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  • The 10 Best Drum Brands of 2020: The Only Guide and Reviews That You Need 

    Deciding which drum set is the right one for you can be difficult - there are enough options out there to drive you crazy! This is because each brand has different tiers, features, benefits, drawbacks, and more.

    When it comes down to the best drum brand, it's impossible to choose just one. For this reason, we've compiled a list of the ten best drum brands of 2020. From this list, we hope that aspiring drummers and musicians can look through and learn more about each one, consequently decide which brand is best suited for them.

    In this guide, we'll focus on ten brands that we feel have made a name for themselves in the drumming industry. We'll also recommend one kit or set for each brand to give you a feel for what the brand has to offer. However, feel free to browse the DCP website and call to ask questions about any specific kits or drums you find while browsing. We want you to find your perfect drum set and are happy to give you our recommendation.

    Read on to learn about the ten best drum brands of 2020.

    1 Tama

    Like other great drum brands on this list, Tama is headquartered in Japan but has offices around the world. This makes them not only well-known but versatile as a brand. The founder, Hoshino Gakki, started manufacturing drums in 1965. They produce everything from beginner to professional kits, individual drums, and drum hardware.

    Tama is a great brand because many professional drummers use it, and their products reflect that fact. Famous drummers such as Dave Lombardo of Slayer and Lars Ulrich of Metallica have used Tama drums, making it a favorite for experienced drummers and amateurs alike. They sell kits that appeal to all drumming levels and offer users an amazing value for their money.

    One of their best-selling kits is the Tama Imperial Star 6-Piece Kit. It features two-floor toms, two bass drums, a snare, a set of hi-hats, crash cymbals, and a ride cymbal all for an amazingly low price. It's a great price for a kit that can be used for beginners and professionals and has fantastic reviews online. Alongside this there are other high end sets from the Star Series including Starclassic drums in walnut and birch.

    2 DW

    Drum Workshop, also known as DW or DW Drums, is an American drum and drum hardware manufacturing company based out of Oxnard, California. DW is known as one of the classic American-made drum brands. It was founded in 1972, initially to be a teaching studio, but evolved into a primary drum hardware company shortly after. They are endorsed by many artists and bands such as The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and Bon Jovi. Most of DW's drums are custom, but they also sell stock kits and hardware, making them extremely versatile as a brand.

    One of their best affordable drum kits is the Performance Series Drum Kit, which features HVX maple shells and North American maple toms and bass drums. It comes in five lacquer finishes, including red and black transparent lacquers, to show off the wood grain. The hardware is double-braced and not too heavy, making it professional and durable but not impossible to carry around.

    Overall, this kit and others from DW are a little pricey but well worth the money; DW are true professionals in the drum business, and we couldn't recommend them more.

    3 Yamaha

    Although known for more than just instruments, with their brand reaching out to industries such as furniture and motorcycles, Yamaha is a very popular name in the percussion industry.

    In terms of percussion, Yamaha produces everything from drums to pianos and chimes. Based out of Japan, it was established in 1887 by Torakusu Yamaha as a piano and reed organ manufacturer. It has expanded today into the world's largest musical instrument manufacturer and has three main factories located in Japan. The instruments themselves are shipped and used worldwide by millions of musicians.

    DCP has reviewed Yamaha drums before, and since we're the #1 Yamaha drums dealer in the United States, it comes as no surprise that it's so high up on our list. Although the Yamaha stage custom birch 5-piece shell pack is a popular choice and we do recommend it, we're going to talk about the drums from the Absolute Hybrid Maple Set. These have amazing high-quality aluminum die-cast hoops and a hybrid shell design that makes these drums sound aggressive and resonant. Yamaha drums also come standard with a bearing edge shape; this bearing edge optimizes tonal balance and enhances the sound. They're a beautiful choice from Yamaha, and we couldn't recommend this brand more.

    4 Sonor

    Founded in 1875 and headquartered in Bad Berleburg, Germany, Sonor is one of the oldest percussion companies in the world. It is not surprising that their products reflect this experience. Sonor manufactures and sells drums kits and hardware, as well as other forms of percussion such as congas and cymbals. Their drums were known in the past to be extremely heavy, earning them the tagline of "The Rolls of Drums," but as time went on, their drums became more light and slim. Today, they're known as a company that innovates and evolves with the times.

    The German-made Sonor SQ1 Series Drums are all-birch and meticulously built with forward-thinking hardware. It's more affordable than the well-known SQ2, being that it's not custom. However, it's made with Sonos cross lamination tension-free process and comes with their famous TuneSafe system, which prevents tension rods from loosening and offers maximum tuning capability. This set is solid but not heavy, and the hardware is easy to transport. Sonor is known for offering high-end kits at affordable prices, which makes them an excellent brand to check out if you're in the market for a kit.

    5 Pearl

    Pearl is one of the most known names in the percussion instrument and drum industry. Headquartered in Japan, the company is formally known as "Pearl Musical Instrument Company," but since their drums are so widely known and used, they are simply referred to as "Pearl Drums." This nickname is for a good reason: Their drums are one of the most popular used in the United States that it's not usually known that they're headquartered internationally, but they do have facilities in Nashville, Tennessee.

    One of the best-known kits from Pearl is the Export Series. It comes in two versions, the EXX72S, and the EXX725S. Both come with 22" bass drums, but the former comes with 12-, 13-, and 16-inch toms while the latter comes with 10-, 12-, and 16-inch toms. Both include a snare, bass drum pedal, and three cymbals. Both have excellent, sturdy hardware and look professional for a relatively affordable price. Pearl's drums usually come with their Superior Shell Technology, which makes the shells airtight and resonates well, so purchasing from Pearl is a great choice for high-end drum lovers.

    6 Ludwig

    Anyone who knows drums knows the Ludwig brand. Established in 1909, the company produces instruments of all kinds but most notably provides drums and other percussion instruments. Famous drummers from bands such as Aerosmith, The Grateful Dead, and Fleetwood Mac all currently play or have previously played Ludwig drums, making it a favorite of professional drummers. The company was popularized in the United States in the '60s due to an endorsement from the one and only Ringo Starr of The Beatles.

    Ludwig's NeuSonic Series Drum Kit is a brilliant example of this brand's manufacturing. It's lightweight, portable, and perfect for part-timers and touring professionals. It's made of American maple, and its shells are produced from the same molds that are used on their Legacy Classic and Classic Maple series. The shells are also ultra-thin and lightweight but resonate fully. Overall, Ludwig truly shows their high-quality best through this drum kit, and we recommend this drum set (and the Ludwig brand as a whole) very highly.

    7 Gretsch

    Gretsch Drums has been in business since 1883 and was founded by Friedrich Gretsch in Brooklyn, New York. He began by making drums by hand and continued to manufacture them until his son took over the business in 1916. From there, the company grew to become one of the most prominent American musical instrument manufacturers. They make other instruments in addition to drums, such as guitars, basses, and ukuleles.

    Looking for some top-quality Gretsch drums? Our recommendations are the Catalina Maple set or any kit from the Brooklyn series. These kits are high end and beautifully manufactured. From a visual standpoint, the Brooklyn kits come in a variety of colors and finishes, while the Catalina features a walnut glaze, which is warm and looks far more expensive than it is. These drums are reliable, durable, and functional - and that's what's so great about Gretsch drums. The classic company offers a vast range of top-notch kits that provide that unmistakable rich Gretsch sound.

    8 Canopus

    Canopus is a Japan-based company that sells hand-made drums and drum kits, wire, hardware, and other products. Canopus was founded in 1977 by Shinichi Usada and offers drum shells made from unique and the best sounding materials like wood, acrylic, and carbon fiber. Canopus is unique in that it innovated and manufactured the world-famous Zelkova solid shell snare, which is created from a hollowed-out tree trunk.

    We recommend Canopus drums for beginners because many of their kits come with lots of equipment, giving beginners options for customizing their perfect drum set. One of their best drum sets is the Canopus Ash Standard Drumset. It's the house kit usually supplied by many New York City jazz clubs but has superior quality and construction along with brilliant sound and appearance. It comes with a. bass, two toms, a floor toms, and a snare which all feature ash/poplar shells and a black satin finish. These are deep and resonant, and they're perfect for all levels of drummers. Canopus is an amazing brand, and we couldn't recommend them more highly.

    9 Noble & Cooley

    Noble & Cooley was established in 1854 and is based out of Granville, Massachusetts. They carry the title of one of the oldest (and one of the best) drum companies in the United States and are among the oldest drum companies in the world. Noble & Cooley is unique in that they started manufacturing toy drums but soon made their way into the professional drum market. They specialize in snare drums, but they also make whole drum kits as well.

    Noble & Cooley offers a shell pack drum set called the Walnut Classic Series that has a unique shiny wood finish, and we feel that this is truly one of their best drum sets. It comes with bass, four toms, and a matching snare that all have a high-gloss lacquer finish. It's ambient and has great "wow-factor" due to its outward appeal. It has a vintage tone, and the walnut offers a unique, balanced tone with enhanced lows. It can be ordered with several configurations, making it perfectly customizable and great for professionals or amateur drummers. Noble & Cooley is a classic brand, and they know what they're doing, so drums from this brand are bound to be of top-notch quality.

    10 British Drum Company

    As the name suggests, all drums from the British Drum Company are made in Britain., making it one of the best drum brands in the world today. The company was started in 2015 by several award-winning master drum-makers and musicians, including Keith Keough and Ian Matthews of Kasabian. They pride themselves on producing unique British-made drums made of innovative and tonal materials.

    One of our favorite kits from BDC is the Skye Blue 4-Piece Drum Kit, which features an undrilled bass drum, two rack toms, and a floor tom constructed from Scandinavian birch wood. They're all hand-cut and cold-pressed, making the sound amazingly deep. The rest of the drums in their repertoire feature unique materials and hardware seldom seen in other drums on the market, making BDC a truly distinctive drum brand among their competitors and a candidate in the running for best drum brands.

    What To Look For When Choosing A Drum Brand

    There are so many options for drum brands and drum sets that one can get lost in a sea of brand names. Some brands will specialize in hardware while others may specialize in snares. Some drum brands are old and well-known, but that doesn't mean they're the best brand; others may be new, but it doesn't mean they're not experienced. It can be hard to know what to look for when choosing which brand you'll want to use for most of your drum kit, and Drum Center of Portsmouth is here to help.

    Read on to find out what you should be looking for when choosing a drum brand!

    Hardware

    A drum kit is made out of several moving parts, but it can be most generally separated into two components: hardware and instruments. Instruments are the drums, cymbals, and hi-hats, while the hardware is everything that supports or positions them. This includes drum stands, hi-hat stands, tension rods, cymbal stands, rims, mounts, and other parts. It is pretty typical of drum companies to sell hardware included with the instruments themselves, but some companies sell shell packs that do not include hardware.

    When selecting a drum brand, it's important to note if they sell hardware or not. If purchasing a shell pack (drums only), it comes with the assumption that you already have hardware or that you plan on purchasing it elsewhere. Make sure when selecting a drum brand that it specifies whether the drum kits come with hardware and if the company itself sells hardware to go along with their merchandise. If it's not that important to you to get hardware and drums all from the same brand, this may not matter. If you need to stick to one brand, make sure to check!

    Established Year

    As said before, some drum companies are from the mid- to late-1800's while some others were established more recently. Generally, the most experienced drum brands will be the oldest. These companies have seen trends come and go and have manufactured millions of drums as time has gone on. Brands such as Noble & Cooley and Gretsch were started long ago and have manufactured every kind of drum from almost every kind of material possible, so they know what they're doing.

    That isn't to say, however, that the newer drum brands will be inferior. These new drum brands, such as British Drum Company, are started by younger people with no official ties to any traditions to uphold. These companies are often innovative and willing to experiment with materials, setups, and sound. So, in a nutshell, if you prefer a brand that's established and has been doing things the same way for a long time, go for an older brand. If you want a brand that is more likely to innovate and change, go for a younger brand.

    Location

    In terms of location, some brands are based out of a foreign country but distribute from another country. Brands such as the British Drum Company manufacture and make their drums in a foreign country but utilize the benefits of distribution in the U.S.

    However, you don’t need to worry about this when purchasing kits through Drum Center of Portsmouth - we stock brands from all over the world and can deliver all across the U.S. We also offer international shipping. Contact us for more information about delivery if you’re thinking of making a purchase.

    Specialty

    Some brands will specialize in drums themselves. Others will specialize in hardware or something else relating to drums. It's important to purchase from a brand that specializes in what you're looking for. For example, if you're looking for a good drum, perhaps snare drums, in particular, it may be best to look at Noble & Cooley drums since they specialize in snare drums. If you're looking for drum hardware, however, you may look more into DW because they specialize in drum hardware.

    What's Included

    The last thing you should consider when choosing a drum brand is what's typically included in their drum sets. A standard drum set should come with a snare drum, bass drum, and two toms. Some other drum sets will include cymbals or hi-hats, but these don't come standard and are often sold separately. Look for brands that include the cymbals and hi-hats in their kits so that you don't need to look elsewhere for them. In addition (and this goes hand-in-hand with hardware), make sure that if you're looking for drums only, purchase a shell pack. If you're looking for everything included, avoid shell packs and look for a full kit.

    Conclusion

    To conclude, there are tons of factors to consider when looking at different drum brands. You may think that the oldest and most well-known brand is your best bet, but it may seem that the newest and most innovative brand suits your fancy. It may even be that a brand that is relatively old but still evolves with the times ends up being your pick, and you end up only choosing drums and hardware from this company.

    Anyway you swing it, choosing a drum brand to represent you is a difficult choice and shouldn't be taken lightly. We at Drum Center of Portland hope that you've found what you needed from this guide and that you know which drum brand is the best for you. Feel free to send us any questions or comments you may have from this article or anything else from our site!

  • Sabian SR2 Cymbals - ALL The Value

    When it comes to getting the most cymbal for your money, it’s hard to beat Sabian SR2 cymbals. What are Sabian SR2 cymbals? Glad you asked.
  • 5 Rock Ride Cymbals - Choosing The Best For You

    Do you play in a rock band? If so, chances are good you need the correct ride cymbal to keep up with those guitar amps. You’ll want enough ping to be articulate, a bell that will pierce through a Marshall stack, and a crash that drives home a crescendo. At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we specialize in rocking out. We’ve put together a short list of 5 awesome ride cymbals that we think will take your rock to the next level!

    Zildjian K Custom Hybrid Ride Cymbal 21"

    This innovative ride blends the articulate stick response and clear bell sound of the K Custom ride with the crash-ability and wash of a thinner, lathed cymbal. The lathed outer section gives you softer, darker sound while the inner area and the bell produce pronounced, brighter tones.

    Paiste Signature Reflector Bell Ride Cymbal 22"

    Without sounding bias, the Paiste Signature Reflector Bell Ride is probably our favorite rock ride. Ever. It does everything you want a rock ride cymbal to do. Perfect ping, a monsterous bell, and thin enough to produce a musical, yet powerful crash. While the price tag is a little heavy, this may be the only ride you’ll ever need, and in our opinion worth it.

    Sabian HH Raw Bell Dry Ride Cymbal 21"

    With a dark, unlathed raw bell delivering clear, cutting strokes, and ride area putting out crisp responses with the perfect amount of spread, the Sabian 21" HH Raw Bell Dry Ride is designed to deliver at any volume, in any style of music. Sabian introduces HH Remastered - with more hammering, more complexity, and more tone. As a result, HH Rides sound more traditional and complex. Much like a remastered classic album is taken from the great to the sublime, HH Remastered adds complexity and tone to each cymbal, delivering unmatched sonic texture across the entire line.

    Meinl Classics Custom Dark Ride 22”

    This 22" Meinl Classics Custom Dark Ride cymbal is crafted from B10 bronze alloy, and features a unique twist on the traditional design of these cymbals. A special finishing process gives this ride an abundance of complex, dark and warm overtones with as ton of glassy ping. The Classics Custom Dark Ride combines bright attack with an earthy sustain, and a clear cutting bell that will be heard through any mix. You can use this beefy ride for absolutely any style of music that requires strong articulation. We proudly carry Meinl cymbals at the Drum Center of Portsmouth.

    Istanbul Agop Xist Brilliant Raw Ride Cymbal 22"

    When most people think of Istanbul Agop Ride Cymbals, they think big, papery, dark cymbals that are ideal for low volume applications. While that is the case most of the time, the Xist Brilliant Raw Ride Cymbal is one Agop     that you can be comfortable rocking out with. By combining more modern production techniques with traditional cymbal making processes, Istanbul is able to offer professional quality at a price that is accessible to drummers at any level. If you are looking for a distinctive ping, you need to put this one on your list!

    There you go. Five rock rides that we can confidently recommend to any drummer looking to project clear, musical tone. At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we can also help get you fitted with one hundred other ride cymbals that might be just right for your musical situation. Call us at (603) 319-8109, and talk to a real drummer today!

  • New Sabian HHX Cymbals - Thin, Medium, Complex

    After the somewhat controversial rebranding of Sabian, we were very excited to learn that they were cleaning up their HHX line with some new offerings that were straight forward enough for anyone unfamiliar with the brand to understand. We reviewed these 3 new HHX lines: Thin, Medium and Complex in our latest video feature.
  • Tama Star Bubinga Limited Edition Red Viking Drum Set

    Drum Center of Portsmouth is Celebrating our 10th Anniversary with this extremely limited edition Tama Star Bubinga Red Viking Drum Set! We've got the only 3 available in the United States!
  • Pearl DCP 10th Anniversary Sensitone Brass Snare Drum

    In honor of Drum Center of Portsmouth's 10th anniversary, the good folks at Pearl designed a limited edition version of the Beaded Brass Sensitone that features gold-plated lugs, hoops, throw off, and butt. There are a small number of these available, and we don't expect they'll last long, so make sure to get your hands on this limited piece before it's too late!
  • Limited Edition Sonor Cast Bronze Snare Drums at DCP!

    DCP is celebrating our 10th Anniversary with some extremely limited Sonor cast bronze snare drums, reminicient of the HLD-590 and the HLD-596!
  • Ludwig / Noble Cooley Solid Ply Snare Drum - DCP 10th Anniversary Exclusive

    DCP brought together two of the oldest and iconic names in the drum business - Ludwig drums and Noble & Cooley - to bring this special snare drum to the marketplace.
  • 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!

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