Feelers On The Dealers
Billy Punter eschews electronic percussion and goes for the kit at Pro Perc
Every now and again you will run into a shop owner or assistant who, no matter how articulate and persuasive you are, just will not believe you have anywhere near the amount of money you need to buy the instrument you've been playing for the past three hours. However, as the wise punter knows there are several ways around being prematurely slung out halfway through your virtuoso solo performance. The course of action I find very helpful is to lie. Usually this takes the form of telling the shop keeper that you do actually have a lot of money before you ask to play anything. This was the method I employed upon entering Pro Perc.
Pro Perc is the world's largest specialist drum shop and is bloody hard to see if approached from Kentish Town tube, but after a couple of sorties I successfully managed to locate it. Inside it certainly lives up to its specialist tag — not a string or plectrum in sight — and the impressively large stock included Premier, Pearl, Gretsch, Sonor, Rogers and Ludwig. I was not leapt upon by any money-grabbing assistants and was allowed to wander, bash and hit at will. Unlike many drum shops or departments the people at Pro Perc are not allergic to the sound of drums and during the time I was there people were constantly bashing things with such enthusiasm that I was reassured enough to go and ask for assistance.
After a friendly introduction to a very nice chap called Andy I put my plan into action. I told a complete lie (or two) about having £400 and was quick to point out that I didn't know the first thing about drums. Having set myself up for maximum exploitation, I found that exploitation was not what he had in mind. His first suggestion was to buy a practice pad and when this was declined I was shown a couple of practice kits and had the advantages pointed out to me, but I was adamant about wanting a drum kit.
So after a few tentative questions about ability, knowledge and musical taste I was shown to a four piece Premier kit. Unlike a lot of other more unscrupulous dealers I was told that it wasn't the most wonderful piece of percussive equipment ever and its pros and cons were described to me in English rather than muso-speak. All my brain-damagingly pathetic questions were answered with infinite patience, which was slightly annoying because I had to change my tactics for any real test of durability on the patience front. So I progressed onto some really testing questions, like 'how long will it be before I can play like Carl Palmer?' But even questions like these were met with intelligent answers. Damn, one up to the opposing team.
Swiftly we moved onto cymbals, and again Pro Perc has a pretty comprehensive stock with cymbals from Zildjian, Paiste and other major names, with the different types in each range a pretty well covered. After buying the Premier for £365, it worked out that I wouldn't really have that much left to buy cymbals with, but even so Andy dug out a set of deleted Paistes which, although not the world's best, would suit my needs as a beginner at the incredibly low price of £75! Again all was explained to me so I would understand what I was looking at and the difference between pressed and cast cymbals was made clear. By the time we got around to hardware and pedals I thought I could see the first signs of mental fatigue, but my questions were well answered and all the time I was told what I would and wouldn't get for my money.
The shop has a selection of percussion instruments and even a tymp or two and they will order anything special for you that is not in stock. There's also a spares department which will find and get hold of anything they don't have even though there is a large selection of spares in stock.
All in all a very pleasant and helpful place well worth a look at, even if just for a browse or a quick bash on something. Hire Purchase is available for those of us with limited funds or they take credit cards if you're flash. No matter what you go in for I get the impression you'll leave happy.
PRO PERC (Contact Details)
Feature by Billy Punter
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