JOE MONTINERI COPPER SPARKEL “BOP” KIT - Warning... Too Many Photos and Geekiness!

Fat Drummer

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My “New To Me” Joe Montineri Kit

So, those of you who have read my post over the past few years (I’m coming up on my three year DFO anniversary) will know that I enjoy buying and selling drums and cymbals. At times, those purchases are made after great research and careful consideration. Other times, the whole process is rather impulsive, as in my recent Tama purchase (someone make me an offer on that set). But this kit was an odd purchase even by my own admission! I recently sold a great sounding, older Taiwanese made Gretsch Catalina set in copper sparkle because I just did not care for the sound of the lauan kick. And no sooner had I sold off my 18” kick bag… I found this set on the “for sale” threads and was drawn to it like the preverbal moth to a flood light!

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This Montineri bop kit was listed for sale by Almamadre on the boards at the same time several Joe built drums were being posted, but it was this specific set that would not stop calling me. Though I kept hanging up the phone saying “you idiot, you just SOLD this same kit”, none the less, it called and called. I finally bought it just to stop the madness! I did not need this kit, I really wanted to step back up to a 20” kick for my local casual gig set (thus the Tama purchase) but I was just captivated by this set and after Richard said the kick was one of his favorite parts, the deal was sealed.

For those that may not know of Joe Montineri, Joe is often referred to as the “Father of Boutique Custom Snares”. He first came to the drumming world’s attention during the mid to late 70’s while working in the Los Angeles area (Santa Monica) as a custom builder and restoration expert specializing in backline, tech and rental support. As his reputation grew and demand for his custom drums outstripped his other work, he relocated to his hometown area of Hartford, Connecticut in the mid 1980’s. To my knowledge, Joe has never ceased building custom drums since the late 70’s, but for 7 or 8 years (2002 to 2007) he also worked for Keller Wood Products in New Hampshire as the Director Of Product Development where he designed and engineered many of the drum shells you are using today under different brand names. This all ties into my particular kit as Joe also designed these shells while at Keller, and is still using them today.

Joe's Photo of the kit ready to ship out, posted in January on 2016...
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This little bop kit (8X12”, 14X14” and 14X18”) utilizes both generations of the Drum Workshop vintage inspired “Classic” shell. Originally, both toms were built from the same shell composition featuring a 1½” tall, 8 ply maple ring or hoop and a 6 ply shell (mahogany/ poplar/mahogany/ poplar/poplar/ mahogany). The kick shares the same shell formula but with a 2” tall 10 ply maple hoop.

I mentioned that this kit featured “both” of the DW Classic shell formulas and that is due to the original floor tom being damaged in shipping, to the extent that it could not be repaired. After receiving the drum back, Joe cut the good end off and made a 5” snare which he sent back with the NEW replacement floor. I assume he was out of the same shells so the replacement floor tom features what I believe was the earlier DW shell Joe designed, a 2” tall 10 ply maple hoop with a 3 ply shell of mahogany/poplar /mahogany.

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All the drums were appointed with the then new Ronn Dunnett designed vintage style Slingerland “Super Lugs” as well as his stylish Gull Wing Spurs and holders. The kick and rack are virgin while the floor has the now standard innocuous round floor tom brackets (which I think really distract from the look of the kit overall). To finish off the kit, Joe wrapped everything in his own designed, Delmar produced Copper Sparkle. I asked Joe if this was the same as Delmar’s gold sparkle and he said not at all, if I could directly compare it to their gold, I would clearly see the difference. It is manufactured on a white background so that does give it a hint of the old Bermuda Sand look with a bit of break in the particles. I still think I see it as more gold than copper, though it is a beautiful wrap!

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All I did to finish out the kit upon it’s arrival was to add a set of Gibraltar’s floating floor tom feet, a Drum N Base hoop proctor and my heads of choice, coated Remo Emperors over coated Ambassadors with a Felt Tone Fiberskyn factory kick reso and a coated Aquarian Super Kick 1 on the batter. Remember, they are “bop” sizes but I don’t play jazz so they are headed and tuned more for blues, pop and quiet!

The history of the kit is short, but it’s neat to know it’s lineage. Joe built the set originally in late 2015 - early 2016, posting the pic above in his shop awaiting shipment in January of 2016. The set was sold to The Drum Centre of Portsmouth (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) where it must have set for a while. The screen shot is store manager Tony demoing the kit in a “Wednesday Walk Through” video posted in March of 2017. Almamadre bought the kit from DCP (hey man, what was the date of your purchase?) and I bought it in January of 2020. So I’m just the second playing owner and now whoever owns it after me will know the history as well.

Tony from DCP demoing the kit in a “Wednesday Walk Through” video
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First owner Almamadre at a show...
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And now, the second owner playing it...
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I’m really pleased that I gave in to my impulses and made the purchase (and Almamadre is a wonderful guy to deal with, highly recommended) though who knows how long I will own the kit. I have already played it a couple of times out and I’m quickly dialing it in to my liking. I know everyone refers to these shells (wither from DW or from Keller) as a Mahogany kit and I think that is a little inaccurate. These are really poplar drums by volume and I truly don’t think there is enough African mahogany in the shells to have that strong of a tonal impact. But overall they are warm and round…. And a real joy to play.

Thanks for the long read. No one in my family could give a flying tom holder about my drum purchases so I have to share the excitement with someone… and you guys are it! I hope whoever owns this kit next will appreciate having my geeky history report. And those of you who know me, know that at some point, someone else WILL own this set. But in the meantime, I intend to enjoy being the current caretaker!

Happy Drumming,

Ward

Getting it up and running the first time in the shop....
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drumtimejohn

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Beautiful kit! I fought so hard not to buy it and I’m happy to hear it’s still in the DFO family. It seems like Montineri kits/shells are influenced more by Slingerland. These shells look like my late 50’s Radio King’s and that was my draw to them.

Congrats!
 

Fat Drummer

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Beautiful kit! I fought so hard not to buy it and I’m happy to hear it’s still in the DFO family. It seems like Montineri kits/shells are influenced more by Slingerland. These shells look like my late 50’s Radio King’s and that was my draw to them.

Congrats!

Thanks to you both guys! Yeah, I agree, his stuff does harken back to a vintage vibe and I see more Slingerland influence than say Ludwig myself.

I really thought I would miss the convenience of having the tom mount off the kick as I did with the Gretsch, but several DFO members recommended the Tama Classic Snare/Tom stand (HTS58F) saying it did not choke off the tom, was flat based to fit my existing hardware and was light. I have NEVER been a fan of tom's mounted on snare stands (though I have done it plenty) but I think I actually like this set up BETTER than it being kick mounted at least as far as an 18" kick goes!

As I mentioned, I've only played it out twice last week, but I am finding my way around it pretty quickly. This kick is NOT a week spot for me on this set so maybe I can find peace with a punchy 18" kicks after all!
 

jsp210

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Great comprehensive write-up and super sweet drums you have there. I bet those are a blast to play with those Agop Signatures you're rocking there.

As lineage holder and official historian you need to hang on to this special set of drums!
 

D. B. Cooper

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Too cool. Those look like a blast to play!
Post some gig videos or soundfiles if you get a chance?!
 

Fat Drummer

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Too cool. Those look like a blast to play!
Post some gig videos or soundfiles if you get a chance?!
Yep, I have a couple of dates coming up this month I will be using them at, I should be able to get a bit of good sounding video...

I just sold a Montineri snare to Alamadre.
Yep, much like I play the roll on the boards for George Way, he is the keeper of all things Montineri! When I mentioned to Joe that I had just bought a copper sparkle kit out of Florida, he immediately called Almamadre by name! I thought that was pretty legit!

Absolutely love those Instanbul cymbals! What model and sizes are they?
Thanks man, this is a favorite set of mine and I spent a long time and a LOT of cymbals to pull them together. I recently told a friend that the Agop Signature line wont cover everything, but nothing else will cover a Signature either!

This set currently has.... Left to right in the above pic...

AGOP 15” Signature Hats (1021 over 1110 grams)
AGOP 20” Signature Crash (1609 grams)
AGOP 22” Signature Medium Ride (2627 grams)
AGOP 20” Signature Ride (1540 grams) paper thin with 2 rivet holes

Against the wall in the first pic is my 22" Sig China (1707 grams)
 

What It Is

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Congrats on the purchase, they look wonderful! Looking forward to hearing the review when you take them out for a walk, especially how they hold up with your style of music.
 


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