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Drum Center Portsmouth News Hub

  • 10 Drummers Who Notoriously Have Awesome Drum Sets


    The beat of a drum gives the heartbeat and pulse of so many of the best songs in the world.

    Whether the drummer was giving heavy-hitting beats or a smooth ensemble, their work is critical to a band or song’s success. Behind their legends are the drum sets that made their product possible.

    With a combination of skill and technological innovation, these drummers built amazing sets responsible for great music. Their drum sets were their armor and weapon all at once, capable of delivering a rhythmic victory as they pound away.

    Ready to be inspired by these drummers and their awesome drum sets?

    Gene Krupa

    No list of drummers would be complete if it didn’t give a nod to the pioneer of drumming as we know it. Krupa was responsible for essentially standardizing the modern drum kit – including using a kick drum and double-sided toms. He became a household name that inspired many in the generations to come to start drumming. His music came to life in a combination of Slingerland and the cymbal maker Armand Zildjian. The outcome was a powerful melody to set future standards. He produced a lot of jazz with swing influences, as well as introducing athleticism and creativity, which would later be influential on the drummers of rock’n’roll.

    Ringo Starr

    Part of the legendary Beatles, no one can inspire quite like Ringo Starr. His skills and understanding of rhythm remain unmatched. He would hit the stage with his Ludwig Downbeat Kit in signature Oyster Black Pearl. With ‘The Beatles’ emblazoned on the front bass, he created a visual anchor on the musical setup of the band. He and his drum set went far in creating the look and appearance of the modern drummer.

    John Bonham

    Larger-than-life drummer John Bonham left a lasting impression on the modern drumming community. He reigned as a superior drummer in the 1970s as Led Zeppelin’s drummer. He created a super-cool Ludwig Amber Vistalite kit and produced heavy-hitting, high-speed sounds on all the songs. His music is hard to imitate and remains legendary.

    Keith Moon

    The Who hit American rock’n’roll with a bang. Keith Moon continued this explosion when he literally blew up his drum kit on live TV. He is known for his off-stage antics and massive 7-piece birch Premier drum kit. This was featured in the “Pictures of Lily” in an unforgettable shade of pink. Even after blowing this kit up in 1967, Moon continued to use Premier drum kits until his death in 1978. He was very experimental for his time, being one of the first to use a double-bass kit.

    Neal Peart

    Peart became the drummer for Rush in 1974 and immediately set about creating a progressive rock sound for the band. He is well known for the intensely orchestrated drum parts he weaves into the constantly changing musical compositions. Over the years, he perfected a kit like no other. Sporting more than thirty pieces, he is a one-man orchestra behind the drum set. He carefully collaborated with manufacturers to create the drum set and unique sound he brought to Rush.

    Ginger Baker

    Another drumming revolutionary, this Cream band member brought jazz-influence with a rock feel. He had a huge sound and flamboyant persona to match. He is another progressive starter of the double kick drums. His Ludwig Silver Sparkle kit brought 22-inch and 20-inch kick drums with 14- and 16- inch toms as he wove a progressively rhythmic sound into his music. His music had a heavy African influence as he spent several years living in Nigeria, giving him an understanding of African beat few possess outside of the continent.

    Hal Blaine

    Hal Blaine is a staple in the Hollywood music industry, having recorded with many legendary performers of his time, including Elvis, Frank Sinatra, and the Beach Boys. He is the most recorded drummer in history – losing count after 35,000 sessions. In that mix included 150 top ten hits and 40 number one hits. His talent behind the drum set lies in his adaptability – as evidenced by the wide variety of musicians he recorded with. His kit is legendary – a combination between a Ludwig Classic Blue Sparkle and a mix of single-headed fiberglass concert toms.

    Mitch Mitchell

    The Jimi Hendrix Experience would not have been complete without this iconic drummer – who won the job via a coin toss against Aynsley Dunbar. He brought a fusion between jazz and ferocious riffs that were influential behind the shred of Hendrix’s guitar. As part of the Hendrix power trio, he supplied a certain level of improvisation. He could bring a heavy groove capable of flowing as a structured counterpoint to Hendrix’s guitar.

    Tommy Ramone

    The Ramones have a decidedly punk rock sound aided by the rocket-power drumming speed of Tommy Ramone. The entire band blended great songs with electric guitars and lighting-level drumming. Ramone started out as one of the engineers behind Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys album before diving into rock fame with The Ramones. He was well known not just for an all-white Rogers drum kit, but also for his signature black sunglasses and black leather jacket. His recorded performances almost didn’t do justice to his unrivaled live performances – especially the legendary Live at the Rainbow NYE 1977 performance. He is an unreal drummer in terms of speed and precision.

    Elvin Jones

    This man provided a signature musical force behind some of the great jazz musicians – like Miles Davis and John Coltrane. His music and drumming style was unique, expressive, and powerful. He utilized smaller 18-inch kick drum, as well at Gretsch drums and the Zildjian K-series cymbals. The result was a unique sound – particularly influenced by his use of cymbals. He produced a sound akin to ocean waves while never losing time or rhythm.

    The list of drummers and their sets could go on – but this list of influential drummers is a solid start. From the early days of Gene Krupa to more contemporary names, there’s been a lot of influence and change in the drumming community. Many of these drummers drew inspiration from the sounds created by the artists before them. If you are feeling inspired and ready to build your own notoriously awesome drum set, check out our Drum Sets and get started today!

  • Sonor Snare Drum Shootout!

    150 Years of German Precision

    Nothing sounds like a Sonor snare drum.  For nearly 150 years, Sonor has been crafting some of the finest percussion instruments available.  If you ask anyone at the shop what their go to sound is, many of us will say it's Sonor.  Most of us own (at least) one Sonor.

    What makes Sonor Snare Drums so unique?  To start, they hand craft their high end lines the way they have been doing for decades.  Unique shell construction using proprietary molds produce slightly undersized shells.  This allows for the drum head to float on the bearing edge, yielding greater resonance and sensitivity.  Sonor snare drums have an incredible dynamic range.  At the slightest touch the drums open up and produce clear tone.  The high quality components and gorgeous finish options make these drums as beautiful to look at as they are to play.


    Sonor SQ2 Beech Snare Drum 13x5.5 Birdseye Maple

    This handsome little guy features a heavy beech shell that projects crisp, clear tone.  It has beautiful birdseye gloss veneer on the outside, and a matching veneer inside!  18-Strand steel wires and 2.3mm Power Hoops allow the beefy shell to breathe and articulate.

    Sonor SQ2 Maple Snare Drum 13x7 Scandinavian Birch w/ Gold Hardware

    Our next SQ2 snare drum is quite stunning with its eye-catching gold hardware.  The versatile 13x7 heavy maple shell packs a a ton of powerful pop with some serious mid range tone.  With matching Scandinavian Birch veneers inside and out, this is one of the most beautiful examples of SQ2 craftsmanship you'll find.

    Sonor One Of A Kind Maple/Beech Snare Drum 13x7 Mango

    This 9-ply, 7mm maple/beech blended shell is veneered inside and out with a ply of elegant vertical mango wood. Combine this deep, thin shell with triple flanged hoops, 45 degree bearing edges, precision snare beds, and Dual Glide Strainer, and you have a staggeringly dynamic, world-class instrument that sounds as good as it looks. Seriously, the level of detail on the badge alone will blow your mind. Just 99 of these were produced worldwide, and they come with a luxurious custom Hardcase and "Welcome Box". It takes a lot to stand out on the Drum Center of Portsmouth showroom floor, and these immaculate instruments might just be the crown jewel in our collection!

    Sonor Phonic Reissue Beech Snare Drum 14x5.75 Rosewood

    Sonor Phonic reissue snare drums are faithful recreations of the legendary Sonor beech shell snare drums of yesteryear. Boasting a 14x5.75, 12-ply beech shell with a rosewood gloss veneer, this snare drum is meant to stand out both sonically and visually! The beech shell provides a sound that is classic Sonor; balanced and versatile, with a warm low-mid body and controlled overtones. Ten Phonic lugs, German die cast hoops, slotted rods, classic Phonic strainer, and 20-strand steel wires round out the vintage experience this drum offers. Get your hands on one of these beautiful Sonor Phonic drums at Drum Center of Portsmouth today!

    Sonor SQ2 Heavy Maple Snare Drum 14x6 Ebony Gloss

    This 14x6 combines many of our favorite Sonor specs into one beefy drum.  A heavy maple shell, ebony gloss veneer, and the fattest diecast hoops in the industry makes this drum visually and sonically stunning.  With articulation and volume to spare, this may be the only snare drum you'll ever need.

    Sonor SQ2 Maple Snare Drum 14x6.5 Signal Grey

    This Medium Maple Sonor SQ2 Snare drum is a well-rounded workhorse.  We ordered this Signal Grey lacquer finish from their RAL color options list.  Man, were we pleased when we saw it in person.  This drum features triple flanged hoops and 24-strand steel wires that give it extra sensitivity.

    Sonor Phonic Reissue Beech Snare Drum 14x6.5 Mahogany

    This Phonic Reissue has a 14x6.5, 9-ply beech shell with a mahogany veneer in matte finish.  Like the 5.75 we tested earlier, the beech shell projects a sound with drier body and balanced overtones. Ten Phonic lugs, German die cast hoops, slotted rods, classic Phonic strainer, and 20-strand steel wires round out the vintage experience this drum offers.  This may be our favorite recorded sound from the video.

    Sonor SQ2 Beech Snare Drum 14x8 Gloss Rosewood

    We saved the biggest, and possibly best, for last.  A few of us have owned some version of this 14x8 heavy beech shell.  It simply has all the low end tone and beefy projection you could ask for, along with surprising sensitivity.  This particular Sonor SQ2 has an immaculate Gloss Rosewood finish on the exterior along with a matching matte veneer inside!  Diecast hoops and 24-strand steel wires round out this monstrous beauty.

    Drum Center of Portsmouth has YOUR Sonor Waiting for You!

    We know Sonor drums, and we carry a massive selection in stock at all times.  If you are looking for a German engineered instrument that will do it all, look no further than Sonor.  Get it from the pros at Drum Center of Portsmouth!

  • Tama Star Snare Drums Shootout

    Boutique Quality Snares from the Strongest Name in Drums

    Tama Star snare drums are ultra-high end snare drums that focus on sound first. Unlike many "boutique" snare drum builders that focus on aesthetics, Tama Star snare drums are built to achieve an optimal tone. Simply put, any furniture maker can build a beautiful drum. At the end of the day it's sound that is most important.

    That's not to say Tama Star snare drums aren't beautiful, because they are. No drum manufacturer pays more attention to detail than Tama. Their flagship Star lineup sets the standard by which all others are currently measured in the industry. We tested 10 gorgeous Tama Star snare drums head to head in our most recent video.

    Tama Star Bubinga Snare Drum Dark Red Cordia

    If you ask around the shop what the best looking Tama Star finish is, many of us will tell you it's the Star Bubinga Dark Red Cordia. From the flawless outer finish, to the immaculate shell construction, this snare drum is an absolute dime-piece.

    It sounds as good as it looks. We tested a 14x6.5 and a 14x5.5 model, and neither disappointed. Both deliver immediate low end with a sharp, yet not harsh attack. Tama has a way with Bubinga that exploits the best qualities while minimizing the troublesome ones.

    Tama Star Reserve Bubinga/Walnut Snare Drum 14x6.5

    The Tama Star Reserve Bubinga Walnut Snare Drum also yields an extremely sharp cut and projection. The hybrid shell of Bubinga and Walnut with Maple Sound Focus Rings creates a solid, clear tone with all the resonance you could ask for. The beautiful Claro Walnut exterior ply lacquered in black see-through gloss adds to the elegance of the snare drum. It also features Sound Arc Hoop and STAR Tube Lugs with lug nuts for accurate tuning.

    Tama Star Maple Snare Drum 14x6.5 Gloss Sycamore

    Referred to here at the shop as a "Modern Day Radio King", the Tama Star Maple snare drum is a winning combination of vintage sound and modern features. Although they feature one of the most popular and traditional drum shell materials, Star Maple drums have some unique hidden features that set them apart from the rest. The thin 5 ply, 5mm shells are comprised of a 2mm thick solid wood core ply between 1.5mm thick plies. Traditional Maple shells generally sound bright and open. This Star Maple snare drum has those characteristics, but with rich dynamics. The concept is similar to other solid shell drums, but thinner by comparison.

    Tama Star Maple Snare Drum 14x5.5 Smoky Black

    The single-ply Tama Star Maple snare drum in Smoky Black finish may have been the biggest surprise of the day. We've played a ton of solid shell maple snare drums over the years, so we had our preconceived notion of what it was going to sound like.

    We're not sure how, but this single ply snare drum spoke with overwhelming brightness and clarity. No matter how we tuned it, this beauty retained its body and tone. Watch the video and hear it for yourself!

    Tama Star Reserve Hand Hammered Copper Snare Drum 14x6.5

    The only metal snare drum we tested in this Tama Star snare drum shootout was the Reserve Hand Hammered Copper. The series' first metal snare features a hand hammered copper shell. With mid-low end and tons of volume, the hand hammered shell creates a deeply harmonic overtone. A slightly smaller diameter hammer is used on the edge of the shell compared with the hammer that is used on the center. This gives the shell a unique barrel shape that lends to the special tone it produces.

    To complement the shell, Tama added customized 2.3mm brass flanged hoops. The edge of each hoop is slightly shaved down compared to a standard flanged hoop, yielding a sharp, bright attack. The combination of warm, rich resonance with sharp, bright attack offers an original sound that we think you'll love!

    Tama Star Reserve Maple/Bubinga Snare Drum 15x8 Caramel Olive Ash Burst

    It can be an extremely gratifying sensation to discover a special snare drum that brings a newfound creativity to your playing. All of a sudden, your go-to phrasing is out the window and you're heading down a new path. We feel this is exactly what Tama has accomplished with the beastly 15x8 Star Reserve snare drum.

    Its combination of Bubinga/Maple hybrid shell and Brass Mighty hoops provides a huge backbeat. However, it still manages to maintain a great balance of low and high end frequencies. No matter how you tune this drum, its presence is clearly heard and felt. Tuned low, the drum functions wonderfully as a ballad snare with the snare wires engaged. With the wires off, it can double as a floor tom - giving it surprising versatility.

    Tama Star Solid Maple Reserve Snare Drum 14x5 Oiled Natural Maple

    The 1st model of the Star Reserve snare series was developed to attain unparalleled sensitivity and response for drummers. Tama combined a solid maple shell with a slightly sharper Starclassic bearing edge and Brass Sound Arc hoops. The result is an ultra-sensitive, clear, and bright tone. It also features Tama's unique STAR Tube Lugs with lug nuts for articulate tuning. Supersensitive Hi-Carbon Snare Wires feature a thin brass plate and softer hi-carbon coils that respond to even the softest touch of the batter head.  This Tama Star Reserve in Oiled Maple is an understated instrument that just oozes class and sophistication.

    Tama Star Walnut Snare Drum 14x6.5 Red Burgundy

    Star Walnut drums are intriguing to us at Drum Center of Portsmouth.  While they are the most "affordable" Star offering, to some, they are the best sounding.  This Tama Star Walnut snare drum was no exception.  When you watch the video, we think you'll find the Walnut's tone will stand out the most.

    As with their Star Bubinga shells, Tama seems to bring out the best qualities of Walnut.  This snare just seemed to have a warmer, fatter projection than most other Walnut drums on the market.  This snare drum comes highly recommended.

    Tama Star Snare Drum Zebrawood 14x6

    Finally, we put the Tama Star Zebrawood snare drum through its paces.  This snare drum can be summed up in one word: unique. With a look and sound unlike just about anything else, this solid-shelled beauty represents a real rarity among the galaxy of snare drums. This is a drum that speaks with the clean, dry crispness of aluminum and backs it up with the ruddy warmth of mahogany. If you are looking for a special snare drum to add to your arsenal of sound, look no further!

    Your Home for Tama Star Snare Drums

    At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we carry the most Tama Star snare drums you will find anywhere. Our staff understands the subtle tonal difference between each and every Star drum Tama has to offer. When you are ready to explore the unique sounds of Tama's flagship line of ultra-high end drums, give us call.  We will match you up with the sound that is right for you!



  • Black Friday at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    Steals,Deals,Savings Galore at Drum Center of Portsmouth on Black Friday 2018!

    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!


    The Black Friday Tradition at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    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.

  • What's the Best Snare Drum Under $500?

    What's the Best Snare Drum Under $500?

    One of the questions we get asked the most at the Drum Center of Portsmouth is, “What’s the Best Snare Drum Under $500?”.  With so many available options, the answer will differ on which one of our staff you ask. We decided to compile a list of sub-$500 snares that we are currently enjoying.

    Canopus Yaiba Maple Snare Drum 14x6.5

    Canopus Yaiba Maple Snare Drum

    If you ask Shane what he thinks is the best snare drum under $500 is, the answer is the Canopus Yaiba Maple.  If a customer walks into the store without a particular brand of snare drum in mind, 7/10 times they’ll choose Canopus.

    Canopus is able to keep the price of the Yaiba series under $500 with very few compromises. The Yaiba Maple is made in Japan and features top-quality hardware, including their best in class Snare Wires.  This snare projects ideal warmth and sound great in a variety of tunings.

    Yamaha Recording Custom Brass Snare Drum 14x5.5

    Yamaha Recording Custom Brass Snare Drum

    Jeremy “T-Bone” Charron’s pick is the Yamaha Recording Custom Brass snare drum.  The drum delivers full sound, rich mid-range and a wide tuning range. The Recording Custom Brass boasts premium features for this price point, including a thin 1.2mm shell, 2.3mm DynaHoops, and 20-strand snare wires.  It even includes additional 10-strand Steve Gadd style snare wires!

    Tama SLP Classic Dry Aluminum Snare Drum 14x5.5

    Tama SLP Classic Dry Aluminum Snare Drum

    The Tama SLP Classic Dry Aluminum is the least expensive snare on our list.  At under $300, this extremely versatile instrument hits well above its weight.  Chuckie is drawn to the seamless 1.2 mm Aluminum shell with a center bead. The 8-lug Steel Mighty Hoops make for a crisp sound with short sustain.  Tama’s SLP projects a super-dry center hit, but play out towards the edge more and it has a surprising amount of life to it.

    Mapex Black Panther Design Lab Cherry Bomb Snare Drum 14x6

    Mapex Design Labs Black Panther Cherry Bomb

    Tom’s choice for best snare drum under $500 was a no-brainer.  Mapex has been making exceptional value snare drums since the introduction of their Black Panther line.  Their latest rendition of the 14x6 Cherry Bomb is no exception.

    The Mapex Black Panther Design Lab Cherry Bomb Snare has a smooth, unique tone that really set it apart from the other snares on this list.  Its 8-ply, 9mm Cherry shell sports dual air vents and stylish tube lugs. It ships with Remo USA heads, so it’s ready to rock straight out of the box!

    Gretsch USA Chrome Over Brass Snare Drum 14x5

    Gretsch USA Chrome Over Brass

    The most iconic snare drum on our list is the tried and tested Gretsch USA Chrome Over Brass.  The G4160 has been the go-to snare for countless musicians for decades and it currently sits atop Barrett’s list.

    This beefy snare is packed with high-end features like diecast hoops, Lightning throw-off, and 42-strand snare wires.  We’re not sure how Gretsch packs so many premium features into a drum under $500, but it sounds incredible!

    Ludwig Acrolite Classic Snare Drum 14x6.5

    Ludwig Acrolite Snare Drum

    What does “The Hawk” think is the best snare drum under $500?  Many people look to his wisdom when it comes to drum sound, and he rocks the Ludwig Acrolite Classic Snare Drum

    The Ludwig Acrolite Classic is a staff favorite, due to its classic brushed aluminum shell with 2.3mm triple-flanged hoops, 10 classic bowtie lugs, the new P88AC strainer/butt, milled center bead, and classic Blue/Olive Badge.  The sum of its parts is a truly unique tone that we think you’ll enjoy, too!

    Looking For Your Ideal Snare Drum Sound?

    Best snare drum under 500

    The Drum Center of Portsmouth is your home for world-class snare drums.  We have a snare sound for absolutely everyone at any price point. If you’re looking for just the right snare drum to express your musical voice, we can help.  We are all passionate about our instrument and can help you find your ideal snare drum. Talk to one of our knowledgeable drummers today!

  • Top 5 Things to Consider When Buying Your First Drum Set

    man playing on a drum set

    Buying your first drum set is an incredibly exciting time for any aspiring musician.

    Whether you’re trying to channel that inner rhythm that causes you to tap and bang on your closest surroundings, or you’re looking to start your child on the drums early, you’ve come to the right place!

    Owning drumming gear is a wonderful investment that allows you to tap your musical potential (pun intended).

    However, if you’ve never owned a drum set before, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before buying to make sure you have all the equipment needed to rock out.

    So scoot right on up and take a seat on the throne (yes, that’s what we call the seat!)—because we’re going to walk you through everything you need to consider before buying your first drum kit.

    1. What’s included in a Drum Set? And How Many Pieces do You Need?

    The first thing to consider when buying a drum set is how many pieces you need. Depending on your level of expertise and your budget, starting small and keeping it simple might be the best option for novice drummers.

    Most beginner drum sets are sold as 5-piece or 6-piece kits. The number of “pieces” refers to the number of core drums included in the bundle. For example, if you have a snare, a bass, and three toms, this would add up to a 5-piece set.

    When shopping, it is important to consider how many core drums you’ll want to start out with, as well as any cymbals and other percussion add-ons you’d like to purchase.

    Most inclusive packages will come with a few basic cymbals, like a high-hat and a crash/ride cymbal. However, if you’re not buying an inclusive package you’ll need to choose your own cymbals and necessary hardware.

    The great thing about drum kits is that you can start small with the basics and add onto your set with more fancy bells and whistles once you get into the groove.

    2. What Size Drums Do You Need?

    Depending on your space limitations and who will be playing the drums, you may be better off purchasing your set in a specific size. One of the most popular sizes is referred to as “rock” sets. These are a bit larger but they produce a beautiful sound that is deep and balanced.

    Fusion and Hybrid size sets are also becoming increasingly popular because they take up much less space.

    If you’re buying a set for a little drummer, a Junior set may be the perfect option. These are much smaller and more compact, perfect for young musicians looking to rock out. The bass on a Junior set is usually 16” with 8” and 10” tomes.

    The size of your throne is also very important and can make a huge difference when practicing for long periods of time. In fact, some consider it the most valuable investment, which is why it is essential to get an appropriately sized throne that can support proper posture and comfortable playing.

    3. Things to Consider when Buying Shell Sets

    In addition to all-inclusive kits, some manufacturers also sell what is known as “shell sets”. These sets basically include your drums, the holders, and that’s it. Shell sets do not include any additional hardware or cymbals, so you will need to purchase these separately.

    If you purchase a shell set, make sure you also looking into purchasing the following:

    ● A hardware set, including a high-hat stand
    ● A cymbal pack with stands
    ● A snare stand
    ● A bass pedal
    ● A throne
    ● Sticks

    Shell sets can be great if you want to customize your kit as much as possible with the right instruments/tools you need. However, if you’re just looking for the basics, an all-inclusive set might be better suited for your needs.

    4. What’s Your Sound?

    When buying your first kit, you really want the music to be able to resonate with your soul. For this reason, it is important to consider what sound you’re going for so that you can choose the right material to achieve that beat.

    The type of wood used in an acoustic drum, for example, can impact the way the instrument sounds. Below we’ve outlined some of the characteristics of the most popular woods.

    Maple: stronger lows that resonate and create bright/warm tones.
    Birch: strong high frequencies and low-end punch. Ideal for dark tones.
    Mahogany: very rich low-end frequencies.

    The size will also have an impact on the sound.

    5. Additional Add Ons

    In addition to the drum set itself, there are a few vital add ons that you’ll need if you want to be a happy drummer. For example, many kits don’t come with drumsticks (surprising, we know!)
    Other useful items include:

    ● music stands
    ● amps (if you have any electric drums)
    ● soft-bag cases for transporting your instruments
    ● ton rings
    ● dampening pads

    For more worthwhile addition, check out our accessories and hardware section here.

    Choosing a Drum Set That Will Grow With You

    One of the greatest things about drum sets and that you can continue to add on to them and change out the pieces as you grow. While it might be tempting to start out with a rock and roll size drum kit, investing in high-quality basics first can give you all the tools you need to master the basics and find your rhythm.

    At Drum Center, we pride ourselves on helping our customers create their dream set-up. We can pair you with the right kits for your needs so that you can start rocking out in no time.
    Whether you’re shopping for yourself or a loved one, we have a wide selection of drum sets from some of the top manufacturers on the market.
    Browse our selection of drum sets today to find one that resonates with you!

  • A Snapshot History of the Modern Snare Drum

    history of snare drums

    No percussion line is complete without a snare.

    The snare drum is known for its classic sharp staccato, which is unmistakable in any modern marching band or orchestra.

    However, despite its present popularity, the snare drum has actually been around for hundreds of years—even dating back to medieval times.

    Below we’ve outlined some of the history of this ancient instrument and how it became the modern staple it is today.

    Medieval Origins

    Based on historical records, the snare drum has roots all the way back in medieval times, around the 1300—when its ancestor, the Tabor was used by the fife and drum corps.

    The tabor (pronounced “tay-bor”), was a double-headed large instrument that was worn over the right shoulder using a strap.

    Around the 1500s and 1600s, Swiss mercenary foot soldiers used the Tabor to send signals to each other while out on the field. During this time, the instrument also became longer, and was worn alongside the body as a “field drum” or “side drum”.

    The Tabor was primarily tensioned using leather straps or ropes laced in W and V patterns around the shell. By the 1500s, the European Tabor had traveled to other countries and became a popular instrument for various uses.

    In England, a similar instrument was developed by the 1500s, however, the name was changed from Tabor to drume or drome.

    1600s - 1800s: A New Age for the Snare

    New Tensioning Methods

    By the 1600s, new manufacturing methods made it easier to create snare drums and adjust the tension.

    The addition of screws around the 1700s allowed the snare drum to be secured and tensioned more firmly, creating a tighter snap and brighter sound that replaced the loose rattle of the Tabor.

    During the 1800s, development techniques continued to improve the tensioning method, enhancing the overall sound quality. By increasing the tension, drummers were able to create more complex sounds and rhythmic patterns. For this reason, classical musicians started to use the snare around the 1800s for the march-like timbre that added a touch of color.

    Around the mid-century, snares significantly decreased in size and started being built out of brass. This created the higher pitched and crisper sound that is now popular amongst orchestras.

    Military Uses and the Classic Marching Sound

    During the 18th and 19th centuries, the snare drum also displayed tremendous military uses. Various songs played by drum and fife have been documented and studied as an integral part of military culture during their era.

    American military troops, for example, were woken by about 5 minutes of snare and fife, with well-known songs like “Three Camp”. Other uses included songs like “Peas on a Trench”, “Breakfast Call”, and “Roast Beef”, which were used to call soldiers for meals. Other tunes, included “Tattoo” and “Fatigue Call” which were used to signal bedtime and police the barracks, respectably.

    Military bands also started using this instrument in the 19th century, replacing the tenor drum. The distinct timbre of a marching snare still rings as a classic military sound today.

    In addition to its uses within the military camps, this drum also made its way out onto the field on multiple occasions. The military bugle, snare, and fife were all used to send signals during the 18th and 19th century, echoing back to the military uses for the Tabor during Medieval times.

    1900s – Present: The Modern Snare Drum

    After the 1900s, the snare drum underwent some major improvements to its design. For better tensioning, metal counter-hoops were created and added to help tighten the drumheads efficiently. Coiled wires also were added to the design during this time, a now familiar feature of the snare.

    In today’s modern area, the snare drum is an integral part of any Trap-set. Traps are made up of percussion instruments, drums, and cymbals, and were first used in ragtime and jazz music, as well as silent movies.

    Rock and Roll and Jazz music continued to highlight the instrument for its rhythmic backbeat and comping power.

    In response to the instrument’s success in mainstream music, companies like Ludwig and Rogers, which we carry, started creating multiple types and sizes of snare drums.

    By the mid-1900’s, little advancements like plastic drumheads and snare throw offs made a big difference for the instrument—creating better sound quality and control.

    The shell design and hardware for snares has continued to improve into the modern age, as the instrument marches on as a popular drum for everything from marching bands to garage bands.

    Leading Brands March On with the Snare Drum

    From jazz to rock and roll, military tunes to classical music, the distinct sound of the snare transcends genres and continues to be a favorite for percussionists around the world.

    Today, there are several manufacturers that help carry on the snares legacy, offering the instrument in a variety of materials, shells, styles, and sizes.

    At Drum Center, we are proud to partner with some of the leading snare drum manufactures in the world. The legendary Ludwig drums was one of the first companies to specialize in large-scale snare manufacturing and they’re still considered industry leaders today for their high-quality instrument and superior sound. Other great brands include Mapex, Dunnett, Canopus, and more.

    Shop from Hundreds of Modern Snare Drums

    At Drum Center, we appreciate not only this drum’s rich history but also its modern uses today. We fell in love with the snare drum early on, and we are sure you will as well!

    We have over 400 snare drums on hand, giving our customers a huge selection to choose from. Whether you’re joining a marching band or simply looking to add to your musical collection, we can help match you with the right make and model for your needs.

    From budget-friendly instruments to high-end collectors’ items, we have a huge selection in store and online that you can browse.

  • Tama Star Drum Sets - Head to Head Review

    Tama Star Drum Sets - Bubinga, Maple, Walnut Compared at Drum Center of Portsmouth!

    Tama Star drums have generated a lot of buzz since their launch in 2013.  The Star line is handcrafted by a small group of artisans in Japan to incredible tolerances.  Their uncompromising attention to detail makes Tama Star Drums a shop favorite at Drum Center of Portsmouth.  We’ve put together an epic head-to-head comparison video of Tama’s big three - Star Bubinga, Star Maple and Star Walnut.

    The Idea

    Working at a drum store has its perks.  One day during a meeting, someone had the idea to order a bunch of the world’s finest drums for a comparison video.  After a few long months our shipment arrived, and we were rewarded with three jaw-dropping kits. The Star Maple and Star Bubinga kits share the same configuration.  10x7, 12x8 rack toms, 14x14, 16x16 floor toms and a 22x18 bass drum. The Star Walnut kit sports slightly different sizes: 10x8, 12x9, 14x12, 16x14, 18x22.

    Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat.  Tama Star drums are among the most beautiful instruments on this planet.  When these kits were unboxed, everyone at the shop stopped what they were doing.  You can’t take your eyes off of them. The exotic grain, the flawless finish, the stunning hardware, those INLAYS!  

    Once we got over the initial shock of pure aesthetic perfection, we got to spend some quality time playing Tama’s flagship line.  And, oh...what a joy it was.

    Tama Star Bubinga

    At the front line of Tama Star drums is the Tama Star Bubinga.  The kit we test drove was finished in immaculate Dark Red Cordia.  The shell construction of the Star Bubingas is a super-thin 4.5mm with thick 9mm reinforcement rings.  The interiors are equally as gorgeous with an inner ply of oiled Cordia.

    Right away you can spot something unusual about these drums.  Tama ships them with Remo Ambassadors, as opposed to Evans heads.  This is just one of the details that help you realize that Tama spared no expense regarding the sound of these drums.  The kick drums come equipped with PS3 batters and Fiberskyn resonant heads.

    The sound of Star Bubingas can be summed up in a word - aggressive.  Their dark tone is immediate, sharp and punchy. Their note is clear and beautiful, and they tune up with ease.  Tama’s Zinc diecast hoops keep the sustain focused and the drum in tune for days. The kick drum was our favorite part of this kit, providing ridiculous thump and cut.

    Tama Star Maple

    As we switched over from Star Bubinga to Star Maple the benefits of Tama’s Star Hardware became apparent.  Tama’s Super Resonant Mounting system works with a nifty quick-lock tom bracket that makes setup a breeze. Simply flip a switch on the tom stand arm to release your tom while leaving the memory lock in place.  Slide the tom back on and, boom. Ready for the next gig. The floor toms also employ these quick locks, making them ultimately gig-friendly.

    Our Star Maple kit was also drool-worthy in appearance.  The finish is called, “Gloss Sycamore” and resembles the most heavily figured Flamed Maple you could imagine.  The gloss is flawless, and has a genuine 3D appearance.

    Star Maple shell construction is completely different from the Bubingas.  At the center of the shell is a “solid-core” ply of 2mm maple, sandwiched between 1.5mm thick cross-laminated plies on both sides.  This thin, 5mm base is supported by 5mm Sound Focus Rings. The reasoning behind this recipe is to simulate the sound of a solid-ply shell without the solid-ply drawbacks.

    This kit delivers maple tone on huge doses of steroids.  The midrange frequencies BOOM with an unusual blend of modern/vintage sound.  Sticking is clean and articulate and sustain goes on and on. If you crave maple tone, Tama Star Maple delivers in spades.

    Tama Star Walnut

    Rounding out the Tama Star Drums lineup is Star Walnut.  As mentioned before, our Star Walnut had slightly different sizes than the other kits.  Toms were slightly deeper, and the floor toms were slightly shallower. The finish is a more understated Dark Mocha Gloss, sans inlays.

    Along with the sizes and finish being different, shell construction is also unique to the Star Walnut line.  Toms are 5mm and the bass is 6mm without reinforcement rings.

    These thin walnut shells produced rich, dark tone as one would expect from Walnut.  What surprised us was an element of bright attack. The shallower floor toms kept right up with its earlier competitors, and the kick delivered the most low end.  The sound of this kit was not unlike birch with some enhanced low-end. This kit would make an excellent rock kit with plenty of aggressive thump to keep up with the mix.

    The Verdict

    Tama Star Drums are uncompromising.  They use the finest materials that are crafted by the world’s finest drum makers.  The hardware is strong, beautiful and practical. They are simply among the finest instruments money can buy, and their price tag reflects this.  We appreciate that these kits are for a handful of fortunate people, but we are grateful that Tama continues to push the limits of what a drum set can be.

    The Tama Star Drum line covers every base between its Maple, Bubinga and Walnut kits.  Each voice is uniquely magnificent. We carry a huge selection of Tama Star Drums at Drum Center of Portsmouth.  We will gladly talk shop about Tama or any other brand you are interested in!

  • Sonor AQ2 Drum Sets - Up Close

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

    The Evolution of Compact Drums

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

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

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

    Better Shells Make Better Drums

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

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

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

    That Hardware, Though

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

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

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

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

    The Verdict

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



  • Drum Center of Portsmouth Is Now a Roland V-Drums Dealer!

    Roland V-Drums Now Available at Drum Center of Portsmouth!

    Roland Electronic Percussion at Drum Center of Portsmouth Roland Electronic Percussion at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    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:

      People want to buy Electronic drums at Drum Center of Portsmouth.

    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:

    To provide drummers from around the world a community through local and global networking selling products for a reasonable profit and providing friendly service.

    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.

      The Electronic Drum Division at Drum Center of Portsmouth Just Got Bigger!

    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.

    Browse our current Roland inventory here.



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