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  • Tama Star Bubinga Limited Edition Red Viking Drum Set

    Celebrating The DCP 10th Anniversary With Style

    When it comes to high-end drum sets, you really can’t beat the Tama Star line. The craftsmanship and attention to detail is simply second to none. What could possibly be better than a Tama Star Bubinga Drum Set, you ask?  How about an extremely limited, exotic Tama Star Red Viking kit?

    Drum Center of Portsmouth recently celebrated our 10th year in business.  Many manufacturers from around the world were kind enough to create exclusive, limited edition drums and cymbals to help commemorate this milestone.  Tama handmade a small batch of limited 14x7 Solid Mahogany Star Snare Drums that are absolutely stunning, as well as this Tama Star Bubinga Limited Edition 5pc Drum Set in Exotic Red Viking finish!

    The Return of the Tama Red Viking

    In 2005, Tama released the Limited Edition Starclassic Exotix Red Viking Drum Set.  While it was an incredible sounding, highly collectible kit, we believe that this kit is better in every way. Here are 3 reasons why!

    1) The depths of the toms, snare and kick are more versatile.

    The toms are 10x8 and 12x9, making them responsive and impossibly dynamic. The square sized floor toms (14x14, 16x16) deliver low end with serious sustain. 

    The 22x14 bass drum is, in our opinion, the perfect sized kick to punch you in the chest and get out of the way. The crown jewel 14x6.5 snare drum has an extra ½ inch of depth that makes it exceptionally adaptable to any genre of music you choose.

    2) The Star hardware is more advanced and user friendly.

    We absolutely love the practicality of the quick-release tom and floor tom brackets. The improved Super Resonant Mounting System on the Star line improves sustain and ease of setup over the older Starclassic models.

    3) There are only 3 of these kits available in the United States,

    ...and we have all 3!  These are sure to become some of the most collectible Tama Star Kits ever made.

    DCP is Your Home for Tama Star Drums

    Nobody does high end drums like Tama Star.  Nobody is more knowledgeable about Tama Star than the pros at Drum Center of Portsmouth.  We carry a huge selection of Tama Star Drum Sets and Snare Drums in stock at all times.  If you need advice on building the Tama Star Kit of your dreams, give us a call and we’ll gladly walk you through it!

  • Pearl Masters Maple Gum Drum Set Review

    The Newest Entry in the Pearl Lineup

    In 2017, Pearl’s introduced the Sonic Select Shell Recipe to its Masterworks line. The 6-ply Maple Gum shell configuration was in response to their artists that were asking for a Gretsch-like sound for the recording studio. The classic tone of the Sonic Select shell quickly became a best-seller due to its explosive midrange warmth and extended low-end power. New for 2019, the Studio Recipe will be available for a limited time as Masters Maple/Gum series drums.

    Masterworks-Level Quality at a More Affordable Price

    In order to keep costs down on the Pearl Masters Maple Gum line, options and configurations are relatively limited. Two shell packs are offered in a pre-selected offering of hand-lacquered and wrapped finishes. Masters Maple Gum shells are comprised of vault-cured EvenPly-Six layered premium North American Maple and Gum wood shell with 60-degree edges. Toms and snares feature Mastercast Die-Cast hoops, and Pearl’s CL bridge lugs for reduced shell contact and improved resonance.

    Other desirable hardware touches include Pearl’s Aluminum Opti-Mounts, SP/CW300 spurs, LG200 floor tom legs, and insulated die-cast bass drum claws found on their Reference Series line.

    The Sound

    The Maple Gum shells on this Pearl Masters kit deliver everything you’d expect from the classic formula Gretsch sound with a touch of cut that is decidedly Pearl.

    Fat, woody tone projects from the 60 degree rounded edges that is warm and vibrant. The rounded edges also lend to a good tuning range.  We cranked them up pretty high before they started to choke out.

    If you’re a die-hard Pearl fan looking for the classic tone celebrated by players and engineers alike, the Masters Maple Gum line is a fantastic choice. We just hope you like the limited finishes and configurations that are available! These drums are extremely limited, so get them while you can!

    We are Pearl experts at Drum Center of Portsmouth.  We can help you choose the Pearl Masters, Masterworks, Reference, or Roadshow drum set of your dreams!

  • Pearl DCP 10th Anniversary Sensitone Brass Snare Drum

    The Return Of A Legend

    Over the years, we’ve gotten a lot of inquires about discontinued drums.  At the top of that list is the Pearl Steve Ferrone 14x6.5 Brass Snare drum.  At face value, the Ferrone black nickel over brass snare was little more than a Ludwig Black Beauty clone. Sure, it was gussied up with gold hardware, but was there anything to its sound that made it special?  Absolutely.

    Something about the sum of its parts made the Steve Ferrone Signature model snare a sonic marvel, especially in recording studios.  If you look at any decent sample library, you will find THAT sound. Beautiful mid-range with an unusual amount of low-end made the Ferrone a truly unique snare drum.

    Eventually, Steve moved on to a Gretsch endorsement.  When he did, Gretsch created their own version of the black nickel over brass snare with gold hardware, but to many, it just didn’t have the same x-factor as the Pearl model.  Surprisingly, Pearl abandoned the Ferrone design when he left and enthusiasts were left to scramble for used Ferrone Signature model on the internet...until now!

    The Specs

    If you are looking for a well rounded snare for a variety of musical styles, you can't go wrong with a Pearl Sensitone! This limited edition Pearl 6.5x14 SensiTone Beaded Brass snare drum has a thin 1mm black nickel over brass shell that projects a warm, vintage style tone. This shell is able to sustain its tone thanks to classic gold plated tube lug design, which make minimal contact with the shell. The Gold Pearl SuperHoop II Hoops also give the shell a little extra room to breathe. The Pearl DCP 10th Anniversary Sensitone Brass Snare Drum also comes equipped with a gold-plated Gladstone-style throw off that is durable and highly adjustable.

    Get Them While You Can!

    These legendary recreations are EXTREMELY limited.  Once they’re gone, that’s it. These drums sound amazing, and will be both a versatile workhorse AND a collector’s showpiece!

  • Limited Edition Sonor Cast Bronze Snare Drums at DCP!

    Sonor Cast Bronze Snare Drum - A Renewed Life at Drum Center of Portsmouth!

    The story of this drum forces you to look backwards, to the 1980s to be exact. Sonor offered the cast bronze snare drums in the Signature series, and they were the most highly regarded snare drums of the era. They were offered in two sizes: 14x8 and 14x4. Nowadays, these drums in mint condition easily fetch $4000-$6000. To drum aficionados, these are considered holy grail snare drums.

    All that glitters may as well be bronze....

    Personally, I had 2 qualms with these drums:

    1. The parallel throw-off mechanism, while it was an engineering marvel, was bulky and made it uncomfortable to position on my set. (It also required a custom case for transport.)
    2. It wasn't available in a 6.5" depth.

    In the early 2000s, Sonor began offering the Artist Bronze snare drum, though only in a 6" depth. It also featured Black Nickel hardware, and lacked the German 'hella hoop', which to me was always synonymous with quality and prestige. It's a great drum, but for a Sonor nut like me, it misses a few key points of what make Sonor snare drums truly special.

    I worked with Karl-Heinz Menzel at Sonor Germany on this project. Logistically, projects like this need to start a year in advance, so I was planting the seeds for this concept at our ninth anniversary party. To be honest, when I pitched the idea, the last thing I expected to hear was "yes", but sure enough, Karl agreed to engage in the endeavor. I was stunned, and overjoyed. I committed to 10 pieces each (in 14x6.5 and 14x8) right away, without knowing - or even caring - what the cost would be!

    This is a Truly Special Snare Drum.

    This model features SQ2 lugs, badges, and the dual glide throw-off, plus an additional badge that Sonor will monogram personally for every customer who purchases one! Don't hesitate on this drum. These pieces of history will sell out QUICKLY.

    These will be shipping in the summer of 2019.  We will ship upon arrival.  

    • Limited to TEN Pieces
    • Signature Badge that will be Personally Monogrammed
    • 3mm Cast Bronze Shell With 2mm Dynamic Edge Reinforcement
  • Ludwig / Noble Cooley Solid Ply Snare Drum - DCP 10th Anniversary Exclusive

    This Ludwig Limited Edition Solid Ply Tulipwood Snare Drum is a very special instrument. This is a result of over one year of development and research. This amazing drum is only available at Drum Center of Portsmouth!

    The Ludwig Solid Ply Snare Drum Concept

    Ludwig is the undisputed king of snare drums.  The Ludwig snare drum legacy typically is with their seamless metal snare drums, like the Supraphonic or Black Beauty snares.  Their wood snare drums don't get as much attention despite being very good snare drums.  The void in the Ludwig line is the studio staple; a steam bent, solid ply snare drum that has that growl and body, like the old Slingerland Radio King Snare Drums.

    The Noble & Cooley Solution

    When it comes to steam bending snare drums, Noble & Cooley has likely bent more shells than any other current manufacturer.  As America's oldest drum company, their wood working expertise has yielded some of the most classic snare drum sounds ever laid down on tape.

    When the topic came up for a Ludwig snare drum powered by Noble and Cooley, we decided to try all of their snare drum shells and sent them to Ludwig, who cut the bearing edges and beds, and ultimately concluded that the magic shell was Tulipwood.  When Noble & Cooley was producing drums for the Civil War (!), the shells were made of Tulipwood.

    The Specs

    These gorgeous 14x6.5 solid-ply Tulipwood shells are finished in a Ringo-inspired Golden Slumbers lacquer finish that brings out the subtle grain pattern of the wood.  The hardware features rugged diecast hoops, low mass tube lugs, and a spectacular P88AC throwoff.

    Tremendous care went into every element of this exclusive snare drum, and we believe the result is nothing short of spectacular.

    The Heirloom Snare Drum

    That's exactly what this is, a slice of American drum manufacturing in present day, captured in time.  If we look back at the classic Ludwig Snare drums, especially commemorative ones, it's easy to see that they become highly sought after collector's items.  If you consider the fact that this is a co-op with America's oldest drum company, Noble and Cooley, well, it's safe to say that this is not only an outstanding sounding snare drum, but a great investment piece.  Take care of this drum, and it will take care of you.

  • Pearl Masterworks Stadium Drum Set Review

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

    Pearl Masterworks Stadium Drum Set

    What’s Old is New

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

    Power. Toms.

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

    THICC Maple shells

    Refined Rumble

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

    2.3mm Pearl Super Hoops

    Power vs. Practicality

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

    The perfect Maple snare

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

    Trust Drum Center of Portsmouth for Your Pearl Masterworks Build

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

  • Yamaha Live Custom Hybrid Oak Drum Set Review

    The Ideal Live Sound

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

    The Shells

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

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

    The Hardware

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

    The Finish

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

    The Price

     

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

    Your Home for All Things Yamaha

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

  • The Great Gretsch Drums Shootout

    USA Custom vs. Brooklyn vs. Broadkaster

    Most drummers have heard of “That Great Gretsch Sound”.  Gretsch drums have been producing the most sought after tones for over 135 years.  When many of us think of the classic Gretsch sound, we immediately think of the Gretsch USA Custom line.  However, Gretsch has 2 other high-end offerings that are also handmade in their Ridgeland, SC factory.

    Once again, we’ve put together the most comprehensive shootout video on the internet to help you decide which Gretsch kit is perfect for you!

    Part One: Downbeat Configuration - 12/14/20/14x5.5

     

    Part Two: Bop Kits - 12/14/18/14x5.5

     

    Part Three: Rock Configuration - 12/16/22/14x6.5

     

    Part Four: BIG Rock Configuration - 13/16/24/14x6.5

     

    Gretsch Broadkaster

    From the 1920s through the 1950s, Gretsch flagship drum set was the legendary Broadkaster Series. The thin, three-ply shell produced that original "Great Gretsch Sound". Drum Center of Portsmouth was influential in the prototyping of the Gretsch Broadkaster, when we visited the folks at Gretsch and discussed the possibility of a relaunch of the classic line.

    These new classic Broadkaster shells are made with a North American maple/poplar/maple formula. Each 6.7mm shell includes an interior-ply scarf joint that adds structural integrity to the thin, musical shells. Like all USA-made Gretsch drums, shell interiors are finished with classic Gretsch Silver Sealer. The bearing edges are an exclusive reverse roundover, which allows greater surface contact with the drumhead. Toms are outfitted with Gretsch's "302" 3.0mm, double flanged steel hoops. The result is tone that is incredibly deep and warm, or "That Great Gretsch Sound."

    Gretsch Brooklyn

    Gretsch Brooklyn Series drums are proudly hand-crafted in their Ridgeland, SC, USA factory. This 4-piece shell pack produces a tone that is immediately recognizable, yet distinctively reinvented.

    Brooklyn drums feature 6-ply North American maple/poplar shells and are slightly thicker than Gretsch's USA Custom Drums and have a 30-degree bearing edge. The inside of these shells are finished with Gretsch Silver Sealer. Each shell comes with a distinctive Brooklyn internal shell label that identifies the drum shell model number and serial number. The toms feature classic 3mm, double flanged Gretsch "302" hoops. Brooklyn delivers classic Gretsch tones that are full, punchy and warm, yet slightly more open and satisfyingly ambient. If the USA Custom line isn't quite your cup of tea, give the Brooklyn Series a shot.

    Gretsch USA Custom

    For over 65 years, Gretsch USA Custom Round Badge drums have been the classic American drum sound. At the heart of "That Great Gretsch Sound" is the legendary 6-ply maple/gum shell with its expertly formed 30-degree bearing edge, the exclusive "Silver Sealer" interior finish and rugged die cast hoops. These custom drums are handmade in Ridgeland, South Carolina using the highest quality traditional finishing techniques. You simply won't find a higher quality drum than a Gretsch USA Custom.

    The Verdict

    “That Great Gretsch Sound” is inherent in all 3 USA-made offerings.  The differences in sound are subtle across each line despite pretty big differences in shell composition.  “That” sound is a woody, shell heavy and articulate tone that makes itself known and gets right out of the way.  These drums are incredibly musical and sit perfectly in any mix. It’s these qualities that make Gretsch drums so desirable in a studio recording environment, as well small coffee houses and the big stage.

    Drum Center of Portsmouth is your home for Gretsch Drums

    Here at Drum Center of Portsmouth, we know that great Gretsch sound. Many of us own at least one Gretsch kit, and can help you identify the drum set that is perfect for YOUR needs.  Give us a call at (603)319-8109 today to find the USA Gretsch Drums of your dreams!

  • 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!

  • Pearl Masterworks Drum Set Review

    Pearl Masterworks - The Flagship Luxury Drum Line

    Pearl Masterworks Drums are the pinnacle of Pearl R&D.  While many drum makers offer custom drums,  Masterworks drum sets are a timeless heirloom crafted to elevate the custom drum concept to a whole new level.  We decided to take the plunge on an exceptionally elegant 4 piece rock kit with Nickel hardware in our latest video review.

    Massive Sound with Pristine Elegance

    This magnificent Masterworks kit is a bit of a contradiction.  The specs say brash rock and roll, but the attention to detail is that of fine furniture.  The kick drum is 24x14 and delivers an immediate low end punch that hits you in the chest.  The mount-less 13x9 rack tom features single point STL lugs that allow for smooth resonance.  Rounding out the set are two boomy floor toms - a 16x16 and a massive 18x16.  The 18 inch floor tom is one of the most impressive sounding drums we have ever experienced.  Period.

    Endless Exotic Shell Construction Options

    What makes the Pearl Masterworks line of custom drums so custom is the shell configuration options.  Choose from Maple, Birch, African Mahogany, Gumwood, or even create your own Composite Shells.  Shell thickness options include THIN (4-ply, 5mm w/ 4-ply Reinforcement Rings), MEDIUM (6-ply, 7.5mm), and THICK (8-ply, 10mm and 10-ply, 12.5mm).

    Pearl offers seven Artisan Exotic veneers: Cameroon Tamo, Black Limba, Flame Maple African, Zebrawood, Bubinga, Eucalyptus, and Carbonply.  They don't stop there.  They also offer a choice of interiors - Artisan Veneers, Fiberglass, and CarbonPly.

    Our Masterworks review kit is comprised of 2 plys of highly figured Tamo Ash inside and out over inner core plies of Mahogany.  This results in a truly unique sound that blends warm, round tone with immediate stick attack.  The thin shells with Mastercast hoops give this kit a sound that is similar to a Gretsch USA kit with slightly more attack.

    We Are an Authorized Pearl Masterworks Concierge Dealer

    At DCP, we are an Authorized Pearl Masterworks Concierge Dealer, that's a fancy way of saying that we can give you your best deal on the custom Masterworks drum set of your dreams.  Whether you're looking for one of their Sonic-Select Shell Recipes, or something from your own design, Drum Center of Portsmouth is your home for Pearl Masterworks drum sets!

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