Tempus/Milestones drums

healthie1

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I thought I'd see if we could get a thread with some love for these drums - I'm from North Vancouver and when I was playing with my first band, we jammed at a studio along Mountain Highway in an industrial park that used, if memory serves, 13x7 Tempus snare drums. I always thought these were cool, and on days they didn't have the 'good room' booked, my band got to practice there - where they had a full tempus kit instead of a Gretsch Catalina. The first smokin' deal I ever got on a drum set was a pearl wood-fiberglass kit with a 6.5 supraphonic for $40 when I was 16 - this is where my fondness for fiberglass comes from.

Paul Mason, the owner, still posts time to time on the Tempus facebook page, and a couple years ago he posted a pile of shells he's been keeping - outside - for sale. I bought a 12x5.5ish orange sparkle carbon fiber (I think) shell and finally finished it the other day. It cracks and articulates nicely. A few years ago I bought a bunch of drums from a guy in Surrey and I got about 75 Tempus lugs, and through some wheeling and dealing Paul got a few from the guy I sold them to.

I was listening to 'Drum History Podcast' where Paul talks about the business of running Tempus, and it's very interesting. Paul was very nice to me and we chit chatted when I bought my shell, and he seems very down to earth and humble about the instruments he built. When these kits come up, they're not prohibitively expensive; often around the $600-$1500 CA mark, depending on the number of drums. I cannot recall seeing many, if any, snares come up for sale on marketplace/craigslist, which I think is telling.
 

RIDDIM

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THey're great-sounding, lightweight and impervious to the environment. If you can snag a kit, do.
 

spaeth

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I just picked up a set of Tempus carbon fiber drums 10,12,14, and 20” bass drum in orange sparkle with a matching 6.5x13 snare. I am very much in love with the portability, character and tunability of them. My other kit is a Jenkins Martin. I am very enamored with composite drums right now.
 

NobleCooleyNut

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Back in 1978 when I was looking to buy my first Pro Level drum set I was deciding between a Milestone kit and a Gretsch kit . Both brands were very popular in Toronto with local musicians . It was a tough decision, but I went with the Gretsch .

I picked up a used black Tempus kit back in 2010 and used it for a few years as a rehearsal kit . They have their own vibe to them. Not harsh or sharp sounding , lots of articulation as well . If I was in the market for a fibreglass kit now , I would get a Jenkins/Martin kit . No slight against Milestone/Tempus , I just prefer the method of how the J/M shells are made.
 

Sequimite

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I'm the guy who bought the lugs. I asked Paul if he wanted any and so swapped 20 for an 8" shell and his picking them up.

My first Tempus FG kit is very very good, best sounding toms I've ever had. According to Paul they were built by the guy who made all the Milestone shells and subsequently continued making Tempus shells for Paul for about a year. I recently bought a set of Milestone shells and they are structurally and sonically identical to the early Tempus.

What makes these drums so good is that you can barely flick the head with a brush and you get a rich full-throated tone, little diminished from striking it hard with a stick despite being so much quieter. I went looking for drums that would sound great with sticks, rods or brushes and Tempus/Milestone exceeded what I thought was possible.

Here's my 5.5 x 13 carbon fiber shell from Paul that I built into a snare.

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healthie1

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How’s that project going Seaquimite? An 8” tom is a nice score! I’ve thought about reaching out again for a shallow 14”. I have a bunch of sparkles but I don’t have a yellow blue or green.

here’s my 12” in orange sparkle with my WMPs and my 14” pearl fiberglass floor tom - this sucker cracks. I hadn’t played it much before today. If I didn’t have this set I’d be keeping my eyes out for a similarly sized Tempus. Paul’s personal kit is sweet;I believed it’s a 10/14/16/20” bass with a 14x8 snare in pink sparkle.
 

healthie1

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Oops
 

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BennyK

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My 20"bass drum is an older Milestone . Every bit as good as the legendary Rogers 20 , maybe a bit more .
 

Houndog

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I bought a set of bare shells , 8/10/14/20
I bought some Tempus lugs from Monolith and they were self tappers . Are you guys kits built with self tapping screws ??
I wasn’t very impressed with that , seems like the cheap way out .
The drums sound didn’t impress me much ,
I unloaded them …..

I don’t know how anyone thinks they are lightweight drums , mine were just as heavy any other drums …..
 

drumphils

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12,14,18,22 w/matching for me.
THIS is the year I’ll take the 18” in and have it cut down to bass drum size.
The 14x10 works beautifully as a hanging floor. Don’t actually care for hanging but if it’s off a double duty stand with a cymbal, I’ll get over that.

Phil
 

dtk

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Tempus was my intro to FG drums. I had a few snares (including my spin on the 2 for 1 Slingerland). I had the carmen kit (a Dunnett idea Paul used, shallow shells) and a kit i had with orphans.

Today...I have a Fibes FG kit (I'm working on), a kit with two of Lane's shells and a stingray...and I have Impact snare and 10/12/14 Concert toms. I also have a Tempus 10x10 I working on.
 

mgdrummer

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They're great sounding drums, if you find some that are built well definitely grab them. I had a huge shell bank of red glitter drums (the double bass kit on the Tempus FB page was mine, mounted up on a Falicon cage). Paul was always a gentleman to me, but unfortunately he had a tendency to screw things up here and there. Stuff that, for the price point they sold for, shouldn't have been an issue. The first snare I got from him had some defects in the clear part of the gel coat finish and he sent it out to me anyway. He sent another snare I ordered to a previous address after I gave him an updated address. The last batch of drums I ordered from him when he was closing down shop, he drilled the 18" floor tom for bass drum spurs. So frustrating...

The other thing I didn't care for at the end of the day is that the heads essentially keep the shells in round. If you pop the head off, you can squeeze the shell into an oval. This was problematic in transport as sometimes my drums would shift around and a good bump I felt would knock a drum out of tune. I much prefer the solid construction of the Jenkins Martin FG shells in this respect, in fact, I hardly ever have to touch the tuning on my J/M snare whereas I had to constantly retune my Tempus drums before every gig.
 

healthie1

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They're great sounding drums, if you find some that are built well definitely grab them. I had a huge shell bank of red glitter drums (the double bass kit on the Tempus FB page was mine, mounted up on a Falicon cage). Paul was always a gentleman to me, but unfortunately he had a tendency to screw things up here and there. Stuff that, for the price point they sold for, shouldn't have been an issue. The first snare I got from him had some defects in the clear part of the gel coat finish and he sent it out to me anyway. He sent another snare I ordered to a previous address after I gave him an updated address. The last batch of drums I ordered from him when he was closing down shop, he drilled the 18" floor tom for bass drum spurs. So frustrating...

The other thing I didn't care for at the end of the day is that the heads essentially keep the shells in round. If you pop the head off, you can squeeze the shell into an oval. This was problematic in transport as sometimes my drums would shift around and a good bump I felt would knock a drum out of tune. I much prefer the solid construction of the Jenkins Martin FG shells in this respect, in fact, I hardly ever have to touch the tuning on my J/M snare whereas I had to constantly retune my Tempus drums before every gig.

that’s interesting MG. Do you mind sharing what you paid for the set? I don’t know what thedrums were to order, but I’ve always been surprised how reasonably priced they are on the used market.

kind of speaks to how much you like the drums to continue ordering, despite some mistakes.
 

mgdrummer

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that’s interesting MG. Do you mind sharing what you paid for the set? I don’t know what thedrums were to order, but I’ve always been surprised how reasonably priced they are on the used market.

kind of speaks to how much you like the drums to continue ordering, despite some mistakes.

I don't recall the final price of the set, it wasn't cheap as it started out as a double bass kit w/four toms. 8" tom added a little later (he had to remake that shell as he got the ratio of red glitter/solid red background wrong the first time around), then had the 10x12 tom replaced w/an 8x12. The last batch of drums were to be a 9x13, 16x18 floor tom (the one he ruined by drilling it for bass drum spurs so I never got it), 16x20 and 16x24 kicks. Those last four pieces were north of $2000. Snares were in the $500+ range and I'd had 4-5 of those built.
 

jmpd_utoronto

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They're great sounding drums, if you find some that are built well definitely grab them. I had a huge shell bank of red glitter drums (the double bass kit on the Tempus FB page was mine, mounted up on a Falicon cage). Paul was always a gentleman to me, but unfortunately he had a tendency to screw things up here and there. Stuff that, for the price point they sold for, shouldn't have been an issue. The first snare I got from him had some defects in the clear part of the gel coat finish and he sent it out to me anyway. He sent another snare I ordered to a previous address after I gave him an updated address. The last batch of drums I ordered from him when he was closing down shop, he drilled the 18" floor tom for bass drum spurs. So frustrating...

The other thing I didn't care for at the end of the day is that the heads essentially keep the shells in round. If you pop the head off, you can squeeze the shell into an oval. This was problematic in transport as sometimes my drums would shift around and a good bump I felt would knock a drum out of tune. I much prefer the solid construction of the Jenkins Martin FG shells in this respect, in fact, I hardly ever have to touch the tuning on my J/M snare whereas I had to constantly retune my Tempus drums before every gig.
Funny to hear these stories. I've had a similar experience. Paul is a very nice dude and a fun guy to chat with (he was gracious enough to show me his space one time when I was in Vancouver about a decade ago, and then we had lunch together I think), and helped me out when one of my Tempus drums got stolen, but he has dropped the ball with other things. I've owned three Tempus kits two from new, one that I bought used - and a few snare drums, and a couple of extra random kicks. The first full kit I ever bought was fantastic and made exactly right to my specifications. I used it both as a drumkit and for multiple percussion setups in school - ended up selling it eventually because I realized that I preferred shallower rack toms when using it as a kit (a novice mistake when I ordered as it was the first kit I ever got to choose specs on). The second new kit I got as he was "retiring"/going out of business, because I'd always wanted a little 20/12/15 Tempus kit. Unfortunately there were a bunch of mistakes made and the kit showed up the better part of a year later than it was supposed to. When I asked Paul about it at NAMM his response was to sort of laugh it off and say "well, I got a lot of orders, hard to keep track sometimes." Unfortunately that soured me on the kit, and I ended up selling it in basically new condition for waaaaaaay less than I paid for it. To be clear, I don't think that he was trying to swindle me (or anyone else) - it's just too bad that his lack of detail/quality control near the end changed my experience (which up til then had been really positive).

I still have the the used kit I got, it's currently on long-term loan to a good friend. I borrow it back occasionally when I have gigs outside in the cold weather. The kick is my favourite part - it sounds massive for a 14x22. To me it has the spirit of a real rock kit - has a really direct, powerful sound, with the toms maybe a bit on the brighter side (or maybe I still just haven't quite figured out heads/tuning). Still have a 4x14" snare as well, and a 7x14" snare that I made into a concert drum (with cable snares). Both fantastic sounding. Would also love to try some J-M stuff in person one day.
 

dale w miller

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It appears my experience with Paul is quite similar to many others. I heard many great things about his drums on a couple of forums so it peaked my interest. I ended purchasing one of his orphan 8X14 shells for a very reasonable price and had GMS make the drum using their Grand Master lugs.

Like others the shell he gave me wasn’t perfect. In my case it has a slight chip in the blue sparkle finish at the bottom of the shell. As Tony from GMS suggested I could have had it cut down, but as you can see from my collection at the time why I just wanted a different size/sounding drum so I told him just to build it as 8X14 anyway.

It’s not that it’s not a great sounding drum, it is. In fact, I tend to use it second among all of my snares as its size creates so much more of a different sound than the rest of my collection especially when I attach my Rim Shock to it, but I wouldn’t call it my second favorite.

In terms of fiberglass drums themselves, I actually like my Jenkins-Martin Blaemire 6.5X14 I now own more, but its sound is too close to my go-to 6.5X14 GMS maple snare which trumps every drum I own. Ultimately, even if Paul still made drums, I would probably have Jenkins-Martin make me a kit over Paul making me a Tempus if I wanted fiberglass.

In the end, because he’s an extremely nice guy and the fact it was an orphan shell I let everything slide. I can see why others might have serious issues though if they paid full price for their kit.

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dtk

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That actually reminds me...when I was on drumsmith.com .... Paul would offer orphan shells w/o hardware...drilling extra I think. It was a great way to get FG on the cheap...and he ended the practice after a few years which makes sense...since you could have a tempus that looked like a Pearl or Ludwig or Premier...sort of cheapens the brand.

I totally forgot (maybe on purpose)...during the Covid shut downs I drove to the Bronx where I bought a kit w/uninstalled lugs from a guy (NOS)...I brought it home and even with a bit for my drill couldn't get the lug screws in....I resold it...and got a complaint from the guy who got it that he couldn't make the lugs work either... somehow that seemed an appropriate last dance with those shells...
 

kallen49

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if you are in Ontario or willing to ship in Canada there are usually Milestones for sale on kijiji.ca.
currently,
A guy in north Toronto has five shells he’s been trying to sell all year, asking $550 CAN now, for a 16x16 floor, 8x8, 10x10, 12x10 13x10 toms,
A kit 6 piece kit asking $1200 CAN. see link.
This year saw a couple of full kits asking $1000 CAN, they sold quickly.

I sold my Milestones which was dumb as they sounded great and are the best drums for being impervious to Canadian weather.
I’ve never been a collector, played the kits I own and never own more than 2 kits.

He got a lot of bad reviews in the past for quality control but I’d say Paul Mason is a very good person. Did he not also run a group home while building drums which may have stretched him thin?

He did build some great Canadian drums. I loved that “made in Canada” was molded into the inside of tom lugs in my ‘80’s kit.
 

spaeth

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I got my orange sparkle carbon fiber kit from A.TomicMorganic on here. I guess he bought the shells from someone and then bought the center mount arch and tube lugs and then had Paul drill the shells and install the lugs. I love the look and sound of these. I don’t know about the weight of the fiber glass drums but the carbon fiber ones are very light and thin. My JM kit is spun fiberglass and the shells are substantially heavier.

I am pretty happy with the build quality on the Tempus but one of the toms definitely has a milky quality to the finish that makes it not quite match the other drums. The interiors are not super well finished either. I can see where if these showed up new after paying a hefty price, I could be pretty bummed. The JM drums are on the other end of that scale as well. They meticulously finished inside and out.

The snare I bought with these had different lugs and a kind of not great feeling Ludwig throw. After realizing how much I love the 13x6.5 snare I installed an INDe throw and have ordered the matching arch and tube lugs for it. Probably more money than I should spend on this snare but will make me very happy when completed.

These are special drums. As someone mentioned above they seem to maintain a similar tone when played loud or softly. I was able to pretty much set heads on them and they sound good. My Ayotte’s I sold were great drums but they could be very finicky to tune.
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