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NAMM 2015 - Day 3

NAMM  Day 3

Pearl

As always, there were quite a few interesting new products from Pearl. The new Chad Smith signature snare drum is a little bit different, and is definitely worthy of a mention. It''s based on the Free Floating snare design, but the shell is made of three different metal rings which stack on top of each other to form the shell. Two of the rings are made from brass, and one is made from steel. By rearranging the sections into different orders, you can get different sounds out of the drum. For instance, if you put the steel at the top, you get a brighter more cutting sound, whereas if you put it at the bottom you get a warmer, rounder sound. Put it in the middle and you get the best of both worlds.

If you are of a certain age you might remember the Pearl Wood/Fibreglass drums of the 1970''s. These were wooden drums but they had a thin lining of fibreglass to brighten the sound. Well, the wood fibreglass kits are back, but this time with a kapur shell to give a nice rounded sound, and the fibreglass to brighten it up. There are three different kit configurations, and three different colours. The toms have a 45° edge but the bass drums have a fully rounded edge. All the bass drums are 14 inches deep.

Also on show was a massive Masterworks kit which had a crazy finish and a crazy spec, which pearl had built just to show off some of the options now available in that range. The Fibreglass lining is available on all Masterworks kits now as an option, as our red gaskets under the lugs, which looks great on certain finishes.

The Pearl ePro has been upgraded to have Export shells with it, and there are also some Stephen Slate kits to be downloaded from the Redbox website for existing owners.

DW

One thing we noticed as soon as we went in the room was the leather wrapped bass drum hoops. While this might sound a little naff on paper, in real life they actually look very, very cool. Each hoop is hand wrapped and hand stitched, and although it is faux leather rather than real leather it actually looks quite good. There are five colours available, and they are available in any bass drum  size. Apparently, John Good was driving into work one day when he noticed the leather wrap on the steering wheel of his car. This made him wonder if you could do this to any part of drum kit, so they tried it on bass drum hoops and realised it looked rather good.

The new DW Timeless Timber kit is also very impressive. Like Neil Peart's kit (see later) it is also made of Romanian river oak and DW were showing a video about this. Apparently the trunk of the oak tree was found in the bottom of a Romanian river, hence the name, and it has been Carbon dated to around about 1500 years old.

The kit itself is finished in the natural colour of the wood, it has not been stained. The hardware on the kit is Antique Bronze which is a special finish, and all the shells feature a laser cut badge.

The drums are being made into six piece kits and DW hope to make around about 100 kits, but it really depends on how much wood they can get out of the tree trunk. This kit also features the leather bass drum hoops.

Pride of place in the DW room was the R40 kit which was built for Neil Peart. It's got to be said, it's very impressive and very large. The shells are made from Romanian River Oak and although two identical kits were made, they both belong to Neil, and are not for sale.

There is quite a collection of new snares as well, but have a look at the video for details. Of note is the Reverse Edge collectors drum which has a cast aluminium centre section and wooden end pieces at the top and the bottom, in total reverse of the usual Edge set up.

The Vintage Concept kit looks great with maple shells and maple hoops on all the drums including the toms. This is going to come in 22, 24 and 26 inch bass drums, 16 and 18 inch floor toms, with a 13 inch rack tom.

The New Yorker kits are DW''s venture into a more reasonable and very small drum kit as these are very popular at the moment. They have an 18 inch bass drum,10 inch rack tom and 13 inch floor tom and the price we were told they would be in the UK make them amazingly reasonable. They also look pretty cool as well.

We have seen the DW MiniPro before but it has been brought back because of the demand for small drum kits. It features a 16 or 18 inch bass drum,10 and 13 inch toms, and a 12 inch snare. It is available in either tobacco burst or black satin, and the black satin has a matte black Suede display head which looks very interesting.

There''s a couple of new hardware items but to be honest we were very taken with the Ultralight hardware. Have a look at the video for more details, but just to say the snare drum stand could fold up incredibly small and was so light I could lift it with my little finger without even noticing. This lightweight hardware will revolutionise some people''s hardware bags. Very impressive.

You might remember that quite a few years ago, DW changed from conventional tension rods to their own True Pitch tension rods. A conventional tension rod has 24 threads per inch, the original True Pitch has 30 threads per inch, and now DW have done it again and their new True Pitch tension rods have 50 threads per inch. The threads are so fine that we couldn''t catch them on camera and we had to take a still shot of them to accurately see them. While this will no doubt make changing heads a complete pain, it also means that drums will hardly ever go out of tune as the tension rods will need to be turned so much more to make an impact on the tuning. The new tension rods are available as retrofits for all existing DW kits.

DW also have some new heads. The AA heads have two plies of Ambassador weight film glued together and then crimped into a steel ring. While you might think this might make a very heavy and unresponsive head, we are told they are more open than an Emperor and they have an incredibly long life as the two glued plies are exceptionally strong together. They are available in coated and smooth white.

Dixon

Greg Bissonette met us on the Dixon stand to show us his new drum kit and his new signature snare drums. His drum kit has especially thin maple shells (called the Artisan Ultra Maple) which were developed in a very short amount of time as Greg joined Dixon only a few weeks before he needed the kit for the Ringo Starr Allstar tour. The kit is finished in a sea foam green sparkle.

Greggs two new snares look very similar but are very different. Both are 14x6.5 inches, but one is made of black nickel plated steel and is smooth, whereas the other is black nickel plated hammered brass. They have very different sounds and also very different price points. As you can probably tell from the video, Greg is a very serious guy with no sense of humour… not!

While we didn''t get to have a good long look at it, the Dixon Precision Coil bass drum pedal certainly looks very interesting. It''s heavy duty machined metal pedal with a large twisted nob to increase or decrease the pressure on the spring. Its not a compression or expansion spring but a torque spring mechanism like the old Ludwig Ghost pedal.

Sakae

Sakae had no new kits, but had lots of very nice new snare drums for us to look at. First off we have the Japanese Cyprus Stave snares which come in 14x5” and 14x6.5”. These have thick stave shells and the wood looks beautiful, much like olive wood.

Next up is a range of black brass snares in 4”, 5.5” and and 6.5” each depths, plus a 13x6.5” as well. There are two new wraps available in the Trilogy series, both modern versions of old classics from the 1960's - Psychedelic Red and Mod Orange. They both looked great.

 

For 2015, the Celestial drums are available in a limited edition Tamo Ash red fade. Also on the stand was a Birch Almighty in a very familiar Cherrywood colour. Anyone who has owned a certain classic kit would have no doubt as to what it looked like. Beautiful.

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