144 Lafayette Road, North Hampton, NH 03862 | 603-319-8109

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Events

  • Sonor AQ2 Drum Sets - Up Close

    Sonor AQ2 Drum Sets take the place of their now-discontinued Force and SSE Special Edition Sets.  This intermediate line includes the extremely popular Martini and Safari kits. We unboxed each of these gig-friendly AQ2 drum sets and gave them a test drive.

    The Evolution of Compact Drums

    The compact drum market has gotten big over the past 10 years.  It started with Yamaha’s Manu Katche Hip-Gig Jr. Kit. Sonor changed the game when they decided to enter the market with their Safari set.  It was a portable, decently made drum set for about $350.

    Other major manufacturers soon followed.  Ludwig released the Breakbeat kit. Pearl came out with the Midtown kit.  Tama has their Club Jam kit. The market was full of options at the sub-400 dollar price point.

    Gigging drummers made many a spontaneous purchase when they discovered how inexpensive and portable these kits were.  Unfortunately, the sound of these kits left something to be desired. The softer wood shells just don’t have the feel and response you get from a higher quality wood.  Sonor’s AQ2 Drum Sets have struck a great balance between affordability, portability and build quality.

    Better Shells Make Better Drums

    Sonor AQ2 Martini and Safari kits sport 100% 7-ply Maple shells.  The three interior plies are softer Asian Maple, and the outer plies are harder North American Maple.  The resulting thickness is a relatively thin 5.8mm. This is a similar shell recipe as Yamaha’s new Tour Custom model.

    Our first kit to set up was the Sonor AQ2 Martini Drum Set in a White Marine Pearl wrap.  The Martini kit is a compact 4-piece set up design for ultimate portability. The rack tom is 8x7, the floor tom is 13x12 and the kick is 14x13.  The steel snare drum is 12x5 with flanged hoops.

    Our second setup was the Sonor AQ2 Safari kit in a similar Delmar WMP finish.  The Safari kit offers slightly larger sizes for the drummer who may need some more thump on their gig.  Our 4-piece Safari kit sizes were 10x7, 13x12, 16x15 with a matching 13x6 snare.

    That Hardware, Though

    Right away, we noticed the quality of the hardware.  The bass drum mount is seriously heavy-duty and very adjustable.  The new Smart mount on the rack tom is functional and low-profile, connecting to two upper lug brackets.  Head changes can be made quickly and easily, and thick rubber gaskets provide isolation. All of the newly designed lugs are cast using molds designed in Germany.

    We decided to tune both kits low and high for each demo to get a sense of their range.  Right out of the gate we were greeted with bright tone from both kits. We were too lazy to change the UT Remo heads, and assumed that would translate to a fuzzy, unpleasant sound.  This is a testament to the QC of Sonor’s new all-maple shells. Bearing edges were perfect and shells were perfectly round. The resulting tone was clear and clean and all drums tuned up easily.  They also stayed in tune thanks to Sonor’s TuneSafe lug design.

    The Martini’s 12x5 snare drum was cutting, but not in a harsh way. Typically an inexpensive metal snare will be sharp sounding, but this was not the case with the Sonor Martini AQ2.  The matching 13x6 Safari Maple snare also proved to be an overachiever. Great projection, smooth bright tone and a decent tuning range.

    AQ2 bass drums feature heavy duty mounting hardware, along with durable hoops.  The 14” Martini kick provided just enough thump for those small 3 piece gigs. The 16” Safari kit bass drum has enough low end to give you a little more genre-diversity.  While the overall tone was good, these will sound much better with Remo USA PS3 heads.

    The Verdict

    Overall, these two Sonor AQ2 kits are an unbelievable value.  Drummers who appreciate the performance of their SSE Martini and Safari kits will LOVE the AQ2 updates.  The all-maple shells, solid hardware and eye-catching finishes are significant upgrades to their predecessors.  Ultimately, the blend of quality, convenience and cost make both of these kits an excellent intermediate option for the working drummer.

     

     

  • A Closer look at the George H. Way Drum Company

     

    George Way Drum Company – What’s Old is New

    George H. Way Drum Set

    There is a special kind of mojo that is associated with that drum sound of the 50’s and 60’s.  The recipe of thin, resonant shells with fewer plies and reinforcement rings yield an unmistakable thud that is prominent in so many recordings from that era.  This sound that is sought after by so many modern-day drummers has created a higher demand in the Neo-Vintage drum market.  While many manufacturers have carved a niche in this market, few have done it with the authenticity and attention to detail as George Way Drum Company.

    The relaunch of George Way Drum Company is a passion project of Ronn Dunnett, one of the finer drum craftsmen in our industry.  These classically styled instruments pay homage to another brilliant innovator in drum history – George Harrison Way.

    George Way is a legendary figure in American drum manufacturing who worked with Leedy, Slingerland, and Leedy & Ludwig before starting his own drum company in the mid 1950's.  Among a huge list of notable accomplishments is the Turret-style lug that DW Drums has adopted and made famous.  George had a long and varied career in drums and left an indelible mark on the industry before his passing in 1969.

    Over 60 years later Ronn Dunnett acquired trademarks for the brand and began making vintage-styled instruments with modern updates in honor of George Way.  We’ve carried Dunnett Classic Drums from day one at the Drum Center of Portsmouth, and we were very excited to get our hands on the George Way line upon their release.  Way Drums have been around for over a decade now and have established themselves firmly in the neo-vintage marketplace.

    If you aren’t familiar with George Way drums, you should get acquainted.  While they faithfully recreate a vintage sound, the rich tone of these thin shells can be applied to most modern-day genres of music.

    George Way Drum Sets

    George Way Drum Sets are a little bit different in that they don’t have many custom options.  Ronn produces his kits in finite batches, so they are all essentially “limited releases”.  Sometimes, component add-ons are available, but the drums are primarily traditional depths – 14” deep kick drums, 12” toms are 8 inches deep, etc.  Once these kits are gone, they’re gone.  So get them while you can!

    Studio” Series drum sets feature classic 4-ply Maple shells with 4-ply Poplar reinforcement rings that sing with warm clarity in a wide range of tunings.  The “Tradition Series” kits vary in wood types.  Over the years, we have seen Cherry, Birch, and Mahogany, typically in a classic 4-ply shell with 4-ply reinforcement hoops configuration.  Currently, we have a handful of classy kits in Walnut with a handsome matte Cordia finish.  Tradition Walnut Series drums have a slightly dark, warm, round thud that fill the room with a thick, classic tone.  Once you get behind one of these limited kits, you may very well stop chasing that vintage sound in your head!

    Way Drums feature Dunnett’s “Reso-Tone” heads by Remo, reminiscent of older Ludwig heads that vintage buffs will truly appreciate.  Unlike the old Ludwig heads, however, the Reso-Tone heads have stronger collars and better QC.  And that’s kind of the deal with George Way drums, in general.  You get a faithful homage to vintage design with a seamless integration of modern improvements.  The toms sport the classic George Way Streamline lugs, along with unique hi-profile triple flanged hoops, which we find particularly noteworthy.  All hardware is finished in a high quality, “AAA” chrome finish.

    George Way Snare Drums

    Here at Drum Center of Portsmouth, we specialize in high-end snare drums.  If there is one thing we are certain of, it’s that Ronn knows how to make a great sounding snare drum.  We’ve seen a TON of Dunnett snares come and go through the years, and they are consistently outstanding.  George Way snare drums are no exception.   The metal snare drum line covers all the bases.  The ultra thin-shelled aluminum “Aero” is delightfully dry and crispy.  The “Indy” bronze projects bold, warm tone.  The “Elkhart” features a medium, polished copper shell with rich darkness, and “The Hollywood” rocks an extra heavy Chrome over Brass Shell that could easily be your main go-to for any gig.

    George Way wood snare drums are equally varied in their composition.  The backbone of the wood snare line is the “Studio”, featuring a 4-ply Maple / Poplar shell with 4-ply reinforcement rings.  The Studio model is available in many different finish types and is a house favorite here at DCP.  “Tradition” models feature similar 4 and 4 layup shells of Walnut, Acacia (he “Carter McLean” Signature model), Mahogany and more.  They even have solid-ply shells covered with the “Advanced” series snare drums.  Way snare drums feature Way Classic lugs, those awesome flanged hoops we mentioned earlier, and several different throw-off options.

    The Verdict

    Before you drop a ton of money on some sketchy Craigslist ad vintage drums, you owe it to yourself to give George Way drums a test drive.  Considering the quality of the build and the components of these instruments, they are VERY reasonably priced.  With so many options within the Way lineup, you are likely to find that vintage vibe that satisfies your ears.

    At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we specialize in helping you achieve YOUR perfect drum sound. Give us a call at (603) 319-8109 to speak with a professional about that sound you hear in your head.  We are legit sound freaks and look forward to helping you navigate your way to the drums of your dreams.  We carry a huge selection of George Way Drum Company Drum Sets and Snare Drums in stock.  If George Way isn’t your thing, we can help with many other fine manufacturers as well.

    Keep your eyes peeled to our YouTube Page for more exciting and slightly eccentric drum-related content!

     

     

     

     

  • Shane is in the new Drumhead Magazine!

    Drumhead Magazine has published a very special issue entitled "Ensnared, A Tribute to Snare Drums".  This is an incredibly in depth issue with over 40 of the top drummers around the globe discussing the tools of their trade, what they've used them on, and other tales surrounding them.

    Shane has had the luxury of playing more snare drums than the average drummer, and he  was asked to supply an editorial on snare drums.  This is about as in depth as he has gotten in print discussing snare drums, there may be a thing or two that you'll learn about him and the drums at Drum Center of Portsmouth.

    This is a limited release, so get your copy now!

    We have them available here!

     

  • Drum Center of Portsmouth 9th Anniversary Celebration!

    Our Biggest Sale of the Year - Free Food - Giveaways - Celebrity Guests and More!

    Those who have been before know: This is probably the greatest day of the year when it comes to the drum store experience.   We have THOUSANDS of dollars of free giveaways, food, our biggest sale of the year, and we will have some group lessons too!
    YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS! 

     Saturday, June 9th from 10-5
    Drum Center of Portsmouth
    144 Lafayette Road
    North Hampton NH
    03862

     

  • Meet Simon Phillips!

    Simon Phillips and Protocol are coming to Portsmouth, New Hampshire!

    Drum Center of Portsmouth is thrilled to give you a chance to say hello to one of the greatest drummers of all time!

     

     

    Simon Phillips (Toto, The Who, Judas Priest, Gary Moore, Michael Schenker, Modern Drummer Hall of Fame ) will be here at DCP on Wednesday, May 30th signing autographs.
    This event is FREE to the public, and it happens from 5:30-7. Simon's band Protocol will be playing 3S Artspace the following night (which you really attend, tix are available here)

     

     

  • So Mellow. So Good.

    2194 grams of pure bliss! This Paiste Masters 'Blue Bird' Mellow ride is a joy to play. The stick sound is crisp and articulate, but it's far from "pingy". The wash is always there but never in the way. The medium pitch is pleasant and balanced, without any stray overtones.

    I'll be honest: if you're playing metal, this isn't the cymbal for you ... but if you're playing basically anything else, this will fit right in!

    -Tom

    https://www.drumcenternh.com/paiste-masters-blue-bird-mellow-ride-cymbal-20-2g.html

  •  Drum Center of Portsmouth Masterclass with Simon Phillips!

    Simon Phillips

    We have a very special opportunity: Simon Phillips (Toto, The Who, Judas Priest, Gary Moore, Michael Schenker, Modern Drummer Hall of Fame ) will be here at DCP on Wednesday, May 30th.  He will be hosting a small masterclass that we're limiting to 25 people only.  Simon will have his full set up and attendees will be able to get a rare opportunity to learn from one of the greats!

    The Masterclass is from 3pm-5pm on Wednesday, May 30th, here at Drum Center of Portsmouth.

    There will be a meet and greet from 5:30-7 that is free to the public.

    You can reserve your seat by clicking the link here.

     

  • It Did Get Loud // Walkthrough Wednesday

    This week on Walkthrough Wednesday... Tony gets LOUD as we take a look at two ridiculous Dunnett 2n brass snares and some appropriately named Yamaha Loud Series drums at a killer price. Enjoy!

     

    For more info on the two Dunnett snare drums featured in this video, click the links below!

    Dunnett Classic 2N Chrome Over Brass Snare Drum 14x6.5 w/ Raw Brass Lugs

    https://www.drumcenternh.com/dunnett-classic-2n-chrome-over-brass-snare-drum-14x6-5-w-raw-brass-lugs.html

    Dunnett Classic 2N Triple Brass Snare Drum 14x6.5

    https://www.drumcenternh.com/dunnett-classic-2n-triple-brass-snare-drum-14x6-5.html

     

    To learn more about the Yamaha Loud Series Snare Drums, check out the following links.

    Temple Silver

     

     

    Solid Silver

     

     

     

     

    Blue Sparkle Sunburst

     

     

     

     

    Habanero Sparkle Sunburst

  • DCP Masterclass with Todd Sucherman!

    Todd Sucherman Masterclass at Drum Center of Portsmouth!

  • Gretsch USA Copper Snare Drum 14x6.5 Black Plated | Drum Center of Portsmouth

    The Gretsch USA snare drum program is legendary - there's a wide range of tones available, lovingly built by craftsmen using only the top quality materials. Copper's inherent softness makes for a drum that is warm and articulate while at the same time having the cut and presence of a metal shell. The drum's almost wood-like tonal quality is perfect for situations that require both power and clear stick definition. The 1mm polished copper shell also comes with our Micro-Sensitive throw, 42-Strand snare wires, die cast hoops and a 'Snap-In' key holder.

    Source: Gretsch USA Copper Snare Drum 14x6.5 Black Plated | Drum Center of Portsmouth

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