I learned a lot in 2021


DFO Veteran
Gold Supporting Member
Aug 24, 2010
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Sequim (skwim), Washington
I've always admired those who stuck to their first pro drum and cymbal kit, making changes very slowly if at all. In the 60's and 70's old drums were cheap, but cymbals were dear, at least for me with my meager earnings in high school and college. So I flipped dozens of drum kits to make extra money as I slowly built up a set of 602s and A Zildjians. I was playing nothing but rock in those decades and I shudder to think about the treasures that passed through my hands because they weren't suitable for loud electric music.

At the beginning of 2021 I looked back on the half-a$$ed way in which I had been trying to play acoustic volume level on rock drums and cymbals for the previous five years. The drum part was fairly simple. With the right heads and muffling I already had what I needed, but I wanted my low volume drums to have the full blown timbre of loud open drums and found the sound I wanted in Tempus/Milestone drums.

With cymbals I had a few old thin cymbals which I thought might signal the way forward. After several dead ends of unsuitable old light cymbals and or suitable ones that didn't play well with others, I stumbled into the world of current Turkish cymbal manufacturers. Slowly I learned about the varieties of lathing and hammering, of not just the bow taper and weight, but the effects of thinning towards the edge. I have quite a collection of Bosphorus now, plus four Mehmet and four Soultone, which takes me from acoustic to light rock in a variety of setups.

Looking for lighter, as well as quieter, I gathered older Ludwig, as well as new Tama and DW lightweight stands.

Late in 2020 I bought my first solid, "single ply" snare and six more came along in 2021. I really need to thin these out but it is terribly hard to decide which ones to move along.

At the beginning of 2021 I started a quest for a drum and cymbal set up that sounded great at low volume with brushes, rods and sticks. I wasn't sure that this was possible but I ended the year with a no compromise solution in hand. I learned more this year than any other five years and part of the reason I was able to do this was because there was no urgency to learn new songs and perform once or more per week, which caused me to rely on the devil I knew rather than the uncertain possibilities that eventual yielded much better solutions. Hopefully by this summer performance will once again dominate my attention.
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