Great Gear Shines at 2013 Chicago Show

The 23rd annual Chicago Vintage and Custom Drum show is in the record books. The show, started and still run by Rob Cook of Rebeats, is the world's premier collectible drum event. This year we met vintage drum fanatics who came from as far as Japan and Finland for the show. In part 1 we present a gallery of drums from the event. Part 2 includes people and clinicians.

Steve Crabtree

The Chicago Show is not only a great place to see vintage drums. It's a hunting ground for the weird and wonderful Steve Crabtree of Beat Boogie made a voice drum. Blow to raise the pitch.


Just what you want to see at a show like this. A beautiful set of Ayotte drums, probably from the early '90s.

Tank drums

The Tank drum is made from, well, propane tanks. This one's been tuned like a slit drum.

Chicago Drum Exchange

Chicago Drum Exchange had a great booth with loads of vintage gear.

Detroit Drum Company

Detroit Custom Drum Company's Sam Ogin made this sweet marine pearl timbale.

{pagebreak} Detroit Custom Drum

Detroit Custom also raffled off this snare to raise money for fresh water projects in Cambodia. The badge is in the shape of the country.

Cold Mountain Drums

Cold Mountain Drums made its public debut at the show. They have a line of Italian veneers that we've never seen before. They look beautiful on this kit.

Daville Drumworks

DaVille Drumworks, in Louisville, Kentucky, makes high-quality stave drum shells and kits.


Eric Sooy of Dynamicx was quite proud of this little beauty. Rightly so.

Crescent Cymbals

This rough cymbal from Crescent caught my eye.

{pagebreak} Ludwig vintage

I don't know about you but I think it's time to own a set of vintage Ludwigs.

Gary Asher

Gary Asher says "Walk softly and carry a big stick. Literally." He owns a drum school and music store in Alabama. Collecting is his obsession.

Ancient Tree

Ancient Tree makes drums that are older than any vintage drums here. They use fallen cypress from Florida that can be up to 1500 years old. The drums sound incredibly good. Ed gives them clear finishes that really bring out the beauty of the wood.


This 1936 Slingerland kit in sea green pearl was striking. While I was shooting a guy walked by and said "I don't like green as a rule, but I'll make an exception." Note the bass drum size.

Vintage Slingerland

The cymbal on the Slingerland it is a little worn but we'll take it.

{pagebreak} Trick mounting system

Trick always makes first class accessories. This is their new free-floating mounting system carved from a single chunk of aluminum. It doesn't have a product name yet.

Bello Drums

Bello is a fiberglass drum company located in Greenville, Pennsylvania. The drums are light with a clear, glass tone.

Nate Brown's Nate Brown testing out the Bello fiberglass set.

Camco Drums

Classic '60s Camco set with 20" bass drum. I think I'm trippin'.

MBW Drums

MBW Drums makes these amazing distressed finishes. I wish we had more to show you. Oh yeah, they sounded pretty good, too.

Out Of The Drawer Drums

Out of the Drawer makes these interesting vaguely ashiko-style stave drums from scrap wood. They were an interesting new addition to the show.

{pagebreak} Out of the Drawer Drums

Because the show is not too large, there's plenty of time to meet people, make new drum friends, and find out about the drums.


Phil Dedman of Deddrums has a mission. To apply some fine art techniques to drum making. Looks like he's succeeding.

Boom Alley

Long winters must be the reason there are so many good drum builders in Minnesota. David Hanzel of Boom Alley makes great drums and has designed innovative composite lugs to enhance shell vibration.

Jenkins Martin Drums

I knew they'd have great looking fiberglass drums at Jenkins-Martin, who also make the Blaemire shells. Their process allows them to embed these great colors.

Bernie Stone Drums

Bernie Stone of Stone Custom looks pretty happy. Someone had just placed a big order for his custom shells.

{pagebreak} Baltimore Drums

Keith Larsen of Baltimore Drum Company is one of the most respected longtime custom drum builders. Easy to see why.

Nick Kapka

Nick Kapka is a Chicago fireman, gigging drummer, and a fixture at these shows. He's also a great friend of the magazine who owns all 207 issues produced so far. Thanks, Nick. Here he's testing a beautiful Carolina Drumworks snare..

Carolina Drumworks

Here's another Carolina Drumworks product. It's a beautiful deep figured maple snare.

Beatles Drum

Ringo played Ludwig on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. The rest, as they say, is history.

Ludwig tattoo

Best tatt of the show, hands down.