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2010 Instrument Trends: Bright Is In

NAMM's Hot Trends: Bright Is In

What were the trends of this NAMM show? It's always hard to say whether unique innovations are a trend or an isolated instance but we saw at least three at the recent NAMM show, including:

Wild is out. Mild is in.

For a number of years, radical snare drum designs defined the direction for the industry. Orange County Drums, in particular, treated the NAMM show like a Paris runway, rolling out ever more radical drums with eye-catching paint jobs, cutouts, odd wraps and materials, and risky themes. When they built a golf cart drum set, and a bong snare drum, we figured the outrageousness event horizon had been reached. While a select group of ompanies such as C&C, SJC and Truth push artistic boundaries for their endorsers, we saw fewer shocking drum set designs on the floor this year. Maybe it's the economy.

Sabian Vault director Mark Love demos new pies.

Bright is in.Sabian led the way with bright versions of its Paragon line and XS20 models. Paiste chipped in with Alpha brights, and other manufactuerers were following the trend, too. This is more than a cosmetic fad as well, as the brilliant coating and polishing imparts subtle tonal differences which we'll explore in future reviews. Also very bright and shiney were the highly polished and unique rotocast cymbals from UFIP. The Italian manufacturer has been away from NAMM for most of the decade just past, but they are looking to expand North American distribution.

Pearl's new E-Pro Live

All drum will be electronic! Electronic drums: This is not a new trend-electronic drums have sold on a par with acoustics for several years. What is new is the sheer volume of products, incorporating many different styles and technical approaches to solving the challenges of electronic drums. Pearl's E-Pro Live aims to look, feel, and sound like acoustic drums. Alesis' new DM10 studio model and USB models fill holes in their product line and, like Roland's new offerings, improve the look of traditional electronic drums. Yamaha and Roland introduced new or updated pad offerings, while Korg got people talking with its reborn and revitalized wave drum. And, other entrants, including Sweden's 2Box Drumit Five, all of which make the electronic market the center of the action for 2010 drum buyers.

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