In 2017, Pearl’s introduced the Sonic Select Shell Recipe to its Masterworks line. The 6-ply Maple Gum shell configuration was in response to their artists that were asking for a Gretsch-like sound for the recording studio. The classic tone of the Sonic Select shell quickly became a best-seller due to its explosive midrange warmth and extended low-end power. New for 2019, the Studio Recipe will be available for a limited time as Masters Maple/Gum series drums.
Masterworks-Level Quality at a More Affordable Price
In order to keep costs down on the Pearl Masters Maple Gum line, options and configurations are relatively limited. Two shell packs are offered in a pre-selected offering of hand-lacquered and wrapped finishes. Masters Maple Gum shells are comprised of vault-cured EvenPly-Six layered premium North American Maple and Gum wood shell with 60-degree edges. Toms and snares feature Mastercast Die-Cast hoops, and Pearl’s CL bridge lugs for reduced shell contact and improved resonance.
Other desirable hardware touches include Pearl’s Aluminum Opti-Mounts, SP/CW300 spurs, LG200 floor tom legs, and insulated die-cast bass drum claws found on their Reference Series line.
The Maple Gum shells on this Pearl Masters kit deliver everything you’d expect from the classic formula Gretsch sound with a touch of cut that is decidedly Pearl.
Fat, woody tone projects from the 60 degree rounded edges that is warm and vibrant. The rounded edges also lend to a good tuning range. We cranked them up pretty high before they started to choke out.
If you’re a die-hard Pearl fan looking for the classic tone celebrated by players and engineers alike, the Masters Maple Gum line is a fantastic choice. We just hope you like the limited finishes and configurations that are available! These drums are extremely limited, so get them while you can!
Over the years, we’ve gotten a lot of inquires about discontinued drums. At the top of that list is the Pearl Steve Ferrone 14x6.5 Brass Snare drum. At face value, the Ferrone black nickel over brass snare was little more than a Ludwig Black Beauty clone. Sure, it was gussied up with gold hardware, but was there anything to its sound that made it special? Absolutely.
Something about the sum of its parts made the Steve Ferrone Signature model snare a sonic marvel, especially in recording studios. If you look at any decent sample library, you will find THAT sound. Beautiful mid-range with an unusual amount of low-end made the Ferrone a truly unique snare drum.
Eventually, Steve moved on to a Gretsch endorsement. When he did, Gretsch created their own version of the black nickel over brass snare with gold hardware, but to many, it just didn’t have the same x-factor as the Pearl model. Surprisingly, Pearl abandoned the Ferrone design when he left and enthusiasts were left to scramble for used Ferrone Signature model on the internet...until now!
If you are looking for a well rounded snare for a variety of musical styles, you can't go wrong with a Pearl Sensitone! This limited edition Pearl 6.5x14 SensiTone Beaded Brass snare drum has a thin 1mm black nickel over brass shell that projects a warm, vintage style tone. This shell is able to sustain its tone thanks to classic gold plated tube lug design, which make minimal contact with the shell. The Gold Pearl SuperHoop II Hoops also give the shell a little extra room to breathe. The Pearl DCP 10th Anniversary Sensitone Brass Snare Drum also comes equipped with a gold-plated Gladstone-style throw off that is durable and highly adjustable.
Get Them While You Can!
These legendary recreations are EXTREMELY limited. Once they’re gone, that’s it. These drums sound amazing, and will be both a versatile workhorse AND a collector’s showpiece!
The story of this drum forces you to look backwards, to the 1980s to be exact. Sonor offered the cast bronze snare drums in the Signature series, and they were the most highly regarded snare drums of the era. They were offered in two sizes: 14x8 and 14x4. Nowadays, these drums in mint condition easily fetch $4000-$6000. To drum aficionados, these are considered holy grail snare drums.
All that glitters may as well be bronze....
Personally, I had 2 qualms with these drums:
The parallel throw-off mechanism, while it was an engineering marvel, was bulky and made it uncomfortable to position on my set. (It also required a custom case for transport.)
It wasn't available in a 6.5" depth.
In the early 2000s, Sonor began offering the Artist Bronze snare drum, though only in a 6" depth. It also featured Black Nickel hardware, and lacked the German 'hella hoop', which to me was always synonymous with quality and prestige. It's a great drum, but for a Sonor nut like me, it misses a few key points of what make Sonor snare drums truly special.
I worked with Karl-Heinz Menzel at Sonor Germany on this project. Logistically, projects like this need to start a year in advance, so I was planting the seeds for this concept at our ninth anniversary party. To be honest, when I pitched the idea, the last thing I expected to hear was "yes", but sure enough, Karl agreed to engage in the endeavor. I was stunned, and overjoyed. I committed to 10 pieces each (in 14x6.5 and 14x8) right away, without knowing - or even caring - what the cost would be!
This is a Truly Special Snare Drum.
This model features SQ2 lugs, badges, and the dual glide throw-off, plus an additional badge that Sonor will monogram personally for every customer who purchases one! Don't hesitate on this drum. These pieces of history will sell out QUICKLY.
These will be shipping in the summer of 2019. We will ship upon arrival.
Limited to TEN Pieces
Signature Badge that will be Personally Monogrammed
3mm Cast Bronze Shell With 2mm Dynamic Edge Reinforcement
The Rogers name carries a lot of weight in terms of USA drum history. The quality and innovation of Rogers drums back in the 60’s is legendary, and those drums remain highly sought-after by collectors and enthusiasts alike. One of the more well known innovations is the Dyna-Sonic snare drum, and its proprietary floating snare wire rail system.
Wood and metal Dyna-sonic snare drums were introduced around 1961, and were produced until 1980. The metal snare drums sold much better than their wooden counterparts and for this reason the wooden Dyna-sonics of this era are much more scarce.
The Rogers Drum Company was recently given new life when it was acquired by Big Bang Distribution. Rogers enthusiasts were happy to hear that Rogers would begin producing faithful replacement parts for their vintage drums. Shortly after, they announced the reissue of one of their most sought after collector’s snares - the wooden Dyna-Sonic.
We weren’t particularly excited upon the news of the Dyna-Sonic’s reissue. Wooden Dyna-Sonics were so rare, that we didn’t have much experience with them. Once we got our hands on them, we quickly changed our tune.
The most hype around the Dyna-Sonic is the proprietary floating rail system. The concept behind this system is to evenly distribute snare wire tension across the bottom head, preventing that annoying choked sound. While the functionality of the rail system seems daunting at first, once you spend some time with it you can understand its value. The snare response on the Dyna-Sonic is absolutely incredible, and is much more than just a gimmick. The 14x5 models were exceptionally sensitive making them a ton of fun to play.
Dyna-Sonics come with 2 distinct lug options - the Bread and Butter or the Beavertail. What’s remarkable about these lugs (and all of the other hardware components) is that they are EXACT reproductions of the originals from the 60’s. This is great news for vintage collectors and people just getting on board with Rogers drums alike.
Another completely useful and functional throwback on the Dyna-Sonic is the internal muffler system. Why aren’t more drum companies employing these? The easy to use muffler gives you the perfect amount of dampening with a simple turn of the knob, eliminating the need for moongels or other inconvenient options. Other faithful hardware components include the Rogers script logo, oval badge and Clock face strainer. The hoops are triple flanged 1.6 mm.
The shell quality is nothing short of amazing. We’re not sure what we were expecting, but the flawless finish and attention to detail took us by surprise. As it turns out, the Maple/Poplar combination shells are edged and assembled by another legendary drum name - Bill Detamore of Pork Pie fame. Needless to say, the edges are flawless, and the stained interior really add a touch of aesthetic flair.
The Dyna-Sonic snare drum exceeded our somewhat modest expectations in nearly every way. Every component on these snare drums is top-notch quality. The snare system, once mastered, lives up to the hype. The convenience of the internal muffler is exceptional, and the quality of the faithfully reproduced lugs and strainer make the Dyna-Sonic Reissue a realistic option for vintage enthusiasts and modern drummers alike.
We carry a ton of the new Rogers Dyna-Sonic Snare drums in many different finish options. Feel free to give us a call regarding Rogers Drums and we'll be happy to answer any inquiries you may have!
Ludwig is the undisputed king of snare drums. The Ludwig snare drum legacy typically is with their seamless metal snare drums, like the Supraphonic or Black Beauty snares. Their wood snare drums don't get as much attention despite being very good snare drums. The void in the Ludwig line is the studio staple; a steam bent, solid ply snare drum that has that growl and body, like the old Slingerland Radio King Snare Drums.
The Noble & Cooley Solution
When it comes to steam bending snare drums, Noble & Cooley has likely bent more shells than any other current manufacturer. As America's oldest drum company, their wood working expertise has yielded some of the most classic snare drum sounds ever laid down on tape.
When the topic came up for a Ludwig snare drum powered by Noble and Cooley, we decided to try all of their snare drum shells and sent them to Ludwig, who cut the bearing edges and beds, and ultimately concluded that the magic shell was Tulipwood. When Noble & Cooley was producing drums for the Civil War (!), the shells were made of Tulipwood.
These gorgeous 14x6.5 solid-ply Tulipwood shells are finished in a Ringo-inspired Golden Slumbers lacquer finish that brings out the subtle grain pattern of the wood. The hardware features rugged diecast hoops, low mass tube lugs, and a spectacular P88AC throwoff.
Tremendous care went into every element of this exclusive snare drum, and we believe the result is nothing short of spectacular.
The Heirloom Snare Drum
That's exactly what this is, a slice of American drum manufacturing in present day, captured in time. If we look back at the classic Ludwig Snare drums, especially commemorative ones, it's easy to see that they become highly sought after collector's items. If you consider the fact that this is a co-op with America's oldest drum company, Noble and Cooley, well, it's safe to say that this is not only an outstanding sounding snare drum, but a great investment piece. Take care of this drum, and it will take care of you.
Built on a 100-year tradition of modern drum making, WFLIII Drums have become the new standard in vintage tone. Like his father and grandfather before him, Bill Ludwig III is devoted to providing the drum community with only the highest quality and best sounding drums you can buy. WFLIII Drums have been designed from the ground up with traditional concepts and an ear for today's music. Built with the finest materials and constructed for dynamic sound qualities at home on stage and in the studio, WFLIII drums are bringing quality and pride back for drummers to enjoy.
A New Generation of That Classic Sound
WFLIII Generations drum sets feature 3-ply maple/poplar/maple shells that are modeled after the original Ludwig and Ludwig shell design of the past. WFLIII shells are manufactured by Keller using a proprietary WFLIII formula with thinner plies than any other Keller offering. The shells are reinforced using a solid-ply maple ring for added strength.
These thin shells produce a lovely, super low end thump that is definitely reminiscent of the old-time drum sound so many vintage drum collectors covet. The Classic Maple Snare Drum we tested shares the same shell formula and has a dry, crispy attack with prominent low end. The shell projects nicely, and the snares are responsive with a light touch.
We also tried out a beefy 14x6.5 WFLIII Signature Aluminum Snare Drum featuring a 3mm (1/8") beadless aluminum shell. The name Ludwig is synonymous with Aluminum snare drums, and the WFLIII Signature is like an old-school Ludwig Aluminum on steroids. With it's thick shell, 45 degree bearing edges and Trick Throw off, this snare is all-modern sound. Tons of projection and articulation makes this snare drum ideal for live or studio situations. Surprisingly, the combination of this modern tone with the vintage vibe of the WFLIII Generations Drum Set make a lovely combination!
Many manufacturers are attempting to recreate the vintage sound of thin shelled drums - to varying degrees of success. Without a doubt, the WFLIII shell recipe delivers a 100% vintage tone that collector's crave. Why roll the dice on a sketchy vintage kit from Craiglist when you can have the same tone in a brand new, fully warranted kit from WFLIII? To us, it's a no-brainer.
Drum Center of Portsmouth is your home for everything WFLIII. When you are ready to build your brand new vintage kit, give us a call. We look forward to walking you through the process of achieving your ideal sound!
When most people think of a premium drum set, they often think of 100% North American Maple. Maple (or some combination of Maple and another wood) has been the go-to choice for drummers for decades. Birch is often overlooked and considered a second rate drum sound. We're here to help dispel this myth as we present what we think are the 4 best birch drum sets!
British Drum Company Legend Series Drum Set
Our first candidate for best birch drum set is a relative newcomer to the market. The British Drum Company Legend Series is constructed from 10 ply 100% Scandinavian Birch. The plies are cross laminated and cold-press molded, forming a shell only 6mm thick. These super-strong, thin shells promote lower fundamental tones with immediate attack and deep controlled sustain. The 2-ply reinforcement rings match the exterior veneer, which is a classy touch.
Legend Series toms come equipped with a fairly minimal mounting system that attach directly to the shell via two holes. The mounts do a good job at allowing the drums to resonate freely.
These drums are at the top of our list for their unique tone, construction approach and gorgeous aesthetics.
Yamaha Recording Custom
The newest generation of Yamaha Recording Customs are the best yet. Their shells are now made from North American Birch as opposed to Japanese Birch giving them more attack and cut than before. Yamaha also increased the weight of the lug which reduces undesirable noise from the shell without using a mute. This promotes sustain for the core sound, producing a crisp, articulate tone. Add to this some of the best tom mounts in the business (YESS) and you get the attack and musicality of the previous generation RC's, but the warmth AND bite we've become accustomed to with modern drums.
The new Recording Custom snare drums are extremely impressive. Right out of the box, the 14x5.5 snare delivered the best sound from a birch snare we have played in recent memory. Tons of high end pop PLUS beefy body.
Recording Custom birch drums are made for...recording. They aren't designed to be as aggressive sounding as some of the other kits on our list. RC's are at home in the mix among other instruments, and there is no higher build quality standard than Yamaha.
Canopus Yaiba II
Canopus Yaiba II birch drums are Canopus' attempt to create a more affordable option for drummers, while maintaining their high standard of quality. Yaiba II birch drums are still made in Japan, but take a few shortcuts in order to get production costs down.
They use a cast "Sword" lug design, instead of their signature solid brass lug. Yaiba drums are also available in limited sizes and finishes. Other than that, they are 100% Canopus level quality with a sound that is big and boomy.
The toms are fat and punchy with excellent sustain. The kick drum filled the room while simultaneously punching us in the chest. The 14x6.5 snare was also particularly fat sounding, making this kit ideal for any rock application you can think of.
The German-made SQ1 line from Sonor combines thin, slightly undersized birch shells and razor sharp bearing edges with new Sound Sustainer isolation brackets on all toms and floor toms. The result is a punchy, direct, focused tone, with a warmness and sustain not typically found in a birch shell. Add to that a host of range-topping SQ2 features, and you have a genuine, exclusive sounding Sonor birch kit at a price that is anything but exclusive!
The SQ1 line is made in Germany to incredibly tight tolerances, which gives the shells a broad tuning range and tremendous versatility. Trust us, these drums will blow away audiences and studio engineers alike.
Get Your Birch On
Hopefully, our video helps you decide whether or not Birch is right for you. If it is, you can find an incredible selection of Birch drums from beginner to professional level at Drum Center of Portsmouth. Give us a call and let us help you decide which kit is best for your unique style and situation!
Anyone who knows us at Drum Center of Portsmouth knows that we love Sonor drums. The vintage maple shell design of their SQ2 and Prolite series are at the top of our list when it comes to unparalleled sound.
What you may not know is that we are also huge Canopus Drum fans. When a customer comes into the store and asks for a snare drum recommendation from us, regardless of brand, they usually walk out with a Canopus. Also relatively unknown is the amazing sound of their RFM drum line.
As a service to you, we decided to pit these two high-end reinforced maple shelled kits up against one another in a head to head showdown!
Round 1 - The Stats
Both of our kits are 5-piece configurations with similar diameters - 10, 12, 14, 16, 22. The Prolite is 10x8, 12x9, 14x14, 16x16 and 22x17.5. The Canopus RFM is a little less traditional in their depths - 10x7, 12x8, 14x13, 16x15 and 22x15. Advantage - n/a
Round 2 - The Shells
Each manufacturer creates their thin, reinforced maple shells in house from scratch. Both are flawless. The Sonor shells interiors have a subtle finish to them bringing out some gorgeous wood grain figuring. While this makes no audible difference, the attention to detail gives the Prolites an ever so slight advantage.
Round 3 - The Hardware
This category is a tough one. The Prolite hardware is more engineered, more practical, and better looking. The Tune-Safe lugs have 2 points of entry into the shell, and do a better job of preserving tuning.
The Canopus lugs are a single-point solid brass lug. These simple, elegant lugs promote resonance by creating fewer holes in the shell. Brass is also inherently resonant, which may or may not increase shell vibration. Canopus tuning rods sport proprietary Bolt Tight leather washers that aid in keeping the drums in tune. Sonor gets the nod in this category, but only by a hair.
Round 4 - The Heads
This may seem trivial to some, but probably makes the biggest difference in the overall sound. Canopus RFM drum sets ship with Remo USA Coated Ambassadors on the top AND bottom. Prolites have clear Ambassador heads on the top and bottom.
While both heads are of premium quality, the Coated Ambassadors are our drum head of choice on 90% of drum sets. They just have a smoother tone with a slightly better range. The Prolite heads sound great, just a little more direct and punchy. Advantage - Canopus
Round 5 - The Finish
The Canopus RFM kit is finished in a unique, classy looking Navel Orange Oil. It looks amazing. The Prolite drum set is a high-gloss, Chocolate Walnut Burl. Advantage - Sonor
Round 6 - The Sound
We tuned each kit high and low. The Canopus kit seemed to handle the higher tunings a little better, but this can definitely be attributed to the Coated Ambassador heads. These heads also seemed to bring out more rich, woody tone.
The Prolites brought more thump and defined articulation, most likely due to the clear heads and slightly deeper sizes. They seemed to choke up a bit when we asked them to go higher, but this also could be blamed on the clear heads. Advantage - Canopus, with an *asterisk
Both of these kits are professional level, high-end examples of handmade quality and craftsmanship. Each have a slightly different voice and vibe to them. All things being completely equal, the winner is not clear. The Canopus RFM will a pleasant surprise to most people, as they are still relatively unknown here in the US. If they can keep up with the sound of Sonor, they deserve to be near the top of your list when shopping for a high end maple drum set.
We stock and sell more high-end Canopus and Sonor drums than anyone. If you have any questions about these two brands, feel free to give us a shout. We’d love to help you out!
If you walk into the Drum Center of Portsmouth at any given time, chances are good you’ll hear so 80’s metal playing through our speakers. It’s no secret the owner likes his big drum sounds from this era. That’s why we weren’t surprised when he returned from the 2018 NAMM show with the biggest Pearl Masterworks Stadium Drum Set we’d ever seen.
Pearl Masterworks Stadium Drum Set
What’s Old is New
Pearl Masterworks Stadium recipe shells are the sound from big 80’s rock. Originally made popular by the Sonor Signature line, thick shells and deep toms were the fashion of the day. Other manufacturers followed - Tama released their famous Artstar Cordia line, and Pearl followed up with the “Custom Z” series. As the 90’s rolled around, grunge worked its way east from Seattle, taking most of the big drums with it.
If you identify with the huge, rumbling tone of 80’s drums, the Pearl Masterworks Stadium Shell Drum Set is right up your alley. Our review kit features thick 8-ply maple toms with 10-ply floor toms, bass drums and snare drum. The 10, 12, 13 rack toms are in “power tom” depths (of course) and the floor toms are a massive pair of 16 and 18 inch beauties.
THICC Maple shells
The Pearl Masterworks Stadium Drum set is indeed 100% rock in tone, but its build and appearance is nothing short of breathtaking artistry. The massive maple shells are wrapped in Artisan Exotic Zebrawood and finished with transparent Tiger Yellow Gloss. The 2.3mm Power Hoops and Reference style lugs are nickel plated, tying everything together nicely.
2.3mm Pearl Super Hoops
Power vs. Practicality
Let’s be completely honest. An 8-piece double bass drum set in 80’s power tom sizes isn’t the most practical kit for every gigging drummer. Sitting behind this kit is the equivalent of a rollercoaster ride with Iron Maiden blasting in your ear drums - it’s intense! Every drum rumbles with powerful low end projection and tremendous sustain, especially the floor toms. The 18x16 is just plain scary. The 14x6.5 Snare drum is among the best maple snare drums we’ve played, featuring die cast hoops and a magnificently sensitive strainer.
The perfect Maple snare
If you long for the drum sound of Steve Smith and Nicko McBrain in the 80’s, the Pearl Masterworks Stadium shell recipe is just what the doctor ordered. As an added bonus, you get artisan grade aesthetics and elite craftsmanship, ensuring these drums will still be around when it’s cool to have a mullet again!
Trust Drum Center of Portsmouth for Your Pearl Masterworks Build
Creating your own Pearl Masterworks Drum Set is amazing because of the limitless options you have to choose from. Creating your own Pearl Masterworks Drum Set is also somewhat daunting because of the limitless options you have to choose from. We speak Masterworks. Talk to the pros at Drum Center of Portsmouth to confidently craft your ideal Pearl Masterworks drum sound!
Ludwig is releasing a handful of new snare drums and drum sets to celebrate their 110th anniversary. Super Ludwig Series Snare drums are aesthetically new takes on some of the most popular snare drums in history. We checked out 2 of these in our latest snare drum review video.
New for 2019 - Ludwig Super Series Snare Drums
A New Standard
Originally released in 1960, the Ludwig “Standard” model snare quickly became popular for its incredibly unique tone. Super Ludwig series drums pay homage to the original workhorse, with the convenience of modern manufacturing techniques.
Ludwig Super Brass - LB403
A New Look
The Super Ludwig (LB402BN) model is chrome over brass shell while the Super Brass (LB403) is a lacquered brass shell. Both models are trimmed in nickel hardware and the ultra-reliable P88-AC throwoff. These two models also fashion highly-collectible transition badge versions that were predecessors to the original standard 1960 models that featured chrome hardware. Ludwig Super Series Snare drums are available in 14x6.5 and 14x5.
The Same Great Sound
Ludwig Super Series Snare Drums sound just like their traditional counterparts - perfect for stage or studio. The 1.2mm seamless brass shell delivers the bright, vintage vibe of yesteryear. The chrome plating on the Super Ludwig Model bumps up the brightness and crispness just a touch from the lacquered shell of the LB403. Tuned up or tuned down, these snare drums deliver THAT unique Ludwig sound that studio engineers lust for!
Ludwig LB402BN Seamless Brass Shell
It’s no secret that we love Ludwig snare drums. We stock a huge selection of Ludwigs, and our sales staff is the most knowledgeable when it comes to the iconic Monroe, North Carolina company. When you are ready to up your snare game, give a pro drummer a call at the Drum Center of Portsmouth!