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  • The Best Heavy Metal Snare Drums

    We’ve put together a list of 7 heavy metal shelled snare drums that will project all the volume you need, along with providing some excellent tone.
  • New Yamaha Recording Custom Wood Snare Drums

    A Soft Reboot of the RC

    When it comes to drums, few names are as iconic as the Yamaha Recording Custom line. In the mid 1980’s, Yamaha transitioned their 9000 line to the “Recording Custom” line, which marketed their birch shells as the ultimate recording sound. For the next 30 years, The RC’s remained relatively unchanged until 2013 when the line was redesigned with the assistance of Steve Gadd.

    The reboot of the Recording Custom included some pretty significant changes. Most notably, the shell material changed from Hokkaido birch sourced from Japan to North American Birch. Hardware changes saw the addition of weighted lugs designed to enhance low fundamental tone. Notably absent from the lineup were the wood snare drums...where did they go?

    Due to a lack of popularity, or demand, Yamaha only offered RC snare drums in Aluminum, Steel or Brass after the redesign. It was only recently (2018) that Yamaha announced the re-release of the Recording Custom Birch Snare Drum.

    What’s Different?

    Like the newly revamped RC kits, the new wood snare drums have benefitted from North American Birch shells and weighted lugs. The 6-ply, 6mm shells feature 30-degree bearing edges that deliver sharper response and better sensitivity than their previous iteration. The shells seem to have a broader tuning range, and are slightly easier to tune.

    The only negative we can seem to come up with regarding the new Recording Custom Wood Snare Drums is that they are only available in 2 sizes: 14x5.5 and 14x8. We would love to get our hands on a 6.5” deep version of this drum, but we’re happy enough just to have the RC wood snare drum return so triumphantly.

    DCP Knows RC

    The staff at Drum Center of Portsmouth is all about Yamaha Drums and Hardware. We carry everything from Stage Custom to PHX. We also carry a huge stock of Yamaha Hardware. If you have any questions about the new Recording Customs, or anything else Yamaha-related, give us a shout! We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.

  • Hendrix Snare Drums at Drum Center of Portsmouth

    At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we are very particular about whose drums we will carry. We are all about SOUND FIRST. Hendrix had us at day one with their fantastic line up of snare drums and drum sets.
  • 5 Best Drum Tuning Devices for 2019

    So you've got your drum kit ready to go, complete with amazing cymbals and a snare you're in love with. However, it seems like after a few jam sessions your sound isn't the same as when you bought it. You probably need a quick tuner that you can rely on anytime your drums sound flat.

    If you need a new drum tuner, Drum Center of Portsmouth is the biggest independently owned drum store in the entire world, and we can help you find the perfect tuner! We're experts in all things drum related, but we know not all of our customers can spot one of the best tuners when they see one. So, we made this buyer’s guide to help you find the best drum tuners of 2019.

    Without properly tuning your drum, your set will sound clunky and unprofessional. While some decide to tune their drums by ear, it is far easier to use a tuner to help you get the perfect sound. Tuning helps you adjust the frequency of your drum to avoid unwanted tones. You'll get a professional sound regardless of the quality of your set.

    Whether you are a seasoned professional or a beginner, a drum tuner is a must-have piece of hardware! Tuning devices speed up your tuning process, are easy to use, portable, and help make your drum sound amazing.

    Check out our five favorite tuners that we think are the best fit for you!

    Quick Look at Our Favorite Drum Tuners

    • Tune-Bot Gig: 5/5 stars
    • Tune-Bot Studio: 4/5 stars
    • Tama Tension Watch: 4/5 stars
    • Drumdial Drum Tuner: 3/5 stars
    • Drumdial Digital Drum Tuner: 3/5 stars


    1 Drumdial Drum Tuner: Best Device if You’re on a Budget


    • Silent tuning
    • Extremely accurate
    • Easy to tune in a loud environment
    • Compact
    • Affordable
    • Comes with a 1-year warranty


    • Lower quality
    • Have to set tuning range manually
    • Difficult to tune certain kinds of drums

    This is the one of the cheapest tuners available at Drum Center of Portsmouth. Even though it has a lower price, this Drumdial device is still a great purchase! Drumdial is one of the most trusted brands in the business, and all of their products are quality devices. This classic device is loved by drummers of all kinds, and we are sure you will love it too.

    By measuring your drums timpanic pressure, the Drumdial Drum Tuner will tune your drum with great accuracy! We love that you can use this tuner without ever having to hit your drum head, so it is easy to tune in loud environments. This is a major benefit if you are used to tuning your drums by ear.

    The Drumdial Drum Tuner comes with added features that make it a great bargain! For a low price, you will receive the drum tuner as well as:

    Product specs:

    • The DrumDial edge gage
    • A foam lined box for protection
    • A lug back for excellent handling
    • A locking bezel to mark your tuning range

    This is definitely the best option for those who are looking for a cheaper tuning option! However, it's still used by many professional musicians, as it still will tune your drums better than even less expensive choices. Check out the price of this tuner on the Drum Center of Portsmouth website today!


    2 Drumdial Digital Drum Tuner: The Best Device for New Drummers


    • One touch calibration
    • Easy to read digital screen
    • Precise tuning


    • More expensive than the classic Drumdial tuner
    • Short battery life
    • Does not come with a warranty

    Another beloved Drumdial product had to be featured on our list! This device has all of the great qualities of the Drumdial Drum Tuner - but in digital form! This puts it at a higher price, but it comes with more features.

    The Drumdial Digital Drum Tuner is a great option for beginner drummers! The digital face allows you to easily read the tuning settings and get an exact measurement for your desired sound. One thing to watch out for is the battery life on this device, however. We suggest you carry spare batteries along with this digital tuner just to be on the safe side. This tuner is extremely easy to calibrate and read which is why we think it is the perfect pick for less experienced drummers.

    This digital Drumdial product comes with great features that both new and old drummers will appreciate! When you order the Drumdial Digital Drum Tuner, you will also receive:

    Product specs:

    • A foam lined case with a hard-protective shell
    • An edge gage
    • A drum key
    • A useful tuning chart

    If you want a straight-forward tuner, we definitely recommend the Drumdial Digital Drum Tuner! Start getting a better sound with your drum in no time when you order this product from Drum Center of Portsmouth online.


    3 Tune-Bot STUDIO Electronic Drum Tuning Device: The Best Device for Multiple Drums


    • Increased accuracy
    • Can save multiple drum pitch settings
    • Small and portable
    • Easy to read display
    • Multiple display options


    • Higher price
    • No warranty

    Tune-Bot STUDIO is another great tuner option! We think the best part about this tuner is that it can save pitch settings for 10 drums on up to five drum sets! That means it can save a total of 50 individual drum settings! This is perfect for studio technicians or professional drummers who have multiple drum sets.

    Tune-Bot is another trusted tuning device company that professional drummers love. They specialize in digital tuning and provide some of the most impressive features on all of their devices. If you are looking for a product that is a little more advanced, then Tune-Bot is definitely the place to start.

    The Tune-Bot STUDIO Electronic Drum Tuner has a lot of great features and add-ons that make it one of the most popular tuners on the market. When you use the STUDIO you can also experience:

    Product specs:

    • A small, portable drum tuning device
    • Four color display
    • Easy to use keypad
    • Portable plastic case

    The Tune-Bot STUDIO tuner is one of the best tuners on the market! If you want to use one tuner for multiple drum sets, this is the perfect device for you! Even though it is one of the higher priced devices available, you are certainly getting the quality you pay for. This life changing device is available on the Drum Center of Portsmouth website!


    4 Tune-Bot Gig: Best Device for Experienced Drummers


    • Lots of different settings to help you get the perfect sound
    • Detailed instructions
    • Easy to read display


    • A large amount of settings can make this devise confusing
    • No warranty

    The Tune-Bot Gig is a fantastic, slightly cheaper option if you enjoy the digital interface of Tune-Bot products. This device will significantly decrease the amount of time it takes to tune drums! It is not as easy to use compared to some of the other tuning devices featured in our buyer’s guide, but we love the clearly professional sound you get after using the Gig!

    This model provides more features than you can find on most tuning devices! Tune-Bot loves to provide drummers with as many customizable options as possible, and the Gig definitely delivers on this. It can be difficult to use if you are a less experienced drummer, and it can be easy to feel a little overwhelmed when using this device.

    The special features on the Tune-Bot Gig make it one of the most versatile tuners available! When you use this device, you can not only tune your drum but also use:

    Product specs:

    • Pitch measurements
    • Frequency modes
    • Lug pitch measurements
    • Overtone filters
    • Tuning charts

    We suggest this product for more experienced settings because of the patience this device requires. It is important to sit down with the instructions before you start using it. Beginner drummers will not likely need all of the different measurements featured on the Tune-Bot Gig. If you are looking to get a more precise sound on your kit, this is the device for you! Tune Bot Gig is available at Drum Center of Portsmouth, and you can get fast shipping!


    5 Tama Tension Watch Drum Tuning Aid: The Best Device for Accuracy


    • Classic design
    • Easy to use
    • Dial face is very easy to read
    • Extremely accurate and consistent


    • No special features or add-ons
    • No warranty

    The Tama Tension Watch is a no fuss tuner for the drummer who likes to stick to the basics. It features a classic dial reading system, so you won’t find any digital features with this device. Even though it may not be as high-tech as some of the other tuners on our list, it is one of the most professional and accurate drum tuners available. We love the classic style and easy to read dial on this Tama model!

    Unfortunately, there are no special features with this device. It is simple, straight forward, and easy to use. Despite there being no special features, the dial on this device is the most accurate out of all the products featured! This tuner will get you the perfect sound time and time again.

    If you are not interested in all of the bells and whistles that come with digital tuners, the Tama Tension Watch is the perfect fit for you. Get precision and accuracy without all the fuss when you purchase this device. Drum Center of Portsmouth always has excellent deals on Tama Products! You can order this timeless drum tuner today and receive it in just a few days!


    What to Consider When Buying Tuning Devices?

    Ask yourself the following questions before you start looking:

    • How many drums am I using this for?
    • Do I prefer a digital or classic tuner?
    • How much money am I willing to spend?


    Where You'll Play

    It is also important to consider the type of environment you will be tuning your drums in. If you typically go through the tuning process at home or in another quiet location, you can choose from a wide variety of drum tuners. However, if you suspect you will have to tune in loud locations from time to time, you will want to consider a tuner that does not require you to hit your drum.


    Classic vs. Digital?

    When it comes to the question between classic and digital drum tuners, this is truly up to personal preference. Both types of tuners can provide accurate readings and will help you get the same level of consistency. If you are interested in trying out special features or will be using the same tuner on multiple drum sets, a digital tuner is likely the way to go.


    Reviews of Popular Tuners

    We also always suggest you read reviews of devices before purchasing them. Ask other drummers what devices they enjoy using! Considering other drummer’s opinions may help you find a device you didn’t even know existed! Drummers and store experts may even let you test out a tuner before buying it, so you can get a feel for it.


    How Do I Know I’m Ready to Buy Tuning Devices?

    We suggest that every drummer, regardless of skill level, gets a drum tuner! Tuners always will give you a better sound from your drum. While it is true that you can tune by ear, this often takes a lot of time and practice. It also requires you to play the drum on the spot, which is not always going to give an read depending on your location.

    There are so many benefits to buying a tuning device! At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we believe drum tuners are as essential as a guitar tuner is for a guitarist. Simply put, these devices help you:

    • Tune your drum to perfection
    • Speed up the tuning process
    • Save your favorite tuning settings
    • Tune your drum anywhere

    Whether you play professionally or are just about to start taking lessons, we highly suggest that you purchase one of these devices. All of the devices featured in this guide are available at Drum Center of Portsmouth and come highly recommended by our staff!


    How Much Should I Expect to Spend?

    A quality tuning device can cost anywhere between $50-$100. The pricing varies based on the type of device and the special features it may have. Digital devices are typically more expensive but come with more tuning features!


    Which to Choose?

    At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we always have great deals on our tuning devices. Our experts can help you find the perfect tuner in your price range and point out discounted tuners you should be aware of. You can always view our prices and products online at our website.

    Bottom line, we'll always make sure you take home the one that will give you a great read, no matter the gig!

  • Best Drum Sticks of 2019 Review

    Would Van Gogh be the artist we know and love today if he had used crayons? Would the drum break in In the Air Tonight be as impactful if Phil Collins had use tree branches? Not likely, right?

    If our tubs are the canvas we paint on, then our drum sticks are our brushes. Paired with a crisp snare, a quality drum stick can do a lot for the clarity, warmth, and feel of your sound. Every drummer prefers different stick sizes and types, but there are always a few stand-out models that work for almost everyone.

    Here at Drum Center of Portsmouth, we want to connect every drummer with great sticks that feel and sound excellent. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the best drum sticks of 2019. Let’s rock!


    1 Vic Firth American Classic Drum Stick 5A – Best Drum Sticks for Beginners


    • Best all-around option
    • Medium-high durability
    • Good for drummers of all skill levels


    • Not suitable for very heavy drumming
    • May not be specialized enough for advanced players

    The American Classic Drum Stick 5A is perhaps Vic Firth’s most well-known and beloved drum stick. The vast majority of drummers start learning on a pair of these. They’ve been voted time and time again as some of the best drum sticks out there – and for good reason.

    With a medium taper and a teardrop tip, 5As are well-suited for producing a range of different sounds depending on how they’re held. Their hardy hickory construction means these sticks will last a long time, though metal enthusiasts might find they break with heavier drumming.

    A set of Vic Firth 5As is never a bad choice, though. They’re high-quality and well-made, all for an unbeatable price. Whether you’re looking for your very first pair or just want a good all-around set to always be there for you, the 5As got your back.

    Product specs:

    • Length: 16”
    • Diameter: 0.565”
    • Tip shape: teardrop
    • Taper: medium
    • Material: Hickory (including tip)

    Why we love it: The Vic Firth American Classic 5A drum sticks are a drummer’s best friend. Versatility, great quality, durability, and a low price make these the perfect everyday sticks for drummers of all experience levels.

    Available for online purchase? Check them out on our online store but hurry – these gems are in high-demand!


    2 Vater Mike Johnston 2451 Hickory – Best Drum Sticks for Hard Rockers


    • Barrel tip gives more ride cymbal definition
    • Suited for heavier playing without sacrificing precision
    • Great for live performances


    • Thickness and weight make them slightly too big for use in light and fast playing
    • Some find size can be uncomfortable
    • Tips may wear down relatively quickly with hard playing

    We love the Vater Mike Johnston 2451 Hickory sticks because they’re designed for heavier drumming and good control. That means you’re free to bash your tubs like a metalhead, but still able to fine-tune the sound like a precision swing player. The barrel tips are especially suited to producing clear, distinct sounds on your ride cymbals.

    With a slightly thicker circumference between 5A and 5B, lots of people love the way the 2451’s just feel in hand. Some may find them clunky, but it’s really a matter of preference. Their size gives them added durability, so lots of musicians use them for performing live.

    The 2451’s are versatile and reliable. Are you prone to breaking sticks but still want a good, dependable all-around pair? Then these Vater Mike Johnston 2451 Hickory sticks can keep up with you.

    Product specs:

    • Length: 16”
    • Diameter: 0.580”
    • Tip shape: barrel
    • Taper: medium
    • Material: Hickory (sugar maple option available)

    Why we love it: Be loud, be bold, and be precise with the Vater Mike Johnston 2451 Hickory sticks. These heavy-duty bad boys are thicker for hard use. Fortunately, their distinct tip shape and balance give you more finesse than you’d think.

    Available for online purchase? You can find them in our online shop, but they sell fast.


    3 Promark Hot Rods – Best Drum Sticks for Acoustic Sets


    • Designed for low-volume settings
    • Comfortable and easy to use
    • Warm, consistent sound


    • More expensive than other single-pair sticks
    • Playing cross stick not possible due to shape

    What happens when you bundle together 19 birch dowels and wrap them in flaming red plastic? You get the Promark Hot Rods. Are they pricey? Yes. Are they the gold standard for playing acoustic or in small venues? Also, yes.

    Birch isn’t a super popular material for drum sticks. But here, birch makes for a solid, sturdy stick. The Hot Rods are meant to give you the feel of a regular drum stick while toning it down for a brush-quiet sound. The wrap near the neck further modifies the sound and provides reinforcement for added durability.

    If you’re a beginner, don’t feel intimidated by the unusual shape and construction of the Hot Rods. They’re easy to hold and use. The quiet sound also means these are great practicing sticks – no need to worry about disturbing the neighbors. While these can be used by drummers of any skill level, they’re particularly loved by experienced musicians working in professional settings.

    Product specs:

    • Length: 16”
    • Diameter: 0.550”
    • Tip shape: other
    • Taper: n/a
    • Material: Birch

    Why we love it: Sometimes you don’t want to be ear splittingly loud. The Promark Hot Rods feel like traditional sticks but provide a warm and low sound for acoustic sets or practicing at home.

    Available for online purchase? Check out our online store for deals and discounts.


    What to Consider When Buying Drum Sticks?

    Not all drum sticks are the same. It’s important to choose the right sized sticks and the right type for your style of playing.

    Before we get into the details, it’s important to know that everyone has different preferences when it comes to drum sticks. Use whatever size and type feel best to you – there are no rules saying what you can and can’t use!

    If you need a little help picking out your sticks, you can always give us a call. Drum Center of Portsmouth experts will help you figure out what pair may suit you best.



    There are three components of drum stick sizing: weight, diameter, and length. What size you get will depend on your style of playing and your individual preference.

    You might think length depends on your hand size, but it’s really more about the feel. Shorter sticks will feel stiffer, while longer ones give you more bounce and flexibility.

    Weight and diameter are represented by that number-and-letter combination you often see in the name or product description. It’s a little complicated, but each manufacturer gives a different meaning to the numbers and letters. Some will use the numbers to describe the weight or the circumference of the stick tip. Some will use the numbers to describe thickness or even what musical setting they work best in.

    In general, light and thin sticks work best for light and fast playing, like in jazz. Heavier, thicker sticks are used for hard rock and metal. Of course, make sure you check the product specs of each pair before buying – that way you know exactly what size you’re getting.



    Drum stick makers use tons of different materials for their creations. Wood, metal, plastic, rubber, carbon fiber – you name it, someone has made a stick out of it. Each material produces a different sound, has a different feel, and boasts a different level of durability.

    Hickory is the most common stick material. It’s incredibly versatile and pretty durable, too. Hickory sticks are best for beginners or those exploring different playing styles. Oak is very durable and shock-absorbent, but oaks tend to take some experience to handle. Maple is springy and light. That makes it nice for jazz but not well suited for heavier playing.

    Non-wood sticks certainly have their applications, but they tend to cost more than wood. Overall, those looking for a dependable and versatile everyday stick can easily rely on wood.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I know when I’m ready to buy drum sticks?

    Well, did you break your last pair recently? If so, you probably need some new ones!

    Actually, it’s always a good idea for any drummer to have multiple pairs of drum sticks in their kit. As you practice, you’ll come to prefer different sticks for each genre you play. Having a variety means you can experiment and figure out what works best for you.

    So, if you’re wanting to try something new or just feel like your current sticks don’t “feel” right, then it’s time to pick up a new pair.


    How much should I expect to spend?

    Drum stick prices vary according to material and craftsmanship. Some cheaper options may wear out faster, so you’ll have to replace them more often.

    Individual pairs can run between $3 and $25. They can also come in packs of 10 or 20, often from $15 to $30. Non-wood types can vary wildly in price depending on the material and durability, so they should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.


    Bottom Line

    As drummers, we spend a lot of time putting together the right kit – so don’t leave your drum sticks out of the equation!

    If you have any questions about selecting drum sticks, don’t hesitate to contact us! Our goal here at Drum Center of Portsmouth is to get you set up with the tools you need to make great music. We can give you more information and help you pick out a pair or two.

    Visit our blog for helpful reviews about specific drum products and parts. Or just give us a call at (603) 319-8109 or swing by our store.

  • Sabian / A&F Ankh Hi-Hat Cymbals Review

    Ankh cymbals are the brainchild of two recognizable names in the drum world - Ramy Antoun from A&F Drum Company and SABIAN's Mark Love. The first offering in the ANKH Instrument Series is a limited series of Brass (14”&16”) and Bronze (16”) Hi Hat creations that are different from anything we’ve experienced before.
  • Pearl Masters Maple Gum Drum Set Review

    New for 2019, the Studio Recipe will be available for a limited time as Masters Maple/Gum series drums.
  • The 3 BEST Drum Heads for 2019 Reviewed

    Prior to the 1950s, drumheads were created using calfskin heads. While the sound produced was cool with a nice depth, the installation proved a challenge. Every head had to be formed into a round disc and then soaked to loosen up. From there, it would be stretched across the shell and connected to the hoop and tuned up. These heads would contract and expand based on the weather. Post-1950s saw the creation of plastic drumheads formed from Mylar polyester or even Kevlar aramid fiber. These advancements formed opportunities for new textures and sounds.

    The drumheads are important aspects of the drum kit. A solid drumhead can transform the drum kit sound to something truly amazing. Drumheads come in a variety of options, including clear or coated, double-ply or single, or even thin or thick. Understanding your options is the first step in choosing a great drumhead to really pull the kit together.

    If you are an experienced drummer, replacing the drumheads can bring the sound back to life or offer new options. For novice drummers, your best bet is to start with a quality set. That way, you can train your ears to the right tones. At the Drum Center of Portsmouth, we know a bit about building great kits and can help determine the best drumhead for your needs.


    A Quick Overview

    We are here to connect you to the top 3 drumheads in our inventory and on the market. In 2019, there are plenty of options, so we took careful consideration in building this list. For a quick glance, look at the Evans Calftone for a Retro look, the Remo Emperor Colortone for a bold statement, or the Aquarian Modern Vintage for versatility.  

    There’s also a handy buyer’ guide to help answer some questions when it comes to choosing a drumhead. Ready to learn more and make a choice? Let’s roll!


    1 Best Drum Head for a Retro Style: Evans Calftone


    • Retro look
    • Aesthetic mimics calfskin
    • Synthetic fiber coat
    • Single ply head
    • Affordable price range
    • Rich, warm tones


    • Works best for low or medium live playing
    • Sound not as bright as it would be with a clear drumhead
    • Works better with drumstick as brushes do not pop out clearly

    For a more traditional kit with a warm, responsive drumhead, go for the Evans Calftone. The drumhead has a great retro aesthetic in both sound and appearance. It is equipped with a synthetic fiber coat for a little bit extra focus in the sound product. The drumhead is a single-ply head and has the sound and look of calfskin even with a synthetic fiber layer. The combination creates more boost for the low to mid frequencies.

    Product specs:

    • Calftone drumhead finish
    • Available in sizes 8” to 18”
    • Level 360 Tech
    • 7mil film base

    Available Online? We offer the full range of the Evans Calftone sizes both online and in store. Browse the collection or stop in and see it for yourself!

    Why We Love it Overall, a retro drum kit is a solid choice for any drummer. We love the calfskin aesthetic that provides this vintage look and warm tones. One of the great benefits of this drumhead is the range between mid and low frequencies. The sound is both warm and bright, great qualities for drumheads. It is thin enough that the Evans Calftone will respond well to light touches.


    2 Best Drum Head for Making a Statement: Remo Emperor Colortone


    • Powerful projection
    • Great durability
    • Can handle heavy hitting
    • Affordable price range


    • Not great for high volume situations
    • Does not respond as well to brushes

    The Remo Emperor Colortone is great for many reasons. One of the top reasons is the popping colors options that include vibrant shades of red, yellow, orange, blue, green, and even smoke. This makes for a visual aesthetic that is bright and captivating. The vibrant shades make a for a great statement on any kit, perfect for the stage.

    The tom batter heads are formed with Skyndeep Imaging Technology. The visual is accompanied by great durability, attack, and projection. This is created with two-ply and 7 mil film and a smoothly coated top layer.

    Product specs:

    • 2-ply
    • 7-mil clear film
    • Available in sizes 8-18 (tom batter)
    • Available in sizes 18-26 (bass batter)
    • Comes in 6 colors (Yellow, Orange, Green, Red, Smoke, and Blue)

    Available Online? This drumhead is available as both bass batter head and tom batter heads. At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we offer the full line of products in both types with a range of sizes. These can be found in-store and online.

    Why We Love It The colors available from this line are wonderful, and we love the statement they make. The Remo Emperor Colortone produces a sustainable and warm attack. We prefer this for studio recording or medium volumes of live playing. The great part here is that the aesthetic is matched by a quality product that comes out through this durable and versatile drumhead.


    3 Best Drum Head for Versatility: Aquarian Modern Vintage


    • Responds well to either drumsticks or brushes
    • Produces warm tones
    • Sustains well


    • Not suited for high-volume playing
    • Slightly more expensive than other options
    • The thin head is slightly less durable than the medium

    Similar to the Evans Calftone, the Aquarian Modern Vintage creates a warm sound with a calfskin look and feel. It is also a vintage look but has a couple more options. This drumhead is available as either a thin or medium option. Each one has a benefit, depending on what you are looking to create. The medium weight is available with a 10-mil coating, and the thin weight comes with a 7-mil coating.

    Product specs:

    • Single-ply
    • Available with either 10-mil or 7-mil coating
    • Range of sizes, including 10” to 26”

    Available Online? Excited to check this out? You can do that either online or in person. Check out the medium or thin drumheads that are stocked in a range of sizes by Drum Center of Portsmouth.

    Why We Love It We like options, which is why we love the Aquarian Modern Vintage drumhead. With this drumhead, you get to choose between a medium or thin option and control the sound you create. This single ply drumhead has a warm, open sound with both options sustaining well. The medium version is slightly more durable than the thin, so keep that in mind when outfitting your set. Overall, both options provide an open and responsive drumhead.


    Quick Look: Summarizing the Drum Head Options


    Drum Head Ply Size Range Coating Thickness
    Remo Emperor Colortone Two-ply 8” to 18” or
    18” to 26”
    7 mil
    Evans Calftone One-ply 8” to 18” 7 mil
    Aquarian Modern Vintage One-ply 10” to 26” 7 mil or 10 mil


    Buyer's Guide for Drum Heads

    There’s more to buying a drumhead than reading a few reviews. These are just three options, and there are quite a few factors and specs to consider before committing to a drumhead. Whether you are building a new kit or replacing old worn out drumheads, we want to help you find what works for you. To do this, we built a Buyer’s Guide specifically for drumheads. We’ll start by discussing important factors to consider and then answer some common questions.


    Standout Brands

    In the world of drums, some brands stand out above the rest. For other parts of the drum kit, like the best cymbals, there are a number of manufacturers producing high-quality products. For drumheads, high-quality drumhead producers are a bit more limited. If you are lucky, you can find a solid local manufacturer. In most cases, the highest standards are reached by well-known manufacturers. Two of the best brands made this list: Evans and Remo.



    The tone a drumhead produces largely depends on the thickness of the head itself. The thickness can be determined through the number of plies, which increases thickness. Increased thickness is a benefit because it offers better durability. Thicker drumheads also mean different tones.

    Here is an outline of the main differences between thin and thick heads:

    Thin Heads:  

    • Quieter
    • Less durable
    • More sensitive
    • Less attack


    Thick Heads:

    • Louder
    • More durable
    • Less sensitive
    • More attack



    A variety of textured finishes will offer a variety of sonic characteristics, each distinct from one another. Drumhead finishes include coated, clear, fiber-skin /calfskin, or ebony/black.

    Here is a breakdown of each finish and the sound it produces:

    Coated drumheads come with thick texturing for a dark, warm, and dampened sound.

    • Dark
    • Warm
    • Dry tone
    • White appearance
    • Short sustain


    Clear drumheads produce a bright tone with a long sustain. They have a bright, transparent, and smooth appearance.

    • Long sustain
    • Transparent appearance
    • “Wet” tone
    • Fast attack


    Fiberskyn/Calfskin drumheads mimic the classic animal skin composition. It has a similar response to actual calfskin but is warmer and has less overtone.

    • Dark
    • Warm
    • Dry tone
    • Natural skin appearance


    Ebony/black produces tonal quality similar to the clear heads but is black in design.

    • Long sustain
    • Bright
    • Black appearance
    • Fast attack



    Dampening production is a result of controlling natural overtones. Drumheads normally come with certain features intended to dampen the drum without the need for additional dampening measures like gel or tape.

    The type of drum will require different levels of dampening. For example, a bass drum will need to dampen high-end overtones while also enhancing low-end frequencies.



    Most of the focus is on the batter side of the drum, or the side you hit. However, the side you don’t hit is the resonant side. This is equally important in the overall drum tone. This is where you hear the term “wet” or “dry” resonance.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    If you have made it this far, there are probably a few lingering questions. With all this information, we know it is still important to answer a few straightforward questions. Perhaps you have already through these, or perhaps you need the extra push to ask a few more questions before purchasing a drumhead.


    What to consider when buying a drumhead?

    Considerations before buying a drumhead include everything outlined in the Buyer’s Guide and a few more things as well. For one thing, what type of music are you trying to create? Light rock, jazz, and acoustic noises will require the increased resonance found in the one-ply head. A heavy hitter will find their needs met with a double-ply head and thicker coating. Heavy hitters are typically looking to produce R&B, rock, or funk music.  


    How do I know I'm ready to buy drumhead?

    If you are reading this guide, you might be ready to buy a drumhead. Buying a drumhead might also mean you are looking to replace an old one. If your drumhead is worn out and not producing the same sound you need, you might need to look into replacing it. If you are trying to create a new sound, you might have to switch between a thin or thick drumhead to try and find that new sound. If you aren’t sure if you are ready, talk to the experts at the Drum Center of Portsmouth.


    How much should I expect to spend?

    The answer here is based on the size of the drumhead you need as well as how many. For the most part, it has a large range, going anywhere between $14 to over $100. Right now, Drum Center of Portsmouth has some great deals running on drumheads, so you might be able to snag a high-quality drumhead at a great price.


    Bottom Line

    Drumheads have been an integral part of the ideal drum kit since the inception of the drum. Finding the right one means asking the right questions and thinking critically about what you are trying to produce. With the right amount of durability, this investment will create a great sustainable sound for a great music set.

  • The 6 Best Drum Thrones for 2019 Reviewed

    A comfortable and practical throne is vital to a drum player’s sound output and creative ability. In the words of Billy Brennan, a good throne “is the foundation of any player’s groove.”

    Here are some benefits of a good throne and the proper sitting form:

    • By sitting correctly, you can actually play more complex patterns than you would with poor posture.
    • By sitting well, your weight is evenly distributed. Having an even distribution of weight will improve your timing. If your timing is spot on, your tempo will improve as well.
    • You will develop a better sound if you aren’t focused on your posture. Once you train your body to keep good posture, you won’t have to think about it anymore and you can focus on playing.
    • Cheaper seats tend to squeak the longer you use them. Investing in a higher quality throne will minimize these squeaks and get you focused on playing.

    Aside from basic considerations like durability and comfort, there are a few other key features you should consider during your search for the best throne.

    All thrones should have a height adjustability feature. If the one you are considering doesn’t, it isn’t a good option for you or anyone. Your seat should also have a large surface area. Without it, you’ll struggle to stay in a secure position without tipping over.

    Thrones should be made out of a material that is both soft and firm, and they should be foldable so you can travel with them.

    These are a few of the primary things you want to shop for. Here at Drum Center of Portsmouth, we know quite a bit about what makes a good drum throne. That’s why we’re bringing you the ultimate buyer’s guide of our top 6 drum thrones for 2019. We’ve categorized our review by priority, so you can find the throne that suits your unique needs.


    1 Best Overall Drum Throne - Tama 1st Chair Ergo-Rider with Cloth Top Seat

    Of all our top picks, this is our favorite because we believe every feature was carefully contemplated. Unlike other products, this ergonomic throne features a hybrid seat. The combination round/saddle-style seat delivers optimum comfort and support.

    You won’t get tired of playing on this throne and you’ll notice that you stay comfortable for longer without developing body fatigue. Drumming is all about passion, and lots of drummers show that passion through expressive moments. With this throne, you have the freedom to do that without sacrificing balance.


    2 Gibraltar Hydraulic Moto Throne - Best Throne for Comfort


    • Comfort
    • Stability
    • Folds down for traveling


    • Seat swivels (Some people like this feature, but others find it annoying)
    • Sometimes the seat raises by itself

    This moto-style throne is the ideal option for those who want comfort above all else. What we love about this piece by Gibraltar is the oversized, plush seat. It provides maximum support so you can play with ease without experiencing any pain from extended sitting.

    This throne also folds down easily for convenience while traveling. The oversized feet make it ultra-stable so you can play as expressively as you want without the risk of tipping over.

    Product Specifications:

    • 17-inch Cordura Moto style seat
    • 19.5”-26” adjustability
    • Hydraulic tube height adjustment
    • Double-braced throne tripod
    • Oversized feet

    Why We Love It: This best-selling throne is a solid option for any drummer who lives and breathes drums. As a drummer, you want to feel the music in your core and be as emotive as possible. Without a drum throne like this one to keep you centered, you’ll find yourself stifling your creativity.

    Where to Buy? The Gibraltar Hydraulic Moto Throne is available for purchase on our website. Click here to buy or to request more information.


    3 Tama 1st Chair Round Rider XL Drum Throne With Red Seat - Best Throne for Stability


    • Comfortable
    • Balanced
    • More sitting space


    • Less adjustability
    • Fewer product features

    Balance is fundamental to drumming. Without it, your center of gravity will be skewed, which obstructs your ability to play well. This versatile throne features a rounded cushion and exceptionally thick seat that gives you more sitting area, so you can rest your weight on the throne rather than your feet.

    Aside from how it can help you play better, the beautiful crimson-colored cushion makes it a pleasure to look at and use. While functionality should be the driving factor behind any throne purchase, this product also delivers on design quality.

    Product Specifications:

    • XL cushion
    • Red seat
    • 20 1/4" - 26 3/8" adjustability

    Why We Love It: This throne brings both stability and comfort to the table, allowing you to focus on your craft without worrying about whether or not your throne is affecting your balance.


    4 Tama 1st Chair Ergo-Rider - Beast Throne for Maneuverability


    • Super durable
    • Maneuverability
    • Stability
    • No wobbling


    • Expensive option

    This impressive throne can help you reach mastery in your craft. What makes this product so unique is its combination round/saddle-style seat. A round seat promises fluid motion, and a saddle-style seat promises support.

    No matter how hard you rock, this throne will be your best friend. The front cut-out lets you maintain full control of your thighs so you can use your body as expressively as you please.

    This model is as sturdy as they come. All of the pieces are made of expert-grade materials that eradicate the chances of loosening bolts.

    Product Specifications:

    • Two-piece locking hinge collar system for reduced wobbling
    • 1st chair’s height adjustment
    • Glide-Tite Grip Joint for extra secure base attachment
    • Extra-large rubber feet
    • Foot Life plastic leg attachment

    Why We Love It: There’s a reason this throne is a crowd-favorite. The throne’s ergonomic design makes it a prime choice for drummers who like to move while playing.


    5 Ludwig Atlas Classic Saddle Throne - Best Throne for Support


    • Unique design
    • Minimizes stress on legs and back
    • Less expensive than other picks


    • Colorful design (May only pair well with certain drum sets)

    Available in a blue/olive colorway, this saddle-style throne is incredible for drummers who want something simple that still has a cool factor. The thick, high-density foam makes this throne our top pick for support because of how it helps eradicate back and leg fatigue.

    This throne is an especially good pick for drummers who anticipate long performances. Extended periods of sitting can hurt your posture, leaving you with a full-body ache that makes it difficult to play your drums properly.

    This throne prevents those issues from ever arising in the first place. Once you develop back pain, it can take a while to curb those symptoms. Investing in a throne like this one from the get-go will ensure you never have to face those issues. If you’re looking for a classic look and powerful performance, this one’s for you.

    Product Specifications:

    • Embroidered block logo
    • Blue/olive colored vinyl
    • High-density foam
    • Height adjustability
    • Locking spindle

    Why We Love It: If you’re most concerned about how your body feels during and after a performance, this throne will serve you well. The saddle-style cushion is firm enough to provide adequate support and soft enough to keep you comfortable while playing.


    6 Canopus Hybrid Drum Throne II - Best Throne for the Heat


    • Breathable material is ideal for hot temperatures
    • The seat is both soft and firm
    • Sturdy
    • Rubber feet prevent the throne from sliding


    • Seat is thin

    While it may not be the most important factor for you to consider, how a throne operates in intense heat is important. The most compelling thing about this throne is the unique material it is made from.

    The seat is made from an ultra-breathable material called Sisal Hemp, and the cover is made from a firm material called urethane. This hybrid throne will keep you cool in the summer while still providing good support.

    Product Specifications:

    • Seat materials: Sisal Hemp, rayon, and urethane
    • Seat clamp and steel plate mounted on the base
    • Steel center post with aluminum legs
    • Adjustable Height
    • Rubber feet

    While it may not be the most important factor for you to consider, how a throne operates in intense heat is important. The most compelling thing about this throne is the unique material it is made from.

    The seat is made from an ultra-breathable material called Sisal Hemp, and the cover is made from a firm material called urethane. This hybrid throne will keep you cool in the summer while still providing good support.


    7 Best Throne for Adjustability -(DW Hardware: Heavy Duty Throne, Air Lift, Round Top)


    • Easy to adjust
    • Prevents shaking


    • Another expensive option

    Arguably our most luxurious pick, this throne has a pneumatic lift system that lets you make fast and smooth adjustments to the seat’s height. Its quad-leg folding base provides added protection from wobbling, and the thick cushion keeps you ache-free for as long as you are using it.

    Another unique feature of this particular throne is the option to purchase and attach a backrest. You can use this backrest for extra comfort while playing. A backrest will also help you maintain good posture and minimize your risk of toppling over.

    Product Specifications:

    • Pneumatic lift system
    • Folding base with 4 legs
    • 14” round seat

    Why We Love It: This throne is a reliable option that won’t disappoint when it comes to adjustability.



    Why is a throne so important?

    Thrones are important because, without a comfortable place to sit and the ability to freely move your feet, your ability to play will be challenged. Thrones provide a balance that is fundamental to drumming.

    What should be my top priorities when shopping for a throne?

    There are so many different thrones on the market, some of which offer unique features that standard thrones do not. However, all thrones should offer comfort and durability. This is a part of your drum kit that you will use a lot, so you want something that wears well.

    Do I need a drum throne?

    Absolutely. Even if it’s a less expensive option, a drum throne is essential. Without the added support that it provides, you may suffer from back pain while playing. This will not only affect the way you play, but it may diminish your motivation to play.

    How do I know I’m ready to buy a throne?

    You’ll know you’re ready to invest in a high-quality throne when you notice yourself experiencing pain or fatigue from your current seat. If the seat you use with your drum set is not meant for that purpose, it may be hindering you from achieving your full drumming potential.

    How much should I expect to spend?

    You can find a good throne at any price point, but if you want something of exceptional quality, you can expect to spend a bit more.

    To some, a throne seems like an unnecessary investment. After all, how important is a seat? It’s quite important actually. A quality throne is what separates a skilled drummer and an uncoordinated drummer. We recommend setting aside anywhere from $100-300.

    What should I avoid?

    Some people have a preference between a manual or automatic adjustment. However, it may be difficult to find your perfect height with a manual adjustment. Manual drum thrones are controlled by a metal pin placed into holes that are spaced around two inches apart. With these types of thrones, there’s a chance that your perfect height exists somewhere between those pre-decided heights.  

    How do I assemble my throne?

    Directions for assembly may vary between thrones, but the instructions are generally the same. Thrones usually arrive in 3 separate pieces: the base, seat, and shaft. Begin by spreading the base’s legs and locking them in place. Then, insert the shaft into the base. Finally, place the seat on top of the shaft and screw it in place.

    What is there to consider when buying a throne?

    Height adjustability

    No two drummers are alike. All drummers have a preferred sitting position that depends on their height and where they like to be positioned in relation to the drums. Height adjustability is one of the most important features of a drum throne because it allows you to customize the throne in whatever way you desire.

    To find your perfect height, place your feet where you usually do on your drum set’s two main peddles. Then, raise your knees as high as you can without stepping off the pedals. This is generally the height for which you want to adjust your drum throne, give or take a few inches.

    Seat shape

    Some different seat shapes include round, cycle, saddle, split, and square. Again, you must test these different seat types and decide on one that works best for you. Spend a significant amount of time testing different types of thrones and see how comfortable you are.

    Are you experiencing back pain? Do your thighs tingle or fall asleep after sitting on the throne for too long? Does the throne make you feel sore and stiff? These are all factors to consider.

    Seat rotation

    Some seats will rotate when you move while others stay completely still. Again, this is a matter of personal preference. Some people don’t mind moving freely. Others like to control their own movements. Always check the product description for mention of a swiveling seat.


    While a soft throne is important because it keeps you comfortable, you want to avoid buying something that is too soft that won’t provide any support. Find a happy middle and choose something that is partly firm. That way, you have added support while still being comfortable.

    Base type (number of legs)

    You have several options when it comes to the number of legs at the base of your throne. More legs mean more stability. It is possible to wobble and even fall on a throne, so choose one that has a few or more legs to minimize your risk of falling.

    Manual or automatic adjustment

    If you choose a manual throne, you will have to adjust the height yourself. Some people like this because it gives them more control. The other option is a pneumatic throne that adjusts itself when you sit on it.


    If you’re playing in a band that performs at venues, you’re going to need to move your drum throne around frequently. Because of this, you want something light that can be folded into a compact form. If you’re only going to be playing in one location, you can get away with a heavier throne that doesn’t have a transport functionality.


    This is another feature that is up to personal preference. If you’re an expressive drummer who likes to move their body quite a bit, a backrest will actually make it harder for you to do so. If you plan on staying fairly still, a backrest can be an effective way to maintain the proper posture.


    Thrones either have a threaded shaft with grooves or a smooth shaft that is just a solid piece of metal. Smooth shafts can lead to sliding problems that you don’t want. Threaded shafts provide more stability. This isn’t to say that you should completely avoid a smooth shaft. What matters is the overall quality of the throne.

    Your weight

    This is important because you want a drum throne that can support your weight. Check each product’s specifications and weight capacity before you decide on one.


    Bottom Line

    Choosing the right drum throne can be daunting, especially if you plan to spend quite a bit of money. Thrones are more than simple chairs, and the one you pick should serve a number of purposes. You must not only consider price, but also comfort, sturdiness, functionality, portability, and much more.

    We’ve shown you several options at varying price points. All of these offer some unique features that may or may not appeal to you depending on what your main concerns are. In order to make the best choice possible, we recommend deciding on your priorities before you begin shopping.

    The throne must be uniquely yours. At the end of the day, the most important thing you should want is comfort and balance. Without these two things, you put yourself at risk of injury. If you associate playing with pain or fatigue, you will be less motivated to use your drums. No one wants to feel like their passion is hurting them.

    The most common type of injury is lower back pain. This can occur from sitting too low. To check if you are sitting too low, see if your knee goes above your thigh. If so, you need to adjust your seat’s height to ensure your knee rests below your thigh. You can also hurt your hip flexor muscles if you are sitting too high.

    Ultimately, you should study the way you play drums before deciding on a throne. This will give you a clear understanding of what is most comfortable to you depending on your body shape and height.

    Aside from that, everyone maneuvers their bodies in different ways. You shouldn’t have to conform to one way of sitting or moving if it’s not the way that feels right for you. Your drum throne should work with you, not against you.

    You also want to look for signs of fatigue and find the root of those problems. It varies between people, but we mentioned a few common mistakes that may be causing those issues. Understanding what that pain stems from will aid in your search for a drum throne that can prevent those problems.

    We hope our guide helps you understand how essential a good drum throne is and how much of a difference it can make in how well you play. There are so many options for you to explore so we urge you to begin your search using our carefully crafted guide.

    Whatever model you choose, we’re sure you’ll be impressed by the quality and design. Your perfect drum throne is out there, so what are you waiting for? To browse our selection of drum thrones and other drum-related equipment, click here.

  • Rogers Dyna-Sonic Wood Shell Snare Drum Reissue Review

    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.

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