    If you’re a novice drummer, you should be proud of yourself for even taking the time to understand why reading sheet music is so important. Not all drummers desire or work to understand these technical aspects.

    It’s entirely possible to become a top-notch drummer without ever setting your eyes on a piece of sheet music. However, learning a few tricks and understanding sheet music will help you expand your world as a drummer and embrace music as power.

     

    Why do you need sheet music?

    If you’re new to the music scene, you might not even be sure what sheet music is.

    Sheet music is a written notation that represents things such as melodies, lyrics, rhythms, and pitches. It’s how classical music is recorded and distributed so that it can be learned and performed by anyone.

    Modern musicians often learn music “by ear” without sheet music. However, sheet music still serves as the universally-accepted form of notating music on paper.

    Think drummers don’t need sheet music? Think again. Understanding musical notation and sheet music will help you get quicker in your understanding of drum concepts and help you to stand out from the crowd of other drummers who can only play by ear.

    Becoming proficient at reading drum sheet music also comes with several additional advantages. You'll be more likely to:

    • Ace any audition
    • Secure that spot in a band
    • Book a gig
    • Sharpen your own musical genius

     

    There are so many drummers that haven’t taken the time to understand sheet music. What this means is that if you do indeed understand sheet music, you immediately stand out. It’s an impressive skill and will serve you well if you plan to continue involvement in music.

    Here are four reasons understanding sheet music is still important in an age of “learning by ear”.

     

    Benefits of learning drumming sheet music:

    1 - Learn Music Faster. Learning by ear is a great skill, but it doesn’t always click. Difficult songs can require a lot more time spent practicing to get right. On the other hand, if you have the sheet music, you can learn just about anything without the mystery. You might even be able to sight-read music eventually.

     

    2 - Play Accurately. Even if you have an exceptionally good ear, it’s smart to double check the sheet music to confirm your accuracy. You don't have to keep it in front of you at all times while playing. You can simply refer to it as an “answer key” for perfect rhythm.

     

    3 - Work as a team. While you might be comfortable learning and playing by ear, not all musicians work that way. If you’re hoping to work with a band or within an orchestra, you’ll need to be able to learn music their way. Don’t be the only one who can’t understand the sheet music.

     

    1. - Write your own music. If you want to unleash your creative musician and make your own music, you’ll need a way to record it. Making audio recordings will allow others to hear your creations. However, writing the sheet music will make it widely distributable. Creating music in this universally-understood notation will help spread your music far and wide.

     

    What's the difference between typical sheet music and drum sheet music?

    Many people get thrown off when they look at drum notation sheet music. That’s because at first glance, it can look quite intimidating. In fact, it’s quite simple to grasp since there are only two things you need to understand:

    • Which drum is played
    • When it should be played

     

    Drum sheet music notation uses all of the same symbols and set up as regular sheet music, so learning the basics is enough to help you comprehend both.

     

    The main difference between drum notation sheet music is that the notes don’t relate to pitch. Of course not, because that is irrelevant for drummers. Instead, the notation of each line or space on drum sheet music corresponds to a particular drum that should be played.

     

     

    Things you need to know about your sheet music:

    Before you dive in and try to make sense of a full piece of drum sheet music, let’s break down the basics. Let’s get started with a quick vocabulary review.

     

    Drum terminology to know:

    • Beat - A measurement of music. Located within a bar, but can be subdivided further into notes.
    • Backbeat - Typically beats 2 and 4 of each bar. Featured in most rock and pop music to give momentum.
    • Downbeat - Notes played on the pulse.
    • Upbeat - Notes played against the pulse.
    • Time signature - Tells how many beats are within a measure and what kind of beats they are.
    • Bars - How music is measured. Allows musicians to break down the music more easily.
    • Crochet - A quarter note.
    • Quaver - An eighth note.
    • Semiquaver - A sixteenth note.
    • Minim - A half note.
    • Whole note - There is no term for a whole note. It has the value of 4 quarter note beats.

     

    Not familiar with these terms at all? Don’t worry. That was just a primer before we dive into most of these terms more deeply.

     

    First thing’s first: The staff and bars

    This is also called the stave. These terms are often used interchangeably.

    The staff is what holds all of the notations. It’s made up of five lines and four spaces. Typical sheet music would use the placement of notes on the lines and spaces as a designation for pitch. Drum sheet music, on the other hand, uses placement of the notes to designate which drum or cymbal should be used.

    You’ll also notice vertical bars on the staff. These divide up the measures so that it’s easier to count out and stay on beat. The measure, then, is the distance between the two bar lines. If you see a double bar line, that signals the end of a section of music.

     

    Next up: the notes

    You’ll notice in the image above that some notes have proper circle notes, while some have small Xs or other symbols. A proper note signifies a drum, while the Xs refer to cymbals and the other symbols have special meanings.

     

     

    This might sound like a lot to remember. Don’t get overwhelmed. Luckily, there’s an easy way to use the drum kit you have: know it like the back of your hand to make sense of drum notation.

    Use this diagram to help. The height of where the note for a particular drum or cymbal will be on the staff corresponds to the where you physically play it.

    For example, both the hi-hat cymbals and the bass drum are played with the foot. That’s why they are located so far down on the stave. On the other hand, cymbals that you play with your hands high above the drums are at the highest points of the staff.

    The staff positioning was created logically so that it makes sense to drummers. Use your intuitive knowledge of your drum kit to help.

     

    Moving on: time signatures

    A time signature is the notation at the beginning of each piece of drum music that identifies what the meter of the music will be. It communicates the number of beats per measure. They are formatted as two numbers, one on top of the other. Most time signatures have a 4 as the bottom number, meaning the meter is based on quarter notes. Sometimes they might have another number, like an 8, at the bottom. This means it is comprised of a number of eighth notes.

     

     Here’s how to tell them apart:

    • The most common time is a 4/4 meter. It’s actually called “common time.” This means each time you tap a beat, it is equivalent to one quarter note. Now, this doesn’t mean the music will only be comprised of quarter notes. It can be made of half notes, eighth notes, rests, etc. As long as it equals four quarter notes, it works.
    • Waltz time is another common time signature that is in 3/4 meter. This means each measure is comprised of three quarter note beats. The first beat of the three is a downbeat while the next two are upbeats. It creates the classic “waltz” style of music.
    • March time is 2/4 meter. It is equivalent to chopping a 4/4 meter in half. With this time signature, you start and stop on the downbeat.
    • Another common time signature without a 4 on the bottom is 6/8 time. This means the beat is not based on quarter notes, as it was in the other examples given. It’s a grouping of six eighth notes in each measure. In counting out the beat to eight, the downbeats are on one and four.

     

    Quick guide to notes:

    Now that you understand the foundation of drumming sheet music ( staff, time signature, and measures), let's get into the actual playing of notes. While you won’t need to understand what pitch the notes have (because drum notes don’t have pitch), you do need to understand how different notes affect the rhythm.

     

    (Image Source: Drumming Review: https://drummingreview.com/drum-sheet-music/)

    There are a bunch of different notes that each represent how long the beat should be held. The graphic above should make it easier to understand what they look like and how they differ. The longest notes are whole notes, and the shortest are sixteenth notes.

    To understand how these notes all relate, think of it this way:

    • A whole note is represented by a note head. Notice there is no stem. A whole note equals a duration of one measure.
    • A half note is half of the whole note, as its name so cleverly implies. If you’re working in Common time, two half notes would equal the duration of one measure.
    • A quarter note, just as above, is ½ of a half note and a quarter of a whole note. In Common time, there can be four quarter notes in one measure.
    • An eighth note splits even further. Eight of these would equal one whole note. In one bar, there would be eight of them in Common time.
    • Finally, sixteenth notes are the smallest note. You can fit sixteen of them in one measure in 4/4 time.

    See the pattern here? It all breaks down evenly.

    Keep in mind that for every value of note, there is a rest of equal value. For example, there are eighth rests and quarter rests and even sixteenth rests. Rests are crucial. In a lot of music, drums aren’t the most important part. Often, it’s the breaks in between the drums that are paramount. That’s why understanding how long to hold your rests will be crucial to your playing.

    When you combine notes and rests with different durations, you make a rhythm.

     

    How do I understand notes and when to play?

    Notes are a big help to answer the question “when do I play?” The timing is everything in drumming. A drum keeps the beat alive in music. It also helps to keep the whole band together if playing with other musicians. A drummer must be able to follow the beat precisely. Here’s how notes can help you understand when your moment is:

    1. First, look at the time signature. We covered this above. This will let you know how fast the music’s “pulse” is. By understanding the meter, you’ll understand when beats should be played and when you should hold off. If you’re playing on a different tempo than everyone else, it can throw off the music entirely.
    2. Next, find the line or space in which the note is. Remember the drum key graphic above and how the set up of your actual drum kit helps to indicate which position represents which drum or cymbal.
    3. Finally, the note length itself comes in. Now that you know the tempo and what drum should be hit, you just need the note length within the tempo. If you’re confused about what a note’s length should be, add up all the notes with the lengths you guess and confirm that it equals the time signature. For example, if you think there are three quarter notes and one half note in a measure of 4/4 time, that wouldn’t make sense.

     

    A Common Beat - What you’ll start to recognize when you can read sheet music:

    Once you’ve studied the above concepts closely, you’ll begin to get more familiar with sheet music. Once you can read sheet music, entirely new worlds will be opened up to you in the music industry.

    Whether you want to break into the big leagues or just make the cut into a local band, a background in reading sheet music is a big advantage. Here’s how you’ll notice this advantage coming into play in your drumming life:

    • Are you a part of a band? If so, ensuring you’re using sheet music just like the other members will help everyone match up. Instead of relying on your ear to tell you the right rhythms and drums to hit, you’ll have it written down in front of you to reference. While this might seem like a small difference, it can really pay off for your group’s overall sound. Your band members will be impressed with your technical know-how. Your audience will notice a higher quality to your sound. And you’ll be proud of yourself for striving towards and reaching this goal.
    • When you understand sheet music, you can grow your repertoire easily. There are many common beats that are used interchangeably in popular songs. This makes them catchy and consistent. For example, ever heard of the “money beat?” While the term might not be familiar to you, you’ve definitely heard it in action. One of the most common beats in music is this “money beat.” It even got its name from the number of songs on the radio that commonly borrow it. Some of the most popular songs that feature a “money beat” are Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, John Mayer’s Heartbreak Warfare, and AC/DC’s Highway to Hell. Even if you’re a beginner, you can still pick up on these fundamental beats. You can impress your friends and family by “jumping in” to common songs and playing along.
    • Having the confidence of a sheet music reader, you’ll be able to unleash your creativity on the drums. When you have to sit and wait carefully to hear your cue to play, you limit yourself. When you know exactly when you come in and how long of a break you have, you can get into a gnarly drum solo and show everyone the skills you’ve got.

     

    Conclusion

    In this article, we’ve shown you the difference between a novice drummer and a knowledgeable sheet music reader. By following and studying the concepts and skills outlined above, you’ll be able to grow your drumming knowledge, and expand your opportunities.

    Not all drummers have the motivation or dedication to learn the technical aspects. By putting in the effort, you’ll distinguish yourself as someone who is serious about the art.

    So take your drumming to the next level by mastering drumming sheet music today. Ready to take it a step even further? Check out the high-quality drums and accessories we offer at Drum Center of Portsmouth.

     

    References:

    https://www.musicnotes.com/now/tips/5-reasons-why-playing-by-ear-why-reading-sheet-music-is-still-important/

  • 10 Easy Songs to Play on the Drums

    Learning how to play the drums takes practice, hard work, and dedication. Beginners should start playing the easiest songs they can. Not only will this help them to better understand how drumming should sound, but it will also boost their confidence levels as they grow within this craft.

    If you're new to the drumming community, it can seem like a great big world of difficult "rock-star level" songs to play. Sometimes a challenge is good, but a lot of times this can cause intermediate drummers to lose their nerve and not want to keep playing at all.

    To prevent this from happening, as drumming is an art-form that allows many individuals to express themselves creatively, here are 10 easy songs to play on the drums to get you started.

    1. We Will Rock You - Queen

    One of the simplest, and most popular to learn first, is "We Will Rock You" by Queen.

    This is the classic rock song played on bleachers and lunch tables, so how hard could it be on the drums?

    The answer is not very difficult. In fact, the ever-popular band Queen created this song the way that they did simply so that their fans could play along with them, and you'll be doing just that by drumming along to this simple beat.

    Keep in mind, however, the original tempo of this song was played in a higher tempo known as double-time, so you are welcome to try to play it more in tune to the original creation or the slower version used by many drummers.

    Fun fact: The logo for Queen actually has all of the band's star signs incorporated in it: 2 Leos, 1 Virgo, and 1 Cancer. Additionally, it was designed by Freddie Mercury himself!

    2. Paradise City - Guns N Roses

    Next on the list of great tunes to play with a beginner's skill level is "Paradise City" by Guns N Roses.

    This rock song by Guns N Roses is great practice for those looking to fine-tune their ability to play with riffs. It makes this skill easier to learn with its simple rhythms.

    Starting with this song is a great way to learn simple rhythms that repeat throughout the song. The tactics used in this tune are easy for a novice drummer to pick up given some time.

    Fun fact: Guns N Roses drummer Steven Adler nearly joined AC/DC in the early '90s after a brief leave from Guns N Roses, but the manager of AC/DC found out about Adler's drug addiction and retracted his offer to have him join the band.

    3. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

    Smells like an easy song to play on the drums - and it is! "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana is such a classic hit and one you should practice as a novice drummer.

    This classic rock song gives beginning drummers the perfect opportunity to learn the basic technical skills involved in the art of drumming. Challenge yourself to keep up with the expert drummer in Nirvana, Dave Grohl, who just happens to be one of the finest drummers of his time. You will learn how to hit the cymbals and the rim clicks in time with the other instruments that you're playing with.

    Fun fact: Nirvana had a bit of trouble finding a permanent drummer before David Grohl cam along. They went through at least five different drummers before landing on Grohl, and it's a good thing they did. Otherwise, the hits that we know and love may not have been the same.

    4. Hallowed Be Thy Name - Iron Maiden

    Drumming is a very physical activity. In fact, many people begin drumming simply as a creative way to stay in shape. If you are just starting out, you're going to have to build your endurance for this activity somewhere, and many people agree that "Hallowed Be Thy Name" by Iron Maiden offers amazing practice.

    With nearly 8 minutes of playing time, you're bound to build your abilities in regard to how long you're able to play without rest, and you'll even have fun with this great song while doing it.

    This song is great for beginners to start to learn how to hit fills on accents with guitar riffs and will help you to practice using both your right and your left hand to hit the high hat, as opposed to the general habit of only using your right hand for this skill.

    Fun fact: Eddie the Head, Iron Maiden's faithful mascot, started out as just a mask that sat at the back of the stage. They fed blood capsules through the mouth that would often unexpectedly (and metal-y) drip down and soak the drummer with fake blood. The first drawing of Eddie, created by artist Derek Riggs, was based on an image that he saw of a decapitated head on top of a Vietnamese tank, and it was featured on Iron Maiden's debut album.

    5. Sad But True - Metallica

    Lars Ulrich, drummer for Metallica, both created and played his own songs, making him a very impressive drummer to look up to. This is why "Sad But True" is a great song to start out with because you're already learning from one of the best drummers of the time period.

    "Sad But True" isn't inherently difficult, but it has important elements that will help you get ready for some of the harder stuff that you will play, or even take after Lars Ulrich and create your own music that you can compose and play.

    Its dragging groove, offbeat fills, and mixture of straight roles with triplets all make for great trial runs for the more advanced songs in your future of drumming.

    Fun fact: Metallica has sold an estimated 100 million records all around the world.

    6. Beverly Hills - Weezer

    Don't worry, there is more to drumming than the rock and metal songs we have covered so far. This option is for those of you who want a more alternative rock style in your practice.

    A more alternative take on drumming, Weezer's "Beverly Hills" features simple patterns and slow-paced drumming that makes it easy to keep up with, no matter what the skill level of the drummer is.

    With its release in 2005, it was one of the first popular songs to feature the "double stroke roll," which gives us the great sound that we know and love in this early 2000s hit.

    Make sure you're working on your technique while doing the double stroke roll to ensure that it is crisp and at the speed that it needs to be.

    Fun fact: the fan favorite song "Buddy Holly" by Weezer was almost titled "Ginger Rogers" and would have made a completely different song with the lyrics "You look just like Ginger Rogers (oh, oh), I move just like Fred Astaire". Let's all say a special thanks to rewrites (and rewrites of those rewrites).

    7. Teenage Dream - Katy Perry

    Taking things into a more pop setting, Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" is a great practice song for learning the flam on the snare drum.

    This tactic is achieved by placing one drumstick a few inches above the drum with the other stick eight to ten inches higher, but these two strokes should be nearly simultaneous. This process will thicken the notes by adding a grace note, and Teenage Dream is a great song to practice this tactic on.

    The beat in this song is impossible to shake, and also almost impossible to screw up, even as a beginner.

    Fun Fact: Both of Katy Perry's parents are pastors, and Perry was introduced to singing for her church at a young age. And to answer your next question, yes, they did have an issue with her single "I Kissed a Girl".

    8. Cantaloupe Island - Herbie Hancock

    Moving into the jazz portion, this song by Herbie Hancock has drumming that makes everything easier for those looking to pursue drumming in jazz.

    This jazz song maintains a slow and groovy tempo for a majority of the song, which makes it ideal for the beginner looking to gain expertise on the jazz front of drumming.

    Tony Williams, Herbie Hancock's trusted drummer, is a well-known drummer in the jazz world, so if you're looking to become a successful jazz drummer, there is no better song to start out with than Cantaloupe Island.

    With this song, you'll be introduced to the common jazz technique called the buzz roll, which is great for crescendos and can be carried over into many other styles of music if necessary.

    The buzz roll is seen in many different songs in this genre, so it is definitely one skill that you'll need to know to succeed.

    Fun Fact: In 1986, Herbie Hancock was voted one of Rolling Stone's Sexiest Musicians of the Year, and he was displayed proudly on the cover that year.

    9. When a Man Loves a Woman - Michael Bolton

    This slow, love anthem is the perfect way to start out your drumming experience if you are looking to start out slow.

    For many, this was the very first song that they learned to drum, so it is without a doubt one of the easiest to learn to play and Michael Bolton will hold a special place in your heart for this reason alone.

    With its simple cross-sticking skills, cymbals, and a bass drum backing, this song is almost as simple as it gets, making it the ideal song to start your drumming career with.

    Fun fact: Michael Bolton, born Michael Bolotin, originally had more interest in hard rock and was even the frontman in the band Blackjack before settling down into his soothing voice-driven career.

    10. Sharp Dressed Man - ZZ Top

    While this next song may feel like cheating, hear us out...

    For the casual listener of ZZ Top, you would think that the drums in the song Sharp Dressed Man were real live drums.

    However, this song was released in a time when ZZ Top was experimenting with different styles and tools, including synthesizer and other manipulation tools, so the drums on this song are actually digitally created, meaning that the drum machine heard in the song is not created by a live drummer.

    While this may spark debate over whether or not a machine can play the same way that a real drummer can (spoiler: it cannot), it does not take away that it is a great tempo and rhythm to learn how to play.

    The song has since been replicated and played in garage bands more times than you can count due to its easy tempo and simple rhythm. It is interesting to go back and listen to the differences between the drum machine and Frank Beard's style, though.

    Bonus Tip - Practice Your Exercises

    While playing songs that you hear on the radio is likely more fun than the exercises listed in your common books on drumming, it is important to remember to continue practicing those as well.

    This includes the exercises that you involve in your warm-up, which allows you to get loose and ready for the songs that you will be playing that session and the exercises that allow you to practice certain techniques that you haven't quite mastered yet.

    For example, many common drumming books have exercises to be done on a drum pad as practice for the real thing. These drum pads will allow you to practice your technique quietly (the people living with you will thank us for this one) and from nearly anywhere.

    It's no surprise that drum-sets can vary in size, but one thing that they all have in common is that you don't want to lug any of them around. With drum pads, you can practice your exercises and better your skills from anywhere, drum-set or not.

    Once you have an understanding of the basic methods and tactics of these easier songs, you will be ready to trek out into more advanced songs, or even make your own songs with all of the skills that you learned through these beginner songs.

    Good luck and drum on!

  • 7 Important Drum Books You Should Read

    You should always be looking for ways to improve your drumming, no matter how long you’ve been playing. One of the best ways to learn how to become a great drummer is reading books. From learning to read music to practicing exercises, you can find all the tools to becoming a great drummer by reading about the craft from industry experts.

    At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we value music education. We believe that spreading the right information can any drummer with their technique. That’s why we’re here to recommend 7 important drum books you should read to become a pro drummer today.

     

    1. Stick Control for the Snare Drummer by George Lawrence Stone

    Originally published in 1935, Stick Control has become known as the bible of drumming. It was written by George Lawrence Stone, an American drummer and educator. His students include influential drummers like Joe Morello and Vic Firth.

    Though the book specifically teaches the snare drum, the book is extremely useful for learning how to play any drum on a set. Stick Control is filled to the brim with drum exercises, which get more difficult as you progress through it. Stone pays special attention to your weaker hand in order for you to keep good control of your grip.

    Stick Control for the Snare Drummer is essential for building technique. Whether you use traditional or match grip, play rock or jazz, this drum book is a must-have. It continues to serve as a guide for percussion books today.

     

    2. Ultimate Realistic Rock by Carmine Appice

    Ultimate Realistic Rock is a book of drum set techniques written by Carmine Appice. Appice is a prolific drummer associated with rock music. He is best-known for playing in Vanilla Fudge, King Kobra, and Blue Murder. His classical and jazz-influenced drumming style inspired other famous drummers like Roger Taylor, Phil Collins, and Eric Singer.

    The book is the updated version of the most popular rock drumming book of all time, Realistic Rock. It teaches the basic rock rhythms, rudiments, and syncopation exercises from the original. Appice has also written 20 new pages of material and included an educational CD with every copy of Ultimate Realistic Rock.

    For the rock music lovers who play the drum set, Ultimate Realistic Rock is the ideal book to help you hit the ground running. We sell this book on the Drum Center of Portsmouth’s online store.

     

    3. Progressive Steps to Syncopation for the Modern Drummer by Ted Reed

    Progressive Steps to Syncopation is dubbed as another one of the essential books for drummers. The book is filled with exercises that specifically address syncopation. ‘Syncopation’ is defined as putting stress or accents on parts of a piece of music where they wouldn’t normally occur.

    Syncopation in drumming is what separates amateur drummers from the drumming greats. Reed’s book is meant to be worked through slowly and with care. It’s meant to help percussionists demonstrate the most control over their sticks.

     

     4. Afro-Cuban Rhythms for Drumset by Frank Malabe and Bob Weiner

    This book strays from the standard American styles of drumming. Afro-Cuban Rhythms is meant for those who want to expand their knowledge of the genre. Afro-Cuban Rhythms explores styles like Congo and Merengue and breaks them down into a digestible way.

    The book also includes historical information about each style. It also lets its readers know what kind of instruments are most used in the Afro-Cuban styles. This book is ideal for expanding your knowledge about rhythm styles.

     

    5. The Commandments of R&B Drumming by Zoro

    For percussionists who want to learn soul, funk, and hip-hop beats, The Commandments of R&B Drumming is a must-read. It’s written by Zoro, a famous percussionist who played with Frankie Valli, Lisa Marie Presley, and Sean Lennon, among many others. Modern Drummer magazine consistently names him the #1 R&B drummer, making him a great authority on the subject.

    The book is broken up into three sections: soul, funk, and R&B. Zoro takes the reader through the evolution of each style, as well as artists and styles every drummer should know. The Commandments serves as a thorough guide to grooving, told through Zoro’s unique lens.

     

    6. The Sound of Brushes by Ed Thigpen

    The Sound of Brushes is perfect for a percussionist who is looking to master playing with brushes. Brushes are an alternative to sticks that are quieter, but require a completely different technique than traditional sticks. Ed Thigpen aims to help intermediate percussionists pick up a unique drumming skill.

    Ed Thigpen’s book provides large diagrams on how to physically play with brushes. Though brushes are mostly used in jazz patterns, Thigpen also covers how to use the brushes in rock, Latin, and R&B genres.

     

    7. Bass Drum Control by Colin Bailey

    Colin Bailey’s best-selling drum book, Bass Drum Control, covers the basic elements of bass playing techniques. Bailey is a jazz drummer with a long career of backing for musicians like Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. He became a faculty member for North Texas State University, where he went on to educate hundreds of musicians.

    Bass Drum Control is used to develop single bass drum skills that can easily be applied to double bass drum playing. Like many other helpful books, this one also features a variety of exercises that should be taken slowly. Making your way through the whole book can drastically improve your foot development over time.

     

    In Conclusion

    There is a huge selection of books out there to teach any drumming technique you want to learn. These 7 books are important because they cover a variety of styles, techniques, and genres within their pages. We know that these books offer everything you need to know to improve, and we recommend you pick up any of these choices! 

  • Why Choose to Play Drums?

    Drumming is a form of musical self-expression that humans have engaged in for thousands of years. Ancient civilizations made drums from animal skins and used the instruments for ceremonial events. More recently drums are a stable in rock bands. They're used by the military, meditators, scientists, and people from all walks of life.

    These versatile instruments remain popular to this day, but why do so many people enjoy playing drums? Keep reading to learn about some of the fascinating benefits playing the drums can bring to your life if you've ever considered buying your own set.

     

    Versatile Instrument

    When many people think of playing the drums, they consider them to be loud and cumbersome. But not every drum is meant to make loud sounds.

    Today drums come in all shapes and sizes. They can even be nearly silent. If excessive noise is a concern for you, then consider using an electric drum in which the sound is transmitted through headphones. You can still benefit from the soothing sound of rhythm in your life at a level that's more comfortable.

    If you get bored with one type, you can switch and choose a different style. It's easy to keep up with the latest innovations in the drum world to choose from with our helpful reviews. You can learn more about which are the best single hand drums, traditional full drum sets, and anything in between. The possibility for playing the drums is endless with so many types from around the world.

     

    Reduce Stress

    While you are playing the drums, you don't have to think about anything that may be troubling you in your life at that moment. For a short period of time, you don't have to worry about overdue bills or familial troubles: you can just focus on the beat. Drumming is a fantastic escape for many people, and extremely stress-reducing.

    Research has even shown that the act of creating music can release endorphins and immediately elevate your mood. Having a hobby that isn't related to your day job can help you live a happier life.

    If you only think about work and your obligations, you will burn out. Having something fun like drumming to turn to will give you motivation to take a break from work and ultimately perform better in the long run.

     

    Enhance Coordination

    Playing the drums requires fine-tuned motor skills and intense concentration. Through practice, you can improve skills that will help you to become a better drummer. Drum practicing will also help you to excel in many other aspects of your life that involve rhythm, memorization, and hand-eye coordination. Drumming can help you become a better student, partner, and employee.

    Learning to play the drums well can also help you to play other instruments as well. When you play the drums, you need to focus exclusively on the rhythm because there are not different notes. Therefore, your drum practice will help you focus on the cadence when you go back to playing another instrument.

     

    Get Fit

    The physical nature of drumming can actually help you to burn calories. To exert the energy needed through constant, controlled arm motions, you need upper arm strength. Drumming builds muscle in this area. Over time, it becomes easier and less tiring to play.

    Compared to the process of playing many other types of musical instruments, drumming is one of the most physically active. If you drum with a foot pedal, you strengthen leg muscles too!

     

    Express Yourself

    Drumming gives people a creative way to express their feelings. You can make the rhythm reflect how you are feeling and use it to help you process your emotions. You even have the ability to create music that speaks to you, which you can choose to perform for others.

    Instead of engaging in an unhealthy activity such as violence or substance abuse, you can bang on the drums for a while to help you work through intense emotions. Having a constructive outlet to release negative emotions can help you to maintain healthy relationships with your friends, family, and even yourself. Turning to the drums instead of something nefarious will give you a safe coping mechanism.

     

    Develop Confidence

    As you work on your drumming skills and become better, you are also very likely to become more confident as well. When you work hard to excel at a certain activity, it can help you realize that you can excel at anything that you decide to put your mind to. Additionally, drummers are in charge of keeping time for all other musicians they are playing with. When you realize that people can count on you, you understand that you can count on yourself.

     

    Join a Community

    When you decide to take up drumming, you will suddenly find that you have something in common with millions of people throughout the world. It gives you something to bring up in casual conversation or delve into deep discussion with other interested people. You may even be able to find clubs or meet-ups in your area that celebrate other drummers and will help you to build new connections and make friends.

     

    Make Extra Money

    If you get good enough, you could eventually take your drumming from a hobby to a source of income. Drummers are always in high demand for bands and musical functions. You could start playing gigs with a band or on your own at local bars or at weddings.

    Another option is to set up a microphone and record drum tracks that you could then sell online. You could also make a YouTube channel, and if you get enough of a following, you could monetize your videos. There are many creative ways out there to make a full-time living through drumming, or just a couple extra bucks.

    No matter whether you want to drum just for the fun of it or you want to make it big, you are sure to get something out of taking up drumming. Drumming reflects our heartbeats and helps us immediately connect with the sounds of the world, and each other.

    There are so many benefits of drumming that are just waiting for you to discover if you give this wonderful activity a chance. What are you waiting for? Give it a try today!

  • A Look into the Drum Manufacturing Process

    People have been playing drums for thousands of years and the drums are important aspects of religious ceremonies, military events, and modern music compositions. These percussion instruments have been experimented with and refined through time, and the drums we use today continue to be tweaked so each instrument plays at a perfect pitch.

    Despite the varying sizes, shapes, and materials used for past and present drums, one consistency has remained: all have a drumhead that is held in place by a solid foundational frame.

    Today, we will discuss how drums are made to produce meaningful beats in a variety of social, functional, and cultural settings, and how the manufacturing process affects the sound each drum makes.

     

    Understanding Drums' Parts

    Before diving into the manufacturing process, it is important to understand each part of a drum.

    There are a variety of types of drums that both novice and expert musicians play, such as snares, kettledrums, bongos, congas, and djembes. All of these have the basic framework of the tom-tom, which is the simplest drum in terms of structure. All drums also include these basic structural components:

    • Head: The drumhead is a stretched membrane that is tightly secured over the drum shell. A head can be placed at either one or both ends of the drum. The player strikes it with sticks, mallets, or hands to produce vibrations that resonate throughout the instrument and produce beats. Pitched percussion instruments, such as timpanis, need to have properly tuned heads in order to produce the correct notes. Unpitched percussion instruments, such as snares, do not need to have tuned heads but their heads still need to be properly tightened.
    • Rim: The rim, also known as a hoop, is what holds the head in place. It is tightly secured around the shell.
    • Shell: This component is the basis of a drum. The shell, which is cylindrical in shape, is the drum's easiest part to spot. When a player strikes a drum, the sound originates from its shell.
    • Tuning screws: Tuning screws are small, rod-like parts that are placed around the rim. Tuning screws, also known as tension rods, allow the musician to tighten or loosen the head and change its tone and pitch.
    • Lugs: Lugs are larger bolts that keep the tuning screws in place.

     

    Drum Materials

    The components of a drum can be made of a variety of materials that include wood, metal, and synthetic materials like acrylic or carbon fiber. Some parts are composed of a hybrid of materials to increase durability, lower cost, or produce a specific sound effect.To learn more about how specific materials affect a drum's sound, refer to this article.

     

    How the Process Works

    Now that you are familiar with the parts and materials that drums are composed of, let's take a deeper look into the manufacturing process:

     

    The Shell

    An entire portion of the manufacturing process is dedicated to the creation of the shell. While shells are sometimes constructed with different materials, they are usually created with woods like maple, birch, or beech, and two or three-ply plywood is typically used. The actual process looks like this:

    1. Shells are made with anything ranging from six-ply to ten-ply plywood. The process begins by determining how many two or three-ply plywood pieces will be needed.
    2. The plywood is prepared by carefully selecting and cutting each piece. The outermost piece is set so that its grain runs horizontally, while the inner pieces are placed so that their grains alternate horizontally and vertically.
    3. An adhesive is applied and the molding process begins. The wood pieces are pressed tightly into the manufacturing mold.
    4. An airbag is inserted into the center of the mold and forces the plywood pieces against the mold. This allows the wood to be formed into a perfectly round cylindrical shape.
    5. After the adhesive-covered wood is stable in its mold, it is placed into a microwave oven. Here, it is given time to dry and permanently maintain its round shape.
    6. Once dry, it is cut to the required size of whatever drum is being produced.

    Additional notes:

    • In drum kits with multiple shells, the same plywood is used for each shell to keep a uniform physical appearance and to maintain consistency.
    • The molding process must be performed quickly, as the adhesive dries quickly.

     

    The Beautification Process

    Once the wood is cut, the drums go through a beautification process to finish the wood and enhance their aesthetic appearance.

    1. A machine is used to sand the wood various times. The initial sanding process is completed with a final sanding done by hand.
    2. The painting process commences at this point and an initial coat of paint is applied. A rag is used to apply this initial coat in order to bring out the wood's grain.
    3. The shell is sanded, another paint coat is applied, and another sanding takes place.
    4. After painting, a machine polishes the shell.

    Additional notes:

    • Sometimes, shells have intricate designs that can't be created through painting. In place of paint, polyvinyl chloride or polyester sheets with adhesive backings are used to give the shell its singular and intricate design.

     

    The Hardware Additions

    At this point, it is time to add the hardware additions to the drum. These additions will vary depending on the specific drum type.

    1. Using precision drills, small holes are drilled into the shell. These holes allow the hardware parts to be securely attached.
    2. The lugs are screwed into the drumhead.
    3. The rim and tuning screws are secured, and the head is put into place.
    4. Quality control is conducted to ensure the drum meets visual and sound standards.

    Additional notes:

    • All holes are drilled as small as possible in order to not negatively interfere with the drum's sound.
    • Sometimes, the heads are not placed on during the manufacturing process in order to minimize damages during the transit process.

    That's it! Now you know all there is to know about how drums are made. Knowing about the manufacturing process will help you choose a drum with parts built to capture the sound you're looking for. You can always read up on which drums have the specific parts your sound needs in our latest drum reviews on our blog!

  • Easy Drum Set Tuning Techniques

    Like all instruments, drum sets need to be tuned in order to be on pitch. There are no right or wrong ways to tune a drum set. The right way is simply whichever way you prefer to get the sound you want.

    In this article, we'll go over some of the most popular techniques and how they can benefit your sound.

     

     

    Tuning Basics

    1. Replace the Heads

    If you are installing new batter (top) heads, the first thing you are going to want to do is to remove the old head and to replace it with this new one. After the fresh head is on, put the rim over it and hand tighten the tension rods.

     

    2. Check for Wrinkles

    Place your fist on the center of the head and press down. Notice the wrinkles on the drum's skin. You are going to want to remove these wrinkles by further tightening the rods.

     

    3. Tighten the Rods

    For the proper method of tightening the rods, think of it like changing a car tire. Start with one tension rod and give it a half turn. Then move to the rod directly across the head and tighten that one a half turn.

    Then go clockwise from the original and give that a half turn, followed by the rod directly across that. Continue this pattern until you've tightened all the rods and eliminated all the wrinkles.

     

    4. Seat the Head

    In order to properly seat your drum's head, press its center with your palm. By doing this, you are pulling the flesh loop into the rims' channels. The head is now conforming to the drum's bearing edges.

    Tap the skin and check its pitch. If you notice that it is producing a lower pitch than before, that means your head needed to be seated. Repeat the process of tightening and seating until the pitch remains constant.

     

    5. Muffle the Sound

    Take the drum and place it on something like a clean towel or rug. The head should be upwards facing.

    This not only muffles other sounds that might emanate from the drum but also allows you to easily spin the drum around, giving you quicker access to the lugs.

     

    6. Tap the Head

    Using either your drumstick or finger, give a tap on the heads of each of the rods.

    Note which areas of the drum sound high and which sound low. Typically, where one part of the head sounds high, the opposite end will sound low.

     

    7. Adjust the Rods

    For all the rods that sounded low, tighten them by giving them 1/8 turn clockwise. Tighten the ones that were high by turning them 1/8 counterclockwise. Reseat the head.

    Repeat steps 6 and 7 until the drumhead gives a uniform pitch all the way around.

     

    8. Tune the Bottom Side

    Turn the drum over and tune that side using steps 1 - 7.

    Now, let's get into more specific tuning.

     

    Tuning a Bass Drum

    Tighten the batter head to right above the wrinkle. Make sure that the beater sinks in. It shouldn't rebound easily. This way, you can stop any unwelcome double-strokes. After this, you can start tightening and loosening the tension rods until it sounds right to you.

    Keep in mind that you usually need to muffle bass drums in order to get a good sound. Common items for muffling include things like blankets, pillows, clamp-on devices, and foam. Whichever way you choose to muffle your drum is up to you.

    Some drummers prefer to cut a hole in the front-facing head. The bigger the hole, the less "boom" sound you get. The smaller the whole, the bigger the boom.

     

    Tuning a Snare Drum

    For the snare drum, tune the batter head as you would regularly tune a drum. When you get to tuning the snare (bottom) head, you have a few options. You can either tune the snare to match the top head, to be higher than the top, or to be lower than it. The most common method is to tune the snare head tighter than the batter.

    It is generally a good idea to tighten the snare head until it starts to sound a little choked. When you hear that, loosen the rods about a 1/2 turn or so. It may be helpful to mute the snare wires while you tune. This can be accomplished by sliding your drumstick underneath the wires. Just be careful—you don't want to pull too much on the snare-side head.

     

    Tuning Toms

    Tune your Tom's batter head until it is on pitch. From there, you can tighten and loosen the tension until you get a sound you are happy with. Turn over to the snare-side head and tune that one to be one tone higher than the batter. This should be the general relationship between the two heads. Check every so often to make sure they are tuned accordingly.

     

    Use a Drum Tuner

    If you are concerned about pitch-perfect tuning, you may want to consider purchasing a drum tuner. These devices supply drummers with a visual representation of each lug's tension. Although most drummers still prefer to tune by ear, drum tuners can often be found in recording studios.

     

    Maintenance

    It is a good idea to check your drums every time you take them out of the case. Give them a good whack and check that they sound alright. How often you need to tune your drums is related to how hard you hit them and how often you play on them.

    It's best to check them constantly like this so you can fix minor issues quickly instead of ending up with a completely off-pitch drum.

     

    Want More Drumming Tips?

    Check out our site, Drum Center of Portsmouth, for more informative articles on everything drums.

    We have tips, guides, and all kinds of reviews on the latest drumming equipment and techniques. Have a question? Feel free to contact us today to learn more!

  • Limited Edition Sonor Cast Bronze Snare Drums at DCP!

    DCP is celebrating our 10th Anniversary with some extremely limited Sonor cast bronze snare drums, reminicient of the HLD-590 and the HLD-596!
  • Ludwig Super Series Snare Drums

    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.
  • How Drummers Can Prepare For Touring

    There is nothing more eye-opening for a musician than embarking on that first tour. But the flip side of this is that preparing for a tour can be daunting as well. It might only be two weeks hitting regional college bars, but there are many preparations you’ll need to make. Proper preparation ensures the tour goes as smoothly as possible.

    It goes without saying that a band just starting off will have a very different experience than a band on a major label. There will be differences in terms of what you will have to handle personally instead of management and the label. Regardless of who does the job, however, there are a few things every drummer should have.

    From equipment needs and preparations, to legal issues and personal needs, here’s everything you need to prepare before going on tour.

    Equipment Checklist

    Obviously, you’ll need plenty of drumsticks and spare heads. However, it is the other equipment that drummers often forget about.

    One of the main things you’ll want is protection for your equipment. Hard cases for your drums, preferably ones with wheels, work best. Sure, it costs more money, but it will protect your equipment better than soft cases will. Your drums can take some damage from all the loading and unloading, so you want to keep your equipment intact and ding-free.

    Other materials you’ll want to consider are good for replacements or back-up. These can include:

    • Double bass pedal
    • Replacement clutch for your hi-hat stand.
    • Tape for your drumsticks
    • Strings to hold your snare in place
    • An extra set of in-ear monitors

    The main thing is to try and balance your load. You want a replacement for everything you use one stage while also adding as little extra weight as possible. This will require you to make an educated guess about the condition and longevity of your equipment.

    Legal Preparation

    Most bands will have a manager whose job it is to deal with the legal side of touring. However, there are some areas you may want to double-check on your own.

    Contracts: The first thing is to make sure you have confirmation for the gigs. You’ll want to make sure you’ve signed all contracts. In addition, you should receive a minimum of 50% of the deposit before the band goes on stage. This way you are at least assured of getting paid.

    Cancellation Agreement: It also helps to know what will happen if there is a forced cancelation of the show. At least one band member should be in contact with a person at the venue. This ensures you receive the payment you are supposed to. Unfortunately, you can never be too careful in the music industry.

    Travel Paperwork: The other area that you should make sure you are prepared for involves the route you will be traveling and any border crossing you may have to make. Having the incorrect paperwork can scupper a tour before it begins.

    Tech and Hospitality Riders: Other areas you might not think about looking into involve making sure the venues have a tech rider for your band. A tech rider will know what equipment you may need. They can apprise you of what they have on hand.

    You might also look into if the venue has a hospitality rider. Smart bands use these riders to make sure the venue is taking your well-being seriously. Like Van Halen infamously requesting no brown M&M’s backstage, it was a test to see if the promoters actually paid attention to details.

    Merch and Money: Also check if the venue plans to take a portion of the profits from any merchandise you sell. It is becoming standard for venues to now charge between 10-20% of any profit made by band selling merchandise.

    Likeness Rights: Lastly, it is always important to find out if the promoter intends to keep likeness rights and whether they can record and profit off the performance. If a venue or promoter insist on keeping all the rights, then there is usually very little recourse for a band. It is best to find out about this sort of agreement before you leave for the road.

    Personal Planning

    This deals with all the other areas related to touring. They don’t so much affect the band as much as they can affect your time and experience.

    Earplugs: The tour bus or van can be truly loud at times. As such, you want to remember to bring a dozen or so pairs of earplugs. This way, you can keep your hearing protected for years to come. In addition, earplugs are a great way to get a little peace and quiet while on tour.

    Minimal Packing: The main thing to make sure of before you leave on tour is that you aren’t overpacked. The last thing you want is to be cramped more than necessary when trying to sleep.

    Charging Devices and Cell Service: It is also important to make sure that you have plenty of charging tools for all of the band members’ smartphones, laptops, and other electronic devices. Also, if you are touring abroad, make sure to contact your cell provider. Your cell service might not be available when you enter a new country.

    Tools: It also will come in handy to keep a spare set of tools on hand in case of an emergency. If you’re on a tour van, make sure to have tools for roadside maintenance.

    Stashed Cash: It is also important to always carry some cash to take care of unexpected events. You want to keep this cash stashed away for emergency funds.

    The Longer the Tour, The More You Should Prepare

    Going on a tour can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of being in a band, but at other times, it can be a bit tedious. However, with ample preparation, you will be ready for a successful tour.

  • Drum Center of Portsmouth NAMM 2019 Report!

    The 2019 Winter NAMM report from Drum Center of Portsmouth

    Momentum and Shift in the Drum World

    For those of you who have not attended a NAMM show, it’s really a whirlwind. The show runs from Thursday to Sunday, and the days start early and they end late, and it’s a constant attack on the senses in regards to instruments and interactions, not to mention the food and drink. There are copious amounts of awesome and it’s over in a flash. Writing this report serves many purposes: firstly, to let you know about what we saw that’s new and notable, but also, it allows me to keep track of what actually happened.

    Jeremy "T-Bone" looking uber cool, and Shane looking like Thelma from Scooby Doo

    So, what happened at the NAMM show?

    I like to summarize NAMM shows with quick terms.

    This year, it’s “Momentum”, and “Shift”. DCP completed our first complete year in what we believe is the largest drum store in the world, and as our processes have refined, our momentum has gained. It has not been easy, and it’s not about to get any easier. But we’re feeling really strong about 2019 and beyond. Allow me to thank all of our customers for allowing us to do what we do!

    The most notable thing for us is the obvious:

    Drum Center of Portsmouth is the Zildjian Dealer of the Year!

     

    L to R, Mike Gross, Craigie Zildjian, Shane and Lauren Kinney, Jerry Smith, Jeremy Charron

    We were presented with the award at the show and I was absolutely gobsmacked.As we age, we’re really just older versions of the little boys and girls we once were, and the little boy inside of me is always at the forefront when it comes to drums.So to have the most respected name in our industry present this award bearingone of the most identifiable logos in the world, well, let’s just say I was speechless.One of the proudest moments in my life to date, without a doubt.

    Receiving this award made me ask myself; “What brought this on? Was it a targeted effort to sell more Zildjian cymbals?”The answer is no, we didn’t.We stock their line deep, and they’ve made an incredible “shift” in their product line over the past 6-7 years that has really brought people in the door asking for it.

    This award will be proudly displayed at DCP for many years to come.Many thanks to everyone at Zildjian for making this so memorable.

    The Shift

    The other buzz word to summarize this show is “Shift.” There’s a shift occurring in our industry and the navigation of it is difficult because of how fast it’s occurring. What I’m referring to is Electronic drums. The amount of electronic drum companies representing at NAMM was impossible not to notice. Everywhere I turned, there was a new Electronic drum set. The E-drum world for many years was comprised by two titans; Roland and Yamaha. (older generation DDRUM modules get honorable mention but they’ve been out of the picture for many years)

    The majority of other electronic drum brands that you see today that are not Roland or Yamaha are made in the same factory and have a different names slapped on them.These drums all share significant weaknesses that I’ve found impossible to overlook.These weaknesses create diminished experiences all in the name of a lower price which to me is infuriating.

    Roland and Yamaha have committed to making drums that will encourage the drummer to want to play, whereas the others, in my opinion have been looking to move units to a price sensitive public. Like anything, with electronic drums, you get what you pay for. Dear Mr. Wholesaler, I appreciate the need to want to sell stuff, but if a young drummer buys an electronic drum set as their first set, and it doesn’t respond as it should, this drummer is apt to lose interest and give it up. And guess what? We just lost a drummer. So these low quality sets benefit only two: the people that make them and the people that sell them.

    WE MUST NOT THINK THIS WAY OR WE WILL DRIVE OUR CUSTOMERS AWAY!

    DRUMMING IS A LIFE CHANGING GIFT THAT WE WANT AS MANY PEOPLE POSSIBLE TO EXPERIENCE. IT'S OUR JOB TO MAKE IT A GOOD EXPERIENCE!

    But there’s a shift occurring.

    The “Not-so-good” E-drums are continuing to improve. And the high end E-drum market is not unlike Mount Rushmore; what once displayed just two icons, Roland and Yamaha, will now be joined by the newer players; ATV, Pearl, and Gewa.

    ATV aDrums

    Featured at the booth this year was an actual acoustic looking drum set employing their trigger technology with mesh heads. From 10 paces away, you would not be able to tell it was an E-drum kit. And the ATV module is stoic, simple, and perfect. Less tinkering, more playing.

    Gewa Electronic Drums

    I was invited to preview a prototype e-drum set from German mega-distributor Gewa and it was a rather scary moment; I’m rather convinced this is going to be a historic watermark moment in the electronic side of our industry. While the set is still being refined, the one I tried had many of the elements we’ve wanted in an e-drum set and many more. I’m really looking forward to this one.

    Pearl E-Merge has Emerged

    Pearl was showing their E-merge set, which is a partnership with Korg. Korg has pioneered a technology with their wavedrum, and it’s put to use on the e-merge drum set.

    I approached this set with hesitation, as I was admittedly not a fan of the E-pro drums Pearl offers. My fears were removed once I played this kit. It’s absolutely awesome. We have to wait as it’s still many months away. But wow, what a set. It feels great too.

    In summary, 2019 is going to be great for the Electronic drummer.There is now more healthy competition which will bring more value and innovation to the equation.And this is needed.

    So what else was new for drums at NAMM?

    I’ll address the elephant in the room first; Sabian.

    Sabian has done something that I’m very happy about; a new direction for AAX.Over the years, AAX has expanded several times over, each time taking the focus away.The Sabian ethos for many years has been to offer something for everyone.While this is a tremendous virtue, it also is a detriment as the paradox of choice slows down the selection process.

    This year, AAX has been trimmed down and re-worked.To me, for the everyday drummer looking for versatility, the centerpiece of Sabian should be AAX, and the centerpiece of AAX has been the AAX-plosion crashes.

    If you want a darker, lower pitched, penetrating crash cymbal with clean overtones, this is the one. It’s a great rock cymbal, and a staple at DCP. The bloated catalog of offerings created a crippling amount of choices, in which customers would inevitably ask; “What’s the difference between AAX Studio, AAX Stage, AAX Metal, AAX Dark, and AAX Omni?”

    My not so expert advice would typically be in the form of a question.

    “Do you like this AAX-plosion? You do? Ok good. You should buy that one then.”

    Sometimes, this worked. Others, well, you can’t win ‘em all.

    As drummers, we owe a HUGE debt to Sabian for bringing countless innovations, options, and top tier craftsmanship to us.

    Now, it’s going to get much easier to pick all purpose cymbals; the new AAX has been re-worked with new weights and sounds, targeted to the drummer who has been stricken with analysis paralysis. There’s not a dud in the bunch, and I truly believe these to be among the best in class for professional, all purpose cymbals.

    Is there a "But".... Coming?

    The philosophy at Drum Center of Portsmouth from day 1 has always been “Sound first.”In short, the sound and performance of the musical instrument is what matters to us.Not the price, not the popularity, not the marketing hype.

    We sell musical instruments for you to express yourself creatively on.I was disappointed that these awesome new AAX cymbals were not even mentioned in what was the most discussed topic at the show; the “re-branding” of Sabian.

    Sabian decided that they needed a new logo. Gradually, the entire line will be emblazoned with this new logo. If the target in the short term was to draw attention to the brand, then the mission was accomplished. Everyone was certainly talking about it.

    Logo-Gate, The New Coke, Slaybian, Call it what you will

    The public has spoken as well.The response I’ve received and the responses I've witnessed on this logo has been overwhelmingly negative.

    The Sound Remains The Same

    As Sabian re-brands, please remember this; they will continue to manufacture what I believe to be some of the greatest cymbals in the world. I do not want to see you NOT buy a cymbal because you don't care for the logo.

    Sabian Logo Removal Service at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    As the new logo starts to trickle in to our stock, we will offer a free Sabian logo removing service to those who want it removed.We make our suggestions based on sound, and if you don’t care for the logo, we’ll be happy to remove it for you.

    Ok, let's move on.

    While on the topic of cymbals, we’ll talk about the other brands too!

    Paiste

    2019 is the 30th anniversary of the most groundbreaking cymbal innovation in my opinion; the Signature series.Only Paiste can make Paiste cymbals, and what a sound they have.The Sigs were designed for recording situations.Eq’d and optimized for the unflappable scrutiny of expensive microphones, the crystalline frequencies of the fast, full, and mellow crashes found their way onto recordings of some of our favorite recorded music.The power crashes and heavy full crashes soon found their way on to the stages as well.

    As a retailer, one of the most fun things I get to continue to do is to show people Paiste Signature Series cymbals.Many drummers have not been exposed to Paiste, or they haven’t spent much time with them.I’ve had many occasions where I’d show someone one Signature series crash, and they would buy a whole set of them.

    We live in a world where quiet, low pitched cymbals are popular with drummers, but speak to any recording engineer that’s trying to mix a track with multiple guitars, bass and vocals; and they will be happy to tell you that they prefer instruments that carve out their space in limited headroom. 30 years later, the Signature Series is the cymbal for that job.

    Paiste re-introduced bigger Fast models, and the Mellow crashes are back too. The often requested 15” Dark Energy hats are also back, along with the 22” Full ride. The Paiste 2002 series has expanded with the extreme crashes. The goal here is to have a cymbal that is in between 2002 and Rude. And that’s EXACTLY what it is. A great crash that will take some abuse, for sure. And it’s LOUD. Something else worth mentioning is that it really sounds unlike any 2002 I’ve heard, and I like that.

    Zildjian

    Zildjian introduced the K Sweets last year and they’ve been a smash. The line has been rounded out with the new hats, and the Cluster Crashes. The FX stacks are my favorite effect from NAMM 2019.

    Meinl

    For 2019, Meinl has introduced the Byzance Foundry Reserve cymbals, which is a more than welcomed addition to the line. They have dipped their toes in the cymbals geared for the jazz drummer, but these cymbals are all in.I had a chance to play them and I have to say that they sound exactly like what you’d want; a beautiful sounding jazz cymbal for the drummer looking to buy Meinl.

    Also for 2019,there are a few additions to the tk Classic Customs Dark line which has been a powerhouse to the value minded harder hitters; the new effects cymbals and 16” hats are welcome additions.

    Dream

    A few additions to the Dark Matter line. I loved what I tried. More info on that later.

    Ok, how about some drum musings? Let’s go.

    Tama Drums at NAMM 2019

    Tama has discontinued the Birch/Bubinga line. This was a result of new regulations that have restricted the importing of certain hardwoods, bubinga being one of them. The Star Bubinga will remain, but Birch/Bubinga, and Starclassic Bubinga have been discontinued. Something important to note is that Tama WILL manufacture add ons for these lines for a little while. They will all be built to order with a 5 month delivery time. If you want an add on, get a hold of us, and we can get it ordered for you.

    Replacing the B/B line is the Walnut/Birch line, and they are awesome. To me, the B/B drums had a great attack but I wasn’t in love with the lack of roundness. These W/B drums provide that lower fundamental note with enhanced bottom, with the crispy attack of birch. And they are priced VERY aggressively. It’s obvious that Tama has examined the market and responded to the needs.

    The new Dyna-Sync bass drum pedal was a nice surprise, as was the Ronald Bruner, Jr snare drum. Other than the breathtaking tk pic of Star Bubinga set, my choice is the Tama Superstar Neo-Mod drum set. With compact sizes reducing the depth, and not the diameter, the drums are geared for the drummer in quieter environments, or smaller stages. And they are priced well too.

    Yamaha Drums

    Yamaha abruptly ended the Live Custom line last year, and it’s been replaced with Live Hybrid Oak. The standouts on this kit are that they have re-introduced phenolic to their offerings, something they did with the Rock Tour Customs from the 80’s and 90’s, and they’ve incorporated a weight system in the bass drum that brings out more bottom end. I for one cannot wait to try this in the DCP environment. And they look beautiful too.

    Also added is a new bass drum pedal that is bringing sexy back in a big way.Yamaha hardware has been about functionality for many years, but the FP-9 has that, AND the estethic appeal too.Wow.

    Pearl Drums

    Pearl found a winner with the “studio” recipe shell in the Masterworks line. I personally have spoken at length to Shannon Forrest and Todd Sucherman about this, both of them insist that these are the best sounding Pearl drums they’ve played. Pearl wanted to bring this to the drummer that wasn’t looking to spend Masterworks money, so the limited Masters Maple/Gum series has arrived. We’ll be doing some videos on these for sure. And there were several Masterworks snare drums on display that we bought. Watch this space for details.

    Sonor

    The new Jojo Perfect Balance Standard pedal was nice, and the new Prolite finishes were gorgeous.

    Mapex

    The Black Panther design lab drums were on display. I have to hand it to Mapex for pushing the envelope in drum design and innovation. I’m looking forward to getting these in and spending some time with them.

    Gretsch

    Red Gumwood kit was gorgeous. We have one coming. New Catalina Birch kits sounded AWESOME and they are a great price too.

    DW

    I stopped by the DW factory just before NAMM to hear John Good talk about the new Almond drum set. I also got to play it, and I’ll tell, it’s VERY, VERY special. I’ve not heard such pronounced highs AND lows from a drum shell. It’s truly a different sound. I fear that only a few of these will be made, as it’s just too difficult to make shells from this material.

    A&F

    Boundaries pushed. New A&F’er snare drums are absolutely awesome, and the kits too. I’m so amazed how these drums emulate older, vintage drums, but they have a new sound, that hints at an old sound. (did I just bend your brain there?)

    We have a ton of the booth coming to us, watch this space for details!

    British Drum Company

    I was lucky enough to spend the night before NAMM with my friends from the BDC. We’ve had a successful first full year with them, and during that time, I was able to visit their factory and see how they make their drum shells, (which is absolutely mind boggling btw) and during that time, they themselves have gained momentum and have worked out some cracking new snare drums to their line; the Aviator, The Archer, and The tk

    Do not just glance and quickly look away at these drums.Look closely.The attention to detail is unmatched, and they possess an elegance and charm often missed in our world.And what a passionate, focused group these guys are.I’m excited for these new drums to hit.

    Ludwig Drums 110th Anniversary

    The winner this year is Ludwig. Turning 110 this year, they’ve pulled out ALL the stops with commemorative offerings, like the Rosewood snare drum (pre-order this now, it will sell out, I promise), the Jazz Festival re-issues, and eight lug black beauty snares. (BOOYAH!)

    The legacy mahogany limited kits also were absolute head turners. Things are REALLY firing over at Ludwig.

    Dunnett/George Way

    Dunnett Classic Snare Drums are a high water mark for any drummer’s collection. The new B8 2N is something I’m ecstatic about, and there were other glorious one-off’s that we cannot wait to get our hands on. The other big surprise was the return of the original George Way turret lug. (This is the original lug that went to Camco, and has become the DW lug as we know it)

    This lug is more true to the original, and it looked incredible in person.Bravo!

    Schagerl Drums

    I brought Schagerl snare drums into DCP after Todd Sucherman told me it was the finest metal snare he’d played.That’s quite the testimonial.Upon their arrival, and subsequent departure, I have to say that these are without doubt, some of the finest snare drums I’ve experienced.There’s a price tag associated with this quality, and it’s worth it.

    We have a bunch of this NAMM booth coming in, and these will be priced with out the import tax and shipping fee from Austria, so there’s an opportunity to lower your cost here.

    WFLIII

    A regret of mine is not being able to visit Bill Ludwig at the WFLIII drums booth. Why? He was too busy! They were boasting a full booth with good looking drums, and I’d dare say the busiest boutique booth at the show.

    Canopus

    Several new one of a kind snare drums were discussed, and we’ve got them coming!

    Hendrix Drums

    Hendrix Snare drums continue to be a favorite at DCP. And they are focused on improving what they are doing, and they constantly do. There’s a new stave maple snare drum that is incredibly low priced, that sounds amazing. And we have those coming in.

    RBH Drums

    We picked a couple of gorgeous pieces up that I’m eager to get my hands on.

    Trick Drums

    Trick continues to drive innovation. And they represent what a beautiful family run American small business is. Hard work, dedication, and creativity are never missing, and we just love the new pedals! The VMT kits get honorable mention with the new color options too.

    Rogers Drums USA

    Rogers is creeping back into the picture, and some gorgeous Dyna-Sonic snare drums are coming in. Some new hardware was also shown that was an obvious nod to the originals, with some modern fittings. A prototype set was also shown with some blasphemous spurs and brackets, which I'm told will thankfully not be a part of the production model, whenever that may be.

    Wrapping Up

    I could go on and on and on, and I have. I’m sure I missed something obvious here, so please accept any apologies for overlooking something.It’s not intentional.This flight is getting close to landing, and my wife and I have 2 kitties to get home to who are looking for some attention, and I have a very full year planned for us and you.

    2019 is going to be the 10th anniversary of DCP and we’ve got some things cooking that you’ve never experienced at a drum store. Trust me on this. It’s big. REALLY big. I’m so excited for this year and I think you will be blown away with what we have planned.

    I constantly am thinking about how we can bring more value to you, our extended family of customers, and in 2018, we expanded our video production department to bring you higher quality, more in depth videos, and the response has been overwhelming. We're working to make it easier (and entertaining) to select your drum gear.

    Year 10 will have even more levels of awesome, and I can’t wait to get started on it.

    Well, I suppose I already have.

    Again, we simply could NOT do this if you don’t buy from us. So thank you for spending your drum money with us.

    If you’re reading this, and you're not a customer, tell us what we can do to establish a mutually beneficial relationship. Your growth is our growth, and we can save you money by making professional suggestions.

    Can I say thank you again?Ok, I just did.

    Thank you.

    Again.

    #year10

     

    Enjoy our full Winter NAMM 2019 photo gallery HERE!

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