2015 Drummies! Gear Award Winners

Introducing The 2015 Gear And Media Awards

The Best In Drums, Cymbals, And More

For the past 20 years, readers of DRUM! Magazine have pored over the annual Drummies! ballot to cast votes in the percussion industry’s definitive gear and media awards poll. Each individual ballot added another important voice to the vast pool of worldwide participants who collectively chose the following winners. For the record, this year the number of voters reached new heights, with more than 10,000 votes cast. That represents a whole lot of drummers who are passionate about their art and the tools they use to make it. To those of you who cast a vote, we thank you for taking the time and sharing your opinion. To those who didn’t — well, there’s always next year. But until then, we invite you to check out what the drumming community selected for top honors among the latest crop of innovations and ideas in the 2015 Drummies! Gear and Media Awards.

Drum Set

  • WINNER DW Collector’s Series Timeless Timber Romanian River Oak
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Pearl Wood/Fiberglass Ltd. Series
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Gretsch Renown Birch
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Tama Superstar Classic

When DW’s official “woodologist” John Good comes across a notable log, drummers take notice. So after eliciting a chorus of gasps in response to Neil Peart’s new DW kit fashioned from bog oak that had been living underwater for 1,500 years in low oxygen conditions, Good wisely chose to keep building shells. Flaunt it, baby.

Snare Drum

  • WINNER WINNER Pearl Chad Smith Tricolor
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Ludwig Copper-Phonic
  • 2ND RUNNER UP DW Icon Series Neil Peart R40
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Craviotto Solitaire

It once seemed impossible to improve upon Pearl’s classic free-floating shell technology — and then Chili Pepper Chad Smith stepped into the picture with his new signature snare drum. Voila! Smith designed his new free floater from three interchangeable rings — two brass and one copper — and it’s a new ballgame.

Custom Drum Company

  • WINNER WINNER SJC Custom Drums
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Q Drum Company
  • 2ND RUNNER UP 1710 Percussion
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Allegra Drums

Honestly, SJC wasn’t having the greatest year when the company appeared on the reality show The Profit, admitting to viewers that it was near the end of its financial rope. But that didn’t prevent DRUM! readers from once again showing support for the custom drum company, which now seems to have a new lease on life.

Ride Cymbal

  • WINNER WINNER Zildjian 21" K Custom Organic Ride
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Sabian 22" Big & Ugly AA Apollo Ride
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Paiste 22" Formula 602 Medium Ride
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Paiste 22" Rude Power Ride

Zildjian enlisted input from world-renowned educator Pat Petrillo for the design of the K Custom Organic Ride, which combines some pretty unusual elements, like a wire-brushed top finish with a polished underside dotted by an array of heavy hammer marks. The result? A raw sound with crisp articulation.

Crash Cymbal

  • WINNER WINNER Meinl 18" Byzance Extra Dry Dual Crash
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Istanbul Mehmet 18" Tony Williams Tribute Crash
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Paiste 18" PSTX Swiss Thin Crash
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Paiste 16" PSTX Swiss Thin Crash

Crash/Ride Cymbal

  • WINNER WINNER Meinl 20" Byzance Extra Dry Dual Crash-Ride
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Meinl 22" Byzance Extra Dry Dual Crash-Ride
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Soultone 21" Heavy Hammered Prototype Crash-Ride
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Amedia Supernova Ride

This year Meinl captured the imagination of Drummies! voters with two new dual-surface cymbals that both pack an even greater array of sonic colors into a single slab of bronze. Want to ride? Tap your tip on the raw inner ring. Looking for a crash? Lay your shoulder into the edge — and stand back.



  • WINNER WINNER Paiste 14" PSTX Swiss Hats
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Meinl 15" Byzance Extra Dry Dual Hi-Hats
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Meinl 14" Byzance Jazz Tradition Hi-Hats
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Sabian 14" B8X Rock Hats.

Splash Cymbal

  • WINNER WINNER Paiste 10" PSTX Swiss Splash
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Sabian 10" B8X Splash
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Sabian 8" B8X Splash
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Sabian 12" B8X Splash

Paiste may not be the first company to punch holes in bronze, that sing with a sweet and pure tonality. But with a unique alloy of 2002 bronze, brass, and aluminum, the company’s new PSTX line offers a singularly noisy and trashy alternative that contrasts sharply with its reputation for cymbals.

China & Effects Cymbals

  • WINNER WINNER Zildjian 10" fx oriental China Trash
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Zildjian 12" fx Spiral Stackers
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Meinl 14" HCS Trash Stack
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Sabian 18" B8X Chinese

This year our readers had a taste for fast, sharp, and high-pitched percussive bursts when they picked Zildjian’s 10" oriental China Trash to take the top spot in this category. Makes sense, though, since the cymbal neatly combines China and effects applications into a single explosive detonation..

Stands & Thrones

  • WINNER WINNER Tama Star Hardware
  • 1ST RUNNER UP DW 6000 Series Ultralight
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Gibraltar 6000 Series E-Kit Hardware Stand Pack
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Gibraltar 6076 E Module Stand

Even though the Star hardware line comprises no more than the basic package of stands (at least so far), Tama used the launch to refine hardware engineering to a new standard. Our readers responded by showing how much they love the line’s combination of adjustability and stability.

Cymbal Sets

  • WINNER WINNER Istanbul Mehmet Tony Williams Tribute Set
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Sabian B8X Effects Pack
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Sabian B8X Performance Set
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Sabian B8X Complete Set

It’s hard to remember another instance in which a company went to such extremes to reproduce a sound. But when Istanbul Mehmet decided to duplicate the cymbals played by the late Tony Williams with the Miles Davis Quintet, the Turkish cymbal smith cut no corners to achieve unparalleled authenticity.


  • WINNER WINNER DW 9000 Series XF Hi-Hat Pedal
  • 1ST RUNNER UP DW Concept Series Direct Drive Pedal
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Gibraltar Second Generation Adjustable Chain Drive Cajon Pedal
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Axis Laser Hi-Hat_

The concept of extended bass drum footboards achieved a new level of legitimacy when DW introduced its 9000 Series XF pedal in 2014 to ecstatic acclaim. So it made perfect sense for the company to apply the same design to its 9000 Series hi-hat pedal, which takes the big prize this year.

Hardware Accessories

  • 1ST RUNNER UP Gibraltar 14" Vintage Brass20-Strand Snare Wires
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Gibraltar Road Series Hardware Stealth E-Rack With Black Clamps

In this age of YouTube play-alongs and shameless Facebook selfies, do we really need to explain the extreme coolness of this practical little contraption? It’s just another step on the ladder of Internet infamy.

Pads & Triggers

  • WINNER WINNER Roland RT-30HR Dual Drum Trigger
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Roland RT-30H Drum Trigger
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Roland RT-30K Bass Drum Trigger
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Alesis Sample Pad Pro

Welcome to the world of hybrid kits, folks. Our readers voted thumbs-up for these new streamlined triggers that mount quickly and easily to all hoops (including S hoops) and come in bass drum, single-trigger, and dual-trigger models (for independent head and hoop triggering). No compromises.

Assorted Electronics

  • WINNER WINNER Roland RH-300V V-Drums Headphones
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Sabian PDMR Personal Drum Mixer
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Alesis SampleRack
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Finhol Cajokick

Drummers buy e-kits for a bunch of reasons, but most use them as the ultimate home practice kit, available to be played any time of day without bugging the neighbors. Roland recognized that you need great headphones to hear those great sounds, and our readers responded with a rousing win.

Electronic & Hybrid Kits

  • WINNER WINNER Roland TD-25KV V-Drums
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Yamaha DTX502 Hybrid Set
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Pearl E-Pro Powered By Export
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Tama Cocktail-Jam Hybrid Set

Maybe it was the new TD-25 sound module, or Super NATURAL behavior modeling, or position a sensing on the snare pad, or the wealth of built-in practice tools that won the new TD-25KV the top that the whole package is offered at a mid-level price that turned heads.

Sticks & Brushes

  • WINNER WINNER Vic Firth American Classic 5ABarrel Tip
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Vic Firth American Classic5B Barrel Tip
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Vic Firth Split Brush
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Vater Nude Series 3A

You can only reinvent the drumstick so much before drummers lose interest. But our readers liked what they saw when Vic Firth decided to offer its 5A and 5B models with new barrel tips, for a more focused cymbal sound than you would get from traditional teardrop-shaped tips.

Artist Sticks & Brushes

  • WINNER WINNER Vic Firth Steve Smith Tala Wand Slats
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Promark Anton Fig Signature
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Vater Tim Alexander Model
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Promark Will Kennedy Signature

A whole new universe of softer gigs opened up for heavy-handed drummers when dowel-rod bundle sticks hit the market. So by increasing volume by a smidgeon, the PVC-wrapped bamboo slats on this year’s winning artist model split the difference just enough to win this year’s artist model category.


  • WINNER WINNER Remo Powerstroke 3 With Black Dot Bass Drumhead
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Remo Powerstroke 77 Snare Head
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Evans 16" EMAD Bass Batter Head
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Evans 16" G1 Coated Bass Batter Head_

The focused sound of Remo’s Controlled Sound black dot tech has been around forever. _e same goes for the company’s Powerstroke 3 batter with its thin underlay for subtle tone control. _en master drummer Steve Smith wondered what would happen when you marry the two styles. Well, you win this year’s Drummie! Award, among other things.


  • WINNER WINNER Vic Firth Universal Practice Tips
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Drumlite
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Low Boy Custom Beaters
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Vic Firth Vickey2 High Tension Drum Key

Some ideas are so simple they’re brilliant. So the fact that you can just use your eyes to understand how Vic Firth’s Universal Practice Tips let you run rudiments on virtually any surface at a soft volume was enough to win this year’s big prize.


  • WINNER WINNER LP Black Box Cajon
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Meinl Artisan Edition Cajon
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Meinl Woodcraft Cajon Bubinga Burl
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Pearl Mach 3 Cajon

Has anyone noticed there are about a zillion cajon models on the market, each featuring a staggering number of options? _is year LP decided to cut through the noise with the most no-nonsense cajon around. It still offers the basic bells and whistles, but delivers them at a really affordable price.

Tambourines & Shakers

  • WINNER WINNER Pearl Primero Rock Tambourine
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Meinl Backbeat Tambourine
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Meinl Cajon Foot Tambourine
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Grover Pro Percussion Studio-Pro Headless Tambourine_

The perfect complement to any drummer’s rig, Pearl’s new Primero Rock tambourine is sturdy enough to take direct stick hits when mounted on a stand, and its ergonomic grip fits comfortably in your hand whenever you want to shake that thing.

Hand Drums & Percussion

  • WINNER WINNER Remo Drum Table – Tunable
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Craviotto Wood Timbales
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Grover Pro Percussion BlocKnock
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Meinl 10" African Style Djembe – Traditional Style Hewn

It sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Kick back with friends and family around the drum table to spin out rhythms while developing new communication skills and ways to collaborate. No wonder it took the top spot this year.


  • WINNER WINNER Drummer Wanted: A Reference Guide To Prepare Drummers For Real-World Gigs by Daniel Mullowney
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Rhythmic Composition: Featuring The Music Of Porcupine Tree by Gavin Harrison
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Sixty-Second Solos For Snare Drum, Timpani, and Mallet Instruments by Sean J. Kennedy
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Linear Drum Fills: A Method For Developing Musical Linear-Style Drum Fills by Blake Paulson

Want to learn the rudiments, ambidexterity, double bass chops, and other skills? You’ll find a library packed with method books out there to help sharpen your skills. But apparently our readers really want to know how to get gigs and be competitive, judging by this year’s winning entry.


  • WINNER WINNER Secret Weapons For The Modern Drummer Pt. 2 – Foot Technique by Jojo Mayer
  • 1ST RUNNER UP From Ragtime To Rock: An Introduction To 100 Years Of American Popular Music by Daniel Glass
  • 2ND RUNNER UP The Brush Revolution: How To Evolve Your Language To Musicianship by Florian Alexandru-Zorn
  • 3RD RUNNER UP The Gladstone Technique by Morris Arnie Lang

Drummers waited years for the follow-up to Jojo Mayer’s groundbreaking debut DVD, which concentrated on his advanced stick techniques. So it’s no surprise that his legion of fans eagerly gobbled up his foot techniques in part two, and then voted overwhelmingly in this year’s poll.


  • WINNER WINNER Dwdrums.com
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Pearldrum.com
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Zildjian.com
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Vicfirth.com

Is it the quality of the site or popularity of the brand that inspires drummers to vote in this category? Most likely, it’s a potent combination of the two that tagged dwdrums.com as this year’s favorite manufacturer destination.


General Drumming Websites

  • WINNER WINNER Drummerworld.com
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Drummersresource.com
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Drumchannel.com
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Onlinedrummer.com

Bucking most online trends, drummerworld.com has barely changed its look or approach since its inception, and yet remains one of the most active websites for drummers on the Internet. We’ve lost count of how many times it has taken the top honor in this category.

Educational Drumming Websites

  • WINNER WINNER Drumeo.com
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Drumchannel.com
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Vicfirth.com
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Mikeslessons.com

A tireless work ethic, talent for promotion, and ever-expanding library of exhaustive online drum lessons won drumeo.com this year’s spot in the educational website category. There’s no indication these guys will slow down any time soon.

Drum App

  • WINNER WINNER Groove Freedom
  • 1ST RUNNER UP Vic Firth
  • 2ND RUNNER UP Drum Guru
  • 3RD RUNNER UP Polynome

The Mike Johnston brand continues to expand its reach with this detailed app designed as a follow-up to the online educator’s recent method book of the same name. It appears Johnston simply can do no wrong.