Roger Kowalewski got the custom drum itch in high school, when he decided the best way to get exactly what he wanted was to start building his own. He got his feet wet with snares, and then graduated into designing and building complete kits. Battlefield Drum Company — the name was inspired by a song and a bible verse — was born in 2004.
Before launching Artisan Drumworks, Curt Sines spent many years playing professionally, including two decades as a career drummer in the Navy.
We decided to take all of our articles and interviews, and especially, photos, and put them together for one week to honor the custom drum builders. We salute the visionaries, the perfectionists, and the deeply obsessed, all of whom make the world of drumming so much more, uhm, individual.
To see a set of Ellis drums you may need to hop on a plane, because they’re only available in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Brian Spaun’s career as a drum builder started out the way so many others have, as a natural consequence of his frustration with what was available coupled with an insatiable curiosity that had him tearing apart his drums since he was a teenager, trying to see exactly how they worked so he could one day do it better.
A seasoned veteran of the custom drum industry, Bill Detamore learned the art of constructing drums as a curious teenager by cracking open old drums to see how they worked. He sold his first homemade drum at 17, the money from which he used to buy two more kits. A few years later in 1987, Pork Pie Percussion was born.
Canopus is Japan's premier maker of custom drums. In this story, we explain the company's history and drum-building techniques.
After running Medicine Man Custom Drums for more than ten years, it’s clear that Dana Cheney’s risky venture into the custom drum building business was a smart idea. A drummer since 1973, Cheney began his education in the craft of drum building while helping a friend repair and restore a drum set. Cheney and his friend both realized his natural aptitude for restoring drums, so he began learning all he could about building them. "I did a lot of research, reading everything I could,” he says. “I used information online on how to build and refurbish drums.”
A classic rock drummer for twenty-five years, Paul Dickinson has combined his knowledge of playing, teaching, and working within the studio to create custom designed drums for almost any drummer. He first became interested in making drums when there were fewer custom builders and he wanted a new kit for himself. It wasn’t that easy though. As Paul says, it took, “a lot of questions, experimenting, reading books, and just trial and error.” He also learned from the legendary Ray Ayotte. “I got a lot of direction and insight from Ray”, Paul says, “He is so passionate about drums.” As Paul’s skills developed, he saw that he was not only creative as a designer, but that his drums were also great sounding instruments. Thus, the Underground Drum Company, or UDRUM, was started fourteen years ago.