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  • 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.



    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!


    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 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.


    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.


    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.


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


    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.


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


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.




    Enjoy our full Winter NAMM 2019 photo gallery HERE!

  • The Best Drum Set under $800 - With Video

    What’s The Best Complete Drum Set Under $800 in 2020?

    Tama Imperialstar and the Ludwig Element Evolution are compared in this informative review!

    Tama Imperialstar Drum Set with Meinl Cymbals at Drum Center of Portsmouth


    At the Drum Center of Portsmouth, we are frequently asked. “What’s the best value drum set for a beginning drummer?”  If you are in the market for that first drum set, there are many inexpensive options out there.

    When it comes to “value”, you can’t beat the complete drum set.  Complete drum sets offer everything you need to get your drumming career up and running - drums, cymbals, and hardware, all in one convenient package.  We carry several varieties of complete drum sets at Drum Center of Portsmouth, including the Yamaha Rydeen, Pearl Roadshow and PDP Mainstage.

    The two standouts in this category are The Tama Imperialstar and the Ludwig Element Evolution.  To us, you won’t find a better value in a complete drum set under $800.  So, which kit is the best? We decided to find out, as we put these two best-selling kits in a head to head comparison.


    The Criteria

    We rated these two drum sets based on the following criteria: Drum Shells, Hardware, Cymbals, Drum Heads, Options, and Sound.  We began with the Tama Imperialstar.


    Tama Imperialstar

    Tama Imperialstar has been the best-selling drum set at this price point for a long time due to its name recognition, history, and longevity.  The Imperialstar reviewed was a 5-piece kit: 10x8 and 12x9 toms, 16x14 floor tom, 22x18 bass drum and a 14x5 snare drum.  These shells are 100% Poplar, a porous wood, typically found in a lower-cost drum set. The finish of this kit is a wrap that Tama calls, “Candy Apple Mist”, and is quite eye-catching.

    Tama Imperialstar Candy Apple Mist Drum Set at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    The hardware pack included with the Tama Imperialstar includes the legendary Iron Cobra single-chain drive bass drum pedal and hi-hat stand, a snare stand, drum throne, as well as a straight cymbal stand and a hide-away boom cymbal stand.

    Tama Iron Cobra Bass Drum Pedal at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    The Imperialstar comes with the Meinl HCS cymbal pack, consisting of a  pair of 14” hi-hats, a 16” crash cymbal and a 20” ride cymbal.  These cymbals are made of brass, which is an entry-level, low cost cymbal material.  Brass is typically associated with “harsh” sound, but the Meinl HCS cymbal pack does provide some pleasant musical tones.

    Meinl HCS Cymbals at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    Tama gives you stock, single-ply drum heads on the Imperialstar kit, including a pre-muffled bass drum head, along with a coated, single ply snare drum head.  These heads deliver clear projection, but their durability leaves something to be desired.

    The Imperialstar comes in six durable wrapped finishes, and has a ton of add-on options for additional drums.  This makes the Imperialstar an excellent choice for the beginning drummer who wants to expand their setup over time.

    The sound of the Tama Imperialstar is clean, sharp and dynamic thanks to its precise bearing edges, single ply heads and quality components.  The Meinl HCS Cymbal pack fit in relatively well with the overall sound of the Imperialstar.  Watch the video and hear for yourself!


    Ludwig Element Evolution

    The Ludwig Element Evolution Drum Set is comprised of 3 of the biggest names in drums: Ludwig, Zildjian and Remo.  The configuration of the Element Evolution is only slightly different than that of the Imperialstar, sporting a slightly deeper 16x16 floor tom.  The 5-piece kit we tested was a wrapped White Sparkle finish.

    The Ludwig hardware pack is similar to the Tama Imperialstar in terms of what you get - a single chain driven pedal and hi-hat stand, single braced snare stand, throne, and bass drum mounted toms.  The Element Evolution does offer 2 hideaway boom stands, as opposed to the Imperialstar.

    Ludwig Element Evolution Drum Set

    Included with the Ludwig complete drum set is Zildjian’s ZBT Bronze cymbal set.  The sizes are the same as the HCS set included with the Tama Imperialstar - 14” hats, a 16” crash and a 20” ride cymbal.  These cymbals are definitely easier on our ears in comparison to the entry-level HCS brass cymbals.

    Zildjian ZBT Cymbals at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    Another bright spot for the Element Evolution is the 2-ply, Pinstripe tom heads by Remo.  These heads provide more durability for the beginning drummer, as well as a controlled, low-end thud that we found pleasing.  While these are not the preferred USA Remo heads we sell here at Drum Center of Portsmouth, they are a step up from the less-durable single ply Tama heads.

    Remo Pinstripe Drum Heads on the Ludwig Evolution Drum Set

    Ludwig offers slightly fewer options when it comes to finishes and add-on drums relative to Tama’s Imperialstar, but there is certainly enough to keep the beginner drummer busy for years to come.

    The overall sound of the Ludwig Element Evolution is impressive.  All the drums tuned up easily and gave us nice round tone, thanks to the 2-ply Remo heads.  The Zildjian ZBT cymbals yield relatively smooth musicality and are a tremendous value at this price point.


    The Verdict

    Both the Tama Imperialstar and Ludwig Element Evolution are simply a ridiculous value at this price point.  The fact that you can spend less than $800 and have a solidly built, great sounding kit that will last for years is a testament to both manufacturers.

    1. Drum Shells

    When it comes to the drum shells - we are giving the slight edge to Tama.  The reason we went with Tama is that they disclosed what their shells are actually made of on their website.  We weren’t able to find that info from Ludwig.

    2. Hardware

    The winner for hardware was also Tama. You can’t go wrong with Tama Iron Cobra hardware.  The quality speaks for itself.

    3. Cymbals

    When it comes to cymbal sound, the Zildjian ZBT bronze cymbals are in a class above that of the brass Meinl HCS.  Ludwig takes this category with relative ease.

    4. Heads

    Ludwig’s 2-ply Remo Pinstripe heads also out-performed the stock, single-ply heads found on the Tama Imperialstar.  While we do recommend you replace either set of heads, the Element Evolution stock heads will give you more legitimate playing time before having to do so.

    5. Sound

    Which kit has the best overall sound?  We’ll leave that up to you to decide, because after all, all ears are different. Check out our head to head comparison video and let us know what you think!  Whichever kit you choose, you can’t go wrong, because we've picked the best of the bunch. We highly recommend spending a little more on one of these kits out of the gate, rather than going with one of the less-expensive options.  By spending a little more up-front, you will get a better sounding, longer lasting kit that will provide the new drummer with more enjoyment while they learn their instrument. If they decide to bail, or trade-in their kit down the road for a new one, either one of these kits will yield a better return on investment than their cheaper competitors.

    In Closing

    Have some questions?  Give us a call at 603-319-8109, or email us.    We offer FREE SHIPPING, or if you're local, we offer free set up and tuning on sets purchased here, as well as a LIFETIME LABOR WARRANTY.  That's right, All services performed on your drums will not be charged.  At the Drum Center of Portsmouth, we are obsessed with sound, and helping you get behind the drum set that is right for your individual needs.  When you’re ready to make your first investment in a drum set, you can rely on us for honest answers to any questions you may have.

    Our Tama Imperialstar Drum Set and add on page is here.

    The Ludwig Evolution Drum Sets are here.

    Read more: The best drum kits in 2020

    Drum Center of Portsmouth
    144 Lafayette Road
    North Hampton NH, USA

  • Snare Drums are Precious Metal at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    Snare Drums are Precious Metal at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    With the blazing hot temperatures of summer, we thought we could help you cool down with some gorgeous metal snare drums.  We have some incredible and rare pieces that you can check out.  Go to the product pates to check out the videos!
    And don't forget - we can do financing as well!

    Ludwig Brass Beauty Snare Drum

    Ludwig Brass Beauty Snare Drum

    Ludwig Supraphonic "Brass Beauty" Snare Drum 14x6.5 - DCP Exclusive!

    Here's a rare model for you! The Ludwig Supraphonic has been a staple among session and gigging drummers for decades. The seamless brass shell yields a rich sound with musical overtones and sings at any tuning. While the polished brass finish is a timeless classic, Ludwig has agreed to make a limited run of this amazing drum with brass trim, available only at the Drum Center of Portsmouth! The tube lugs, die cast hoops, P86 strainer, and P33 butt are all brass plated, making this amazing drum look even better! Don't hesitate to get your hands on this phenomenal drum!


    Buy Now

    Van Kleef "7" Snare Drum Van Kleef "7" Snare Drum

    VK Drums 7 Snare Drum 14x6.5

    • 14" x 6.5" Titanium, Magnesium, Brass, Copper & Aluminium shell.
    • Surgical steel tubes with Copper, Stainless, Titanium, Aluminium & Brass Lugs
    • Stainless steel hoops
    • Stainless Steel VK 007 throw with integrated, titanium VKey
    • Mild steel tension rods
    • Laser cut VK air hole logo
    • Puresound wires
    • Set up with Remo heads
    • Made by hand in Sheffield, England


    View More Details

    Van Kleef Ageless Silver Snare Drum Van Kleef Ageless Silver Snare Drum

    VK Drums Ageless Silver Snare Drum 14x4.5 w/ Hardcase

    The Ageless Collection, 14 x 4.5 Silver snare has the sound and feel like no other drum. This drum is made from 1.5mm thick 925 Solid Sterling Silver, for snare tone like no other.

    The Van Kleef Ageless Collection drum has a unique sound that, combined with the resonant qualities of the brushed finish silver shell range from dry, crisp tones at low tuning, to subtle, articulate tones at higher tuning. The construction of this drum is another reason it sounds so good.

    • 925 Sterling Silver for that unique VK silver sound.
    • Straight Sheffield stainless steel hoops.
    • Solid Sheffield stainless steel single point tube lugs, turned on a lathe, then drilled, tapped and polished by hand.
    • Stainless steel lugs are brush finished on the sides and mirror polished on the front faces.
    • VK-007 Sheffield stainless steel strainer and butt, with the "Ageless Collection" design on the front of the strainer and mini logo on butt plate.
    • Sheffield stainless steel "VKey", silent ratchet drum key is designed to live inside the VK-007 strainer.
    • Foam lined custom designed Hardcase in silver colour.
    • White gloves.
    • Puresound wires.
    • Setup with Remo Ambassador heads.
    • Made by hand in Sheffield, England.
    • Patents Pending
    Buy Now

    Dunnett Classic 2N Engraved Snare Drum by John Aldridge Dunnett Classic 2N Engraved Snare Drum by John Aldridge

    Dunnett Classic 2N Antique Brass Snare Drum 14x6.5 Engraved w/ Brass Trim

    Dunnett Classic Drums are among the best snare drums in the industry and surely Canada's best export aside from Tim Horton's. DCP stocks a variety of Dunnett snare drums, including stainless steel, titanium, monoply wood models, and an ever-evolving selection of prototypes and one-offs. We specialize in many of these rarities and collectible items.

    Please note: Due to their raw, unfinished nature, Dunnett metal shells can and will show various spots and marks that may or may not be represented in images/videos. This is considered to be a normal part of the shell's aging and patina process.

    •     Hand Engraved by John Aldridge!
    •     R4L Strainer
    •     Hypervent
    •     42-Strand Wires
    •     Ahead Bag Included
    More Details Here

    Noble And Cooley Alloy Classic Snare Drum 14x6 Noble And Cooley Alloy Classic Snare Drum 14x6

    Noble And Cooley Alloy Classic Snare Drum 14x6

    The Industry Classic! This 6x14 Noble & Cooley Alloy Classic Snare Drum has a unique cast aluminum shell that delivers a focused, dense sound. It cracks very well at high tunings, but can emulate a wood shell at lower tunings. It's tremendous versatility in the recording studio or on the stage makes it a MUST HAVE for the working drummer's arsenal.

    Buy Now

    Schagerl Antares Brass Snare Drum Schagerl Antares Brass Snare Drum

    Schagerl Antares Brass Snare Drum 14x6.5 w/ Black Hardware

    ANTARES is the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius and is the fifth brightest observable star in the night sky. Named for its equal footing to the Greek God Ares, it is easy to see why we chose "Antares" as the name for the line of brass snare drums. Each drum makes a bold statement with heavy yellow brass tube lugs and a raw finished 0.7mm brass shell.

    Adorned with 2.3mm yellow brass or black nickel over steel hoops, the Antares evokes images of battle-worn Grecian armor while retaining a subtle elegance.

    The multi-step Trick Drums strainer allows for precise tension adjustments making the Antares suitable for conventional kit playing as well as orchestral work. The shell itself is dramatically undersized at the top and the bottom to create a tympani effect with remarkable resonance. The raw finished brass will retain its gorgeous looks due a lacquer covering. No two Schagerl Drums raw finish drums are alike.

    • Shell: 0.7mm Yellow Brass
    • Strainer: Modified Trick Drums Multi-step
    • Hardware Material: Ten Schagerl single contact point heavy brass tube lugs
    • Hoops: 2.3mm triple-flanged
    Buy Now

    Tama Star Hand Hammered Copper Snare Drum Tama Star Hand Hammered Copper Snare Drum

    Tama Star Reserve Hand Hammered Copper Snare Drum 14x6.5
    The STAR Drums series' first metal snare features a hand hammered copper shell. In addition to a mid-low end with tons of volume, the hand hammered shell creates a deeply harmonic overtone. A slightly smaller diameter hammer is used on the edge of the shell compared with the hammer that is used on the center, causing the shell to take a barrel shape.This unique shape provides a fat sound and rich resonance. To complement the shell, we used our original 2.3mm brass Customized Flanged Hoop. The edge of this hoop is slightly shaved down compared to our standard flanged hoop, producing a sharper and brighter attack. The combination of these two different characteristics - warm, rich resonance with sharp, bright attack - offers a totally new and original sound, unlike any other metal drums.

    • MSL90S Lug
    • Customized Brass Mighty Hoop (8 Hole)
    • REMO Coated Ambassador / Hazy Bottom Snare Side
    Buy Now

    Trick Scorched Copper Snare Drum Trick Scorched Copper Snare Drum

    Trick Precious Metals 3mm Copper Snare Drum 14x6.5 Scorched

    The Trick copper drum is warm and powerful, built to exacting tone and aesthetic standards. Coupled with Trick's single-point lugs, GS007 throw, and German wires, this drum sings! Perfect for any musical situation.

    Buy Now

    A&F Raw Brass Snare Drum A&F Raw Brass Snare Drum

    A&F Raw Brass Snare Drum 14x6.5

    This 6.5x14 A&F Raw Brass Snare Drum is innovative, gorgeous, and completely handcrafted from scratch in Austin Texas. They cut, roll, weld, and sand their own brass shells, then treat them with a patented oxidizing formula to jump start the patina process. The edge is a 45 degree cut with a 3.5" bed, and there are 8 in-house machined raw brass lugs. This deceptively heavy drum is hyper-sensitive, with a fundamentally bright and crispy tone with projection and articulation that is second to none. Find out why we are so excited to be carrying the A&F drum line at the Drum Center of Portsmouth!

    Buy Now
    Subscribe to our YouTube Channel!  We're producing tons of great new content on a weekly basis.  When you subscribe, you're one of the first to know!
    Drum Center of Portsmouth YouTube Channel


  • Price Hikes from Ludwig and DW coming - Plus lots of New Gear

    Price Hikes Coming Soon - Some are Already Here. Last chance to save!

    It's inevitable, the companies have to raise their pricing periodically. We've seen some hikes from Meinl, Zildjian, Istanbul Agop, and Tama among others. April 1 will bring some hikes on a LOT of Ludwig product, namely the USA gear. If you've been holding out, now is a good time to act, as we need to get the order in by Friday to secure 2017 pricing. DW is having a few hikes, but notably the Performance series will be seeing roughly 10% increase. That's significant. You can place special orders until Friday to secure 2017 pricing.


    We are getting SLAMMED with deliveries every day. We've never had the inventory we have right now. It's hard to single out items, because we have so many of them, and a lot of really cool drums and cymbals go under the radar unfortunately.

    We just got in a bunch of unique DW snare drums, many with gold or black hardware.  These look really cool.  Click on the image for more details.  Below that are some more items that have just landed and ripe for the pickings!



    DW Collectors 3mm Copper Snare Drum 14x6.5 Gold Hardware

    Bell Brass with Gold Hardware 14x6.5

    DW Collectors 3mm Copper Snare Drum 14x5.5 Gold Hw

    DW Collectors Bell Brass Snare Drum 14x4 Gold Hw

    DW Collectors 3mm Copper Snare Drum 14x4 Gold Hw

    DW Collectors Black Nickel Over Brass Snare Drum 14x8 Gold Hardware

    DW Collectors Black Nickel Over Brass Snare Drum 14x6.5 Gold Hardware

    DW Collectors Black Nickel Over Brass Snare Drum 14x5.5 Gold Hardware

    DW Collectors Black Nickel Over Brass Snare Drum 13x7 Gold Hardware

    DW Collectors Copper Snare Drum 14x6.5 Knurled w/ Black Nickel Hardware

    DW Collectors Vintage Steel Snare Drum 14x5.5 Ribbed Copper w/ Black Nickel Hardware

    These are just a few of the unique DW Snare Drums we have on hand. Check out all of our Drum Workshop snare drums at Drum Center of Portsmouth here.


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

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

    Dunnett Classic Magnesium Snare Drum 14x6.5 Silver Ceramic w/ Cold Rolled Hoops



    We have some super cool A&F Snare Drums and A&F Drum Sets on hand!


    RBH Prestige Solid Walnut Snare Drum 14x6.5 w/ Maple Rings

    You need to get to know these Schagerl Snare Drums.

    Unix Solid Ply Bubinga Snare Drum 14x6.5

    Unix Solid Ply Birdseye Maple Snare Drum 14x6.5

    Unix Solid Ply Quilted Maple Snare Drum 14x6.5

    Trick Custom AL13 Aluminum Snare Drum 14x8 Candy Red

    Trick Precious Metals 3mm Brass Snare Drum 14x6.5

    Trick VMT Aluminum Snare Drum 14x6.5 Cast Black

    Lush and Pristine! British Drum Company Bluebird Snare Drum 14x6

    The Most Popular Snare This Year!! British Drum Company Big Softy Snare Drum 14x6.5

    Canopus Zelkova Snare Drum 14x6.5 Limited Gunjo Lacquer

    Canopus Limited Edition ROF Project #1 Snare Drum 14x6.5

    Canopus Limited Edition Glass Fiber Snare Drum 14x6.5

    We have SEVERAL more Canopus Snare Drums in stock, check out some of the Second Line Deals too! Browse Canopus Snare Drums at Drum Center of Portsmouth Here.

    Noble And Cooley Limited Edition Solid Ply Walnut Snare Drum 14x7 Gloss

    Noble And Cooley Solid Ply Walnut Snare Drum 14x5

    Noble And Cooley Solid Ply Walnut Snare Drum 14x3 7/8

    VK Drums 7 Snare Drum 14x6.5

    VK Drums Magnesium Snare Drum 14x5 w/ Titanium Hardware

    VK Drums Copper Snare Drum 14x6.5


    Hendrix Archetype Stave Ambrosia Maple Snare Drum 14x6.5 Gloss


    Hendrix Archetype Stave Ambrosia Maple Snare Drum 14x5.5 Gloss

    Hendrix Archetype Stave Ambrosia Maple Snare Drum 14x5.5 Gloss

    We Now have Video Demos up of the UFIP Est. 1931 Cymbals.

    Check them out here.


    ATV Drums are Here!

    Right out of left field, these are a VERY different approach to electronic drums and percussion. The Artist drum set is a quantum leap forward in e-drums. I've never played cymbal pads that feel as good as these, and nor have I heard drum cymbal sounds as authentic. The A-Frame is everything AND the kitchen sink. It's really that cool. And it's in stock!

    C U S T O M  O R D E R  M A D N E S S!

    The "Nosferatu" cymbals if you will, these are non-catalogued, discontinued, or never offered cymbals that we have brought on because we're a drum store and we like to do unique things like this.  Some notable cymbals here are the 22" Signature Dry Heavy, which was discontinued a LONG time ago.  It was the ride used by Danny Carey for many years.  Let's not forget the Paiste Signature Traditionals Medium Light Hi Hat Cymbals 15", which haven't been available for well over a decade.  Gorgeous cymbals.

    What about Color Sound 2002?  We've got the upgraded Color Sounds in RED for the 2002 line.  Oh boy, are these nice!

    Check out the Color Sound 2002's Here

    P U M P K I N  R U D E S ! !

    Every Day is Halloween when you have these!! It doesn't get any more sinister than these custom Paiste Rudes!

    Check them out HERE!


    There's so much more too, check out our Just Arrived page to see what's in!

  • Drums at the NAMM Show - Winter 2018

    Without doubt, the 2018 Winter NAMM show was the best in recent years when it comes to drums.   There was a renewed fire amongst the industry mainstays and a surprising amount of new blood entering the field.  For drum companies, (and all companies for that matter) displaying at the NAMM show is an incredibly large expense.  It’s a major investment for them to bring their brand to California for a week, put the staff up at hotels, ship all of the instruments, deal with the logistics of artist coordination and dealer visits, and all of the dinners and drinks.  This investment shows the world that they are interested and engaged.  The displays and booths have been trimmed down a bit in recent years, the pre-2008 displays revealed a heady industry with extra cash to throw at flashier, well, everything.

    I believe this was my 14th show, and there was something different this year; the entire layout was completely changed.  For a number of years, the drum hall was hall D (fitting) and hall C was largely filled with guitar makers and distribution companies.  The best way to describe this is that many of the companies have been in the same location for several years, and as a guy attending the show for as long as I have, I just knew where everything was.  The NAMM show, like a mall, or a neighboring town is something I go to once a year, and I’m quite thrifty at navigating the trade show waters.

    My bearings were completely lost this year and I’m incredibly grateful for that.  It was nice to re-calibrate and shut the auto pilot off.  It was also nice to see some newcomers to the show.  As I write this, I’m on an airplane running on about 3 hours of sleep but I can’t wait get back to work and start receiving the beautiful instruments and accessories we have procured.

    We have SO much to tell you about, I’m sure we won’t get to everything but before we give the highlights of the 2018 NAMM show, we have some announcements to make regarding new members of our family.


    British Drum Company

    The British are coming!

    I’ve kept a close eye on the British Drum Company since their launch in 2015. Their story is an interesting one, one that exemplifies taking the “long way around” to get to where they are.  Keith Keough is one the leading drum builders in the world, he has an incredibly keen eye and attention to detail which led him to start his own brand of drums, called KD drums.  A few years back, his company was purchased by the Premier drum company and Keith was tasked with continuing to make his world class instruments, only now with a Premier badge on them.

    When this happened in 2011 (or was it 12?), Premier had a booth at NAMM that made me completely drunk on drum awesomeness.  The woodwork, the sounds, the history of the brand, everything ticked my boxes and I grabbed my wallet and went in full force.

    Premier has a sullied legacy here in the USA.  Their history goes back to 1922, started by the Della Porta family.  The family made incredible innovations for many, many years, and they filed for an incredible amount of patents.  If you want to test the level of commitment of a drum enthusiast, ask them about Premier.  If they light up or if they appear sad; you know you have a bona fide, long suffering drum nut on your hands.  There are things Premier brought to the marketplace that were so incredibly ground breaking and timeless; many of them going largely unnoticed by the uninformed public.  The beauty of their chrome plating, the art deco everything, and the undisputed British elegance made them an absolute favorite of mine.  The Resonator, Signia, Genista, and Soundwave kits are still drool-wothy drums.

    Following the tradition of excellent instruments and poor management, the partnership with Keith (as well as UK production of Premier drums) ceased abruptly in 2014-15ish, leaving me unsurprised but accepting.  The original iconic Premier drum factory, a place I was never able to visit, was torn down this year to make way for a grocery store.  I followed the photos of it, and tears came to my eyes.  There was so much history there. In a world of faster and cheaper, I sometimes find myself ogling at the Lok-fast hardware and wondering why no one has carried on this torch.

    I was happy to see the launch of the British Drum Company and I’ve tracked their progress.  I recall visiting the booth last year and feeling that we weren’t ready for them yet.  They were nice, but at this point, I have enough ‘nice’.  I need outstanding.  For a grisly, well traveled drum nerd, ‘outstanding’ becomes increasingly difficult to find.

    I stopped by the booth this year with an incredibly noncommittal,indifferent approach.  As a long suffering European drum enthusiast in the United States, I’m accustomed to disappointment and self imposed sighs.  This year, I found FIRE.  I found INNOVATION,  I found a group of people that share the same passion to improve the lives of the drummers that support them whilst being able to humbly nod to the art deco stylings of the Della Porta ethos.

    At a quick glance, the Lounge series, or the Legend series appear to be a sharp, well made kit in a crowded marketplace.  Upon closer inspection, the similarities end there.  The shells are layed up in a cold press, completely opposite of the majority of other drum makers.  The thicker plies are pressed into a thinner shell that remains a bit undersized, creating the intoxicating stick attack.  The “B” in the British Drum logo is reminiscent of the “P” in the Premier logo and the “B” in the Beverly drum logo.  (Beverly was a lower cost line of Premier drums for a spell, like PDP is to DW).  Like the George Way drums, the lugs have a fresh look with a warming familiarity.  This is not easy to execute, yet they have brilliantly.  The mounting system is VERY good, a no mess, no fuss direct to shell contact that also proves shell to hardware isolation.  Maximum tone, minimal hardware/head change frustration= Happy Shane.

    The Lounge series is the “Club Date” style kit with the round, tubby sound that is popular these days.  The Legend is  10 ply Scandinavian birch that is compressed down to a 6mm shell.  2 ply rings help support the shell, and it’s geared for the drummer who needs articulation.


    The industry is to blame for telling drummers that maple is king.  It’s simply not true.  The Yamaha Recording Custom is birch, and it’s called the “Recording Custom” for good reason; microphones absolutely love birch drums.  For live use, I prefer birch drums because of the clarity they provide to the front of the house.  I never ascended past the small/medium club gigs in my touring days, and the sound systems (and the people operating them) were of varying degrees of quality/ability.  Birch shells made life easier for all of us and the audience had a better sounding band.

    One may say that “There are birch kits for $500, birch must be cheaper!”  It’s important to note that the lower the cost of the drum, the lower quality of the material used.  This does not mean the Mapex Mars or Yamaha Stage Custom is bad, it’s just a different experience.  A professional level Birch drum kit is as good or better than anything out there.  And maple drums, they are great too.  But you know that already.

    Wow - I’m all over the place here.  It’s a five hour flight.

    The Legend series is gorgeous, it’s sharp and microphone ready.  The special edition Etimoe Lounge set was an absolute stunner.  It has the Lounge shells, plus the outer veneer of Wild Etimoe that gave it an upper echelon appeal.  The “Imp” is their Breakbeat/Jungle/Safari/Midtown type kit, but at a pro level.  A quirky kit with a quirky name, I think the Imp is going to be popular.

    The “Duke” Snare drum is so full of snobbery I salivate at the opportunity to get this into my hands so I can learn every stinking bit of awesome about it.  I’ll refrain from the full details here (as I don’t want to mess up) but it has a shell with wood that is older than Stone Henge.


    BDC has the Chrome over Brass “Bluebird” shell which maintains the elegance, the “Big Softy” which has air bubbles in the shell.  The porosity of these shells reduce the attack and bring out the thud.  The “Merlin” snare drum has the opposite approach; multiple plies creating solid crack, and a crisp attack that is favored by rock and funk drummers.  I like the minimal approach to their snare drum program, the 3 drums seem to cover the bases very well.  I’m sure there will be more to come but the core foundation of their lineup is rather steadfast.

    Rack toms on snare stands is very popular these days, but the snare stand can choke the sound of the toms.  British Drum Company has brought these small clips that they call the “Tomspring” that sit on the bottom of the tom,allowing the toms to resonate more freely.  Mark my words, we’ll see no less than four variations by various companies at this time next year.

    I couldn’t help it, I bought the entire British Drum Company booth this year.  All of these are coming to DCP and I can’t wait for people to see them.  I don’t suspect they are going to set the world on fire sales-wise, but to the discerning, discriminating drummer who likes different sounds and experiences, these are a perfect fit; and those are the drummers who happen to be part of our extended Drum Center of Portsmouth family.


    RBH Drums

    I remember the first time I met Bruce Hagwood, owner of RBH Drums, it was his first NAMM show, I believe it was 2010 or 2011.  He chased me down as I walked by and wanted my opinion on his drum shells.  He was aggressive and confident, but humbly eager to know what I thought of his shells.  I’m one of those people that does not like something before I like it; and I wanted to have that approach with Bruce.  Right away I could tell that he knew what he was doing, and he was doing it well.  He made nice shells, I remember making some suggestions (I can’t recall what they were) but I do remember suggesting that pursuing the OEM shell manufacturing route for established brands may be a more fruitful endeavor for him.

    He didn’t listen to me. He wanted a brand, and he hasn’t stopped trying.

    Each year I run into Bruce and his drums look and sound better each time.  He has not given up.  He is determined and I admire that in people.  Playing musical instruments is a romantic, emotional experience, and I’ve long attested that the instruments sound much better when you like the person or people you bought it from.  I liked Bruce from the word ‘go”, I just wanted to feel that his snare drums were prime time.

    They are.  We’re going to get a solid ply Cherry, a Maple, and a Walnut shell, all 6.5x14.  I’m looking forward to putting these on the stands next to the Longo, Noble and Cooley, and Unix drums.  I feel that these will be a good fit and I hope you do too.  Bruce makes lovely 3 ply shells too.

    A&F Drum Company

    We brought A&F drums on late in 2017 and they’ve sold like buttermilk flapjacks.  I have a very weird, almost intimidated feeling about A&F because their equal parts marketing and manufacturing approach is unlike any other drum company I have seen.  I happened to witness the NAMM police shut their booth down for noise violations which essentially closed their business down for the remainder of the day.  Many exhibitors would view this as a death blow, or contest the violation like a Baseball manager hurling sand at an umpire with their foot.  Instead, A&F filmed the shutdown in realtime.  This type of maverick approach is new, and I like that.  Renegade behavior?  I’d say so.  it makes Ronn Dunnett look like Roy Burns by comparison.  For the record, I hope that they, or any other company refrains from using noise violations as a marketing tool, as one of the pitfalls of NAMM is the noise levels.

    While we are on that topic, if you are one of the drummers reading this that happens to attend NAMM and wants to seek an endorsement from one of the companies, getting on a drum kit and showing off your chops at a loud level is NOT the way to do it.  This is actually the worst possible thing you could do.  The company, and the people doing business with them want you to stop.  The best way to seek an endorsement is to understand the levels of endorsements, which is explained very wellin a great doc by Bermuda Schwartz which is on the link below.


    Ok, back on topic.  A&F invited us to their compound the night before NAMM to watch a video which I suspect is out now that illustrates their ethic and practices.  It was very well done and I have a hunch that it will be very effective for them.  I had the same feeling watching this video that I had when I watched the DW American Dream video 20 years ago.  This is a brand that is doing things differently and people are starting to take notice.  The drum sets have explosive, robust tone with unique appointments.  They have a vintage flair.  These drums are not for everyone and I think they like that.  I know I admire the individuality.  We bought nearly every snare drum in their booth and I cannot wait for them to show up.   We had a great time with the A&F family and shared our growing pains stories.  There are many good things to come.

    Dream Cymbals

    I’m no stranger to Dream cymbals, I just haven’t gotten around to bringing them on board here.  Dream cymbals have a great approach; really well made cymbals that cost less and sound great.  I feel the Bliss and Dark Matter series are geared towards finesse type drumming, as they open up easily.  We will all be familiarizing ourselves with their lineup as we get their cymbals in in the coming weeks and they will be going up on the site here.  Watch this space for more!

    Creative Percussion

    No, they didn’t display at the NAMM show, but they are coming on board at the shop and it’s important that I make it known.  Kevin Feeney is one of the most talented innovators I know.  He invents a lot of problem solving products.  We sell his rods that he produces, which are made of superior materials and they last longer.  I’ve tried dozens of his bass drum beater prototypes that are incredible.  He’s got hardware stuff that I’m likely not at liberty to discuss so I won’t, but I’m happy to say we’ll have his rods and the Drum Taco on hand soon.  Kevin is also a New Hampshire local and I’m glad we’re able to finally partner up.

    On-Stage stands

    Ok, perhaps not the most exciting news, but these are popular, affordable mic stands.  These will be arriving very soon.

    Earthworks Microphones

    I did a studio session 20 years ago with Earthworks overheads.  They were awesome then and they are now.  I’m not an audiophile, I simply know what sounds good and what doesn’t.  I can say that Earthworks captures a sound authentically unlike any other microphone I have ever experienced.  It’s dare-I-say perfect.  We brought them on at the end of 2017 and we have the drum packs available here.  We’re going to be moving over to Earthworks for our drum set demos as well.  And have I mentioned they are made in New Hampshire?

    Ok are you still with me here?  Pardon my uber-nerdery.  I just really freaking love this business.

    Drums at the Winter NAMM show - Highlights, notes, mumblings

    One thing is for sure; innovation is driving this industry.  There are a lot of talented people bringing new sounds and new solutions. This year was FULL of them.  Here’s some that come to mind.

    Ufip 1931 cymbals.

    Ufip 1931 Cymbals

    Hands down, my favorite sounding cymbals at the show.  Darker sounds that open up, it’s a new sound for Ufip.  Due to their roto-casting process, they had to make molds just for these cymbals.  We’ve long trumpeted the Experience series Blast crashes, and now they’ve got the extra dry treatment.  They sounded awesome.

    The DW quick release wingnut thingie there. (I forget what it's called)

    Ok, surprisingly, DW doesn’t have a quick release topper yet.  It seems they were waiting until they got it just right.  This is AWESOME.  And then, there’s one with a drum key at the end of it.  When (not if) you lose your drum key, you can simply grab it from the stand.  Bravo, these are great.  As of now, they only work on DW stands.

    Sabian FRX cymbals

    These are very forward thinking cymbals.  I’ve been calling for quieter cymbals for some time now.  As stages shrink, drums are getting smaller and drummers are asked to play more quietly.  We now have cymbals with a 70 or 80 percent noise reduction, why not 30 or 40?  Please note, the FRX are frequency reducing cymbals, not quiet cymbals.  These are designed for what I had mentioned earlier but they are also for churches and other houses of worship that have the sound shields in front of the kit.  It allows the drummer to hit the crash as hard as he or she wants, and certain frequencies are not paralyzing the front of house system.  In order for these cymbals to be appreciated, like anything, they need to be understood.  I tip my hat to the risks Sabian continues to take.

    Check out the Sabian FRX Cymbals in stock!

    Vater Stick Shield

    If you break sticks, you need these.  End of story.

    Big Fat Snare Drum

    Several new items, all doing different things.  Boundless creativity.

    Paiste Swiss Crash 20” and new Masters series cymbals.

    Paiste is the cymbal company that is universally respected by all other cymbal makers and drummers alike. Whether it’s your sound or not, their exacting techniques and demand for excellence is undeniable.

    New Paiste Colorsound Cymbals at the NAMM Show



    Tama is relentless in their pursuit of perfection.  I have such a love affair with the Star series drums, and the Star hardware.  This year, the focus is on the flat based, classic hardware, and the SLP drum sets.  The SLP (Sound Lab Project) has been a wildly successful snare drum program that is about bringing the drummer a well specced drum with a sound required by microphones and audiences alike.  We’ve got all of the kits in now, or they are on order.  My fave?  The fat spruce kit.  It’s a Gretschy vibe with a slightly wider mid range.  There’s also the Club-jam kit, which is also like the Midtown/breakbeat, whatever drum kits out there.  There’s nothing groundbreaking, it’s a different option in a crowded category.  The Superstar kit though is something else.  This is really the first of it’s kind.  I feel it will do really well or it will fall flat on it’s face.  It’s hard to say.  But my heart loves the concept and I think it’s a sign of things to come.  Drummers want more snare sounds.  So why not have more snare drums on your kit?  And for cripes sake, why didn’t I consider this first?  I am the “snare drum guy” aren’t I?

    We have them in stock too, check them out here.

    This kit is inspired by Anika Nilles and Robert “Sput” Searight.  What appears to be a two up, two down kit is a bit deceiving.  The first floor “tom” actually seconds as a snare drum.  You can flip the wires on or off to get a big booty snare sound or turn them off to get the aforementioned floor tom sound.  Tama has also brought out accessory holders that are effective and inexpensive.  You can put a Big Fat Snare Drum on the floor ‘tom’ (or any other drum) and have it be held in place by this mount.

    Tama Star Caramel Olive Burst Drum Set


    Remo Colortone Heads

    Ok, these are not for everyone.  But man do they look cool.  A Colortone head is ideal for an acrylic kit like the Pearl Crystal beat or the Ludwig Vistalite, but they’ll look good on wood drums too.

    Remo Colortone Drum Heads

    Prologix Pads

    There’s a new line with a thuddier, softer feel and it’s awesome.  The first one coming on will be going home with me.  I’ve been using the Blue Lightning pad since Mike Johnston suggested it, and it’s really allowed me to improve my technique, as the pad provides less rebound, and it’s also quieter, so I can have it in the living room and practice and not completely annoy my wife.

    Pro Logix also introduced a practice pad set, where the toms are of different density, what this means is the first rack tom is a tighter feel, and the last floor tom is a more loose feel.  They really nailed this, the feel was spot on.  I predict this technology will spill over into the electronic drum pad world at some point.

    Speaking of Electronic Drums...

    ATV Drums

    I received a quick back story which I’ll likely screw up, so I’ll condense it here briefly.  Essentially, when Mr. Kakehashi, the inventor of the modern drum machine, and founder of Roland, retired at the spry age of 85, he decided to keep going. He hired ex-roland renegades, and now we have ATV drums.  There’s no board or committee, just free thinkers trying to make the best electronic drums.  It’s too early for me to comment on the drums as I didn’t have a lot of time to evaluate them but I will say that the cymbals FEEL great, a sore spot for other E-cymbal makes.  I’m going to be keeping an eye on them.

    Zildjian Sweet Cymbals.

    The 21” Sweet Ride, and the 23” Sweet ride are two of the most popular Zildjian rides that we offer.  It just makes sense that Zildjian makes them darker.  We tested the prototypes of these last year and quickly sold through them.  We also tried some Sweet Cluster Crashes that are not being released for now but will likely be released later.

    We have some Sweet Zildjian Cymbals Here.

    Vic Firth Bass Drum Beater

    This thing looks goofy as all get out but there is a very noticeable difference in the feel.

    Kentville Drum Heads

    I’m afraid these heads are going to create a controversy at first as they are made from Kangaroo hide, so I encourage people to suspend any feelings and read about the process.

    These are coming from Australia so they won’t be inexpensive, but there’s a lot more life for the brush player as there is no coating to come off.


    Are you familiar with Trick?  If not, you should be.  There are knock off companies and then there are knocked off companies.  Trick’s designs are copied and borrowed by so many, yet they are appreciated by so few.  We sell a lot of Trick Hardware but barely any replacement parts.  It’s because the stuff doesn’t break.  Trick hardware and drums are made in the USA out of superior materials.  The Trick Throw off is the most solid, stout, and smooth throw off on the market.  But there’s more…

    Trick snare drums are awesome.  We’ve quietly been selling the copper snares but we’re bringing in more.  There’s an 8x14 Aluminum with a red finish that Chuckie and I both slobbered all over.

    But there were 2 other things I could not over look; the new VMT drum set line, and the pub kick.  The kit sounded so darn good, we bought it.  It’s coming back and we can’t wait.  What is special is that there are some cost-cutting measures (not quality-cutting) employed that allow the price to come down.  So here’s an opportunity to grab a new sound, an all aluminum kit that is made in the USA at a lower price.  What’s not to love?  The pub kick is a nice little 20x4.5” that sounds deep and weighs little.  Grab your snare, and the pub kick, and you’re off!

    Trick Vintage Metal Tone Drum Set

    Dunnett/George Way

    There’s a real push on George Way this year.  The new kits in the new color are just what the doctor ordered.  These are coming with the Dunnett designed and Remo made Res-o-tone  heads, and they are fluffy sounding.  The George Way drum kits are, simply put, foxy.  They seem to motivate people slow down and circle them, as if it’s some sort of pre-historic mating ritual.  I’ve seen it happen with people in the store too.  The new Dunnett R-Class mic mount  is also a crowd pleaser; it allows the drummer to mike their bass drum but not have an ugly bass drum mic stand that is apt to get kicked over by your ego-maniac lead singer, creating a tear in your new $50 bass drum head.

    Dunnett and George Way Drums at NAMM 2018


    Acoutin Snare drums are owned by 6 out of 7 people here at DCP.  That statement alone should say something.  There’s a new all Stainless model that is crisp and cracking.  If you’ve come to love the Acoutin aesthetic, this is a great addition to your collection.


    Keeps getting better.  We snagged the lions share of the snares at the show.  They were gorgeous.  Just gorgeous.

    Hendrix Snare Drums at the NAMM Show


    More Rogers drum parts, like the beavertail lug, and the pedal are now available to order.


    Bill Ludwig is the only Ludwig in the drum business.  After his father sold the company in the early 80’s, Bill stayed on for a few years before departing the business altogether.

    With a new factory in place, WFL has now begun to manufacture drum kits.  We saw the prototype kits at the show and the results are promising.  3 ply Mahogany shells for that “Thwomp” sound.

    WFLIII Drums at the NAMM Show

    Speaking of Ludwig

    Ludwig keeps pushing and pushing.  Many are aware that Ludwig has enjoyed an amazing resurgence in the drum market.  I’ve long said that there were people out there wanting to buy Ludwig, but Ludwig wasn’t giving them any reasons to buy!  A reinvestment in the brand about 9-10 years back was merely a seed that has now sprouted.  Ludwig’s booth was dominant this year.  There are a lot of new finish options and the is Neu-Sonic kit is cool!  Made in the USA and under a grand?  Nice.  The spurs may draw some ire from people.  They work just fine, but they are not very adjustable.  The new Vistalite colors are great too.  The raw brass supraphonic gets my vote as the best for Ludwig though.

    Ludwig Mahogany Club Date at the 2018 Namm Show

    Ludwig Vistalites at the 2018 Namm Show

    Ludwig Mod Orange

    Chuckie has a Jazz gig coming up. This'll do.


    The new Pearl Session Studio Select is my favorite drum set release at the show.  I’ve been asking for Birch/Mahogany shells for a long time.  (I seem to be getting what I ask for!)

    These have the right price, the right finishes, and a free floor tom.  This kit is cooking.  I think it’s going to be big.  Oh, and you probably saw the picture of that double bass CZX inspired Masterworks kit with the power toms.  Yep.  That’s coming back to DCP.

    Pearl Masterworks Double Bass Drum Set

    Pearl Masterworks Double Bass Drum Set

    Pearl Session Studio Select

    Pearl Masterworks Drum Set



    Yamaha was showing the recently released EAD10 which we have featured in the video here.  They also had their new Tour Customs on display.  The TC kits are very impressive, however, 8” toms or 16” floor toms are not available at this time.  I’m hoping that changes.


    I’m polyamorous with drums, however, my heart beats Sonor.  They have a place in my heart, and I just love the sound.  Coincidentally, my favorite band is Iron Maiden.  So having Nicko McBrain’s Sonor SQ2 kit that he used on the Book of Souls tour was quite a moment for this guy.  I was able to catch up with Charlie Charlesworth, Nicko’s tech, who was kind enough to let me up behind the kit at Madison Square Garden a couple of years ago.  Keeping the gold hardware is no easy task and Charlie is a total pro.

    Oh, back to Sonor.  They are launching the AQ2 line, which has higher quality Jungle, Martini, and Safari setups.  I’m eager to get those in. 2 new lush One of a kind snare drums made their debut as well.


    Sonor One of a Kind Snare Drum

    Sonor One of a Kind Snare Drum

    Iron Maiden "The Book of Souls" Sonor SQ2 Drum Set

    Sonor AQ2

    Shane with Charlie Charlesworth, Nicko McBrain's fatigued drum tech.


    Canopus had some some cool stuff this year.  A special finish Zelkova, the only one of it's kind, and some Harvey Mason snare drums too!  They were showing a Jeff Hamilton signature cymbal stand which is like the flat base with a few modern features.


    Mapex showed some new finishes for Armory but the real talk was the Black Panther Design Lab snare drum which are designed and developed by Russ Miller.  Russ is incredibly mindful with design and his Versatus snare drum lived on my stand for a spell.  It’s a darling of a drum.  Now, these design lab snares are Russ really stretching out to create the ideal sound.  We’ll be bringing all of these on board.

    Mapex Black Panther Design Lab Series Snare Drum

    Ok, the plane is descending.  I’d like to say I’ll finish this tomorrow but I’m sure the day to day stuff will prevent that from happening.   I’m sure I left out some stuff so if I failed to mention anything, it’s certainly not out of disrespect.  I feel so charged up and excited; I can’t wait for you all to see what we’ve picked out for the shop.

    2018 is going to be a great year.

    Thank you for spending your drum money with us.




  • William Ludwig III at DCP!

    Without a doubt, if you say the word "Drums" to anyone, the first name that comes to mind for most is "Ludwig."

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