Hi everyone, here's a pic of our heads on the Trojan music stand at the London drum show. It was really nice to meet so many of you for real and chat drums for a whole weekend. I managed to pick up some lovely Masshoff snare wires, which I've fitted on to my 14x8" Gretsch and some Read Audio moulded earplugs, which is a purchase I should've made about 20 years ago!
If ever there were any questions of durability, then this photo, taken on the Sunday evening after a weekend of battering surely answers them! If fact, we only tuned it up once in the morning on both days. This is on a very modest Premier XPK and sounded great! You can head on down to Drumshack and check this drum out.
As I said in my last blog, I've started working on my big Gretsch kit - I got this kit kind of by accident - I spotted it on ebay about 6/7 years ago and the seller didn't really know what he had, so I emailed him to let him know it was worth more than he was selling it... Proof that karma pays off, he offered me the kit for a silly price as he couldn't be bothered with all the anorak-ey questions he was getting.... So I then went on a bit of a quest to build a big Hal Blaine kind of kit, as I'm kind of drawn to the idea as concert toms seem deeply unfashionable! -The original kit is: 12, 13, 14 concert toms, 16 floor & 22" kick (with one metal hoop) they all have been a bit butchered with Premier mounts (urgh) - expecially the bass drum, which looked like it had been drilled with a hand drill, badly. I then added a 6, 8, 10 & 15" concert tom and my ultimate plan is to have a load of drums in the same finish that I can pick and choose, so I'm on the look out for similar era Gretsch drums (particularly 18 & 24"!). The original kit is covered in a horrible & scratched Chrome wrap, which made some of the drums difficult to fit heads on. I decided that I'd strip off the wrap and finish back to natural maple, plugging the holes with maple and refinishing in a Gretsch like Nitro-Cellulose laquer. See the photos:
The covering came off very easily, it was amazing how heavy it was, I think it was either chromed aluminium or steel sheet. It weighed a ton! In keeping with the usual Jasper/Gretsch quality control of the period on wrapped drums, the outside ply is made from two smaller pieces of veneer/ply (check the Rob Cook 'Gretsch Drums Book' for more info on this) , which is more visible on some than others. Anyway, it's all ongoing... I think it's going to look great when it's done, I've had too many years putting up with crappy old hardware so it'll be nice to not have that!
I'm gearing up for the holidays now, I'm still awaiting another order of calfskins to arrive, so it's unlikely I'll be able to do anymore (I do have every size bar 14" in stock tho....) before next year, please check before ordering. I'll keep everything updated! Thanks, James
I've had a busy old couple of months - loads of heads & drum stuff. One of my projects was a tom conversion for a producer friend of mine.
Steve, had this late 70's 14x10" tom hanging around and had not being used for years. He wondered if I could turn it in to a monster snare.
When doing restorations or custom work, such as this I don't like to buy cheap crappy parts - especially when drilling into an old drum - I want something that will be able to be on there for decades to come - both in playability and look.
I sourced period correct COB Slingerland Stickchopper Snare hoops from the states, and I did a good amount of searching for a similar era Slingerland throw - to no avail, so I decided to go with a modern and excellent Trick.
Hi there, James here. In this blog I'm going to look at all the stuff I'm working on. Expect drums, diy and audio nerdiness.