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!
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 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.
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.
“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.
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!
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.
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:
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The public has spoken as well.The response I’ve received and the responses I've witnessed on this logo has been overwhelmingly negative.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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!
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.
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 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!
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 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.
We picked a couple of gorgeous pieces up that I’m eager to get my hands on.
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 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.
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.
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.
Enjoy our full Winter NAMM 2019 photo gallery HERE!
Get a glimpse of our crazy Black Friday Deals by visiting the page now. What you see now is regular pricing. Come back on Black Friday to get INSANE pricing!
First come, first serve. When they are gone - they're gone!
Just to clarify - what you see now is normal pricing. Come back on Black Friday (or perhaps a little earlier) to see the killer deals!
Also, visit our deals page to save up to 70% off list NOW - while it lasts!
If you don't see something there that you like, we are having our now famous event in store and on Facebook!
Turkey is a Thanksgiving Day tradition in the USA. Coincidentally, just like a drummer, turkeys come with two drum sticks. As you go about celebrating Thanksgiving, post a picture of yourself feasting on a drum stick (the turkey kind!) on our Facebook page and we will give you a free pair of drum sticks with your next order, regardless of size. The choice of drum sticks is up to you... Vic Firth, Vater, Pro Mark, Zildjian. You name it, if we've got it, a pair will be yours for free!
We have three cool ways for you to save anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars on Black Friday. We think that our offers are among the most unique out there, and we hope you agree! Here are the three ways you can save big on Friday!
1) Stop by the shop on Friday wearing black and we will give you 15% off the regular price of anything in the store.*
2) If you cannot make it to the shop, or you are not in the Portsmouth area, post a photo (video is better!) of yourself wearing black with a sign or note saying something to the effect of "I love DCP" on our Facebook page and we'll give you 15% off the regular price of anything we've got. Please note you'll need to call or email to receive the discount.
3) Don't have black clothing? Can't post to Facebook? No worries, we've got you covered. We'll give you 15% off anything in the store that is either black or has the word "black" as a part of the product name, or if you bring some non-perishable canned food that we can donate on your behalf to the local food pantry. Just stop by the shop or give us a call and we'll take care of you.
BONUS: We'll offer an additional 5% off any order (including the above promotions) if you post a video of yourself doing a Johnny Cash cover to our Facebook page... acoustic guitar, spoken word, full band, karaoke-style dub / voice-over, you name it. Knock out a short video and save even more!
NOTE: The main three promotions cannot be combined. You may only combine the bonus 5% off with one of the "big 3." This also does not apply to used/clearance/consignment items.
GOLD FRIDAY - The George Way Way!
Here's an all week special on George Way Drums: All Way Gold Drums get a $100 rebate after checkout! Example drum is here and here. (5.5x14 also available, just reach out for details)
Also, if you buy a George Way Drum Set this week, you will receive a FREE Way Gold Snare Drum, which will be sent following the drum set.**
* Restrictions apply. Used, consignments, and certain brands are exempt from this promotion. Contact us for details.
** Snare drum will be sent at a later date.
It goes without saying that Roland is the leader in the world of Electronic Drums. If you spoken to us before, we've been rather black and white about our feelings on V-Drums and E-drums. Our typical answer has always been "There's Roland, there's Yamaha, then there's everybody else."
It's not that simple anymore. ATV drums have made a BIG splash here at DCP, and their momentum continues to grow. Yamaha has been steady for us from the word go, and Pearl's Mimic Module is hard to keep on the shelves here. The E-drum world continues to grow, but there can only be one leader, and that leader is Roland.
I sold Roland for a number of years before DCP, and went to Roland US in 2004 for training. ( I have a picture somewhere...)
I'm very familiar with the architecture of Roland's V-Drum Sets and Sampling Pads, but I'll certainly be needing a refresh as the boxes continue to arrive here at Drum Center of Portsmouth.
It's a natural evolution for us: in our old location, we barely had room for Electronic drum sets. Then, the new Drum Center of Portsmouth opened in 2017, and now that we've passed that one year mark, we've learned something:
You have made it clear: E-drums, or V-drums, are not going away. And you're looking for a place where you can talk to experts who can help you.
This aligns perfectly with our mission statement:
We want to help you make the right choice. To do that, we've made a major commitment to stock a wide array of Roland V-Drums products, such as the TD-50, TD-30,TD-25, TD-17,TD-11,TD-4, and TD-1 V-Drums Sets.
Standard fare such as the SPD-SX, SPD-1, and the legendary OctaPad are already in stock.
Add on Roland Triggers, Pads, replacement mesh heads, and cables are also on the menu and ready to fly.
We will continue to stock and service the brands we've carried, we will now be able to provide another option for you.
We'd like to give a sincere thank you for spending your drum money with us. We hope to provide you with many years of good service and pricing on your Roland, and other products that we offer here at Drum Center of Portsmouth.
Jazz. It’s one of America’s original art forms and provides the soundtrack for your Sunday brunch. The anchor of any good Jazz trio is the bop kit drum set. Just like the eggs in your Sunday brunch, there are many ways to make a bop kit. We chose three magnificent maple bop kits from three different manufacturers to compare their discernable differences. Our “Bop Kit Battle” participants are the Sonor SQ2, Canopus RFM and the Ludwig Classic Maple Jazzette.
For this comparison, we chose three maple kits in “standard” bop configuration. Each kit consisted of a 12-inch rack tom, 14-inch floor tom and an 18-inch kick drum. The depths of the drums were also standard, except for the Canopus and its 13-inch deep floor tom.
Accenting these three gorgeous kits were some seriously high end Paiste cymbals. The hi-hats we selected were some genre-appropriate 15” 602 Modern Essentials. The crash cymbal was a luxurious 20-inch Signature Traditionals Light Crash, and the ride was a 22” Masters Dry. For a comparison this classy, we needed an extraordinary snare drum. After much deliberation, we decided on the Schagerl Anteres Brass 14x6.5 snare drum with Black Hardware.
The first kit we set up was the Canopus RFM in a Bitter Brown Oil finish. Canopus drums are a staff favorite at Drum Center of Portsmouth. They are a boutique-level brand that is devoted to the science of their sound. They build their drums from scratch, and spend an obsessive amount of their resources on R&D. Canopus has a drum line for every conceivable genre of musician, and their RFM Bop Kit was a joy to experience.
The 12-inch tom uses a RIMS style mount, and their proprietary low-profile solid lugs are very sleek. Their Bolt-Tight leather washers are a small but ingenious addition that help keep the kit in tune throughout your gig.
RFM shells have a relatively vintage vibe to them, as they are thin and sport reinforcement rings. They arrive from the factory with Remo coated Ambassadors on both the top and bottom, giving them a focused, slightly drier tone. The low end is prominent when tuned low, and they have clean, crisp tone when tuned up high.
The Canopus RFM kit falls right in the middle of the three kits, pricewise. You get a ton of value for your money with this kit.
The second kit we put through its paces was the Sonor SQ2 Maple in Rosewood High Gloss. The SQ2 line is completely customizable from shells to finish. We ordered this one with thin maple toms and a medium maple kick. Each drum also boasts a classy Rosewood interior veneer. We were extremely excited to unbox this high-end bop kit and couldn’t wait to lay into it.
From an aesthetic point of view, it doesn’t get much better than an SQ2. The attention to detail by Sonor’s craftsmen is arguably the best in the industry. Once you realize that the drums perform as good as they look, there’s no going back.
Their mounting hardware is rock solid and allows for maximum resonance, along with optimal maneuverability. The shells are undersized by 12mm, which give them a bright, modern attack that is undeniably the “Sonor sound”. Notes are clear and defined, regardless of tuning. Playing an SQ2 is just fun. The response and feel you get behind the kit is a truly unique experience.
The final participant in our maple bop kit shootout was the Ludwig Jazzette Classic Maple in Vintage Blue Oyster Wrap. Ludwig has a huge following and is steeped in American musical history. Many people are aware of their significant presence in Rock n’ Roll with their huge, wide open sound. So, how do the Classic Maple shells hold up in a bop setting?
The 12-inch rack tom sports the straightforward Atlas mount for a quick, easy setup and good resonance. The classic lugs along with the eye-catching Vintage Blue Oyster wrap has turned many heads here at DCP since its arrival.
Not surprisingly, the Ludwig Jazzette kept right up with its higher-priced competitors with ease. The Classic Maple shells are built to the toughest standards in the industry. Like Sonor, they undersize their shells, which gives you a little extra response and feel. Shells tune up quickly and easily and produce a warm, round tone that is noticeably balanced. We especially enjoyed the musicality of the bass drum, which was tonally distinguishable in comparison to the previous kits.
The idea behind this comparison was to highlight three flavors of maple bop kits that might not be on every drummer’s radar. Despite their base-level similarities, each kit managed to distinguish itself visually and sonically.
The RFM had a unique tone with a slick, vintage vibe that would easily hold its own in any trio. Canopus makes an incredible instrument and may be the best manufacturer you’ve never heard of. At Drum Center of Portsmouth we like to say that people who know drums, know Canopus. If you aren’t familiar, you should definitely get acquainted!
The SQ2 gave us everything we expected from an ultra high-end, custom drum set. Flawless tone. Gorgeous finish. Practical, sturdy hardware. You pay a premium when you choose a Sonor SQ2, but you know exactly where your money has gone once you sit behind your instrument.
Ludwig’s Jazzette kit performed well above its price tag. It’s can be argued that the sound you get from the Classic Maple shells is preferable to that of a kit costing twice as much. Great looks, practical hardware and distinguished tone make this kit an undeniable value.
(November 30, 1935-May 2, 2018)
A note from Shane:
Roy Burns was one of the first guys that was truly nice to me when I was brand new in this business. He loved to pick up the phone and talk about the latest breakthrough he'd had with Aquarian Drumheads. And he always had them. He never stopped trying to better his craft or himself. Over the years, the phone calls never slowed down. I'm not that special, Roy was like this with everyone. He worked his tail off and truly valued relationships. He understood how powerful they are, and because of it, he was able to carve out a niche in a nearly impenetrable Drum Head market. This all happened when he was supposed to retire! After being the very first drum clinician, and making a living as a professional drummer, he found himself starting Aquarian in 1980 and never looked back.
Our industry is full of extraordinary people. Roy was at the top of this list. I am so grateful to have had a relationship with him. I learned a lot. Thank you Roy.
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