Vintage View - Drouyn / Dandy Drums
Vintage View - Drouyn & Drouyn / Dandy
Douglas and Dorothy Drouyn began a music shop in Brisbane in 1932 and the drum factory came along ten years later. (Rumour has it at the beginning they used ammunition cases for nutboxes so they really could be described as bullet-shaped!) The company stopped making drums in the late eighties whereupon they’re said to have made shells for Sleishman for a while.
I have a catalogue from 1960 which says they were in their 21st year and the drums were now called Dandy (D and D) with shells which were made from 8 plies of Rose Alder although an exhausting and exhaustive search turned up references to Queensland maple, camphor laurel, walnut and rose woods which had also been used. Interestingly they offered a 19” deep shell for their 24 bass at a time when nobody else appeared to be doing that, which puts them 40 odd years ahead of the opposition. Their shells were Gretsch-like with smooth sides without glue rings except for basses over 24” (though there’s a distinct possibility these were pre-international sizes).
‘Super Serie’ was Dandy’s flag-waving model and the parallel action snares were shamelessly sub-titled ‘Super Sensitive’ and sized 14 x 6.5”. They were made from 5-plies of alder to which like many others they still fitted calf skins in 1960: transparent calf below, white calf above - plastic heads were optional, but only for snare drums. There were other snare drum models available with a thinner 4-ply shell and all their upmarket drums were fitted with cast hoops.
Dandy also had 14” ‘Excell’ snare drum models along with single-headed toms all with 3-ply shells.
The Super Serie bass drums measured 22 x 14 and 22 x 17 as well as 20 x 15, all with 5 ply shells. Their floor toms were 16 x 18” (unusually with 18 difficult-to-find nutboxes) and 14 x 15.5” both constructed from 4 plies with two shell mount holders for each straight leg.
The basses had pressed steel claw-hooks, curved T-handles, adjustable strip dampers and disappearing spurs while the other drums had slotted tension screws and cast counterhoops. They offered two mounted toms which were slightly unusual too, the smallest built from 3 plies and the larger from 4 plies. Their ‘Classic’ set had both of these 12 x 7.5” and 14 x 10” with a floor tom and a 22” bass. Their ‘Professional’ offering had a 20” bass with one mounted and one floor tom.
Their finishes in 1960 were not particularly exciting, but Dandy were hardly alone in this: black or white celluloid and unspecified pearls or glitters were on offer.
They made budget drums called ‘Ambition’ too: the snare drum had six nutboxes per head, ‘stick-chopper, flange-less hoops and claws.
I’m aware they had lots of endorsers in Australia but internationally the only one I can recall is a guy called Snowy Fleet who played for the Easybeats (“Friday On My Mind”) who were Australians based in the UK for a while from 1966. Mind you I’ve only found one picture (right) of him with a Drouyn bass drum, otherwise like many others of the time (including me), he used a Ludwig.
I’m not without experience of Dandy drums having played them what seems like a lifetime ago when I toured Australia and New Zealand with Adam Faith and Johnny Leyton in 1962. To be honest it was just another rented drumset as far as I was concerned but it can’t have been that bad otherwise I would have remembered it less fondly. But it did the job although it certainly wasn’t like the Trixon kit I was playing at home at the time.
To identify the drums there were arguably three badges over the years: the Drouyn & Drouyn and Dandy with the same evocative shape and another more up to date one fitted to what was rumoured to be Ludwig metal shells.
Dandy slogans were of the sixties: “Quality is always better than quantity” and “If it’s a Dandy you know it’s good”.
Drouyn drums weren’t the only indigenous drums in Australia, other drums were available there although Drouyn seems to have had a hand in some called Stradivarius although I haven’t been able to get too much info on them even though I’ve put out feelers. Certainly the Premier-like nutboxes are the same!
Sphinx was another marque produced by Billy Hyde in Sydney who invented the Limpet practise pad. Like Jimmy Reno’s (see last months Vintage View) his shells were made from remnants of wood left over from wartime aircraft production.
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