DRUMLAND LTD., Birmingham is not the largest shop in the world. But, according to Bill Ward of Black Sabbath, it is the largest drum shop he's ever seen outside New York. Drumland has a street frontage of about 45 yards, the area it covers was originally four shops, and inside there are always at least 40 kits on display in the two level showroom.
Apart from the obvious advantages of having that much space, Drumland also has the advantage of having an extremely enthusiastic and friendly staff. Mike Evans and Mike Woodroffe, directors of Drumland, only opened the shop a year ago and already it has established itself as a drummers paradise.
There is a very large stock of spare parts, and Mike Evans explained that even if they never sold a kit, the income from brushes, heads and spare parts would be enough to keep the shop floating.
About a third of the kits they stock are second-hand, and they are always willing to take older equipment in part-exchange. The cheapest kit sold is a Delrey at £44 and the most expensive ever sold was a Billy Cobham Kit at £1600, but the most popular are the middle priced Premiers.
Peter Briggs and Adrian Vickers, who work for Mike Evans, find that everyone who comes in, buys, — even if its only a cymbal to use as an ornament! It is a busy shop but the staff are always willing to tune drums, or order special sticks and they even find time to organise lessons for beginners, anywhere in Birmingham.
The Midlands is an area swarming with bands and Mike Evans seems justified in thinking that about eighty per cent of the local bands, like Buzzard and Second Hand Band, are regular customers. Other recent customers have included Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Wizard, The Fortunes, Alfonse Muso and Louis Belson.
Drumland's customers always come back and that's about the highest recommendation any shop can have.
PEPPER MUSIC is in Cliftonville, the posher part of sunny Margate. The owner, Robin Day, is aware of the number of struggling bands in the area and has tried to make Pepper Music a place where musicians can come for advice and sympathy as well as equipment.
To this end there is a varied stock of instruments and a selection of sheet music laid out for easy accessibility on the ground floor. The basement is full of speaker cabinets, of which H/H are the biggest seller. Pepper Music also has a large selection of percussion equipment and the best seller there is the Premier Drum Kit. Robin Day and his three assistants are all fairly technically knowledgable about music and they try to do any repairs which come in on the premises. Where possible, they find replacement equipment for their customers while repairs are being made.
There is a substantial amount of secondhand equipment always in stock but Robin Day's own speciality is secondhand guitars. He works to order and will go out of his way to try and locate an old Burns or Strat. However the demand for specific guitars is so great that there are rarely any in the shop for more than a few days at the most. As soon as they're found, they're bought. Among local bands visiting Pepper Music recently were Mister Blister, Chaucer's Tales, Mr. Leslie Herbert's Dixiland Band and Southbound. Any bands coming from farther afield might note that Pepper Music is open until seven on Fridays.
CRAVENS MUSIC CENTRE is in the heart of Hull's busiest shopping centre. The shop is owned by Mike Oliver who is helped by three assistants, all of whom are able musicians and members of local bands. There are many bands in the area and among those that are regular visitors to the shop are Inner Sound, Rene, Boby And The Helmets, Rats Blood, Majik and Dennis Keely And Lee.
The showroom is on the ground floor and displayed at the front of the shop is a selection of equipment to suit most tastes and pockets. Their stock of guitars include Fender, Rickenbacker and Gibson models and the amplification range is made up of Orange, Wem, Marshall, Peavey, Custom and Carlsbro equipment. The percussion kits they have, which include Slingerland, Star and Ludwig drums, have been selling at a slightly increased pace since the budget made most other instruments an extra 25% more.
The stock in Cravens Music Centre also includes a fine selection of 2nd hand gear. At the back of the shop is the workshop which does repairs on amps and other equipment.
KINGFISHER MUSIC CO. of Fleet, Hampshire, is a West End Music Store in the sticks. And the owners, Colin and Cathy Fisher, are happy to have that said because they have successfully combined all that is friendly about the countryside with all the efficiency of a West End Store.
As well as being a Gibson Star Dealer and a Fender Soundhouse they are also main agents for Pearl, Carlsbro and SG Amps. Included in their wide range of equipment and instruments are Orange, Traynor and Peavey (one of the fastest selling amplifiers they stock).
Colin is very interested in the electronics of music and he told IM that faulty amplifiers are never returned to the manufacturers but that he repairs them on the premises. It can sometimes take weeks for equipment to be returned to the manufacturer, repaired, and delivered back to the retailers again. If Colin repairs the equipment in the shop it means only days, instead of months of waiting. Colin is also a capable guitar craftsman. He was recently asked to build some special guitars for Jonathan King and he does expert repair and customising work for customers. With so much repair work being done lots of spare parts must be kept in stock, and the Fishers have built up a wide range of accessories. There is also a large selection of second-hand gear which makes up most of the turnover.
Recent customers have included Frisco, Tony Aston and The Original Shades, Junior Pilot, and Fargo.
DMI MUSIC CENTRE has only been in Willesden, North-West London, since August. That was when DMI outgrew the old shop in Harlesden and Steve Malpon, the owner, decided that it was time to move to larger premises.
The new shop is in Willesden's High Street and opposite Morgan Studios. As well as retaining their old customers, DMI have steadily built up a new clientelle of musicians from Morgan Studios and the surrounding area. Bert Weedon dropped in recently, as did Sweet, who bought a Guild. Local bands visiting DMI have included Cimarons, Heroe, Tanglewood, Teddy Brown and Intercity Union.
DMI stocks a selection of second-hand equipment and equipment and instruments manufactured by Gibson, Fender, Davoli, Ovation and many other famous names.
The workshop at the back of the building can cope with most repair jobs and various PA systems and bass equipment are built and modified there.
SOUND ENGINEERING LTD, of Jersey, has a selection of musical equipment and instruments and a concentration of amplifiers and guitars spread out over two floors of the shop in the main street of Jersey.
On the third floor, two full time engineers are employed in the workshop who produce Sound Engineering Ltd.'s own PA Systems and succeed in running a same-day repair service for customers on the island.
Working in the shop are Barry Roche and Chris Belles, two competent musicians who are willing to advise their customers on any musical problems which develop. They offer good terms on part exchange and their selection of second-hand equipment is well worth looking at.
Barry and Chris find that the best selling amps are the HH slimline range with Carlsbro and Fender selling well too. Their best selling guitars are Fenders, Gibsons, Guild and the Japanese Kambari and Columbus range.
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