144 Lafayette Road, North Hampton, NH 03862 | 603-319-8109

Shootouts

  • 5 Rock Ride Cymbals - Choosing The Best For You

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

    Zildjian K Custom Hybrid Ride Cymbal 21"

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

    Paiste Signature Reflector Bell Ride Cymbal 22"

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

    Sabian HH Raw Bell Dry Ride Cymbal 21"

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

    Meinl Classics Custom Dark Ride 22”

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

    Istanbul Agop Xist Brilliant Raw Ride Cymbal 22"

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

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

  • British Drum Company Snare Drum Showcase

    At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we put a value on new sounds. We also value drum manufacturers who are passionate about the art of drum making. Enter British Drum Company.
  • The Search For The Best Crash Cymbals

    With hundreds of options to choose from, finding the right crash cymbals for your situation can seem daunting. Never fear! In our latest comparison video, we demo 10 of our favorite crashes that can be used in a wide variety of musical situations!
  • 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.
  • Finding the Best Solid Ply Snare Drum

    At the Drum Center of Portsmouth, we carry dozens of solid ply snare drums from over 10 different drum makers. In our latest shootout, we compare 10 solid-ply snare drums from 10 different manufacturers.
  • Canopus RFM vs. Sonor Prolite - Reinforced Maple Shell Showdown

    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

    Overall

    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!

  • Ludwig Super Series Snare Drums

    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.
  • Keplinger Snare Drums - Stainless Steel vs. Black Iron

     

    The Keplinger Story

    Gregg Keplinger is a rare hybrid of drumming talent and percussive artisan. After finding a 1930s Ludwig 6.5x14 steel snare with an otherworldly tone, Gregg was inspired to improvise and innovate his own snare drum. Sourcing stainless steel from an industrial pipe manufacturer in Seattle, Gregg set to building the first of many custom snare drums.  Thus the "Keplinger" vision - for hefty metal-shell snares, and percussion with an industrial personality - was born.

    The Keplinger Sound

    You may not know about Keplinger Snare Drums, but you probably know their sound.  Gregg worked closely in-studio and on stage with a young Matt Cameron during Soundgarden's "Superunknown" glory days and continued on with Matt to work with Pearl Jam. That unmistakable crack on many of Matt’s most famous tracks - that’s the Keplinger sound!

    Keplinger Steel Snare Drum - 14x7

    The Keplinger Shootout

    Gregg’s snare drums became most well-known when he worked primarily with stainless steel. Today, Keplinger snare drums are sourced from all kinds of alloys.  For our latest snare drum showcase, we focused on our 2 best selling Keplinger metal snare drums - Stainless Steel and Black Iron.

    Steel or Black Iron?

    The Keplinger Steel snare drums project the legendary “crack” that is so familiar from Matt Cameron’s recordings .  Both 7 inch and 5.5 inch drums are exceptionally sensitive despite relatively underwhelming stock snare wires. The steely overtones are heavy, smooth and very pleasing to the ear. They are bright, but with a smear of darkness that give them a remarkable complexity.  And yes, they are loud af.

    Keplinger Steel Snare Drum - 14x5.5

    Keplinger Black Iron snare drums share similarities with their steel siblings - just darker.  These drums are MEAN. They have an uncanny low end projection and a built-in reverb sound that is unique.  The 4 inch Black Iron snare has a huge tuning range, and sounds great tuned down low or cranked high. The 8 inch model is an absolute BEAST that sounds like an evil church bell.

    Keplinger Black Iron Snare Drum - 14x7

    We are super-impressed with all 5 Keplinger Snare drums we currently have in stock.  Each one would make an incredible studio workhorse.  They would also be right at home on any (large) stage, we just recommend you get a roady to haul it around for you!

    Get Your Metal On at Drum Center of Portsmouth!

    Surprisingly versatile 14x4 Keplinger Black Iron Snare Drum

    We are huge fans of Gregg’s snare drums.  They are not made to be admired for their aesthetics.  They are no-nonsense instruments meant to be wailed on.  There are many boutique builders, but very few legendary studio sounds.  Keplinger is one of those sounds. Get yours at Drum Center of Portsmouth!

     

  • Canopus Snare Drum Showcase

    Our #1 Selling Snare Drum Brand

    When a customer visits Drum Center of Portsmouth and is searching for the best sounding snare drum, we invite them to try out all the major manufacturers. Eventually, we'll invite them to take a Canopus Snare drum for a spin.  7/10 times, they will walk out of our shop with a Canopus.  So, what exactly is it about Canopus snare drums that make them sound so good?

    Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

    Canopus snare drums are made by a small group of master craftsman in Japan.  Every component on their drums has been R&D'd with the sole purpose of creating the best possible sound.

    Canopus Snare Drums feature SOLID brass lugs

    Their single point solid brass lugs are designed to sympathetically resonate with the shell, unlike Zinc lugs.  The tuning rods are held firmly in place with their "Bolt Tight" washers.  Canopus Bolt Tight Washers are made from premium leather, and reduce unwanted overtones due to loose rods.  Canopus typically favors 8 lugs as opposed to 10 on their snare drums to promote a more open tone.

    Canopus Bolt Tight Washers

    Canopus snare wires are also the best wires in the business, as far as we're concerned.  They manufacture a variety of snare wires from dry vintage to fat backbeat.  Each model provides incredible sensitivity and excellent dynamic range.  Add all of these components together and you end up with the premium sound that is unmistakably Canopus.

    Canopus Snare Wires - 30 Strand

    The Shells

    Canopus shells are designed and handcrafted in-house.  The variety of materials and composition are seemingly endless.  Each shell provides a unique sound that offers something for every style of drummer.

    Canopus Bubinga Ply Shell

    Canopus is perhaps most well-known for their Zelkova snare drum, which is made from a hollowed out tree-trunk.  While this is an extreme example of their creativity, they also make what we consider to be the industry standard maple snare, simply named "The Maple."  Canopus also offers everything between these 2 extremes, including carbon fiber, stave bubinga, birch, steel, brass and much more!

    Canopus Custom NAMM Showcase Snare Drums

    For our latest video, we are featuring ten 1 of a kind snare drums featured at the 2019 NAMM show.  These magnificent instruments showcase a variety of exotic materials including beech, bubinga, chestnut, Birdseye maple, Olive Ash and more!

    Canopus One Of A Kind Beech Snare Drum 14x6 Gloss Walnut Burl

    Each one of these unique Canopus snare drums sounds absolutely KILLER, and would make an excellent workhorse (and conversation piece) for some lucky drummer!

    DCP Knows Canopus Drums

    We carry more Canopus drums than anyone else, and our staff can help you find the perfect Canopus snare or to inspire your creativity. Give a call or send us an email to get started on your Canopus journey today!

  • The Great Gretsch Drums Shootout

    USA Custom vs. Brooklyn vs. Broadkaster

    Most drummers have heard of “That Great Gretsch Sound”.  Gretsch drums have been producing the most sought after tones for over 135 years.  When many of us think of the classic Gretsch sound, we immediately think of the Gretsch USA Custom line.  However, Gretsch has 2 other high-end offerings that are also handmade in their Ridgeland, SC factory.

    Once again, we’ve put together the most comprehensive shootout video on the internet to help you decide which Gretsch kit is perfect for you!

    Part One: Downbeat Configuration - 12/14/20/14x5.5

     

    Part Two: Bop Kits - 12/14/18/14x5.5

     

    Part Three: Rock Configuration - 12/16/22/14x6.5

     

    Part Four: BIG Rock Configuration - 13/16/24/14x6.5

     

    Gretsch Broadkaster

    From the 1920s through the 1950s, Gretsch flagship drum set was the legendary Broadkaster Series. The thin, three-ply shell produced that original "Great Gretsch Sound". Drum Center of Portsmouth was influential in the prototyping of the Gretsch Broadkaster, when we visited the folks at Gretsch and discussed the possibility of a relaunch of the classic line.

    These new classic Broadkaster shells are made with a North American maple/poplar/maple formula. Each 6.7mm shell includes an interior-ply scarf joint that adds structural integrity to the thin, musical shells. Like all USA-made Gretsch drums, shell interiors are finished with classic Gretsch Silver Sealer. The bearing edges are an exclusive reverse roundover, which allows greater surface contact with the drumhead. Toms are outfitted with Gretsch's "302" 3.0mm, double flanged steel hoops. The result is tone that is incredibly deep and warm, or "That Great Gretsch Sound."

    Gretsch Brooklyn

    Gretsch Brooklyn Series drums are proudly hand-crafted in their Ridgeland, SC, USA factory. This 4-piece shell pack produces a tone that is immediately recognizable, yet distinctively reinvented.

    Brooklyn drums feature 6-ply North American maple/poplar shells and are slightly thicker than Gretsch's USA Custom Drums and have a 30-degree bearing edge. The inside of these shells are finished with Gretsch Silver Sealer. Each shell comes with a distinctive Brooklyn internal shell label that identifies the drum shell model number and serial number. The toms feature classic 3mm, double flanged Gretsch "302" hoops. Brooklyn delivers classic Gretsch tones that are full, punchy and warm, yet slightly more open and satisfyingly ambient. If the USA Custom line isn't quite your cup of tea, give the Brooklyn Series a shot.

    Gretsch USA Custom

    For over 65 years, Gretsch USA Custom Round Badge drums have been the classic American drum sound. At the heart of "That Great Gretsch Sound" is the legendary 6-ply maple/gum shell with its expertly formed 30-degree bearing edge, the exclusive "Silver Sealer" interior finish and rugged die cast hoops. These custom drums are handmade in Ridgeland, South Carolina using the highest quality traditional finishing techniques. You simply won't find a higher quality drum than a Gretsch USA Custom.

    The Verdict

    “That Great Gretsch Sound” is inherent in all 3 USA-made offerings.  The differences in sound are subtle across each line despite pretty big differences in shell composition.  “That” sound is a woody, shell heavy and articulate tone that makes itself known and gets right out of the way.  These drums are incredibly musical and sit perfectly in any mix. It’s these qualities that make Gretsch drums so desirable in a studio recording environment, as well small coffee houses and the big stage.

    Drum Center of Portsmouth is your home for Gretsch Drums

    Here at Drum Center of Portsmouth, we know that great Gretsch sound. Many of us own at least one Gretsch kit, and can help you identify the drum set that is perfect for YOUR needs.  Give us a call at (603)319-8109 today to find the USA Gretsch Drums of your dreams!

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