Thursday, 16 February 2023

Talking Drums

WARNING: More drum talk is about to happen. I have taken some pictures of the current three Memetune vintage kits, and here is a comprehensive fact-file for your perusal

The First 'proper' drum kit I bought was in 1984 when I realised that the A-levels I was doing at 6th form only counted for a certain fraction of my week and there was a loophole that I could exploit allowing me to also sign on to the dole. So I saved up the money and bought the best drum kit I could find! This kit was in the window of a pop-up music shop in Kings Cross, London, and was discounted by half-price (I have a sneaking suspision that everything in that shop was 'moody', meaning it was probably nicked from some wharehouse or other). No matter! I knew a good deal when I saw it, and also a good drum tone when I heard it, so I bought the (at the time) 5-piece Gretsch maple finish you see here

A few years later I was in Oxford, England, perusing a small studenty music shop that sold violins and other instruments to posh kids with silly hats. Up there on a shelf at the back were two Gretsch toms (an 8 & 10 inch pair) which matched the precise model of the rest of my drums, and the present kit was perfected. I used it for the next 25 years, and was often complimented on its sound

As it turns out, this kit was only produced for less than a year, having the notorious "stop-sign-dropped-G" badge, a strange anomoly in the Gretch drum world, making them quite easy to date. For that reason I know that these drums were made between February and November 1981, give or take a month or two

In 2008 I went ahead and bought my second drum kit. This time I went vintage, but it turns out it's from the exact same era as the Gretsch. I got a Sonor Phonic Rosewood kit which was made between 1981 and 1983. Its a 9-ply birch shell with 45 degree bearing edges, finished inside and out with real (and very precious) rosewood. It sounds different to the Gretsch, more "woody" and rich, but not quite as sweet perhaps. It's a thing of beauty, and very of its time (designed in the late 70s)

And now its 2023 and, as I posted previously, I just got a Yamaha 9000 kit. And guess when it was made? Yep, 1982. I didn't do this on purpose, but after much research into the Yamaha kits, I decided that this era was the very best they made for the reasons I detailed before - the thin birch shells, the rounded bearing edges, the lacquer finish and the beautiful attention to detail that Yamaha paid during that brief period, when they were ruling the drum-world with their new-found position as pro-drummers choice

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