It’s HIP To Be Square – Yamaha Stage Custom Hip!

Ever looked at the Yamaha Stage Custom and thought: “You know what this kit needs? More VIBE!”. Well, your prayers have been answered in the form of the brand-new Yamaha Stage Custom Hip! It sounds amazing, but don’t just take my word for it. Ladies, Gentlemen and others, Mr Richard Spaven…

Mind-blowing stuff, AMIRITE?! These drums coupled with the rhythmic machine that is Richard Spaven is something I’d happily watch time and time again. It can’t all be down to the performance though, so let’s do the deep-dive on what makes the Stage Custom Hip pretty unique…

The Stage Custom Hip takes the concept of “cocktail kit” and flips it upside down, back to front. For starters, and perhaps most obviously, the bass drum. It’s essentially the same bass drum from the Stage Custom if it got flattened by a poorly positioned TON weight from a great height in an attempt to catch Road Runner, making it 20x8in.

Thankfully, it still feels like you’re playing a full-size bass drum, with the 8in depth allowing minimal air-flow, MAXIMUM punch. As you can hear from Spavens performance, it sounds HUGE!

Allow me to pose you a simple riddle; What has two snares but only one snare drum? I’ll answer for you, the Stage Custom Hip. The first snare is a 13x5in “does what it says on the tin” snare. The second “snare” is masquerading as the 13x8in Floor Tom, otherwise known as THE SNOM! The Floor Tom is fitted with 20-strand snare wires, transforming this boring floor tom into a ballad snare BOSS.

Completing the kit is the 10x5in Rack Tom mounted from the bass drum, which is nice and compact but can still pack a punch. Combine these all together and you have a tidy little kit that sounds and looks great, speaking of looks…

The Stage Custom Hip comes in three different finishes; Natural, Raven Black & Matte Surf Green. The Matte Surf Green is by far my favourite finish, plus it looks exactly like a baby Recording Custom kit in Surf Green – surely that’s intentional. The final result is a kit that’s lightweight, compact and as you can hear from Spaven, sounds absolutely amazing.

The SNOM is a fantastic yet subtle nod to the Yamaha HipGig kit of yester-year proving you can still fit one drum inside another, you just need the right approach. The bass drum unashamedly stands out from the other competitive small kits making it a full-size fun-sized joy to play.

It’s only logical to combine the Stage Custom Hip with CrossTown hardware and an EAD10 to give yourself a pretty impressive little gigging kit, or with mesh heads for a neat practice kit that doesn’t take up much room. Even if you already have a small kit, do yourself a favour: Bin it & get the Stage Custom Hip!

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When Man Meets Machine – Mapex Black Panther “The Machine” – Craig Blundell Signature Snare

WOAH! What a mouthful that is! Fortunately, there’s a mouthful of AMAZING things to say about the latest signature offering from the Design Lab at Mapex. Let’s do the deep dive into what makes Craig Blundell’s long-overdue signature snare drum a MUST HAVE for any drummer…

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Craig Blundell is a LEGEND. He falls under the same category as Steve White, Neil Wilkinson & Ash Soan as a pioneer of the British drumming scene and has built a solid reputation as a drummer, clinician, programmer and educator.

Craig contributes a lot to the drumming scene through his sensational Masterclasses as well as dedicating much of his time researching and developing ideas and features for huge companies such as Roland, Mapex & Paiste.

Developing sampling technology with one of the biggest electronics companies in the world is no easy task. It takes getting your hands dirty and firmly inside the belly of the beast, or “machine” in this case. Speaking of…

The Black Panther Machine Snare Drum is the result of extensive development between Craig and the team at Mapex. It’s a 14×5.5in 6ply Walnut/Maple hybrid shell. The Walnut gives a rich, almost mechanical sound to the drum while the Maple adds warmth and humanity to the otherwise dry wood. These two woods combined make a fitting choice for the signature snare of a hybrid player like Craig. The depth makes this drum incredibly versatile, sounding great tuned low and cranked up high. Perhaps “The Chameleon” would have been a more appropriate name as the versatility of this drum makes it suitable for any genre of music!

The Machine Snare Drum has the upper hand on the rest of the Black Panther line thanks to it’s specially commissioned components. Firstly, it comes fitted as standard with Craig’s choice of Aquarian drumheads – An Aquarian Hi-Energy on top and a Classic Clear Snare Side on the bottom. Although the Hi-Energy is a fairly thick head, it’s great for those who do their best “Thor Swinging Hammer” impression while playing the drums. The Hi-Energy will take a BEATING. The addition of the thicker batter head allows the drum to reach a lower fundamental pitch, making it a great all-rounder for a tight crack or a low slap!

Secondly, The Machine features the ever so sexy Trick throw-off.  The snare throw-off can often be where a lot of money is saved, but that’s not the case with The Machine. The dial on the Trick works similarly to the DW three-position butt plate where it has multiple settings: “Off”, “Half-On” & “Fully Engaged”.

The dial is engaged by turning it left to right instead of the traditional up and down like most throw-offs. This thing is SILENT, and smooth as silk to use making this drum even more incredible. The addition of the Trick throw-off to The Machine was a stroke of genius from both Mapex & Craig. I guess you could say they didn’t miss a TRICK…

Last up is the addition of PureSound Equalizer snare wires. No, the wires aren’t “missing a bit”, it’s absolutely intentional. The Equalizer wires by design work together with the natural acoustics of the shell to create an “equal” balance of snare sizzle and shell tone. The result is a snare drum that is affected less by sympathetic vibrations from other drums and leaves a crisper sounding snare. All these efforts combined create a Captain Planet level of power that only this snare can create!

We put it through its paces here at Drummers Only towers, and between us arrived at this conclusion. The Machine snare drum is BumbleBee from the first Transformers movie. I should explain…

The exterior makes this drum seem like “any other snare drum“, but what lurks beneath the “hood” is a souped-up engine ready to take on your musical journey and TRANSFORM your drum sound. Despite being a wood shell, it could easily be mistaken for metal due to its sharp mechanical tone, making it a great fit not only for live performance but studio recording too.

Machines constantly undergo upgrades and have their parts inter-changed all the time, and this drum feels like a well-oiled machine. It’s got all the latest hardware like the trick throw-off and bespoke heads and wires to make it shine above the rest, and it’s extensive tuning-range means this drum will sit beautifully in a mix tuned low/medium or cut right through when cranked up high. We honestly can’t fault it!

I imagine the inception of The Machine from Craig & Mapex similarly to how world-changing inventions such as the light bulb, combustion engine, and the Warburtons loaf of bread came to be; the inventors got in a room, rolled up their sleeves and made it happen. The result is a truly fantastic bit of gear that looks, sounds and feels like a high-end instrument. Do yourself a favour next time you’re looking to upgrade your snare sound, add the Black Panther Machine Snare to your bucket list!

WHY’D YOU HAVE TO GO AND MAKE THINGS SO COM(PLEX)CATED? – Sabian HHX Complex Cymbals

I’ve always been a fan of Sabian cymbals. My first ever set of cymbals was a set of Sabian B8, and I’d place a pretty hefty bet that most of you were the same. They weren’t high-end, nor did they have a particularly “complex” sound…but I loved them. They were as versatile as I needed them to be. Jazz, Rock, Bebop (does anyone actually PLAY Bebop anymore?), Funk…you name it! From there I moved up to a set of AAX and my love for Sabian started all over again, pretending to be one of those pop-punk drummers who swing their octopus arms in the air like they just don’t care touting about their prior lover being deemed obtainable or “wanted” by all the “bad guys”.

Quite a bit has changed since those days; I’ve grown a little taller, my bum-fluff facial hair has evolved into a passable but not close to impressive “beard” and I switched cymbal brand to explore different sounds as my playing matured. Honestly though? I wish I’d held out for a little longer, because the new Sabian HHX Complex would have been the PERFECT upgrade. So, without further a do, here’s why you should consider the new Sabian HHX Complex range of cymbals!

Sabian HHX Complex cymbals utilise “trickle-down” technology, a process Sabian have developed from years of manufacturing top of the line cymbals with their Evolution, Legacy, and Artisan range. The idea being that features exclusive to their high-end cymbals 10 years ago is now standard throughout their entire range, like the new AAX for example.

HHX Complex sit bang in the middle of HH & HHX. They’re dark cymbals that combine the hammering techniques used for both ranges and new, as Sabian say, “proprietary technology“. The end result is a set of cymbals unlike ANY on the market today. They’re dark & rich like Dark Chocolate, yet silky sweet like Caramel. I’m on a diet and not eating sweet things is influencing my descriptions of non confectionary goods. Sorry not sorry!

Sabian aren’t ones for producing “small” lines of cymbals. They’re very much in the “go hard or go home” business and HHX Complex is no exception to that. The range consists of 14in and 15in Medium Hi Hats, 16in, 17in, 18in, 19in, 20in and 22in Thin Crashes, 20in, 21in, 22in and 23in Medium Rides, 21in and 22in Thin Rides and some effect cymbals such as a 10in Complex Splash and 17in Complex O-Zone Crash. Pretty expansive! Fortunately Sabian take a lot of guess work out with two cymbal sets available that you can further expand upon; Promotional Set & Performance Set

The Performance Set includes 15in Complex Medium Hi-Hats, a 19in Complex Thin Crash and a 22in Complex Medium Ride while the Promotional Set consists of 14in Medium Hi-Hats, 16in Complex Thin Crash, 18in Complex Thin Crash and a 20in Complex Medium Ride

What I personally love about the HHX Complex range is just how buttery they are (sorry, diet talk again). The ride cymbals have such a luxurious tone and definition that you barely have to work to get a desirable sound. They’re defined but not dry which allows them to open up in the heat of battle but can just as quickly drop down to a whisper making them extremely versatile. The crash cymbals are some of the nicest cymbals I’ve ever hit in my life with incredible amounts of body and projection.

The 18in crash in particular gives such a satisfying burst of energy that it’s really hard not to grab the nearest Drummers Only employee and scream SHUP UP AND TAKE MY MONEY! The Hi-Hats have such familiar complexity “so it’s not just a clever name” making them a great match for studio and live situations but the variations of size make them the ideal candidate for someone wanting to try something different.

Overall, HHX Complex is a welcome addition to the Sabian family and the cymbal wall here at Drummers Only. They offer extremely unique sounds while at the same time maintaining the same great sound that makes Sabian the go-to for a lot of drummers new and weathered. They’re the logical upgrade if you’re AAX are a little tired or you’re in the market for high-end cymbals with a difference. You can shop HHX Complex right here, or drop us a line if you’re interested. I honestly can’t say I blame you!

Wakanda Forever! – Mapex Black Panther 2020 Snare Drums

GET IT? IT’S A MARVEL JOKE! Sorry, I’ll try and keep those to a minimum. I don’t get out much and as my fellow colleagues will tell you, there’s a lot of classic movies I haven’t seen thanks to Stan Lee’s costumed escapades…much to their disappointment and my shame. Something none of us saw coming however was Mapex dropping some fresh Black Panther snare drums for 2020. Not just one. FOURTEEN. The coffee must have been strong AF in the design lab to churn out this many incredible drums.

The Black Panther range had some fan favourites within the range such as; The Velvatone, The Heartbreaker, The Cherry Bomb and Peter Gabriel’s favourite: The Sledgehammer. Thing is, those drums are soooo last decade so without further ado, lets take a brief look into the NEW Black Panther range for 2020 (and beyond!)…

  1. The Wasp

THE WASP IS ANOTHER MARVE…damn, I promised I wouldn’t go on another Marvel tangent. First up is the smallest of the bunch, The Wasp. The Wasp as the name might suggest produces a tight “sting” of a sound due to it being a 1.0mm Seamed Steel Shell with 45-degree SONIClear Bearing Edges. It’s decked out in classy Chrome Hardware and comes with Sonic Saver Hoops, Cylinder-Drive Strainer topped off with a mirrored Chrome finish.

It’s only 10×5.5in making ideal for side-snare action, but don’t let it’s size fool you. This Snare can easily hold it’s own if you want a smaller drum to use for a bop kit or even for intimate pubs or garden parties. The addition of a tom-mounting bracket is a great touch so you don’t need a dedicated snare stand either. Neat!

2. The Hydro

 Next up is The Hydro, the first of our wood snares. It’s a 13x7in 6-ply Maple Shell with 4-ply Walnut Reinforcement Rings. It’s #THICK. Probably should have been named The Hulk, ammirite?! If you’re keeping score, that’s three now. The Hydro (Hulk) features SONIClear Bearing Edges on the Outer Cut and 45-degree Rounded in the Center Cut. This blend of two different edging techniques results in a drum that embodies dark, low tones. Essentially this is your meat & potatoes “My Heart Will Go On” big ballad snare drum.

Naturally it’s finished off with Brushed Black Hardware to match the tonal aesthetic and a gorgeous Black Satin finish on the shell. If you’re looking for a back-beat machine, you’ve found it.

3. The Razor

The Razor is a straight up workhorse snare drum. It’s a 14x5in 6-ply Maple Shell featuring SONIClear Bearing Edges to produce an articulate warm snap! Unlike all the drums we’ve spoke about so far, this snare features Triple-Flanged Hoops which open up the shell a little bit more due to less weight on the batter head, which aids in the sharpness of the snare tone!

It’s also the first of the new snares to feature the Staggered Offset Lugs that really give The Razor an edgy look while maintaining a family friendly sound! Finished off in Dark Grey Lacquer means The Razor is a force to be reckoned with. Be careful you don’t cut yourself on it!

4. The Nucleus

The dictionary definition of The Nucleus is “the central and most important part of an object, movement, or group, forming the basis for its activity and growth”. The Mapex definition of The Nucleus is a 14×5.5in 8-ply Maple/Walnut/Maple shell with 45-degree SONIClear Bearing Edges. Personally I see this drum more like a Peanut Butter Sandwich.

The Maple Inner & Outer provide the familiar warmth and texture while the centre Walnut ply adds rich, organic flavours that let the drum produce a central sound most drummers desire. Couple that with Sonic Saver Hoops, Staggered Offset Lugs and a classy Piano Black finish and you’ve got one exceptionally well dressed Peanut Butter Sandwich!

5. The Pegasus

The Pegasus originated from Greek mythology traditionally and is the brave companion of VALKYRIE IN THE FINAL BATTLE OF AVENGERS ENDGAME…that’s now five. The snare drum iteration of The Pegasus has a slightly different origin. The Pegasus is a 7ply Maple/Walnut hybrid shell that’s 6.15mm thick, making it thinner than most hybrid snares.

This thinner shell construction allows surprisingly darker tones flow through making it a force to be reckoned with. Having said that, this snare can take flight at a moment’s notice with a crisp tight crack! The Pegasus is finished in a Natural Gloss Lacquer with a Natural Maple Burl offset with Black hardware. STUNNING!

6. The Venom

 The Venom, aside from being one of Spider-Man’s greatest adversaries (Six. SINISTER SIX. Seven), is a 14×5.5in 8ply Maple Shell. It’s infectious just how amazing this drum sounds. The Triple-Flanged hoops allow the shells to open up a little more giving a lovely warm tone that’s versatile and serve as the perfect antidote. The Arctic White lacquer finish and Chrome hardware give this drum a clean, almost clinical appearance to cure your backbeats of all that may ail it!

7. The Metallion

OH HELL YEAH. Brass Snares are a personal favourite of mine and The Metallion is no exception. 1.2mm Seamed Brass shell. It’s HEAVY but most Brass drums worth having are, plus it means you’ll get a workout carrying it around! It’s warm and rich tone will make you instantly fall in love.

Like most of these snares it’s the standard 14×5.5in in depth and it’s finished beautifully with the Staggered Offset lugs, which I have to admit really give these drums a certain flavour that I’m 100% on board with. The Metallion is #blessed with Sonic Saver Hoops which give this snare so much character that it would easily land the starring role in a Martin Scorsese movie. The Metallion is one Goodfella…

8. The Cyrus

Cyrus The Great has arrived…in Snare Drum Form. Great is the perfect adjective to describe The Cyrus because it’s simply just that. GREAT. The Cyrus is a 14x6in Chrome over Steel 1mm Seamed Shell. Just like the knights of the round table, it’s chrome armour is shiny and proud and therefore should not reside in Camelot for too long (it’s a silly place), but on the musical battle field.

The Cyrus comes armed with Sonic Saver Hoops and an extra wide snare bed for increased sensitivity. Don’t be mistaken, it may be a sensitive soul but can unleash a mighty roar at a moments notice with a powerful crack and deep groove capability. Don’t count out The Cyrus the next time you’re at the market…

9. The Predator

 “You’re one ugly motherfu***r”… is NOT what I’d say about The Predator. At least, not this iteration of it. The Predator is a 14x6in Copper shell that’s 1.2mm thick and ain’t got time to bleed. It features 45-degree SONIClear bearing edges which encourages you to stick around and hear The Predator’s inspiring dark and powerful tone.

Unlike the CIA, The Predator won’t have you pushing too many pencils but instead encourage you to search and discover what’s waiting for you musically with it’s profound weighty roar, turning you from drummer to a god damned sexual Tyrannosaurus! Trust me, you’ll want to get to the choppa to pick up The Predator.

10. The Heritage

 Some drummers prefer to focus on what sounds new and hip, but others enjoy delving into a sound a little more classic. That’s where The Heritage Snare fits in. The Heritage is a 14x6in 5ply Maple Shell with 4ply Walnut Reinforcement Rings to give the player a taste of tradition. The thin maple brings a sense of familiarity in tone while the walnut adds a dusting of darkness, creating a vintage tone.

Think of The Heritage like a beautifully aged whisky in that sense. The gorgeous White Strata finish further adds to the vintage sound of this drum that appeals to drummers seasoned and new! This is a vintage drum with modern features, the perfect fusion of new and old is here with The Heritage.

11. The Atomizer

 Marvel, or DC reference? I can’t decide which one to make. You’re probably thinking “neither, just talk about the drum!” Understood. Feast your eyes on The Atomizer! It’s a 14×6.5in Aluminium Shell that’s 2mm thick. Aluminium drums inherently are much dryer drums, but this shell is surprisingly lively! The Atomizer really brings a whole brightness to the overall groove while at the same time invoking a deep presence and focus to the tone.

The versatility of The Atomizer being a 14×6.5in shell makes it really useful in a handful of situations. It tunes remarkably easily as well, letting all your stress be reduced to ATOMS! The brushed aluminium exterior brings a gorgeous finish to a beautiful, articulate snare drum.

12. The Persuader

Can you be PERSUADED? We think so! The Persuader features a 14×6.5in Hammered Brass shell. Think of this like The Sledgehammer on STEROIDS, only simplified to focus less on aesthetics and more on sound.  The hammering of the Brass mellows the shell down, so it’s not as abrasive as your standard brass shell and allows it to be a bit more flexible.

Like all of the models we’ve spoke about it features SONIClear 45-degree bearing edges and Sonic Saver hoops. This hoop pairs beautifully with the hammered shell giving it a dry defined tone and a powerful rim shot. The Antique Nickel plating and chrome hardware means The Persuader will fit well on stage, in the studio or on the mantle piece!

13. The Shadow

 If horror movies have taught us anything, generally what lurks in the shadows is never good news. Mapex did an M Night Shyamalan twist on the genre and turned the concept of shadows into a KICK-ASS Snare Drum for the Black Panther range. What lurks beneath The Shadow’s gorgeous dark maple burl finish is a 7ply Birch/Walnut Hybrid shell. The blending of these two woods give The Shadow extreme focus and dark tones, much like it’s namesake.

The Shadow isn’t shy, though. If you tune it right this snare can break the chains of any groove that needs an overhaul and let out a pleasing growl tuned low and fat. Next time you find yourself in the dark alley of the snare wall, you might be pleasantly surprised when you encounter The Shadow…

14. The Solidus

SOLIDUS AS A ROCK. Had to be done, because i don’t know if you’ve noticed…The Solidus is a BEAST. It’s a 14x7in 11ply, 11mm thick Maple shell. If you thought The Hydro was #THICK, The Solidus is #THICKER! It’s a drum full of warm, wood tone that sits BEAUTIFULLY in a medium to low tuning. Hitting this drum is the equivalent of when Thor uses his new hammer in the big battle of Infinity War (EIGHT), everything around it will just crumble…in a good way of course.

The Solidus features a rounded 45-degree center cut bearing edge and a SONIClear 3/8” outer cut allowing for unique wood tones to shine through no matter what head you put on it. You’d expect a thick drum head to pair well with a drum so thick and deep but surprisingly, single-ply works WONDERS on this drum. It’s finished with a subtle call back to The Blaster series with a beautiful Red-Black Lacquer finish. This drum is not shy, nor is it for the faint of heart.

And…BREATHE. We did it! Only eight Marvel references too, which for me is a new record. The new Mapex Black Panther range has some solid contenders for your next snare drum, the range is so diverse and varied that there’s guaranteed to be a snare for you. Especially when you consider that all these drums individually are under £400, so it’s a saving on your bank account too!

Getting the right snare for you can be a tough call, but Mapex make that choice super easy with these fourteen delicious new flavours to choose from. Check out what tasty treats we have in stock, you could just find the snare drum of your dreams!

6 Reasons To Visit Drummers Only!

We’re back! I mean…we never left, but it’s amazing to welcome everyone back into our stores. Things might be a little different as we slowly drift back into normality, but don’t let our masks deceive you. We’re smiling underneath!

Since we’ve opened back up it’s been awesome to hear about everyone’s creative ventures and finally get some of you behind the gear you’ve been lusting after. If you’ve not had the chance to come and see us, here are 6 reasons you MUST visit Drummers Only…

  1. A Phenomenal Selection Of Drums…

Why else would you want to visit a drum store? Not to brag, but we’ve got some of the best selection of drums & cymbals in the UK. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been playing, how niche your taste is or what time signature you can count in, we can pretty much guarantee there’s something special waiting for you at Drummers Only. We always strive to not just bring you the favourites from the biggest brands you know and love, but also offer the chance to take home playable pieces of art custom built and handmade by the finest drum builders in the world.

We don’t just stop at drums, we’ve a gorgeous array of cymbals too! From the most sought after models to some unique, hand-selected beauties, we have an unparalleled selection waiting just for you! From pedals, hand percussion to the latest developments in electronic kits and hybrid accessories, we’re ready to make your dream a reality!

  1. Expert Advice From Our Incredible Staff!

We’re a drum shop run by drummers, FOR drummers. We’ve been doing this for 14 years, some of us even longer than that, so we absolutely know a thing or two about drums. We’re also all working musicians, we totally understand how important buying your next set of drums is or investing in new cymbals is.

Coming into a drum shop can be a little daunting at times but we’re more than happy to take the time answering any questions you have and give the advice you need, when you need it. Whether you’re looking for a new drum sound, fancy trying out a fresh pair of sticks or simply looking for gift ideas, we’ll help point you in the right direction!

  1. Try Before You Buy!

The worst thing about candy stores is you can’t try the candy before you buy it but at Drummers Only, you can! We stock so many drums, cymbals, pedals and electronics in a variety of flavours that it can be challenging to narrow down what’s right for you. Let’s be honest, there’s not a video review or sound clip in the world that will ever compare to getting hands-on and experimenting with the gear yourself. We encourage you to try out the gear to your hearts content before you decide so be sure to visit us, we’ll help you find the perfect gear for you!

  1. Trade In Your Old Gear For Shiny New Gear!

Out with the old, in with the new! If you’ve fallen out of love with your current gear and lust for something more up to date, why not trade it in to us? Our staff will give you an offer in store or via our online trade in form for cash or hook you up with something brand new from our stores. It’s a great way to let fellow drummers get the use out of your gear and allow you to have your drumming dreams turned into reality! That’s a win-win if you ask us!

  1. Finance Your Next Piece Of Gear

Fancy treating yourself but your dream gear is just out of reach? Don’t forget that we offer finance options to make it a little easier for you! Stop by either of our stores and we’ll talk you through the options, we can even apply for you so you can take your fresh gear home that very same day. Don’t worry if you’re unsure about anything, our staff can talk you through it every step of the way making it as simple as possible!

  1. Can’t Make It In? Shop Online!

If you can order a car online, there’s no reason why you can’t order a new set of drums from Drummers Only the same way! Enjoy the in-store experience from the comfort of your couch by visiting our online store. Get all the latest stock info from both stores and arrange to have your shiny new gear sent from our store to your front door! Everything you see in-store is available from the latest big brand offerings, to sale items and pre-owned gear too good to miss!

With the current situation, we’ve worked hard to make sure our stores make you feel comfortable and safe. We’ve taken every measure to give you complete peace of mind while you rock out!

Trying out new drums, cymbals or any new piece of gear is a pretty special experience and we want you to focus on that. Click here to check out the changes we’ve made in more detail. We can’t wait to see you again, and if it’s your first time in store we’re excited to great you!

7 Habits For Consistent Practice!

Sometimes maintaining a consistent practice routine can be a challenge. The thought of practice is tedious to some, but absolutely essential in order to improve. So while we’ve been given some government-sanctioned time at home, here’s 7 tips to build a consistent practice routine

1. Find A Room/Area AWAY From Everyone Else
We’re in the position where we need to stay at home. That cuts off many of us from going to dedicated, and often times bespoke practice facilities. In my opinion, you shouldn’t always have to leave the house to get at least some basic practice in. With that said, drums aren’t the quietist so unless you’re fortunate enough to have a garage, large garden shed or Batcave that no one but you and Alfred know about, the spare room will have to do!

Those of you who think you can just sit in the living room with a practice pad watching the TV with the family and think no one will mind…have you ever actually TRIED it? Let me tell you from experience, not ideal at all. Best to just be in a separate room completely void of any and all distractions…

2. Remove Distractions
“I’ll just stick the TV on while I practice”, “I’ll just set the metronome up on my phone”, “Is that Janice with her top off out the back again?”…sound familiar? Poor Janice, and your poor eyes. Distractions are all around us. You’re probably reading this blog as a distraction from doing something else right now, perhaps even practicing! #irony. If you are, GET BACK TO PRACTICING, if not, read on…

Once you’ve found an area to turn into a practice space, it’s probably best to remove any and all potential distractions from the room while you’re in there. In my opinion, the second the TV goes on, unless it’s for a video lesson…it’s game over for efficient practice. Next thing you know you’re 5 episodes deep into Killing Eve and not once have your sticks met your hands, and despite the show being excellent, it’s not good for your practice routine. If you’re using a metronome, try to use one separate from you phone. It’s a test of discipline to remove yourself from the world for 20-30 minutes. Yes, only 20-30 minutes of practice. Which leads us too…

3. Don’t Over-Practice
There’s numerous tales from drumming legends about practicing “for 8 hours a day”. I’m sorry, but that’s always seemed highly unrealistic. That unrealistic expectation is probably what puts most drummers off practicing in the first place. The concentration level would need to be god-tier for anyone to get any form of productive practice for 8 hours a day.

Let’s put this in perspective: If you work a standard 9am-5pm day job, that’s an 8 hour shift. After you go home you’re then supposed to spend 8 hours practicing? That’s now 16 hours of a 24 hour day, add in the sleep for exactly 8 hours and that’s our day done. Rinse and repeat. Oh and by the way, that’s all before you’ve factored in small things like eating, bathroom breaks, social events and actually gigging. Or does gigging count as practice time? See, CONFUSING AND MISLEADING.

I guarantee you’d get more efficient and consistent practice limiting it to just 20-30 minutes per practice session. The theory being that you’ll be more focused and likely achieve consistent results during this short burst of practice. This structure is quicker, easier to maintain and allows you to actually have a life! Speaking of structure…

4. Have A Goal In Mind (And Stick To It!)
Just because you’re limiting your practice to 20-30 minutes doesn’t necessarily mean you spend the opening 15 minutes playing a drum solo, despite how ground-breaking and artsy you think it might be. Have a clear idea of what you want to practice before you even enter the practice room. This helps keep your mind focused on one task instead of aimlessly hitting drums for half an hour.

In those situations, you’ll notoriously find something you really want to practice with only 5 minutes left before dinner is ready or a family member crashes the party. I’d suggest sitting for 5 minutes before entering the room and write down one or two ideas or get some inspiration by watching your favourite players. Stick to those! By doing this you’ll not only learn something new much quicker, but you’ll also improve your practice discipline. It even helps if you practice at the same time of day each time. Actually, I’m making that it’s own point…

5. When You Practice, Practice At The Same Time
Choose a time of day that works for EVERYONE, particularly if you’re going to be loud but especially if you want to be consistent. Pick a window of time and use that same window every time you go to practice, this helps get you into that routine so that eventually, you’ll automatically go to practice based on muscle memory alone! It could be 4pm, 8am or exactly 3:05pm, whichever time you know you can sit without distractions in your practice space and get 20-30 minutes of solid practice. Now, say you’ve found a perfect place and time, but now the material is putting you off practice…

6. Change It Up!
Simple as that. If you constantly sit down for 20-30 minutes and just play paradiddles all the time, you’re going to get bored pretty quick! Change it up regularly. Wrap your head around an interesting polyrhythms or a fancy ostinato pattern. Figure out that outrageous fill that will absolutely get you fired from a gig, why not? It doesn’t matter as long as it’s something to keep practice interesting for you.

With that said, don’t expect to sit down and shred every idea or pattern like Eric Moore within the first 10 minutes. The things you practice shouldn’t sound perfect right away, that’s why it’s called practice. Learning complex rhythms or odd sticking patterns can be a challenge to even the pro players, which is why the last tip is arguably the most important.

7. TAKE A BREAK!
I like to compare playing drums with going to the gym, as I feel the two have a lot in common. You wouldn’t, and probably shouldn’t, go to the gym every single day. Your body needs time to recover from the physical strain you put it under. Overwork yourself and you become burnt out and end up not exercising at all, which isn’t great for your physical or mental state. The same thing happens with drums. Your brain needs time to absorb all this new information you’re throwing at it, sometimes that takes time. In short: TAKE A GOD DAMN BREAK!

Your subconsciousness is a powerful area of the mind, think of it like your brains “production crew”. It’s capable of rendering copious amounts of information without you even having to think about it. So, as counter-intuitive as it might seem, you’ll actually do the processing of those polyrhythms while you’re doing the gardening or in the shower or even on your days off from practice…you just don’t realise it. It’s why I personally only practice 4 days out of 7 for 30 minutes. That roughly works out as 120 minutes of practice a week, which is 480 minutes a month. Guess what? That’s the same amount of practice time as you’d get if you tried to do the unrealistic 8 hours a day. By spreading this across a month, you’ll actually make noticeable improvements. You also won’t feel like a failure!

Remember, we play the drums because we enjoy it. Practice shouldn’t feel like a chore, so do it in short sustainable bursts in your own space, away from distractions and structured on clear, achievable goals. If you’re in need of some quiet practice, we have plenty of tools to assist you! In the words of Spock, “it’s only logical”…

5 Amazing Products For The Drummer In Lockdown

As we enter another week of what’s expected to become a long quarantine, some of us may not have touched our drums in a while. With that in mind, it’s time to finally clear the garage or that corner of your room because that will be your practice space for the foreseeable. Here are some of the top products to help make that happen…

1. Practice Pad & Sticks

DUH!! If you don’t have a practice pad or a pair of sticks already laying around, are you even a drummer? I know it’s the obvious and not the most exciting first choice, but depending on your space or how well you get on with your neighbours, it may be your only choice. ProLogix Practice Pads are FANTASTIC for keeping the volume low and the intensity high due to their range of pads, which consist from light resistance all the way up to extreme resistance. There’s a pad for everyone! Just grab a snare stand, the pad, a throne and sticks and you’ve got HOURS of practice ahead.

2. Low Volume Cymbals

The concept first came to market in 2015 and BLEW EVERYONE AWAY. Finally, a low volume solution to authentic cymbals was here. Since then, may brands have created their own version, with various models available. This allows the house-bound drummer to practice without shattering windows or driving everyone in your house round the bend with ear-crushing frequencies. Result! The Low Volume cymbals by Zildjian are crafted from a state of the art pattern combined with a specialist alloy allowing them to be up to 80% quieter than standard cymbals. That’s HUGE!!! Especially if you live in a multi-story building with lots of neighbours, it could literally be the difference between being able to practice and not! Just like that with a few stands and a few practice pads, you’ve basically got a quiet practice kit. The Low Volume Cymbals look fantastic, but perhaps the practice pads aren’t quite doing it for you. If only there was a way you could use your gigging kit but without putting silencer pads on it…

3.Mesh Heads

BOOYAH!! Remo made the silent(stroke) solution for allowing your acoustic gigging kit to become a practice paradise INSTANTLY!! The heads are all single ply to allow for a soft, spring like feel and reduce noise drastically. Applied the same way you’d normally put a drum head on the drum, these silent stroke heads allow for practice no matter what the situation! Combine these with those Low Volume cymbals and YOU my friend, have a fully operational “beats laboratory”. Now, if only there was some way of making your quiet drums SOUND like real drums quick, easy and without lots of triggers on all the drums…

  1. Yamaha EAD10

GAME. CHANGED. We’ve made it no secret how much we love the EAD10, and anyone who actually plays one feels the same within the first few seconds. For those of you who don’t know, the Yamaha EAD10 instantly transforms your acoustic drum kit into a powerful digital/electronic hybrid with sampled sounds and studio quality digital effects. The system allows you to play and record your acoustic drums along with your favourite artists from your music library and share them online! Now I hear you, “that’s all well and good if you can play your acoustic kit, but my kit has low volume cymbals AND mesh heads!”. WELL, they recently updated the software on the EAD10 with a patch specifically for Low Volume/Mesh Head drum kits! So just like that you’ve got a realistic sounding silent kit. Stick on some headphones and go for it! Now, all that’s great if your drums happened to be at your house, but what if you’re a drummer and literally have NOTHING…

5. Electronic Drum Kit!

I literally heard the “acoustic drums” purest let out a sigh. Well, surely you’d much rather play an Electronic Drum Kit than not play a drum kit at all. Electronic Drum Kits have come a long way since the days of the Simmons Pads. Firstly they’re built much better allowing for longer durability. Secondly they sound fantastic with modern drum samples and are easy to  combine with existing software to incorporate your own sounds. Finally, they’re MUCH cheaper than they might have been 10 years ago. These days just under £400 gets you a fantastic electronic kit that sounds great, has lots of built in features and doesn’t take up much floor space. I’m talking of course of the Yamaha DTX402, with the model above, DTX432 being just a bit more expensive but is ALWAYS a winner at Christmas time or with pros who need a silent practice station that doesn’t take up a lot of room. Alternatively, if you want what some consider the “Rolls Royce”, the Roland TD-17KV would be a fantastic, mesh head alternative that also doesn’t take up a whole lot of space and sounds AMAZING

So there you have it, plenty of options for the drummers in lockdown. The great thing is that once all the dust has settled, you now have a permanent practice station right in the comfort of your own home that won’t irritate anyone. The entrepreneur in you might also see this as a valid online teaching opportunity as well! That’s a win win if you ask us. Head on over to the site and pick up some of these goodies now!

5 Things Drummers Can Do At Home…

Here’s just 5 examples of things you can do if you’ve suddenly got a bunch of free time on your hands…

  1. PRACTICE!!!!!

This one probably goes without saying, hence why it’s number one on our list, but this is the PERFECT time to get some practice in. Sweep the dust off that copy of Stick Control or delve deeper into Syncopation For The Modern Drummer. The best part is that it doesn’t matter if it’s on your personal kit, on a practice pad with sticks or even on the table with your hands and feet, you can still learn new patterns and work on mobility exercises so that you can FLY round the kit at your next gig! You could even teach some of your family how to play drums. Speaking of teaching…

2. TEACH ONLINE
In an age where so many drummers have made a career teaching online, there’s no reason why you can’t either! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy at first, just a camera, a practice pad and a laptop with a decent internet connection is all you really need to get started. You could even do small drum lessons uploaded to Instagram or Facebook to get you started! Who knows, you might even enjoy this more than your face-to-face lessons! It’s all very well being able to say you could do that, but sometimes it takes a bit of motivation, and there’s plenty of ways to get it…

  1. WATCH ROCKUMENTARIES

Whenever I was struggling for motivation to get anything productive done I knew I could always rely on one person to ignite that creative fire. Dave Grohl. Specifically the 2011 Back And Forth documentary. If you’ve never seen it, Back And Forth documents the story of the Foo Fighters from the ashes of Nirvana while also giving the audience a behind the scenes of the Foo’s recording their latest record of the time. I highly recommend this for ANYONE struggling with motivation, as not only is it an interesting insight into the trials and tribulations of these rock giants, but also a phenomenal insight into how they create music. Other highly recommended doc’s include Sound City, Anvil: The Story of Anvil & Hired Gun. If you’d rather hear more personal, in depth stories from some incredible drummers and musicians then perhaps you could listen to some audio-only alternatives…

  1. LISTEN TO A PODCAST – NUDGE NUDGE, WINK WINK!

DID YOU KNOW WE HAVE A PODCAST?? I DON’T KNOW IF WE’VE MENTIONED IT BUT WE HAVE A PODCAST!! We have over 15 HOURS worth of conversations with some of our and YOUR most favourite drummers such as Craig Reynolds, Craig Kneale, Benny Greb, Jonny Scott, Alyn Cosker as well as some topical conversations amongst ourselves for your entertainment. These chats are a great way to get inside the minds of phenomenal drummers who share life experiences, practice tips and more within an hour, sometimes longer. You can listen to in on Spotify, or Apple Podcasts! Listening to these podcasts is another great aspect of the final activity you can do while you’re inside…

5. CHILL OUT
It doesn’t matter if you listen to music, a podcast, watch your new favourite rockumentary or teach some new students, take this as an opportunity to catch up on REST. We as musicians spend a long time working, usually from the second we get out of bed and while we’re in bed, we’re typically not there for very long. Think of this as mandatory chill time for all of us and give us all the perfect excuse to do NOTHING for a while. Chilling out is also great for getting the mind working creatively again, especially if you’ve been in a rut. It lets you shift focus, and allows those ideas to happen subconsciously. Most of the time right when you least expect it!

So there you go, a few options of things to get the creative juices flowing. Personally, I can’t wait to hear all the righteous music that’s going to be released from all this free time. However if you find yourself in short supply of the essentials…you’re old pals here are ready and waiting with all the drumming supplies you could possibly need, delivered straight to your door!

A Brief History of Marco Minnemann & Eddy Thrower…

We have these two phenomenal players coming to Drummers Only Glasgow in March, but if you’re on the fence about getting tickets or aren’t quite sure who these two monster players are, here’s the inside scoop…

Marco Minnemann hailing from Hannover, Germany and currently living in San Diego, California is not only an incredible drummer but also a multi-instrumentalist and composer. I first heard of Marco while watching that infamous Dream Theater auditions documentary and was completely FLOORED. His presence, finesse and skill just blew me away, not to mention an unwavering joy protruding from his playing. I actually caught myself smiling at just how much Marco was enjoying himself, making me want to do nothing more than play the damn drums! Of course, that was 2011 and since then Marco has done an incredible amount of studio and live performances with artists such as Steven Wilson and Joe Satriani. Marco is also a full time member of rock supergroup “The Aristocrats” with Guthrie Govan and Bryan Beller.

Marco is no stranger to the studio himself, having recorded over 14 solo albums. I guess that’s the benefits of being a multi-instrumentalist. I can only imagine that his talent behind so many instruments only informs the incredible independence, or “interdependence” Marco has behind the drums that made him famous! Marco has published several instructional books discussing his concept of interdependence, which allows him complete freedom to play various patterns with each of his feet or hands independently. I have no doubt in my mind Marco will discuss and demonstrate some of these during his clinic set so be prepared to have your mind ripped apart and put together in a slightly different order. As you may of guessed with this being an Evans/Promark clinic, Marco plays Evans Heads, Promark Sticks, DW Drums and Zildjian Cymbals!

Eddy Thrower is no stranger to Drummers Only. He’s done various in-store performances over the years from the Glasgow Drum Show in 2016, a sold out clinic in 2017 and performing at our Leeds opening party in 2019 and so on. Eddy is one of those drummers that just gets better and better every time you see him play. Since his last clinic in Glasgow quite a bit has changed for Eddy. Firstly he became a father (congrats, Ed!) and has since moved on from originals band Lower Than Atlantis. Eddy is currently the drummer for Busted, catapulting him from big stages to sold out ARENAS. He has also become a prominent figure on Instagram following in footsteps of Mike Johnston with an online lessons site that comes with not only drum lessons, but a handful of life lessons too!

Eddy has also done a fair bit of session work, from playing on One Direction songs to most recently doing a tour of China with Pop princess Dua Lipa. He can turn his hand to pretty much any style required, so it’s no surprise why he’s never short of work. Clinics like this are great for fans of Eddy but also if you’re looking to become that “hired gun” and learn what it takes to do that effectively and also what pitfalls to watch out for. Eddy is an Evans/Promark artist but he also plays Tama Drums & Zildjian Cymbals!

We’re super excited to welcome these two amazing players to Drummers Only Glasgow on March 9th. It’ll be an incredible night with two amazing performances! Don’t worry, you’ll also get a chance to ask those burning questions while you’re there so don’t be shy! Tickets are still available but if I were you, I’d act FAST before it’s too late! Grab yourself tickets HERE!

Why Using Electronics Will Make You A Better Drummer…

The line between a drummer and a sound engineer has become blurred over recent years thanks to the introduction of a new style known as “Hybrid” drumming, but what exactly IS it? Well, see that little black box you see Michael Schack or every drummer use on Radio 1 Live Lounge or Glastonbury Main Stage? That’s called a Roland SPD-SX, and it’s just one example in a list of HUNDREDS that can make all bands, even two-piece ones, sound MASSIVE with the use of digital samples or effects, particularly the drummer. You don’t have to be Belgian or headlining stadiums to use electronics either, so here’s some products to help your pub/wedding/covers band recreate some iconic sounds at literally the touch of a button…

My crystal ball has already shown me a bunch of comments with remakes along the lines of “pfft, that’s great if you’re touring regularly but how can hybrid drumming help me play 9 to 5 better?” Well, actually it can…a LOT! Hybrid drumming can open up the doors to make your “decent cover” of 9 to 5 sound like the real deal, and Roland help a lot in this department giving several options from small sound modules if you’re just dipping your toe in the water all the way up to the SPD-SX, with some options in between. I’ll try and break this down as simply as I can using only products that we keep in stock, as there’s something for everyone.

TM-1/TM-2

The Roland TM-1 & TM-2 are the perfect Hybrid drumming “Starter Packs” for dipping your toe in the water when using electronics. In order to use these modules, you’ll need some external triggers (sold separately) which are small little boxes that attach to the drums via the hoop and connect into the “Trigger In’s” located on the back of both modules, more on that later. The modules themselves take up a very small footprint around your kit, meaning you can chuck them in a rucksack or gig bag and take them with you to every gig/rehearsal/bar mitzvah and be set up in seconds really to blow your bass players MIND! What’s the difference between them though?

The Roland TM-1 looks remarkably like a footswitch used by a guitarist, with the idea being that you use it with your feet while playing, allowing you to switch effects on/off at your leisure. The TM-1 has two built-in footswitches for triggering sounds, changing kits and muting the module completely. It features 15 built-in kits ready to experiment with straight out the box, making it literally plug in and play. Nice! The TM-1 also comes with a free TM-1 Editor app for iOS/Android, Mac/Windows, which provides over 150 additional sounds along with an option to import your own samples to it. The TM-1 allows you to connect up to two pads or triggers for use on the drum kit. You can use either two single-trigger devices or one dual-trigger device, which basically means you can have two drums make one unique sound each, or one drum make two unique sounds.

The TM-1 is compatible with any of the Roland RT-series acoustic drum triggers and an extensive range of Roland trigger pads such as the PD-8, BT-1 and more! If you’re a little more experienced with electronics, the TM-1 has a trigger-to-MIDI convertor when hooked up to your computer, meaning you can assign any sound you want via whichever recording software you’re using it with. The TM-1 is a pretty nifty piece of kit, now lets talk about it’s older sibling the TM-2

The Roland TM-2 expands on the capabilities from the TM-1 and opens up a few additional options for you. The module has 162 ready to use out the box professional sounds, ranging from acoustic drums and percussion to modern electronic instruments, such as an 808 Snare or a dimension-shattering sub drop. The module then allows for each of these samples to be used as one-shot samples, loop phrases and can also be used to incorporate complete backing tracks. The TM-2 also includes “element” sounds intended for layering with acoustic drums, providing enhanced, high-impact sounds for playing live drums through a PA system. You could add the low-end of a snare drum if you’re using a smaller snare with little natural depth, or the attack of a bass drum beater striking a head and all the in between.

The TM-2 has an SD Slot which allows you to add your own samples, and add effect within the module such as reverb, flanger, delay and more! The TM-2 doubles your “Trigger In” capacity of the TM-1, where you can have either two dual-zone triggers hooked up to two drums, meaning each drum will make two unique sounds OR you can have 4 drums make one unique sound each. This is really where you can get creative, as you can have effectively 4 different drum samples happening all at once. From a practice perspective, you could essentially have a 4-piece practice kit fitted with mesh heads for an acoustic/electronic practice OR even low-noise gigging kit! You can also use the TM-2 as a trigger-to-MIDI device opening up the world of sampling whatever you want. You can have the TM-2 beside you at all times as it comes with a mounting plate meaning you can clamp it to your hi-hat stand or anywhere you want. NICE! So if you’re looking for something a little more bombastic, but not quite as crazy as the SPD-SX, perhaps the SPD:ONE pads are the way to go…

SPD:ONE

The SPD:ONE pads are a fantastic solution if you’re looking to grow your electronic/acoustic set up or are in need of a simple solution to incorporating one sound. The range consists of four individual digital percussion pads which includes Electronic, Kick, Percussion and WAV pads. The Percussion, Electro and Kick pads come loaded with unique sounds from 808 drum sounds to hand claps and beyond! They also have one empty bank to add your own sample of up to 5 seconds long, making it great for one-shot sounds like a snare, bass drum, clap etc. The SPD:ONE Wav allows you to add up to 10 of your own samples with 4G of memory, meaning you can add longer stereo samples, backing tracks and also a click to really move your band into the new age. Now, if you want to have all the abilities of all the SPD:ONE pads, with the personalized triggering aspects of the TM-1 & TM-2, then perhaps you should look at the TM-6:Pro!

The TM-6 Pro is essentially all your triggering dreams in a box. It’s pre-loaded with 500 one-shot samples and includes tones recorded in world-class studios. It also includes 268 V-Drums sounds to amplify your sonic capabilities along with 80 ready to use drum kits. You can only hook up to 4 drums with samples with the TM-2…with the TM-6 Pro you can have up to 12!! If you get creative with it, you could have a full 5pc kit, cymbal set and have space for two more trigger pads. Not only that, but you can layer all of these sounds to really make it personal to you. It has three sound modifying knobs allowing you complete control over the volume, pitch, decay etc of each sample. You can literally have complete control over the attack and release of each drum using the inbuilt Transient feature as well as independent EQ of each sound meaning you can dial in the drum sound literally before it even goes to your sound engineer. Have I lost you yet?

Like the TM-1, TM-2 modules you can also hook the TM-6 Pro to a computer to literally take over the world with sound capabilities. You can also add an SD Card filled with drum samples, backing tracks or whatever you like and have them come from the TM-6 Pro at the touch of a button. The TM-6 Pro is an almighty strong piece of kit that can have you going out as a one-person drumming machine with the rest of the band replaced by backing tracks if you so desire. Finally, we’ll talk about the ultimate piece of Roland Sampling technology that will have your mind BLOWN…

SPD-SX

The Roland SPD-SX visually looks like it was originally part of the Death Star, but instead of destroying planets, you’ll destroy peoples minds as you become a force to be reckoned with. The SPD-SX is the ultimate percussive sampling instrument. It features nine velocity-sensitive rubber pads, each can have two samples per pad that can be routed via the main & sub outs located on the back of the pad. You have the option of adding up to four external triggers to this meaning you can have up to 13 pads running at once. Each of these pads can be struck together or separately with zero latency meaning you can have more than one sound happening at one time. You can also choose if you’d like each sound to be as a Phrase or a Loop and also control the Dynamic Output of each sound. There is also an option to Pad Link two pads together on a Patch, which is helpful if you’re running a click track and backing track and want them to start in sync.

The module has 4GB of internal memory, allowing for around 720 minutes of sampling. The SPD-SX has three separate units of multi-effects onboard, one master unit and two unites assignable per kit. The master effect lets you perform augmentations to the sound. Filters, Delays & Short-Looper are all at your finger tips and can be used in real time with two dedicated control knobs. The SPD-SX also contains essential features for the modern drummer such as individual click output routing, dedicated volume controls, Pad Check functions & much more. The module also allows for live sampling directly onto the SPD-SX, which is fantastic if you want to create some form of intro to your set, for example. You can record into it via the guitarist or even your phone and have it as a sample for THAT night at the touch of a button.

Sub Out is fantastic for routing things like a click track to the rest of the band, ensuring you all play in time while rocking out. Much like the rest of the products spoken about, you can hook the SPD-SX up as a MIDI controller for use with software such as Ableton Live or Logic to really expand on the capabilities. It’s so advanced that ColdPlay use an SPD-SX to control their lighting rig….SERIOUSLY. One of the biggest appeals of the SPD-SX is just how simple it is to use and edit with. The module comes with software known as Wave Manager which allows you to easily import, assign and organise all your samples in one place. The SPD-SX is a frightening piece of kit and if used effectively, can really take your performance not just as a drummer but as a BAND to a whole new level.

So if you’ve been on the fence about going “Hybrid”, hopefully this blog has helped guide you in the right direction and taken some of the mystery out of what being a “Hybrid Drummer” really is. There’s a product in this blog for every step on the ladder but of course if you’d like any more information on any of these products, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!

9 Benefits Of Playing The Drums

We drummers often get mocked as the “gorillas” of the music industry. We’re expected to turn up, hit things in time and go home and get ZERO credit for it! Being a drummer, aside from being AWESOME, has some incredible benefits for the mind and body that no one really talks about, so here’s 9 of them…

  1. Managing Stress

We’ve probably all been there at one point, that one co-worker or friend who knows exactly the right way to push your buttons and rile you up to the point of near explosion! You get so riled in fact that you walk right over to them, grab them by the scruff of their neck, look deep into their soul with a scowl that would melt the sun and scream “SEE YOU?! GET TO F…”. That’s what your mind’s eye envisions, at least. As much as we’d like to, it’s not always professional to smash another person’s head off the table multiple times. Drums are about the only head you can strike more than once and not cause harm, which is why they’re a fantastic stress reliever! They’re the perfect outlet device for letting out the days frustrations or inconveniences, meaning you can go about your day in a calm, collected manor. You might have a few broken drum sticks, though…

  1. You’re The Most Intelligent Member Of The Band, Probably…

It’s been scientifically proven that a drummer’s brain is programmed slightly differently to other musicians in the band. When you think about it, that makes total sense. We have to focus on moving four limbs simultaneously in either syncopated or alternating repetitive motions for long periods of time, setting and staying at the tempo of the song, set up the most equipment and all of this while your bass player is trying to figure out why your band mates guitars have six strings and his has four. We have to spin several plates at once, knowing that if we drop one it could potentially be game-breaking. Only beings of a higher intelligence could do all that effectively. You’re welcome, singers!

  1. ALL ABOUT THE GAIN-TRAIN!

Okay, so you might not end up with 24-inch pythons like Hulk Hogan playing the drums (except for our Dave) but drumming can be a fantastic workout for you! On average you could burn up to 600 calories in an hour of intensive drumming. To put that in perspective, that’s the equivalent of the average Sunday Roast…or two Krispy Kreme donuts. Times that by four for a wedding gig and that’s almost a full days worth of calories you burn! Of course there’s plenty of variables, I mean sometimes wedding buffets are TOO DAMN GOOD but you get the idea. Shed some pounds by smacking some drums, BROTHER!!

  1. YOU GET ALL THE DUDES/CHICKS…

…yeah, that’s not true at all.

  1. Hand-Eye Coordination

As mentioned in the intelligence section, we have to be able to coordinate a lot of different limbs with contrasting rhythms at one time. In order to do that our hand-eye coordination needs to be pretty high to do this effectively and make it look/feel effortless. I guess you could argue that drumming makes you a better driver! Think about it, you’re still moving four limbs in order to make the car move, right? I don’t know, there’s got to be some relation somewhere on the Internet. Either way, your coordination from playing drums will be ON-POINT!

  1. Mental Health

“Depression” & “Musician” go together as frequently as milk with cereal, but the drums provide an excellent outlet to shift focus and work towards a goal while subconsciously allowing your mind to recalibrate. It doesn’t matter if you’re working out the most complex polyrhythm or even nailing your double stroke roll, it all makes a difference. The best part is the feeling of accomplishment when you finally nail that polyrhythm or showcase your sweet doubles round the kit, which in turn makes you feel GREAT! Speaking of feeling great…

  1. Confident AF

The reality of being a drummer is that unless you’re Michael Schack, you’re probably going to have to perform with other musicians, which in turn will result in you playing in front of HUNDREDS of people. It can be hard to get that confidence at first, but drums are a great outlet for you to showcase everything you’ve been learning to your friends, family and everyone else which you’ll only grow from! Playing live really brings out your inner confidence and only gets

  1. Social Life, Yo!

Being a drummer might not seem like the most social instrument on paper, but every band needs one of us. Drumming provides a great chance to link up with new people and reunite with old friends! It also opens up other opportunities of performing with lots of different bands. You can really make friends for life with other bands and especially other drummers! Your local drum shop (NUDGE NUDGE, WINK WINK) will hold events regularly for you to meet with other drummers and bear witness to the professionals live!

  1. It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Learning drums isn’t the same as learning to ride a bike. It isn’t an overnight achievement, nor will you ever stop learning how to master it. It’s an unwinnable game in some respect, you’ll spend months of your life learning one phrasing which notoriously opens up another MILLION ideas from it. It’s really quite incredible the focus, dedication and discipline you learn from playing the drums. That’s what is pretty beautiful about this instrument, it teaches you so many other skills that you can apply to everything else.

So there you have it, drums are pretty amazing. You already knew that though, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. If I could sneak in another benefit of playing drums to even out this list, it would be this; It allows you to own some pretty special and rare drums! From custom drums made from exotic woods, to limited runs of artist cymbals and gold plated bass drum pedals. Having amazing gear only makes the process of becoming a drummer just that little bit more exciting! Check out our stock and feel the lasting benefits NOW!!

NAMM 2020 Round Up!

When the subject of NAMM rolls around, you can usually categorize three types of people. Firstly there are drummers who pack their bags, cameras and earplugs in preparation for a weekend filled with impromptu jam sessions, expensive $20 lunches and hanging around booths in anticipation of catching one of their heroes for a quick chat and a picture. Second there are the retailers ready to breathe in their yearly dose of NAMMTHRAX with sore ears, exhausted voices and have the same conversation over and over with different people. The last type of person is you, myself and everyone else who WASN’T at NAMM and has sore thumbs from scrolling through Instagram & Facebook seeing all the new gear (and a few drummers playing it with no idea). Yes it’s The NAMM Show 2020 round up blog, lets SEE what new offerings we have to unpack…get it? 2020, seeing clearly? It’s a vision joke! No? Okay, tough crowd…

Much like last years NAMM round up, we’ll be focusing on brands that we stock in alphabetical order and a few key highlights from each one. For all the details of everything released make sure you head across to the relevant brands website for more information. Now that we’ve dealt with the disclaimer, lets start with some British offerings…

British Drum Company
BDC announced late 2019 that Nicko McBrain had signed with the company, so it was only a matter of time before his signature KIT & Snare Drums followed. They announced the Nicko McBrain Signature “Icarus” Special Edition Legend Series kit at NAMM 2020. It’s 8ply Birch & 2ply Oak with a standard oak finish on the inside and Black Fishtail Oak finish ply on the outer. This goes beautifully with his Icarus Signature Snare Drum, the drum in which his kit is based off. Also announced was his signature Talisman snare drum, a 14×6.5in Seamless spun Steel shell with round over bearing edges and 42 strand snare wire and their first venture into hardware with their Casino hardware, which includes hi hat stands, straight & boom cymbal stands, a snare stand and both a single & double pedal.

DW Drums
Released before NAMM, DW gave us a closer look at the TrueCast Bell Bronze Snare Drum, designed with Dave Elitch in sizes 14×6.5in & 14x8in. It’s a completely machine-made drum, a first for DW. It features “TrueCast” hoops that feature Aluminium to reinforce it for the Hulk Hogan drummers out there. Also announced was their new “Pie” Snare Drums, which are 14x3in Snare Drums available in two materials; Wood (any wood & finish from their custom shop) & Space Carbon, which is crafted from high-grade up cycled Carbon from the space program. Neat! Some new finish options available in Design & Collectors series respectively as well as re-engineered 3000 series hardware!

Gretsch
Grestch announce the new Heritage Series configuration that’s available on both USA & Broadcaster Series drums. It’s a throwback to the “Playboy” where each drum would have 6, 8 or 10 double-sided lugs in the centre of all the drums and long tension rods, as opposed to two sets of 6, 8 or 10 one-sided lugs a each end of the drum. That was much easier to explain in my head than it was to write down. The mounting bracket for the tom is also drilled directly onto the shell instead of the RIMS mount. They announced the new Brookyln GranPrix Series, which is their foray into Aluminium Snare Drums, available in 14×5.5in & 14×6.5in. A USA Black Copper Snare Drum with a nifty laser engraved Gretsch logo is also on it’s way available in 14×5.5in & 14×6.5in. Also announced was the new Blue Burst Pearl finish in Brooklyn Series, the G5 Cymbal Boom Arm to fill that void in that Tom Holder for the “Look mum! No Stands” vibe and a special edition Catalina in Walnut Burst, Walnut/Maple hybrid shells with wood hoops. SEXY!!

Ludwig
Classic Maple is SO last decade…Classic Oak is where it’s at! The Ludwig Classic Oak Series makes its debut at NAMM 2020. Oak/Maple hybrid shells, which offer a rich tone that is balanced, focused and LOUD!! For a sound reference, imagine if Ringo Starr played drums for Pantera. This kit will be available in all the standard configurations like MOD, FAB, Downbeat & Pro Beat in a variety of stunning Lacquer & Wrap finishes. They delve into the Matrix with the announcement of the Limited Edition Neusonic Digital Black Oyster available in the FAB configuration (13/16/22) and add an 8-lug Black Beauty to the fold available in 14x5in & 14×6.5in. Also announced was the gorgeous Sahara Swirl finish for the BreakBeats, Legacy Mahogany Jazz Fest Snare Drums to kick start their throwback, a new Copperphonic finish AND…the return of the (Speed)King with updated and more robust components!

Mapex
Mapex revamped the Saturn line. You could even say it’s undergone an EVOLUTION…so Saturn Evolution isn’t just a clever name. The Saturn Evolution comes in two different shell types; Birch/Walnut & Maple/Walnut. The beauty of this means that it allows you to mix and match shell types. You can have Birch/Walnut Toms with a Maple/Walnut Bass Drum and vice versa! They also come with the new SoniClear Two Halo Mount, which is a 180 degree rail mount fitted with an Attenuating Adjustment Knob to allow control over the resonance of the drums. Saturn Evolution comes in 9 finishes with standard flat colour finishes and exotic veneers coming. They also revamped their Black Panther Snare Drums with 14 new models coming. Details on each individual drum are scarce but we do know they all feature the SoniClear bearing edge & Sonic Saver hoops. One drum we DO have the scoop on is the Craig Blundell Signature Snare Drum aptly named “The Machine.” It’s a 14×5.5in 6ply Walnut/Maple Hybrid with a specially commissioned Aquarian Hi-Energy Batter & Classic Clear Reso. Offset Black Nickel Lugs, 45 degree bearing edges & pure sound Equaliser 16 strand wires & special multi-step trick throw off. We personally cannot WAIT to get our hands on this drum.

Meinl
When we visited the Meinl factory in 2019 they did give a very VERY small inkling that changes were coming to their Byzance line, and that change is here. Meinl have removed their “Dual” cymbals from the Extra Dry line and announced Byzance Dual, the new 7th degree of dark. Byzance Dual expands upon the foundations of their Dual cymbals by adding 16in, 18in & 20in Trash Crashes, 16in, 18in & 20in Trash Chinas, a 19in Dual Crash, 14in Dual Hi Hats and a 14in Multi-Trash which can be a crash, splash, hi hat top or part of a stack. The options really are endless! Also announced was Pure Alloy Custom, which are all medium/thin cymbals with the same hammering & lathing as Pure Alloy. Within the line are 16in, 18in & 20in crashes, 18in Trash Crash, 15in Hi Hats & a 22in Ride. Meinl even gave their entry HCS line a makeover with HCS Bronze. They expanded the line to include a Trash Crash, Trash China, Trash Splash & some Bells. New additions to their Stick & Brush line include a Standard Long 7A, Rebound Multirod, Vintage Wire Brush, Conga Sticks and a Switch-Stick 5a, which is a Hybrid 5a Stick with a Mallet on the butt-end!

Roland
Lets not leave electronics out of this equation, cause Roland really brought it this year with the announcement of VAD; VDrums Acoustic Design. Electronic drums with real drum shells! Intended to look and sound like a real drum kit with Roland VDrum technology. Two variations are available with different configurations within, one powered by the TD-17 Module, the other by their NEW TD-27 Module. The TD-27KV kit along with the module brings a whole different crowd to the party. They’ve upgraded the snare pad even further to really blend the electronic/acoustic drumming experience!

Paiste

There’s a theme of throwback present throughout NAMM 2020 and Paiste are no different. OUT with the new, IN with the old as Paiste relaunch their Formula 602 Series bringing some of the very best from that line with new additions such as the 20in Paper-Thin Crash, 17in & 19in Thin Crashes, 15in SoundEdge Hi Hats and a whole host of medium & heavy weight cymbals designed with versatility in mind!

Pearl

Pearl have some of the nicest finish options available for drums and if you’ve been in the shop over the years, I’m sure you’ll agree that they really take centre stage in that area. So much so that at NAMM 2020 they announced new finish options for a whole host of kits from Export right through to the Reference line. They also launch a new Single & Double pedal within their Eliminator range called the Eliminator Solo Pedals. The Red variation features the Radical Progression Cam, which gives off a similar feel to a Direct Drive pedal. The Black variation features the standard Round Cam for natural feel. Both these pedals are designed with Eliminator feel without Eliminator price. Also announced were re-engineered Roadster thrones with lightweight, hydraulic lifts and alternate throne top options available and new 930 lightweight single-braced hardware.

Sabian

Sabians on-going pursuit of “Not Giving A F**k” continues in 2020 with the announcement of Graphic Cymbals. Sabian launch these cymbals to not only support creativity within drummers musically, but visually as well. Sabian partnered with some of the best artists in the world to make your vision a reality and bring your own flavour to your cymbals. These graphics do not hinder the sound of the cymbal, allowing you to not only sound but LOOK your best! Also announced was expansion to the HHX Complex line such as 21in and 22in Complex Thin Rides, more additions to their overhauled AAX line including 15in Thin Hats, an FRX China cymbal & 10in Splash Cymbal! They also had some flat ride prototypes on show, which i’m sure the crazy cats at Sabian will have more on later in the year. Eyes peeled for those!

SJC
Our latest brand brings some wicked new additions with a new “suit” available for the Paramount Tuxedo kit. This Silver alternative will bring even more style to your performance and image. SJC introduce a Brass Snare to their Alpha Snare line, which is sure to turn a few heads along with a new Josh Dun Signature Acrylic Crowd Snare to expand his range. Finally their Pathfinder gets a new Cyber Yellow finish that looks amazing! We’re super excited to get our hands on more incredible products from SJC as we definitely can’t get them quick enough!

Sonor
Sonor really brought the THUNDER at NAMM 2020 with the announcement of not one, but TWO brand new Benny Greb Signature Snare Drums, both made from different shell materials and with new features! We have a 13×5.75in Beech Shell, which is essentially an upgraded version of the original Benny Greb Snare with a Bubinga inlay instead of the black beading round the centre of the shell. Then we have the 13×5.75in 1.2mm Vintage Brass Shell, which is it’s own animal entirely. Both of these drums come with Teardrop offset lugs much like the Vintage Series kit that Benny plays, a dual-glide strainer and have TWO forms of internal dampening, “The Felt” and “The Sheep” respectively. They’re held on via Velcro allowing you to really mix and match your dampening method to get the exact sound you desire. The Grebster and Sonor have done it again!

Tama
We go the heads up of the Club-Jam Flyer from Tama right before NAMM but it’s totally awesome! It adds a new dynamic yet to be explored with a small kit by having a 14in Bass Drum making it even more compact while still sounding incredible! The new SLP Snare drums also made their public debut, which seriously turned some heads, especially the 14×6.5in Spotted Gum. Starclassic Walnut/Birch got some new finishes including Neon Yellow Oyster and Neon Orange Oyster so you can really stand out from the rest with incredible sounding drums! A limited run of Star Mahogany drums was announced adding to the GLORIOUS Star line along with Superstar Classic Exotix, making some gorgeous alternative finish options available for it!

Yamaha

Yamaha once again prove they are HIP with the release of the Stage Custom Hip, all the benefits of a small kit with all the power of a big kit! Yamaha always focus on how a drum sounds first and the Stage Custom Hip is no exception, utilizing the same Birch shells from the regular Stage Custom with a 20x8in (yes…TWENTY BY EIGHT INCH BASS DRUM), 10x5in Tom, 13x5in Snare Drum and a 13x8in Snare/Floor Tom. The SNOM is back, and just like that you have your balled snare drum at the flick of a switch! Also announced was a limited edition Recording Custom Limited Edition Steve Gadd Snare Drum. It’s a 14×5.5in Snare with a gorgeous Dark Chrome finish. If you want to get even closer to Gadd, you can do so with this very snare drum.

Zildjian

Zildjian round out NAMM news 2020. They’ve redesigned their Planet Z line making them much richer and crisp in tone and the perfect starting point for any beginner. They also announced their new I Family Cymbal Line as a replacement to their long-standing ZBT line. A great upgrade point from the cymbals that perhaps came from your first kit, crafted from a B8 alloy. They have a bunch of new additions to the line such as a few effect cymbals, which includes a trash crash. This lets young players emulate their favourite drummer without breaking the bank!

AND….BREATH!!! I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted and I wasn’t even AT NAMM. That’s all of the low down, down low, low down, down low of the new gear heading our way in 2020! I dare say they’ll have some cool surprises planned for later in the year but keep your eyes peeled and when the new gear lands, come have a play!