UK Custom Drum News- April 2012
UK Custom Drum News – April 2012
Welcome to the second edition of UK Custom News; a quarterly report on developments in the UK’s professional drum making world. The first issue was very well received, indicating that interest in the British custom drum industry is very healthy. The craftsmanship of the makers and the high quality of their products continues to offer great value for money, which gives them an edge when the economy is so subdued. There has never been a better time to buy British, so keep on supporting UK drum makers!
Jobeky Drums are busy preparing for their fourth UK Custom Drum Festival, which is set for the 6th May at Stafford Showground. A superb line up of exhibitors and artists are set for this year’s show: Craig Blundell, Pete Ray Biggin, Jake Brown, Andy Edwards and Luke Harris will all be performing. A plethora of products will be on display from some fantastic companies and, as always, you can get to meet the people behind the gear and try it first hand.
This year’s masterclass room will feature Robert Brian, Bob Wynne and Richard Wilson and a demonstration of Lion Cajons, which are made in Plymouth. The festival is being hosted by the ever popular Bobby Arechiga. Tickets are just £10 and they can be purchased in advance from the ticket hotline on 01785 248007. Full details are available on the Jobeky Drums website.
The Jobeky team have been busy completing kits paired with 2Box and Roland “brains”, which will be available to test out in the show’s new demo room. They will be available in a variety of different finishes including custom digital wraps, veneers and sparkle wraps. They’ll also be selling shell packs and individual drums. Jobeky’s Jane Ackroyd has also hinted that they are working on a new drum design, “Something totally different and exciting, which will be unveiled very soon”, so watch this space.
Andy Edwards is now a Jobeky endorsee, joining John Jenkins (Example) Luke Harris (Wretch 32), Jackson Ellis Leach (The Saturdays) and others. Andy is also busy working with the firm, filming a series of videos.
Pimpco, the drum makeover company, are now sharing Jobeky’s premises in Stafford. Consequently, Pimpco’s products can be also tried in the demo room at the show and their custom finishes will be available on Jobeky’s drums.
Cymbal smith Matt Nolan started 2012 at the NAMM show with his B15 Bronze Alloy “Shimmer Series” cymbals being displayed on the Pork Pie Drums booth, as featured in this mikedolbear.com video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsfwHiespvc
“This is the 3rd year that Bill Detamore, owner of Pork Pie Percussion, has invited me to share his booth. It works well and we both get something out of it” said Matt.
Three different sets of Matt''s hand-hammered cymbals were on display at Frankfurt MusikMesse in March. Matt didn’t take his own booth this year but shared the Drumcenter Cologne booth with Dunnett, Craviotto, Joyful Noise and Acoutin Custom Drums. Matt showed a B8 alloy Jazz set, a B20 Jazz set and a B15 Rock Set.
In the UK, the next places to catch Matt''s work on display will be the Royal Opera House and Royal College of Music Days of Percussion on May 13th and July 8th respectively. Incidentally, Stewart Copeland is holding a rare clinic at the latter. In between those it will be the Chicago Drum Show in the USA on May 19th and 20th. If you can''t make any of these, you can always check out his web site or send an email about a custom order.
A relative newcomer to the scene, Manchester’s Echo Custom Drums manufacture exotic metal snares and drum kits from aluminium, brass, copper and mild steel. Echo produces a wide range of finishes, including highly polished shells, various colours of powder coatings, brushed, lacquered and others - which can be viewed on their website. Their work has already attracted high acclaim in magazine reviews. Echo’s new seamless snares will be exhibited along with a selection of their range at the Jobeky show in May.
The father and son partnership at Echo Custom Drums is very much a hands-on team who have over 50 years’ experience in metal working and engineering.
Many percussionists are beginning to acknowledge the attributes of Echo’s drums. These include their latest endorsee Richard Jupp, drummer with the Bury based band Elbow, who have recently been involved in creating the theme music for the BBC’s coverage of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Echo’s main outlet, apart from their website, is PMT in Salford. Contact Mel or John in the drumming department.
PimpCo have just finalised their design for the Buddy Rich Limited Edition Snare Drum.
The limited edition snares feature a 14"x6.5" 6mm Finnish birch handcrafted drum shell, Dunnett chrome strainer, Evans drum heads, Puresound snare wires and it’s priced at £499. All of the snares will come with a certificate of authenticity and numbered. 69 snare drums of this design will be made in their workshop in the UK - one for every year of Buddy''s life.
Pimpco’s distinctive work will be on show at the custom drum festival.
Marcus de Mowbray has been hard at work developing new hardware and drums. The photo shows the prototype of his new mounting system, designed to allow a drum and several cymbals, or cowbells etc, to be fitted onto a single stand base. It is all adjustable and can be useful to keep the weight and bulk of hardware to a minimum for compact kits. Variations could hold a snare drum, a cymbal and a pair of closed hi hat cymbals on a single stand for the ultimate in "stripped-down" kits. The prototype is working very nicely with surprisingly little cross-talk between the instruments. Marcus already has plans to develop the system further.
The three main drums on the pictured kit are 10”x5" on left, 12”x5" centre, and 13”x7" on right, all with snares and strainers to provide a good variety of sounds from a reasonably compact kit. Apart from the Emperor bass drum head on the Cajon, all the drums are fitted with vellum heads to produce a full and warm tone even at modest volume levels; ideal for smaller gigs. The kit shown in the photo can be heard on this new recording, which was recorded "live in the studio". The track will be included in Marcus’ next CD: http://soundcloud.com/captain-bubble/professor-argentina-bhutt/s-gNN5D
Since the turn of the year, RTCustoms have been as busy as ever, with the first batch of their products making it across the pond to buyers in the USA. It’s good to see that, despite a large number of indigenous custom builders available in the US, the high standard of certain UK makers enable them to hold their own internationally.
The RTCustoms team have some great new products planned for launch in 2012, which are currently undergoing tests. One of these includes a custom steel shell, for which the customer is able to design their own vents that can be laser cut out of it. In addition, their LED technology has been used on kits in a way which is ‘under wraps’ for the time being but is due to be unveiled shortly. It’s set to add a new dimension to light up drums!
Since the last newsletter, RTCustoms have produced a few segmented snare shells which have turned out to be even better than expected. A 14”x8” oak shell is having some very special treatment and will be posted on the site within the next few weeks.
RTCustoms endorsees’ bands have been working hard. Swansea based Sigiriya are about to embark on a tour with a string of dates around Europe and We Start Partys have recently recorded a new single and video featuring an RTCustoms kit, which should hit your TV’s soon.
RT’s new custom nameplate badges have proved very popular, allowing customers to add a name badge to their drums in a matching colour and material. With no minimum order, they are ideal for customers wanting just 3 or 4 badges to add to their kit.
Chequerplate Stuff, who have built a reputation for their snare drums and percussion items, are proud to announce the arrival of their first ever full drum kit. It can be seen and heard in various arenas across the UK this spring, played by Johnny “Drum Machine” Jenkins; drummer and MD for “Example”. Johnny was so impressed with the company’s three LED snares that he used on last year’s tour that he just had to have a whole kit to complete the set.
For those who would like to have a closer look at this range of drums, with their innovative “C-thru” lugs, Chequerplate Stuff will be at The Jobeky Custom Drum Show this year. They will be holding the official launch of the new kit and rack, as well as introducing the “Chequer Shake”, the “Hat-Chequers”, and various other additions to their percussion arsenal. The display will also feature a selection of their custom snare drums, plus the ever popular Drummer T-shirts and stickers etc.
A very important announcement regarding the future of Chequerplate Stuff is going to be made at the show, plus the planned introduction of the new-look website and logo. In the meantime, some of the company’s snare drums can be heard in action on YouTube, courtesy of Matthew Green. Links to these demos can be found on their site.
In January, Supernova Custom Drums released their brand new drum shell, the ResoAir. It’s a unique construction that gives players much more of a full bodied tone from their drums.
Also in January, SCD teamed up with Protection Racket to start the Supernova Custom Drums Snare World Tour. The main objective of this campaign is to get one of their drums played by many drummers around the world. Drummers have been signing up here to get a chance to use the drum for seven days before passing it on to another registered drummer. SCD are about to send it off on its travels and a map of its whereabouts is on the World Tour page on the Supernova Custom Drum’s main website.
In March, having just celebrated their first very successful year, SCD introduced another custom made lug called the Centaur Lug. It is their own version of a classic tube lug to complement their very popular and distinctive Vortex Lug.
Supernova Custom Drums are always searching for great artists to endorse. Their latest signings have been UK artists Jordan Sims from Jester, Karl Pickles from Tu Amore and London based session drummer Adam Hayes. They also signed their very first international endorsee from Norway, John Birkeland Hansen from Dunderbiest.
Humm Drums have just welcomed their first acoustic artist Adam Thomas (Exit International), who regular Radio 1 listeners will know from their single “Chainsaw Song”. Adam’s “White Noise” kit, currently in the spray booth, will be on tour in May. Humm Drums’ decision to publicly offer acoustic drums, as well as their electric kits, was spurred on by requests to have matching sets of both for live use. Each type of kit now feature their own solid construction lugs, available in many finishes, as well as regular tube lugs.
Their HD3 3-ply mesh heads are now fully tested and available. There is a demo video of them in use on their website, which also has a list of outlets for their products.
Carl Haffield and AD Drums have been busy since the last update doing a whole host of spray work, which takes them back to when Carl first started dabbling in the customising world almost 13 years ago. Carl says “It''s enjoyable to break away from standard wrapped finishes once in a while, It’s nice to prep shells right and see each layer going on and build up to the final result”.
The pictured kit was built for the acoustic hip hop band called Drewbag who surprised their drummer by buying him his own custom AD kit, built to his needs without his knowledge. Apparently, he was speechless when he found out. The kit features textured bass drum hoops and custom tile effect wrap.
Carl frequently updates AD Drums’ Facebook page with photos of current builds. Lately these have included a green stained kit which sports white racing stripes and white hardware.
Another small project Carl has been working on is a Champagne Sparkle Lacquer kit. This, he hopes, is going to be his own as he likes the finish so much. On the snare front, AD have been producing some really nice veneered shells and a few hybrid snares, as well as some sparkle finishes too, which will be shown at the Jobeky festival.
Gatton Drums, are experiencing a far higher than anticipated take up on their ‘New for Old’ snare deal. The simple but very alluring offer is to replace the existing shell of the participant’s snare with a Gatton APC shell. The original snare is stripped – and of course returned -and the hardware fitted to the Gatton.
An accomplished drummer himself, Gatton MD Craig Cockrell understands the reasons behind the success of the promotion: “Despite the fact that, if required, our thing is to beat the hell out of our kits, we drummers are a fairly traditional bunch; I knew this when I first launched Gatton. Before I made my first APC kit, I was a wood-shell man through and through, so I knew that a lot of the guys would take some persuading. What’s been happening though is that many of the drummers had bought another, ‘better’ snare after having bought their kit. It’s the original snare that came with the kit that they’re bringing to Gatton, as it’s an easy, inexpensive introduction to our drums”.
Although there are ever more owners of Gatton snares, another fact has surprised even Craig: “We were hopeful and are quite happy with the volume of upgrades we’re doing, but there’s a growing number of drummers coming back after the upgrade to order kits. We had hoped for the odd one, but this is brilliant”.
There are exciting times ahead for all at Animal, who are currently in the process of radically changing their whole product range, something that has been in the pipeline for a long time. Gone is their entire existing range, all of which used 100% mass produced parts, in its place will be one range of Animal Drums. Animal will be concentrating on solid wood drums and exotic ply, with more traditional stains and natural lacquers together with a select few wrap finishes.
The kits drum parts, designed and made in the UK will all be unique to Animal, the new parts will be introduced in phases, culminating eventually with every single part fitted to the kit being British made and unique.
Phase one will be introduced as soon as possible and will feature new lugs, badges and tom mounts.
Their website will be updated with all new information and product specification in the next month or so.
Well, that’s it for the second edition of UK Custom News. The summer issue will be live at the start of August, so please look out for it and keep backing UK drum manufacturers.
Many thanks to the custom makers for sending in information. More news is always welcome from UK custom drum producers. Please drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org for details
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