UK Custom Drum News - July 2012
Mikedolbear.com UK Custom Newsletter - Summer 2012
Welcome to the July edition of the UK Custom Newsletter; a quarterly update of news from the British custom drum scene. Since the Spring edition, the fourth Jobeky UK Custom Drum Festival has taken place in Stafford. Many of the UK’s best indigenous drum companies were represented and the visitor attendance was the best to date, indicating that interest in British made drums is riding high. Mikedolbear.com has a full report on the show here: http://mikedolbear.com/story.asp?StoryID=3164
Over the past month AD Drums have been extremely busy, and they showcased their goods at the Jobeky show. AD’s Carl Haffield would like to say a huge thank-you to Colin and Jane at Jobeky Drums for organising such a great day out for drummers, and to all the people who visited their stand with kind words throughout the show.
The kit pictured is something Carl is very proud of, as it is the first custom kit AD Drums have cut inlays for. “It was a great kit to work on” says Carl, ”Lots of testing cuts were carried out and it took nerves of steel when I knew I’d only have one shot to get the inlay edge cut correctly''”. The results speak for themselves. The Pearl inlay sits flush with the rest of the shell, creating a beautifully uniform feel and look.
On the quirkier side, Carl is currently working on an LED Hybrid snare which uses a white acrylic middle section and cherry stained top and bottom. This will allow customers to change the middle of the drum to a series of colours, including a rather nice fade. Images and videos of some of AD Drums’ LED Snares are available to view on their Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/addrumsuk
AD’s latest builds include a stained blue kit with white hardware, as well as a matt black paint job, and pictures of their progress can be seen on their Facebook page. Carl says, “It’s very satisfying to apply stain and paint to shells as you get to see each layer build up and create the end result.”
After an enormous amount of preparation, Animal Custom Drums are aiming to officially launch their new products in July and they are currently working on the first batch of snares and kits. This new set of products, replacing Animal’s entire catalogue, will simply be named the ‘2012’ range. Animal’s owner Carl Gavins said, “We’ve opted to name the range by year. This will help reflect the changes to the range in future as newly developed parts are added to the kits. The new ‘2012’ range will feature Animal designed lugs and badges. When the next set of parts are developed the name will become ‘2013’ etc “. Animal’s ambitious end goal is to remove all mass produced parts from their products. Keep a close eye on their website for the launch of the new drums.
Since unveiling their LED kit a couple of months ago, which was designed and built for Johnny D. Jenkins (drummer and MD for “Example”), Chequerplate Stuff has metamorphosed into Chequerplate Drums & Percussion Ltd; with Johnny also becoming a director of the newly formed firm. The original owner, Steve Poensgen, said: “He liked it so much that he bought half the company!”
The new LED kit, including matching perspex rack and cymbal discs, is controllable via DMX and it has undergone vigorous testing on the recent Example arena tour. It not only passed with flying colours, but also received great exposure, attracting considerable interest from other established artists. With interviews and instrument reviews in two leading UK drum magazines scheduled for this summer, John and Steve are anticipating a busy year ahead, with the aim of firmly establishing Chequerplate Drums & Percussion Ltd in the UK market and beyond.
Their first project since joining forces is the incredible LED-Lightning Snare, which marries 10 of their unique C-thru LED lugs to a 10mm thick, seamless acrylic shell, with what looks like lightning strikes deeply embedded inside the shell and highlighted by a set of colour changing LEDs. Matching rack bars, or Lightning bars, have already been tested on Johnny’s kit, and look equally stunning. Though, due to the complicated manufacturing processes involved, these and the Lightning Snare are only available to special order.
A total one-off snare drum to celebrate the National Drum Fair’s 10th anniversary is currently under construction (it will be auctioned at the show in September), with more percussion items and kit finishes planned for launch at the London Drum Show later in the year.
Dean and Andy at Guru Drumworks have been very busy over the last year, working through the completion of their new drum series for launch at the London Drum Show in October. According to Andy, “the Origin Series is the result of two years development work. It’s a blend of traditional solid steam bent and stave shell crafting and blue sky development. These drums are unique. They feature lugs that float above the shell, yet allow full function independent tuning. The drums are incredibly light and super resonant. There’s a host of other unique features too, that will be released nearer the launch date”. The “Origin” series will be available in three distinct ranges; “Performance”, “Classic” and “Custom”. Andy says, “We’ve always crafted our own solid shells, nothing is bought in. All the hardware for the new series is bespoke designed and produced in the UK, and crafted from solid, high strength aluminium. Full specifications and photos will be released here ahead of the launch, and we might even get a kit or two available for an early mikedolbear.com review too”.
The Guru guys have also been busy discussing endorsement associations with a number of key players. “All Guru endorsees pay for their gear and are happy to fly the flag because they believe totally in their instrument. We’ve just included Joe Morris in our roster”, says Andy. “Joe is music director of the American conservatory of recording arts and sciences. An incredible player, he’s toured for the last 15 years with Esteban, as well as numerous other artists and projects”. Joe has a specially commissioned Guru piccolo snare, featuring inner heartwood bubinga stave shell with maple highlights, and Guru signature outer heartwood bubinga segmented hoops.
EcHo Custom Drums had their new “Apollo” all-aluminium drum kit displayed at the Jobeky Custom Drum Festival in May and it created lots of excitement.
Their new array of “seamless” snare drums in aluminium, steel and copper, along with EcHo’s vintage looking brass snares, was also on show - see the photo of Richard Jupp of Elbow being introduced to the very first set of steel, chromed “seamless” snares by Dave Quinn (Snr) of EcHo.
Mike Dean of New Model Army has put his faith in a new brass main snare and aluminium side snare. Mike said: "For the snare sounds I want with New Model Army Echo have produced an outstanding sound for me… Fantastically built to a really high quality and professional standard. The best snare drums I''ve ever played!"
EcHo will be exhibiting at the London Drum Show in October , displaying an array of exotic metal snares including the “Seamless” snares and their “Apollo” kits. The drums qualities will be demonstrated by top session drummer Mel Stewart.
Hazy Customs was established in 2011 by experienced drummer and hobbyist drum builder Ritchie Newell. His vision is to create unique, quality, great sounding drums at competitive prices, as an alternative to the expensive mass produced drums, manufactured abroad.
They also specialise in solid wood, true one-piece carved shells, cut from a single piece of Canadian Sugar Maple. Hazy are one of only a few bespoke builders in the UK to offer these shells. They also make solid stave snare drum shells and steam bent shells in various woods. Hazy also supplies the world famous Trick strainers, available on all snare drums on request.
Hazy Customs are also looking to endorse professional drummers. Interested drummers are encouraged to check out the endorsement page on their website.
The Lion Cajon Drums team have been busy working on some new finishes across their whole range of cajon drums. The new satin wax finish is proving very popular, in keeping with the traditional look of the cajon. They are also looking at some new stains and colours for those customers wishing for something a little more unusual.
The new Lion Cajon 2-in-1 Sizzle Drum is proving very popular. It was unveiled at the Jobeky UK Custom Drum Show in a black finish. The Jobeky show was a great success for Lion, with endorsee Matt Cowley running a cajon masterclass and talking about the history of cajons, as well as showing the different tones and variations offered by the various drums.
Owner Gary Clarke has also been working on some new innovations, including adding a dampener to the Lion Cajon 3 in 1 Drum. This allows for better snare contact with the front panel, and also allows for adjustment in the tone of the cajon. This dampener is unique to the Lion brand. Gary is also developing some new cajon panels, made from different materials to add versatility to the cajon.
Lion have also welcomed some new endorsees on board, adding to their very supportive Pride of Lions. These include Terl Bryant, who is currently touring with The Pete Roth Band, and Elliot Henshaw, who is regularly playing in West End shows.
Lion Cajon Drums hope to have some further good news later in the year in relation to an expansion and relocation.
Marcus de Mowbray has recently completed a 13” x 4.5” Gub Gub snare drum in purple stained oil and wax finish which contrasts nicely with the lacquered brass tension lugs. He is currently making parts for Spacer snare drums for customers in Russia and USA and will soon complete a basic four drum Busker kit (snare and three toms) for a customer in Australia who plans to use it with (and carry it in) a Suitcase Bass Drum. Similar basic Busker kits have already been put to use by others who want a full kit with utmost portability.
Marcus has also started talking to a big drum company with a view to mass-producing one or more of his products. He is keen to sell or licence production to get them to a worldwide market in far greater numbers, allowing him to continue with the rest of his range and work on other ideas. Also he recently completed work on his 3rd solo Mini Album CD “Professor Argentina Bhutt-Phlapp And The Electric Lemonade” which has now been released, and which will be downloadable soon.
UK cymbal maker, Matt Nolan has had a busy few months again, servicing both end-user and retailer customers. Bespoke and off-the-shelf cymbals have been proving equally popular and his hand-hammered orchestral triangles are finding themselves into a lot more places after being described as “at last, some triangles I can recommend” by Gustavo Gimeno of the Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
The InfiniTri range of triangles is now being offered in two different finishes - the original sanded finish, and the new black oxide finish which seems to be the preferred choice for the more traditional orchestras. In addition to this, Matt is now officially launching the Nigel Shipway Signature range of curved sided triangles after a year or so of prototyping. Nigel has worked with top symphony orchestras, on radio, TV and film scores, in west-end productions and appears on over 500 albums.
Following the MusikMesse expo in Frankfurt and the Chicago Drum Show, Matt has two new retailers for his cymbals - Hieber-Lindberg in Munich and Vic''s Drum Shop in downtown Chicago. Lindberg carries a great selection of cymbal brands, drums, other percussion items and also has a strong internet sales presence. Vic''s is quite literally an Aladdin''s Cave for drummers. Every single model from the big four cymbal brands is in stock to try out. Every single model of drumstick from the big brands too. A proper old-school bricks and mortar store run for drummers by drummers. Locals and visitors to Chicago should make a trip there.
You can play Matt''s hand-crafted instruments for yourself at the National Drum Fair in Birmingham on September 29th and 30th and in London at the Royal College of Music Day of Percussion on July 8th. In the meantime, check out this video portrait of Matt and his work - https://vimeo.com/43963075
The team at RTCustoms have been busy the last few months working on new ideas for their custom badge range. New equipment means they are now able to offer the option of laser engraving on a selection of new materials such as stainless steel, as well as the already available aluminium, acrylic and wood.
Lately, there has been high demand for acrylics at RTCustoms HQ. Acrylic drums have been sent out all over Europe including a Hybrid matte black kit, with clear acrylic inserts. But the highlight has to be a white LED kit which looks like a standard birch kit until the LEDs are turned on and it lights up the room. A real head turner at any show!
RTCustoms are now able to offer segmented and stave shells in a variety of woods and finishes. They’ve recently finished a 14x8 oak shell with high gloss finish and currently have a very nice ash/purple heart shell in progress at their workshop.
In RTCustoms artist related news, congratulations to Wecamefromwolves who have recently been signed to Engineer records and are preparing for their UK tour and EP release. We Start Partys have just released their new single and video and are also preparing for their UK tour. The boys are heading out to Asia at the end of the summer to promote the single so good luck to them.
On June 18th, Supernova Custom Drums officially changed their name to Supernova Drum Co. They have updated their website to coincide with the name change as well as start a new Facebook page at Facebook.com/supernovadrumco. Their Twitter page is still Twitter.com/supernovadrums and their new Youtube Channel is at www.Youtube.com/SupernovaDrumCo.
One of their Inspire Series snares will be their very last piece marked ‘Supernova Custom Drums’ They have a great drummer who will be receiving that snare shortly with a video to come of the drum in action.
Supernova’s unique Snare World Tour promotion is still in progress. The snare drum is currently travelling around Norway. As this is being written, it has just reached Oslo. Information on the Snare World Tour can be seen at Supernovadrums.com/drums/world-tour.
In the coming weeks, SDCo. will be releasing a brand new series which is guaranteed to be truly distinctive! All will be revealed soon...
Supernova Drum Co. have been talking to many great UK and international artists about becoming endorsees. The latest members of the SDCo. family are session drummer Dave Neale currently playing for Death in Vegas, Irish independent drummer Ronan Daly and London based independent drummer Tom Ashcroft.
That’s it for the Summer edition of UK Custom News. The Autumn issue will go live at the start of October, so please look out for it and keep supporting UK drum manufacturers.
The information here has been generously offered for publication by our UK makers. More information is always welcome from British custom drum producers. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
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