Drum Sets For 2016

It’s the best time of year again, when drummers pore over catalogs, websites, videos, and of course, magazines, to get a glimpse of what fresh new gear is on the way. Keeping track of all the developments in the world of percussion can be overwhelming, but don’t sweat it. We’ve got your back. We’ve scoured the globe for specs and scoops about all the latest goodies, and we’re kicking things off with a comprehensive look at new drum sets for 2016.

In short: cool trends kept their momentum in 2016, but we found a few surprises, too.

Old is still new, small is still hot, and these companies keep figuring out how to do stuff with paint that will blow your mind. We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get to it.

They're Back

Customer demand is a powerful thing. It brought Full House back to life, but it can be used for good, too. For example, it helped revive a bunch of classic kits in 2016. With relaunches and updates to bygone series of every era, the most prominent theme of this year’s new set summit was a reminder that history repeats itself in great ways.

Figure 1, One of the the biggest relaunches of the new year arrived wearing end-to-end hi-tension lugs. The return and redesign of the Yamaha Recording Custom line bred lots of buzz before and after NAMM, and with good reason. Reimagined with the help of Steve Gadd, the 2016 RCs have been updated with thinner bass drum shells, a heavier version of those luxuriously long lugs, and floating 20" bass drums. These 6-ply, 6mm North American birch tubs come equipped with 30-degree bearing edges, 1.6mm tripleflanged hoops, and Remo heads. The series includes drums in 8" to 24" sizes, new lacquer finishes, and shell packs starting at $4,920 (MSRP).

Figure 2, In other retro-return news, the team at Ludwig added the rebirthed Club Date line (now made in the U.S.) to the company’s already stacked 2016 showing. While the series is a rerelease, the shell is actually brand new to the Ludwig brand. The 7-ply shell sandwiches three poplar plies between two pairs of maple plies on the interior and exterior. That layup, combined with a full roundover bearing edge, produces a wide, mellow tone without sacrificing volume. Available in three vintagestyle configurations complete with gold Keystone badges and the beloved Imperial lug, the series is back in a big way. Snare drums and individual component drums are also on tap, and the CDs are offered in five classic finishes along with the outstanding Vintage Blue/ Silver Duco and Black/Gold Duco options. Three-piece shell packs start at $2,150 (MSRP).

To round out Ludwig’s 2016 blast-from-the-past launch, the American stalwarts reached way back into the archives, and brought the controversially lovable Tequila Sunrise finish back to life for the Vistalite series. The oft-elusive tricolor stunner is available in two shell packs: the Super Classic pack ($3,690 MSRP) with 13" x 9" and 16" x 16" toms, and a 22" x 14" bass drum; and the Pro Beat outfit ($4,920) consisting of a 13" x 9" rack tom, 16" x 16" and 18" x 16" floor toms, and a 24" x 14" bass drum. If you’re not ready for a full pour, the bigwigs at Ludwig also dropped a 14" x 6.5" snare drum ($409) so you can make a more modest splash.

Figure 3, Centennial shellspinners, Noble & Cooley welcomes the beloved Horizon Series back to the company catalog after a 20 year hiatus. Like the originals, the line features hybrid 7-ply maple shells with one additional interior mahogany ply. Most plies are aligned horizontally to improve clarity and depth throughout all sizes, and the patented Cool Mount system increases shell resonance. Custom orders are available now. $4,584 MSRP.

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