News - Drums
With a booming export business for their renowned percussion products, British-made Premier drums are now set to attack the U.K. market with a brand new low-priced kit, the APK outfit, reckoned to be a full professional up-grade of their latest Royale kits.
The Leicester-built APK kit comes with a choice of either Premier's Trident or Tristar hardware and a new selection of finishes, including two new high-gloss wood patterns, rosewood and walnut.
A 'Power' bass drum comes as standard with the APK, as do Premier's exclusive wood hoops and a special black display head with white logos. Folding bass drum spurs, a new 6 1/2" deep metal snare drum (specially made for the APK) and Premier's own top-line tom tom holder are just a few of the features which look certain to make this new kit a winner at its RRP of just £499 inc. VAT.
The launch of this new kit from Premier coincides with a dramatic new pricing policy from this newly enlivened percussion products maker. Back at the August 1984 British Musical Instrument Trade Show, they launched their Projector kits and drums (replacing the previous Soundwave range) with a massive cut in price of around 1/3rd (really!) over the older type. What confounded percussion experts was that the new Projector line looked and performed better than the Soundwave range had, even at the lower price.
Yet another part of Premier's re-pricing policy has been a more comprehensive range of drum covers, at prices up to 50% lower than before.
Premier's M.D. Michael McLaughlin is, needless to say, brimful of confidence, and told IN TUNE 'There are a lot more things like that up our sleeves right now; they are positively bulging at the seams with fresh ideas for better percussion at better prices. We're really excited about our new potential and about the things we are doing to help drummers and percussionists.'
That's the sort of statement which you'd be forgiven for dismissing as pretty predictable if you hadn't heard on the industry grapevine that the new APK kits had fully sold out within two weeks of pre-selling to U.K. dealers by Premier - before they were even launched. Apparently, production has been stepped-up accordingly (and small wonder!).
Drummers wanting more info on Premier (and there's a brand new colour leaflet on the APK and Projector ranges, plus all add-on accessories, up for grabs) should send a stamped, addressed envelope to Premier Percussion at (Contact Details).
The day before Yamaha's Torrington gig (30th October), John & Ivor Arbiter held a Paiste dealer day at JVC House, just off London's North Circular Road, at which they launched a couple of new cymbal lines to add to their existing (and extensive) range.
Paiste claim that their cymbals don't suffer from the 'dead spots' that can result from different thicknesses of metal and which tend to dog hand-made cymbals. We were told that Paiste don't use (for example) 2002 rejects to make their cheaper cymbals like the 404 or 101 series. If a cymbal isn't up to scratch when tested, it is simply thrown away. (I wouldn't mind the chance to go through their dustbins...!)
Jon Hiseman was at the event to introduce the 'Sound Creation' New Dimension range which, as far as I can fathom, is a re-vamped version of the old Sound Creation with some minor improvements. The new versions sound a bit more like the catalogue description of 'dark' cymbals, and the enlarged hammer-marks have been smoothed out slightly, giving a more regular appearance. Another reason for the re-vamp, Jon explained, was that some players found the large hammer-marks hampered certain playing styles. This is as may be, but I feel Paiste have made a wise move here and the this improvement in both sound and appearance will make their cymbals more accessible to more drummers. The sound of these new Sound Creations is hard to define in words - I can best describe it as being something like the Zildjian 'K' range, but with a bit more 'ping' and definition, and an earthy, deep sound simmering down under.
Most of this range is described as 'Dark', including rides, crashes, hi-hats and chinas. Also in the range are Bright Rides, (described as 'high' pitched cymbals with pure, precise ping), and Bell Ride (which is self-descriptive).
At this point we broke for lunch - and when we returned, a large white sheet was in evidence, draped over the new product we'd all been waiting for. Gasp... COLOURED cymbals! Yes, that's right - blue, red, black and green; lovely they are, too! I'd been trying to bully Arbiter's Gary Mann into telling me what to expect before this launch, but he'd kept the secret very well and we were all surprised... but in my case a little bit disappointed, as I feel this is something which will appeal mostly to a fashion-conscious player to whom image and effect take priority over his/her sound needs.
Certainly these cymbals will look great with the new Simmons kits in corresponding colours, and I can see a lot of dealers making a great window display with such colourful slabs of metal - but what do they sound like? I hear you all asking.
Well, they sound heavier than 2002s but not as heavy as the Rude range; somewhere in between. Without doubt a Rock cymbal in every way, I'd say; with a clearer sound than most which decays very fast. And here Jon Hiseman made a valid point about crashes - that in most Rock/Pop music today the listener doesn't hear the cymbal for more than a second or so after it's been struck. Although cymbal sound decays for much longer, it either gets lost in the mix or is filtered out anyway; so the trend is now for fast speaking, medium weight cymbals around the 16" or 18" size, and these new coloured cymbals certainly fit the bill.
Known as 'Colour Sound 5', these cymbals are actually made of normal materials, with the colour provided by a lacquer-coated paint. Stick marks and sweaty fingers don't seem to affect the cymbals, and Paiste recommend cleaning with a damp cloth.
The only disadvantage I can see is that these cymbals must be handled with the utmost care when stored in cymbal cases/bags, and not be allowed to rub against each other or against normal cymbals, as the colour coating could be damaged. Also cymbal cleaner is out, as it is abrasive and will take off the lacquer. Colour Sound 5 s will be priced slightly below, say, the 2002 or Rude ranges. They'll be available through Paiste dealers from late November onwards - so they should be reaching your local shops by the time you read this!
Meanwhile Paiste have a range of Rude splashes available in the new shipment - very loud little 'so-and-sos' which I'm sure will please the heavier players a great deal. 8", 10" and 12" will again be available very soon (ideal Christmas presents, girls!) and Stewart Copeland loves them! Lastly, Formula 602 have a new pair of hi-hats called '602 Extra Heavy', in 14" and 15" sizes. Powerful sound, great volume, strong chik and, I'm told, used by Cozy Powell, so they must be pretty strong and not subject to the same criticism as the thinner 602 range, which aren't recommended for heavy players.
It seems that Paiste are very much 'on the case' with today's percussive needs, moving forward with new ideas, different sounds and shapes, and now different colours. There will of course, be a few inferior copies trying to pick up the bucks from Paiste's original concepts, but this doesn't seem to worry the people at Paiste too much. The ranges they produce now number eight in total (though I believe the 101 range is being phased out before too long), and they're confident of a bright future Further details from John & Ivor Arbiter Ltd., (Contact Details).
Hallowe'en night at the 'Torrington' public house in North London was something not to miss, when Yamaha presented a feast of musical virtuosity by Dave Mattacks (drums), Colin Hodgkinson (bass) and John Etheridge (guitar).
The evening got off to a great start with some blues and jazz numbers, giving each player a chance to solo and the audience the opportunity to hear each instrument standing alone. These days Dave Mattacks is using an extremely nice-looking Yamaha RA9000 Series kit with 8", 10" and 12" rack toms, 20" bass drum, and 14" and 15" double-headed toms to the right, mounted Gadd-style. Dave uses Zildjian cymbals and a Yamaha 5 1/2" 9000 snare, and his whole kit is black - a wood finish very similar to that of a grand piano and which looks stunning.
Dave played a structured solo - not the usual barrage of toms and cymbals we've come to expect from rock drummers, but then, strictly speaking, I wouldn't call Mr. Mattacks a rock drummer. He's carved a name for himself playing in groups like Fairport Convention, Fotheringay and the Joan Armatrading band (to name but a few), as a drummer who can back acoustic players without getting in the way either by overplaying or being simply too loud.
Dave wasn't entirely happy with his kit's sound on this particular gig because, as he explained later, the drums have double-ply heads which lack the 'live' sound required for a venue like the Torrington with its low ceiling and lots of carpets and drapes. This is no reflection on the Yamaha, though - rather the reverse; you can't have drums tuned to every situation, and this was Dave's recording kit, which would give of its best - and sound great - in a studio.
This promotional gig confirmed my thoughts on Yamaha musical instruments generally, and drums in particular. When they decide to do something, they do it right. Not for them the drum stands that look like Wimpey scaffolding, or oversized power toms resembling howitzers - just sensible-looking drums, well finished and solid, with unusual nut boxes which run from top to bottom of the shell (somewhat similar to Premier in looks).
The stands and holders are very adaptable for all those add-on 'bits' like cymbal arms or tom holder arms, and one thing which is really ingenious - a straight cymbal stand that converts into a boom. Now, though, the bad news. Jerry Uwins (Yamaha's U.K Drum sales expert) informed me that Yamaha products will be going up in price again soon, due to the shocking exchange rate between the pound and the yen, so now's the time to raid the gas meter, get down to the local music store and check-out the gear (incidentally, a new finish called Cherrywood on RA9000 drums is absolutely stunning). You have been warned!
More info, from Yamaha Musical Instruments Ltd., (Contact Details).
News by Peter Randall
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