1960s Amati drum set restoration

Big Beat

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I recently finished restoring an early Amati drum set (made in Kraslice, Czechoslovakia in the 1960s). It was fun and challenging to work on something different. Took six years to complete as a back-burner sort of project, because it sometimes took years to find rare parts somewhere in Europe and get them over here. The set was found for me in some village club on the outskirts of Irkutsk in Siberia, where it was the "house" set during the Soviet era. Some of the parts to complete it arrived from the Ukraine, Serbia and Germany. I doubt there are more than a couple of these sets in the USA. I don't know of any others, though I think I have seen pics of an Amati snare drum in an American collection, maybe even right here on this forum.

The shells are three ply beech or maybe birch, with re-rings. Some features have been "borrowed" from Premier and Sonor, though the overall design is still pretty original. Overall, a nice 1960s European drum set, unique enough to be interesting. Enjoy the before-and-after pics!

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This is the seller's photo, as found in Russia:

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This is how they arrived:

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Cleaned up a bit:

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Work started:

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D. B. Cooper

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That is really awesome man. Nice dedication. I get the feeling some of my projects are taking that long, haha.
Do you like them? How do they sound?
 

retrosonic

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Big Beat: I can really appreciate all the work you have done on these! You did a fantastic job, that set looks like it just rolled out of the factory in 1970. Super job! The wrap looks excellent. Was that the same wrap, just cleaned up?

I have a similar project this fall: A set of super rare 1956 SONOR Drums that were used in a German nightclub for many years. 99% complete (its missing only one muffler assembly), but needs alot of love and attention. We will see how that goes.

Excellent work on those AMATI's!!!
 

AaronLatos

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That's amazing! As a fan of weird old eastern European gear, I can only imagine how much work it took to find the parts for that. You did good work!

I've seen a couple of Amati snare drums. IIRC, one was a green sparkle drum for sale at Main Drag in Brooklyn a few years ago.

My wife lived in Irkutsk for a few years on a research project. For anyone who doesn't know the city/area, Siberia is huge, but Irkutsk is in the part of Siberia that they'd send you to if you got "sent to Siberia," so to speak. So, as a result, especially after the fall of the USSR, it wound up being super cool, because despite being in the geographical center of nowhere, it was populated by interesting writers, musicians, philosophers, artists... all the "dangerous types."

Man, I wish those drums could tell some stories! Great job bringing them back. I bet they're going to sound really nice.
 

Big Beat

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Thanks, guys!

D.B. Cooper,
they sound pretty decent. Not a lot of low end or projection, but good tone. Like a really good MIJ set, or maybe like a Kent set, in that range.

Retrosonic,
The wrap is original, but it took a lot of cleaning. The only non-original part is one bass hoop, and the hoop inlays. One original hoop was too badly damaged to restore, so I found a 1960s MIJ hoop that was very similar, and the hoop inlays are also vintage MIJ - not quite a perfect match to the original wrap, but as close as could be found. Everything else is 100% Amati, though some parts are replacements and not original to this specific set.
 

retrosonic

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Big Beat...Thanks! You did an incredible job cleaning the wrap. What did you use to clean it?
 

Big Beat

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Razor blade to scrape paint drips and markings off, WD40 to get the sticker residue and grease off, then dish soap and water, followed by Novus, and then a buffer. And lots of elbow grease :)
 

retrosonic

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Thank you......you did a fantastic job. The wrap looks stellar!

Which Novus did you use to Polish?
 

Prufrock

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That kit turned out great - a real testament to your patience and diligence! Some of the attributes remind me of Dandy / Drouyn designs, especially the lugs, which isn't a surprise since Drouyn also used parts inspired by Premier and other brands. The Dandy snare drum has the same sort of late 1930s Premier style lugs as your Amati (although the Amati's have "tails" on them), and also staggers them like Sonor teardrops and Ajax drums of the same period. The beautiful Drouyn kit below was restored by forum member troutstudio.

Thanks for sharing your kit and for showing the process used to restore it.
 

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