Drummers Only: 2019 Edition!

2019 gave us the The Fyre Fest documentary which introduced the world to Andy King, a man who brings a whole new meaning to “taking one for the team”, Game of Thrones met it’s conclusion (spoiler alert: DISAPPOINTING), The Avengers as we know them came to an end (spoiler alert: HEARTBREAKING), Greta Thunberg’s “How Dare You” speech made her Time’s Person Of The Year 2019 and the film adaptation of the musical Cats proved that the only decent movie about Cats is The Lion King.

Outside of pop culture, 2019 proved to be a big one for us here a Drummers Only for a number of reasons, but this is the introductory paragraph that no-one reads. Seriously! You can say anything here, your deepest darkest secrets or home truths and it won’t get noticed…The Rise Of Skywalker was actually really good! Anyway, now for the good part…

Don’t you just love it when your favourite TV show does a “clip show” episode right after an important cliffhanger episode? Well this blog is effective the written version of that so STRAP IN PEOPLE! 2019 was a HUGE year for us. I’d honestly argue 2019 was the busiest year yet for us. Having two shops definitely helps that. Oh yeah, we have two shops now. DIDN’T WE TELL YOU ENOUGH?! Phone calls and emails would suggest not. Anyway, 2019 is indeed the year we leveled up from single store to a CHAIN. Opening a second store in Scotland would be predictable…and cold, so we decided it was time to venture south of The Wall and open a brand new store in Leeds!

The wonderful Jake Brooksbank, a total legend who really knows his stuff, manages the store. He’s assembled his own army of expert staff but you’ll see a Glasgow face down there from time to time and vice versa. It’s pretty righteous that there are now TWO Drummers Only stores in the UK. Plus, what other drum store would have a DELOREAN turn up to their new shop opening party?! Having two stores also opens us up to having more locations for clinics. Speaking of…

2019 was a HUGE year for clinics, kicked off with the legendary Steve Smith who blew away a capacity audience with some real fan girl moments! Steve was closely followed by the internets favourite teacher Mike Johnston. Matt Halpern & Federico Paulvich followed in Mikes footsteps, which also ended up being the first official clinic at the Leeds shop. Simon Edgoose destroyed all of our brains with the capabilities of the Yamaha EAD10 while Craig Reynolds ventured to Glasgow to blow the ROOF off in tremendous fashion.

Matt Garstka journeyed up north to blow our minds with an incredible performance and Luke Holland tore the building in half in Leeds with an insightful social media and drumming Masterclass. Our year, and DECADE rounded out with the guru himself Benny Greb in both Glasgow & Leeds stores. We last had Benny in 2013 so it was amazing to see a noticeable growth in his playing only six years later. Phenomenal! You’ll have noticed that many of our artists this year were Meinl affiliated, so it seemed only appropriate to pay a visit to the factory, right?

We got to venture out the shop a few times in 2019 and see some cool places/people. I guess for the Glasgow troops, and myself the journey to Leeds was pretty exciting (we don’t get out much) but I’m talking GLOBALLY…or at least to Europe. Conveniently both trips involved cymbal factories! Paul & Gordon took a trip to Turkey to visit the Istanbul Agop factory while Adam & Jake got to jet-set to Germany for a jolly boys outing to Meinl HQ.

A bit closer to home, Drummers Only were representing Sonor Drums at the 2019 UK Drum Show, which involved 72 hours of being in a giant room with what felt like the whole of the UK’s drumming community smacking drums right next to your face. LOUD…but lots of fun! We get so many customers online and further afield than Glasgow or Leeds that it’s nice to actually meet them face to face…you know, even if we can’t hear what they’re saying by lunchtime.

Despite our numbers in staff growing here, it would be a crime to not give an honorable shout out to our Liam who hung up his Drummers Only t-shirt to be a professional computer wizard. Total LEGEND!!

Finally, with the opening of Leeds and with the theme of growth this past year, we decided it was time for Glasgow to have a bit of renovation. By “renovation” I actually mean packing up all our drums from Commerce St into several van loads and moving it half way across Glasgow to the east end into a BRAND NEW SPACE. We moved from Commerce St for a number of reasons COUGH parking COUGH rats & the smell of damp COUGH deliveries COUGH.

We essentially had a blank canvas that allowed us to build a shop to suit us and cater for everything we need it to, which we simply couldn’t do affectively in our old place. I think you’ll all agree, it’s MUCH better…and getting parked right outside the front door is a bonus!

So there you have it! Your yearly round up of all the goings on in Drummers Only life. Myself (Adam) & Chris also started a podcast, which you can subscribe to HERE, or if you use Spotify…HERE where we went into everything above in a touch more detail…though we did get distracted by drum gear talk. We work in a drum shop, what do you expect?!

Make sure you keep an eye on all the socials this year for even more exciting goings on in the life of the UK’s largest independent drum store chain. I guess you could say that we’re taking drum stores BACK TO THE FUTURE!

The Complete Guide To Buying A Drum Kit For Christmas!

This time of year is usually when complete PANIC sets in for parents. Remember in the 90’s when the Ninja Turtles were the most sought after prize; trying to get a complete set of four was STRESSMAGEDDON for any parent involved. I imagine it’s a similar feeling for parents when their child says “I want a drum kit” when asked what they want from Santa, so we’ve made this helpful guide to make the process a bit easier so you at least know what you’re looking for…

Before we get started…yes, we’ve seen the advert and YES we LOVE IT! Whatever gets kids into playing drums is what matters to us so we’re all for it. We’re the place to go for the next step up! We see it all the time, parents walk through the door and their whole demeanour changes to the same of a deer in headlights. Drums EVERYWHERE!!! Not only that that but there’s a bunch of cymbals on the wall, some drum kits that are towered, some on raised platforms, a whole wall of individual drums of varying colours/material, some drums look like a bunch of rubber pads with wires poking out of them…all in all it’s a bit of a situation. I’m not into cycling or mountain biking of any sort but I imagine the feeling would be similar if I were to walk into a bike shop as I’d be completely out my comfort zone. Fortunately there’s some key words or phrases that’ll help guide you in the right direction before you even walk in the door.

Firstly, consider what it is you actually NEED. We have hundreds of different options available for each step to help you make the choice but here’s some basic things to figure out before you come in. If you’re just a beginner then chances are you’ll need EVERYTHING, which includes the Drums (obviously) along with Hardware or “Stands”, Cymbals, Pedal, Sticks etc. The other alternative to getting everything from the digital perspective would be an electronic kit, which is great even if they currently have one and are looking for a serious upgrade. Alternatively if you have a set of drums currently and are looking to upgrade to either your first mid-end or high end kit then a shell pack is where to go! A Shell Pack is what we refer to a drum kit that doesn’t come with any additional cymbals or hardware (the stands, pedal & throne), it’s literally just the drums. Typically these are more expensive and can be up in the thousands of pounds as they are made from high-end materials and are a bit more special in terms of finish/uniqueness.

Next up would be your Budget, or how much you’re looking to spend. We’ll start with Acoustic drums. For an acoustic set of drums that comes with everything you need to get started which includes the drums, stands, cymbals, pedal, throne and sticks the first price kit is the Natal EVO set. A fantastic starting point just under £300 that includes everything required in the box. Crafted from basswood shells that provides just the right amount of sound detail needed to learn efficiently! Mapex Tornado. Available in three different colour options and three different bass drum sizes (18in, 20in & 22in) to suit any size of room from bedroom to garage. The Tornado makes it the perfect entry level kit for anyone looking to learn for under the £350 mark. The next and most popular kit that comes with almost everything is the Pearl Export. The biggest selling drum kit in the world, so popular that when Pearl discontinued it they were forced to bring it back into production due to how much demand came for it, which is why we’ve sold them year after year. They’re extremely consistent, well made drums that come with a high-end hardware and cymbals manufactured by Sabian, a huge cymbal brand. The only component this kit doesn’t come with is a seat, or “drum throne” but for £699 it’s a total bargain!

If the Natal Evo or Pearl Export was last years present and you’re really looking to step it up going into 2020 then a Shell Pack is the best way to go, particularly if you already have the high-end stands & pedal that came with last years Export! If you’re experienced enough to know what you want and have researched enough to have brand preference then you’ll already have an idea of where you want to go for a shell pack. If you’re still unsure then one of the best buys in the shop right now hands down is the Mapex Armory. With a list of high-end features including hybrid shells which essentially allows two different materials to work in tandem with each other allowing for a combination of different sounds, SONIClear Bearing Edges to allow the drum heads to sit nice and flush on the drum for super easy tuning, Stunning Veneer lacquer finishes and the inclusion of a Mapex Tomahawk Steel Snare Drum (steel being the most versatile of all the metal varieties of drum) it’s a total no brainer for something like this at it’s £849 price point.

Over in Electronics world, the world is quite literally your oyster. For beginner Electronic Kits a fantastic starting point for us is the Yamaha DTX 400 series. They’re an amazing starting point with quiet rubber pads ideal for practicing and a module filled with high quality drum samples. Yamaha put a focus on sound first before image. As such, they recorded all the drums in their library to put within the module resulting in high-end drums squeezed within a wallet friendly kit. The most popular model within the DTX 400 range for us is the DTX452 as it has some physical improvements such as the bass drum being simulated by a tower that you strike with a real bass drum pedal and an improved snare drum sensitivity pad, all of this for £479. On the higher-end of the spectrum is the Roland TD-17KVX which is a phenomenal electronic drums EXPERIENCE. It’s fitted with Dynamic Prismatic Sound Modeling technology meaning that the drums are designed to feel like REAL drums and the translation from striking the head to hearing it SOUNDS like real drums. This kit is not just fit for the bedroom, but the stage too! It’s probably one of the closest electronic kits you’ll get that resemble the feel of an acoustic kit with features taken from Rolands flagship TD-50 kit. Complete with a tunable 12in snare pad, Bluetooth connectivity, newly designed KD-10 kick pad, Warm-Up menu that provides daily practice exercise routine and the rest! It’s a LOT of kit for £1671, and a MIGHTY upgrade!

Those are just SOME examples of knowing where your budget can take you, but something to keep in mind as well is longevity. Spending just a little more can be the difference between something lasting 6 months or 6 years, so if you decide a drum kit is what Santa is bringing this year then come and see us. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff can help point you in the right direction of what they think would be the best for your situation to secure a very Merry Christmas for everyone!

How do you spell Custom? S..J..C.. – SJC Drums

For fans of Slipknot, Twenty-One Pilots, New Found Glory, Imagine Dragons, Bowling For Soup or basically any band on the Vans Warped Tour (RIP) this drum brand will be no stranger to you. Even if you’re not super into Pop/Punk music, some of the previous creations by this company blew away audiences at drum shows and social media alike not only by how great the drums sound but also how insanely awesome they looked! As you’ve guessed by the title of this blog, I’m talking about SJC Drums…

19 years ago in a small basement in Boston Massachusetts was where the SJC Drums was born. The Ciprari brothers (Scott & Mike) took their shared passion for music and love of drums in a different direction than most would expect from two brothers. Instead of starting a family band, they instead start making drums in their Grandmothers basement. Scott took on most of the manufacturing, while Mike was the sales and marketing guy and followed a simple structure; Scott would make the drums, while Mike would reach out to their favourite bands to offer their drums.

Their perseverance paid off resulting in one of their first SJC signed artists: The Aquabats! One by one they gained further traction and their artist pool begun to expand. Taking things more seriously (and due to the phenomenal amount of work they were getting) they eventually moved out of their Grandmothers basement and into a much bigger facility! However, the company really catapulted into the stratosphere when Panic! At The Disco performed on MTV in 2006 using an SJC Drum Kit. BOOM!

From there the company moved from strength to strength. The DIY nature of the company continued to hold true and the word custom took on a whole new meaning with artists (now in their 100’s) almost in a bid to out-do each other on how crazy their custom kit could be. They even did a Back To The Future kit which resulted in a monumental dropping of JAWS…no seriously, they created a Jaws themed kit as well…

They moved from strength to strength over the years and after moving to a much bigger facility and simplifying the ranges they now have a line of drums that sound and look incredible available to drummers all over the world. We’re super excited and thrilled to be apart of the SJC family as one of their UK dealers. We’ll be bringing an extensive range of kits and snares into both our Leeds AND Glasgow stores! No stone will be left un turned as we’ll have a range to suit everyone including Pathfinder, Navigator, Providence, Tour Series and some of their incredible Artist snares & Foundation hardware. Alternatively if you’re feeling adventurous, you can design your DREAM drums using SJC’s Virtual Kit Designer (VKD) which can be special ordered via us!

So come on down, check them out and live out your pop/punk fantasy with SJC Drums! See what products we have right HERE

CrossTown, CrossCountry, CrossWORLD! – Yamaha Crosstown Hardware

I guess it’s time to admit, the folks at Yamaha drums are pretty damn smart. I’ve always felt them to be a company that creates instruments or technology with “Average Joe” working drummers always at the forefront of their minds. Their recent inventions like the EAD10 has completely eliminated the worry for us to look into different microphones or trigger modules and combined it into one simple to use small (and cheaper) package. It was then that Yamaha turned their attention towards making our lives easier before we’ve even set up the kit.

What’s the heaviest element of any drummers rig? The HARDWARE. The trunk that holds it goes by many names; Coffin, Body-bag, Death Bag due to the sheer weight and hassle that’s involved getting the thing from A to B and all things inbetween (yes, I’m talking stairs). So with the announcement of Yamahas Crosstown Hardware, those of us with heavy hardware and broken backs were both delighted and dubious, could hardware that collectively weighs 7kg really be THAT impressive? The short answer is yes and that you should just buy it like RIGHT NOW, but I get paid to write a blog so…

The Yamaha Crosstown Hardware is their Advanced Lightweight Hardware, which is the result of some deep research and development from communicating with drummers all over the world and a team of lead designers in order to manufacture the lightest hardware possible that still maintains enough strength and durability to withstand not only regular use, but by drummers performing ANY style of music. From Jazz to Metal this hardware could withstand the heaviest hitters and equipment and still out-perform many of the competition. So, how is it so light?!

It’s made from Aluminium which allows the stands to be 25-34% lighter compared to standard hardware. This allows it to be portable while remaining study enough to handle cymbals of any size and weight. It’s also finished with a fingerprint and scuff-resistant stain that never oxidizes allowing it to always look and work amazingly well no matter what. The tubing from the hardware is also cross compatible with other Yamaha hardware allowing you to expand your options. Within the set is a Hi-Hat stand, a Snare stand and TWO Straight Cymbal Stands, which are all also available as individuals out with the set. Now here’s the crazy part. The whole set weighs in at 7kg. Whaaaaaaaat?! To put that in perspective, a standard hi-hat stand and snare stand in a bag weigh roughly 9kg combined…

The set comes with a handy carry bag that also has enough wiggle room to fit your throne and pedal meaning you can take all your hardware LITERALLY in one hand. Who’d have thought we would live in a world like that one day?! Add in a couple of extra stands and you’ve got yourself a fully compact lightweight rig that Neil Peart would be jealous of! It’s seriously wonderful and extremely reliable so do yourself (and your back) a favour and pick some up NOW!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! – Ludwig 110th Anniversary Black Beauty Snares

I think this might have been the first drum in a LONG time that’s truly taken my breath away. From the moment of taking it out the box it already felt like I was holding a truly special piece in my hands (giggity). Once these drums arrived in stores they took social media by storm. Instagram broke, Twitter went into meltdown, Facebook…was still over run by cute dogs and Boris Johnston but I SAW AT LEAST ONE POST ABOUT IT. I’m talking of course about the Ludwig 110th Anniversary Black Beauty.

It’s fair to say that the Ludwig Black Beauty snare drum is probably the most famous snare drum in the world. It’s featured on countless recordings and used by numerous artists live all around the world (even by artists endorsed by other companies but SHH!!) due to how well these drums are manufactured. They have “THAT” snare sound, but it had to start somewhere. First manufactured in the 1920’s by brothers William F and Theo Ludwig. After multiple variations with logos and lugs, the raw material and manufacturing as stayed true. A black nickel-plated spun brass shell. So,to celebrate their 110th Anniversary, Ludwig decided to re-release the original Black Beauty to it’s original spec making it a true collectors item. It’s STUNNING…

That deserves a two syllable DAYUM! Just look at how smart that is. If Robert De Niro was a snare drum, THIS is what he’d be. Everything about this drum screams CLASS, a vintage vibe with modern overtones. This particular version includes the original single-flanged hoops giving the drum a unique aesthetic and wide open resonance. It’s an 8-lug snare with tube lugs as well for some serious retro vibes. Speaking of hardware, it’s GOLD! The taste of it, the smell of it, the teexture..I LOVE GOLD! It features an updated Brass P88 Throw-Off for maximum reliability and durability. The snare also comes with a pretty snazzy Anniversary Model Snare Bag to carry it around and make sure it’s safe from gig to gig AND a certificate of authenticity!

Currently as of writing this we have the 14x5in AND the 14×6.5in variations in stock awaiting two lucky souls to take the plunge on so grab yourself one of these legendary drums HERE

Wait…they also make STICKS?! – Meinl Stick & Brush

Turns out Meinl got wood. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that. Don’t let that crude indulgent joke give you any illusion on my thoughts on Meinl stepping into the Stick market because they are NOTHING like the slang term for the male genitals. Today we’ll delve into the small but detailed world of Meinl Stick & Brush!

Despite creating some of the most beautiful array of Cymbals & Percussion on the market playing by some of the greatest musicians alive today, Meinl just weren’ t quite completely satisfied. They had an itch, a wooden itch so to speak which resulted in the inception of their new Stick & Brush line. Within contains a boutique selection of drum sticks, multi-rods, brushes and mallets crafted with precision german engineering coming straight out their headquarters. While the range of stick options may be limited, it allows Meinl to develop a clear and focused line carefully crafted to create a consistent product every single time. Now I know what you’re thinking, what could be so different about these drum sticks that sets them apart from all the rest? Quite a bit, actually…

While most stick companies match each pair of sticks by pitch, Meinl match theirs by both pitch AND weight. Meaning, now matter how many pairs you get they’ll ALL feel the same. Gone are the days of tapping a stick off your head to find the correct one for you, Meinl did the head-bashing for you! Figuratively speaking, of course. Within the sticks range they offer SIX variations; Standard, Standard Long, Hybrid, Heavy, Big Apple & Concept. Standard offers the sizes you’d expect; 7A, 5A & 5B – which are16in length with an Acorn tip, the perfect starting point, while Standard Long offers a 16.5in variation for the 5A & 5B for additional reach. Wish there was an inbetween for Standard & Standard Long? Then meet HYBRID. The Hybrid offers 7A, 5A & 5B with a 16.25in Length, longer taper and a special “Hybrid” tip which brings out the darker, smoother qualities of the drums & cymbals allowing the player to sound much more versatile in a wide range of genres. If you’re after a stick with a bit more weight behind it then Heavy may be for you. Offering 5A, 5B & 2B with the same 16.5in length as the Standard Long, The Heavy line is designed for the heavy hitter in you to draw big sound from your drums in ways never quite possible before! Now, lets get into the slightly more unique side of this range…

We’ll start with Big Apple. The Big Apple range consists of two different variations; Bop & Swing. The Bop consists of an oversized Acorn tip which creates full tonality on the drums and woody stick definition on the cymbals. It’s extra long taper generates a very quick rebound making it fantastic for fast music or soloing. The Swing stick on the other hand has an undersized Acorn tip and larger stick diameter than the Bop. This in turn allows it to create incredible articulation and clarity when striking cymbals and lets drummers who prefer a thicker stick really dig in without overpowering their bandmates. Finally we come to the Concept line in which all the sticks are made from Maple. Within consists of the SD1, SD2 & SD4. The SD1 sports a 16.375in Length, it’s the longest stick within the Concept line with a rounded tip making it very easy to control and the perfect “beginner” stick. SD2 sits perfectly in the middle at 16in length with a Barrel tip for less mid-range overtones and a longer taper for faster rebound. Finally the SD4 comes in the shortest of the entire Meinl stick collection at 15.865in length but is the perfect stick for when volume control is essential. It’s thicker shoulder gives the stick a solid feel in your hands allowing you to really control and dial in your strokes. So that’s the lowdown on the new sticks, but Meinl didn’t quite stop there…

They also made a collection of brushes, multi-rods and mallets to offset the collection. Meinl’s multi-rods can be used on all forms of percussion, not just on your drums because they feature both an easy to use grip handle and adjustability rings to achieve the desired amount of dowel spread. Some highlights within are the Birch Standard brushes, Bamboo Brush, Nylon Super-Flex and the Heavy multi-rod to cover all bases. On the opposite side of the spectrum, their wire brushes are a sight to behold. With snappy and crisp slaps combined with lush sweeping tones, they are a must-have in any drummers bag. You can’t go wrong with their standard wire brush, but why not try the Nylon brushes for a different texture. Fancy something inbetween brushes & rods? Husk Brush is what you want. Husk Brushes are made from lightweight straw material bundled together to create the perfect blend of brush slap and rod smack. They offer the standard Husk Brush and a lighter variation. They offer similar variations for Cajons, made specifically for the cajon player looking to draw a bigger sound.

Finally, the mallets are where this range really comes into it’s own. Sometimes there’s a clear different in the quality of Mallets & Sticks from the same brand. Not with Meinl! They developed their mallets for the kit player who needs to add some shimmer to allow switching from stick to mallet feel like a seamless transition. If you’re looking for a generic Mallet, the Medium Mallet is the way to go for the perfect blend of shimmer and softness. For something a touch lighter they offer the Super Soft Mallet which provides incredibly delicate attack, conversely the Hard Mallet offers incredible projection and attack. They offer specific percussion mallets with a felt tip, or Timbale sticks for when you really need to dig in.

So there you have it! Already play Meinl Cymbals? It probably makes sense to give the sticks a go as well. My personal favourite right now is the Hybrid 7A as it allows me to play hard without feeling like I’m swinging clubs around all night. These sticks LAST as well. I’m a fairly hard hitter and after 4 gigs they still look brand new. SERIOUSLY. Get on the hype train and grab some of these sticks from either Leeds or Glasgow. Or if you want them quicker, get them HERE

Power, Speed, Feel! – Tama Dyna-Sync Direct Drive Pedal

Power, Speed, Feel – Those are the three core elements that help make a great bass drum pedal. It’s a bit like baking a cake, each ingredient needs to come together in the right order for it to work. Well, the guys & gals certainly baked a delicious one with their new Dyna-Sync pedal. It may not taste very nice, but it looks and feels GREAT!

It’s been a while since Tama entered the direct-drive pedal game so it was a major surprise when this latest offering made it’s debut at the 2019 NAMM show. Looking at it simply to the untrained eye, it’s a direct-drive pedal. However on closer inspection it’s SO much more. In order to create the vision of their direct-drive pedal, Tama created the Dynamic Synchronization system which consists of three sub-elements: Optimized Transmission Design, Dual Linkage and Slidable Cam. This combination allows you to feel at one with the pedal, making every stroke seem effortless! Let’s delve into exactly what all these sub-elements actually do…

The Dyna-Sync’s Optimized Transmission Design works by precisely positioning and aligning the contact points between the cam, direct-link and footboard which in turn allows the pedal to be incredibly balanced but also open it up to produce tremendous power with very little effort. Tama developed a sturdy double-link cam connection system known as the “Dual Linkage”, which Tama say produces almost perfect energy transfer from the footboard-to-cam. A great feature of the Dyna-Sync is the Slidable Cam. The upper cam section slides back and forth in a “non-step” action to adjust the cam-turning radius. A larger turning radius provides for a more linear motion between footboard and beater, resulting in a more dynamic, non-linear motion. This allows the pedal to completely personalized to your foot and playing style and therefore making you play your BEST!

Other notable features about this pedal are the Footboard Angle Adjustment, which is exactly as it sounds. Prefer your footboard a little more elevated? Sure, easy done. Want it slightly lower? That’s cool too. Despite being a completely separate from the “cobra” family, the Dyna-Sync pedal comes fitted with a new “Sync-Coil”, which is essentially a 1.5 heavier gauge steel spring which assists in the return of the footboard to the original position giving the pedal a familiar quick response. It’s fitted with a Hinge Guard Block, which is a redesign that comes as a two-piece assembly for mimizing stress and maximizing smoothness. Spring is adjusted via the Swivel Spring Tight mechanism and Speedo-Ring making this pedal as smooth as the bonnet of a Porsche. The Para-Clamp II gives sturdier grip to the bass drum hoop for maximum stability. Finally it comes complete with a black felt Dyna Beater (two for the double-pedal) and it’s own pedal case, or “hoose” as we say in Glasgow.

So there you have it! If you’re in the market for a direct-drive pedal and want to be down with what’s cool and hip these days…Dyna-Sync is where it’s at! Grab yourself one right HERE

The Wolf Pack – Meinl Factory Trip!

If you guys pay any attention to our socials you’ll have seen that myself and Jake recently hopped on and off a plane for Germany to visit the Meinl cymbals factory. I mean, there was far more to it than just a plane. A couple trains, a car journey, THEN the plane and ANOTHER car journey but we made it in one piece ready for our adventure. I suppose the burning question on everyones lips is…how was the schnitzel? VERY good, actually! So was the beer, according to Jake. The best part naturally was what we actually came over to see…the cymbals!

Lourens & Joe from Meinl were our guides on this adventure, and after short drive from the airport, just over the brow of some beautiful German countryside poked the synonymous Meinl logo staring out into the world. Our tour began at Meinl Headquarters, made up of three large buildings closely grouped together. Firstly, the facility is INCREDIBLE. The first building we were shown around was their administration building where Lourens and the team handle enquiries from literally all over the world! The coffee is amazing too, incase you were wondering. There was Meinl memorabilia on almost every wall within the office space, from t-shirts of past Meinl Drum Festival events signed by all the artists, to the first prototypes of some of their most popular ranges and so on. They don’t let these achievements slow them down though, that office is as tight as a drum (get it?!) and everyone works as a cohesive unit to make sure everyone is looked after and all problems are solved.

Next we got taken into my favourite part, the showroom…or “candyland” as we later nicknamed it. Every product Meinl produce & distribute around the world was within this room including some extremely unique show pieces such as a cajon in the shape of an acoustic guitar body. Press clippings, show pieces and prototypes developed by Mr Roland Meinl himself lived in this very room, a real sight to behold! After around an hour or so in this facility, which included an impromptu jam-session (seriously, they have a specific room JUST for jamming. It’s what everyone does on their break) and a great evening out with Lourens & Joe we got some rest in preparation for the next day, the hand-selecting process…

Meinl’s cymbal manufacturing facility lives just across the road from their main office, which was formally full of offices before they opened their new digs across the road. Upon arriving at the reception over to your left hand side was a tall black gloss wall with the loose outline of a door in the centre. “Byzance Vault” inscribed directly in the centre. At first I was expecting a magical incantation or a goblin to arrive with keys to unlock the door like the bank of Gringotts but instead Lourens very casually opened the door to reveal exactly what you’d expect…a room FULL of the most beautiful Byzance cymbals. This was just a brief tease of what was to come as first we had to see how these cymbals are manufactured!

One striking fact I discovered very quickly during the factory tour was just how much care goes into crafting these magnificent cymbals. A pair of hands touches every one of these cymbals before you even see them, from foundry reserve all the way down to their budget HCS line, and seeing a sand ride “pre sanding” was truly incredible. There was no cameras allowed within the manufacturing area itself but to be honest the cymbals sound so good that it really shouldn’t matter seeing HOW it’s made. Each one has their own unique characteristic, a fact we discovered when we finally got to play some cymbals in the vault. Each range has a distinct tone, but each individual cymbal has little nuances that make them all just a bit more individual and special which made selecting a cymbal, even one in the same range and size surprisingly different. However when it came to the crunch, I think we choose some absolute gems from the bunch. We walked out with such a stacked trolley that me & Jake are applying for the Supermarket Sweep reboot!

These cymbals made the journey across the water and available for you to come and do your nosy either in Glasgow or Leeds. Special thanks of course to Lourens out at Meinl HQ and to Joe our Meinl representative for hooking us up with the tour! Expect a full in-depth breakdown of exactly what we picked up in due course! In the meantime, come on down and try out some hand selected beauties!

Metal Snares…What’s The Difference?!

Steel, Brass, Aluminium, Copper, Bronze. Odds are most of you will own a snare drum made from one of these materials. What some of you might not be aware of is the difference between them all, sonically at least. Having the right drum for the job helps so here’s a breakdown of what each of these materials will do for your sound and decide what you need for your situation. Lets go!

If a metal snare is what you desire then it’s important to know what each one does as they all provide their own unique sound characteristics. Having at least a rough idea of what each material does will prove vital for achieving the sound you want or need in a live/studio situation. One trait that will always be the case of a metal drum is that they are MUCH louder than wooden alternatives. They’re also brighter and more articulate. That’s all well and good…but which one do YOU need?!?! Well, read below and see if you can decide…

First up is Aluminum. Aluminum drums are extremely light-weight with a dry response. Due to their light-weight and durability, Aluminum drums are the perfect choice if you’re a freelance drummer hopping from gig to gig around the city and need a drum that is a workhorse right out of the gate. Another great plus point of Aluminum drums is their resistance to corrosion. This resistance is the reason you can find vintage Ludwig Acrolite snare drums in decent condition. Not only that but next to Steel, Aluminum drums are the most affordable of all the metal snares. Great examples of Aluminum snares are of course the Ludwig Acrolite, Yamaha Recording Custom, Pearl SensiTone and Tama Starphonic. Speaking of Steel…

In terms of versatility, Steel is KING of it. Typically most beginner or mid-range kits come with a Steel snare. They’ll pretty much do anything you need it to, sonically at least. I mean I can’t guarantee they’ll make a great cup of tea, but I can guarantee they’ll always sound consistent. They’re lovely and bright with great attack that will cut through any mix like butter! Range wise they’ll sit in the in the higher mid-range but to be honest you can achieve a wide range if the snare is deeper. Great examples of quality steel snare would be the Pearl Modern Utility, Gretsch Brooklyn Chrome over Steel, Ludwig Supralite and the Yamaha Recording Custom Steel. If you’re looking for something a tad richer, perhaps Brass might be the way to go…

If you need a drum that responds to the smallest of notes and the largest of hits, Brass is the one. Brass can be a bit of a scary monster, it’s absolutely the loudest of the metals we’ve discussed so far. You don’t need to strike a brass drum hard for it to play hard. Despite its abrasiveness, its surprisingly much darker than the above and packed full of low-end attack. A saught-after feature of any Brass drum is the almighty crack they produce. Good lord is it mighty! Perhaps the most famous Brass snare drum is the Ludwig Black Beauty with its legacy on famous recordings, but even if it hadn’t featured on these songs it would still have a legacy as it’s just so damn good! There’s a reason even top session players endorsed by different drum companies use a Black Beauty live. Of course don’t let that take away from some other fantastic Brass options such as the Mapex Black Panther SledgeHammer, Yamaha Recording Custom, DW Collectors Black Brass and Ludwig Black Magic!

The final two potential options for a metal snare are Bronze and Copper. Being the most expensive material for a metal snare, Bronze shares a lot of similarities with Brass in just how articulate it can be, picking up the smallest of taps to the loudest of hits with great clarity. If you need a metal drum that can light up coffee shops or fill stadiums, you can’t go wrong with Bronze. They’re powerful! Currently we have a DW Knurled Bronze snare that always brings a smile to anyones face who has a play. Copper on the other hand acts almost like a hybrid between wood and metal with a lot of organic warmth and low-end qualities. Ludwig recently released a CopperPhonic snare that has become saught-after due to its versatility and presence on any stage or recording session. Recently a customer of ours also ordered a custom DW Collectors snare in Flat Copper that sounded absolutely incredible. Definitely worth looking into if you need a hybrid sound.

Finally, the last thing to think about is the construction of the shell itself. More specifically, if the shell is Seamless or Hammered as this can also play a crutial role in how the drum will sound regardless of material. Seamless Shells have no interruption in the movement of air within the shell, allowing it to be brighter and louder. Alternatively, Hammered shells rough interior interrupts the flow of air, forcing it to bounce and produce a warmer response, emulating the low wooden tones.


So….have you decided? There is no right or wrong answer, as it’s purely subjective which one you like the best. Sometimes the drum you like the best isn’t the best drum for the situation, which is something to take into account when making a decision. With that said…theres no such thing as “too many snare drums”!

Yamaha EAD10 – The Future??

Yamaha EAD10 – The Future??

Since it’s inception in 2018, The Yamaha EAD10 promised to revolutionize the way drummers approach and think about the concept of hybrid drumming. Not only that but take the integration of electronics and acoustic drums to the next level in ways only the techsperts at Yamaha could. So does it live up to the expectation and hype? Well…YES!!! In more ways than one, actually. Here’s why…

The Yamaha EAD10 is an electronic drum module that transforms your acoustic drum kit into an powerful digital/electronic hybrid set by allowing you to sample studio quality effects and sounds as well as amplifying your acoustic kit and record your own performance from your library of music or your own creations. It’s basically the best thing since sliced bread. The module works in tandom with a Sensor, which attaches to your bass drum. The module can be positioned anywhere within your set up for easy access and control throughout your practice/performance sessions. Once the sensor and module are in place, the bass drum activates a trigger within the sensor and the built-in stereo microphones records your sounds from the ENTIRE kit. Yes, the ENTIRE kit. From there you can add effects and alter sounds. The finished sounds can be heard via headphones or PA or even sent to a USB device like a laptop or smartphone.

This system is INCREDIBLY user friendly and almost impossible not to set up correctly. Within the module is 50 preset sounds, with 200 user scenes to choose from and over 750 built-in samples (or 100 of your own sounds). You can also customize your own drum sounds and create a set up completely unique to you. My favourite part of the whole thing is the app that accompanies it. The Rec’N’Share app flawlessly integrates with the module allowing you to record video AND audio all from your smartphone. It literally gives you the opportunity to be come the Instagram drummer you’ve always wanted to be!

The EAD10 is amazing for the social-media aspect, but INCREDIBLE for performance purposes too! Gone are the days where you need a separate box of microphones, over nine-thousand XLR cables and a separate triggering module (with even MORE cables!). The EAD10 is quite literally Plug and play. Job done. Your drums will sound immense with a fraction of the effort and space. Convinced? Good, you should be! Everyone is using it, right up to the pros out on the road. One of which we have coming to see us. Simon Edgoose.

Simon Edgoose Image

On June 26th in Leeds and June 27th in Glasgow Simon Edgoose is bringing his Yamaha EAD10 Headphone Sessions experience to us. Each person in attendance (limited to 30) will be given a set of headphones and will be able to hear EXACTLY what’s being played note for note by Simon via the EAD10. You’ll be able to see the module used at it’s fullest potential by one of the most intelligent men and badass drummers on the planet. If you’ve not got tickets yet and either own or are on the fence about buying an EAD10 then this is the exact event for you!

Grab yourself tickets to an EAD Headphone Sessions event near you right HERE

AGEAN! – Our newest cymbal brand…

AGEAN! – Our newest Cymbal Brand…

For years we’ve stocked the top cymbal brands in the world, and occasionally we look to try something a little more unique. Agean cymbals absolutely fit that bill for us so here’s a quick rundown of the newest pies to grace the bakery…


Based in Turkey, Agean’s mission statement is to produce 100% hand-crafted Turkish cymbals straight from their factory using traditional production methods to honor the humble beginnings of cymbal craftsmenship. What makes Agean cymbals even futher unique is the use of the B.25 formula. Essentially it’s a much finer composition in the manufacturing of the cymbals than B20 bronze used by many other cymbal brands. This allows these cymbals to be lighter and give a much brighter sound while maintaining the hand-hammered nature. Amongst their many lines of cymbals, we currently have three of the most popular in stock…

Currently we hold the Special Jazz, Treasure Jazz and Samir lines, each of which offer something slightly different than our current brands. The Special Jazz line are a very special hand hammered line full of charisma, perfect for drummers who desire a traditional Turkish cymbal sound. They cover an extremely broad frequency range making them a great choice not just for jazz musicians, but rock musicians too due to their clear stick definition and wash. Next up is the Samir line. Made with B20 bronze, the Samir series is finely hand hammered and lathed, providing projected attack with a dry sound. They’re very explosive and therefore thrive in Rock, Pop and Funk environments. Finally we have the Treasure Jazz series. Made with the same B.25 Bronze composition as the Special Jazz series, Treasure Jazz is Ageans freshly created cymbal line. The idea behind this line is to create cymbals that look and sound like old time jazz cymbals with such soft, buttery features. These cymbals really do feel like older lines produced back in the day making them feel new yet familiar.

If you’ve never heard of Agean cymbals and would love to come and try what we have in store, I highly encourage you to. They sound amazing and have a lot of scope across various musical styles. We also have them in stock online too so if you fancy taking a punt on something a little different…Agean is the way to go!

The Gig-Bag Essentials Guide!

The Gig-Bag Essentials Guide!

Summer is finally here which means most of you will be gearing up for a busy few months of festivals/weddings/catalina wine mixers, sacrificing that beautiful British weather (LOL!) to play lots of drums for potentially LOTS of people. As such, it’s important to make sure all your equipment is up to scratch and ready for the busy summer season. Sometimes no matter how top-notch your gear is, sometimes it likes to surprise you by going against the grain and falling apart right when you really don’t need it too. It’s important to be prepared for the worst so if you’re a Weekend Warrior, Seasoned Veteran or going on your first Summer Tour, here’s the ultimate spares part survival guide to help you prepare for the worst and play at your BEST! Grab your “gig” bag and lets get into it! Oh, before we do…yes you should ALWAYS take a drum key. Anyway…

I guess there’s no perfect place to begin so I’ll start with an often overlooked component of the kit; the bass drum pedal. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a budget line or high-end pedal, they’re all designed to perform the same job and NOT fall apart while doing so. The three main parts of the pedal that are under tension the most, and are the most likely to break without warning are as follows; The Spring, The Chain and The Beater. It’s wise to keep at least a spare one of each of those in your gig bag. You can take an entire spare pedal if you wish but if room/budget is an issue you’ll be fine with these three if something goes wrong. Next up, cymbals!

Yeah yeah I know, you can’t carry round an entire spare set of cymbals. Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to either! What you CAN take is spares for the stands your cymbals sit on. Notoriously the festival/venue house kit will be a complete shambles and have lots of missing parts. It’d suggest carrying around enough felts & cymbal sleeves to cover the amount of cymbals you intend to use, so if you use two crash cymbals and a ride carry three cymbal sleeves, six felts and three wing nuts. For the hi hat stand, absolutely bring your own clutch and ALWAYS carry a spare. Even if you’re doing weddings and are always bringing your own stands having these spares in your gig bag always helps (infact CODE have already done it for you!). Now we move onto the main event, the drums themselves!

If you’re able, ALWAYS take a spare snare. TRUST me, I’ve been caught out once and it was a LONG night (split the batter on the first hit of the first DANCE and spent the rest of the night tickling the resonant side…it wasn’t a good look). If space/budget is an issue or your flying to a show and just need the essentials, I’d recommend the following; spare batter and resonant side heads, spare snare wires & extra nylon straps for holding the wires on, some spare tension rods of various sizes and at least one form of dampening such as SlapKlatz or Snareweight. As for toms, if you’re taking your own drums I’d carry a spare batter head for each toms (if you still have the stock heads that came with your drums, keep them in the cases along with your drums. You never know when they’ll come in handy). At the very least I’d absolutely carry a spare bass drum head if possible. They’re extremely robust heads but if it’s got a huge dent in the centre from rocking out…time to change that bad boy. A spare impact patch will be ideal for those festival/venue house kits. With that, some things you might not have considered…


STICKS!! That’s a given. A multi-tool can’t hurt either, Pearl make a fantastic one that even has a drum key bit and lots of allan keys. As many cymbal felts as you can manage. WD-40 can help get rid of some squeaking here and there, and gaffa tape is always your friend. It’s maybe worth keeping some broken sticks in your stick bag as well, sometimes the venue won’t have a carpet for your drums and unless you’ve packed one it can be a slippery night. Tape two sticks down, one at each one of the bass drum legs and its going NOWHERE. Zip-ties can also be handy in a pinch!


So there you go, some things to consider when you’re out in the field over the summer. As I say it’s always better having these spares and not needing them, than not having them and urgently needing it! We’ve got everything you need and MORE on our site and in store so come by and stock up!