Apr 20, 2009

The Connecticut Vintage and Custom Drum Show

I drove down to Newington Sunday and spent some time at the Connecticut Vintage and Custom Drum Show. I did lots of schmoozing with old drum biz friends and vintage collectors and did some serious drooling over drums that I wanted but definitely did not need. The kit I almost went to the bank machine for? The late 60's/early 70's 4-piece Premier kit in gorgeous Aquamarine Sparkle at Carter Harris' booth (bottom photo). I love vintage Premier's; they were very well made, the hardware is great, and they usually sound fantastic. Carter was asking a very fair $750, snare included. It was a real test of my willpower to walk away from that, especially since the Aquamarine is one of my fave coverings . (I'm still kicking myself for not grabbing a 14x22" Radio King bass drum priced @ $150, but that's another story)

Ran into my buddy Joe Montineri (third pic from top), one of the first custom drum builders in the industry. In his former role as Product Development Manager at Keller, Joe designed the Vintage Mahogany and Vintage Maple shell lines. He's one of the most knowledgeable drum makers in the business and he helped to pioneer the custom drum industry that has grown so big in the last few years. I thought I knew a lot about what makes drums sound good until I met Joe...

I stopped by the MCD Percussion. booth and checked out some of their beautiful solid shell snare drums. The drum that caught my eye and ears was made from sycamore (second photo from bottom) and has wonderful figuring. Sycamore is a relatively soft wood to make a drum from, so I was surprised by the rich tone and full body of the drum.

The top two photographs are of Jack Lawton of Lawton Drum Company. No, Jack is not a little person, that's an 18" diameter snare drum that was custom made for a customer to replicate a drum used in a Beatles video where the fab drummer is playing a giant kit. It's an oversized 60's Ludwig Jazz Festival snare, complete with Keystone badge, white interior, and muffler. The snares were custom made by Puresound, but the real surprise was how good the drum sounded. It was all I could do not to order one on the spot, just to see the look on the faces of the engineers when I pulled it out at a session.

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