Alto Beat? Drumcraft? DJs? NP? CVL?
No, those aren’t stock symbols, rock bands, or monograms, they’re drum brands. But they’re not ones you’ll see in North America very often. These are just a few of the companies that we caught at the annual Frankfurt Musikmesse, Germany’s largest annual gathering of musical equipment dealers and distributors from across Europe.
Most of the usual firms were here. Tama and Pearl had cavernous exhibits, as did Premier, which is no longer widely distributed in the States. Fans were turning out to see demos of Pearl’s electronic kits. We were puzzled by the absence of Sonor, though, as the German maker usually has a big display. Apparently, they decided that they’d rather focus on their own dealer event, which takes place at the factory next month. According to Heinz Kroneberger, editor of Germany’s Drums & Percussion, the Frankfurt Show plays second fiddle to the annual NAMM show (in Anaheim in January) these days, and has become less important for international brands.
Be that as it may, there was plenty to see at the show, including...
The aisles at Musikmesse were wide open early Thursday morning when this picture was taken. Traffic was down from a year ago, but by Saturday, when consumers hit the show, this aisle becomes a thrashing mass of gear-crazed humanity
CVL is an Italian maker, whose drums have impressed us on previous visits. The way they apply lacquer to a shell is a thing of beauty. They also sell shells of various exotic woods to other makers. Note the cool Zebrawood snare.
Dixon Drums, distributed by KMC Music in the States, had an enormous booth. This Chinese company aims to be a worldwide brand in the future, but as a representative told us, it’s an expensive undertaking to build a brand. They’ve made a good start here.
Talk about calfskin. Dixon’s "Cow" design wins my unofficial "Bass DrumHead Art That Kicks Major Butt Award, thank you very much.
Another award, this time, for swinging-est sign. DJs Rockids setup.
Kevin Packard of Ludwig gave us the rundown on the Jim Riley autographed snare. Interestingly, at first, the plan was for a plain-Jane approach. But the Ludwig art staff played off of Jim’s Irish background to create the engraved motif. It’s a big drum that the Rascal Flatts skinsman now uses in all situations, replacing his wood snare drums.