Pedals, stands, racks, mounts, even badges - no metal was immune to upgrade fever this year. Wildly adjustable bass pedals? Still in vogue. Quick-release lugs? Even more choices. Wood drum rack? We’re not kidding - even that was able to find a home at this year’s NAMM show.
The DRUM! crew hit the 2009 NAMM trade show with a full complement of photographers, video gear and extra freelance writers designed to help us cover every single new product our readers might see in the coming year. At the end of it all, we had amassed specs and info on more than 450 products. Here's part I of our hardware report. Look for related stories on drum sets, hand drums, sticks, cymbals, accessories, electronics...well, you get the idea.
Known mostly for its synthetic sticks, Ahead has created a new detachable lug technology, which employs a quick-release mechanism that will cut your head-changing time to a fraction of what it was. The memory lock ensures rapid head reattachment without losing the tuning setting.
Left-handed players can look forward to Dixon’s, 911DB-L heavy-duty double bass pedal, which offers a dual-surface angle-adjustable beater, easy-access bass drum clamp, a double-chain cam-drive system, and a center U-joint housing with two adjustment points. Stabilizer platforms on the main and slave-side pedals feature built-in spurs ($349.99).
Pro Series I pedals now feature a re-imagined sleek, silver-and-black logo and color scheme in place of the fluorescent purple and black of the original Duallist pedals.
Brand new to the Duallist line is the Double Pro pedal, while aesthetic and structural upgrades were made to the single, single-double beater, and triple-pedal setups. All pedals are made of a durable DuPont composite material, are self-lubricating, and feature a sliding drum clamp and interchangeable belts, chains, and cams.
To further accentuate the company’s signature round lugs, you can add the 9000 series’ black nickel lugs and hoops. For lefties, DW brought out the 9002L left-handed double bass pedal. Speaking of twin kicks, big news about DW’s new bass drum hoop accessory clamp, which allows the hi-hat to be held in any position — like, say, between two bass drums — without spreading the stand’s legs.
DW 8000 series stands have widened to 1.25" tubing (1" is standard) and a sturdier tripod. The 8700 boom stand comes with a 0.75" boom and extra-heavy counterweight. The 8799 also has a “triple cymbal stand” featuring T-ball technology instead of the traditional L-arm for greater positioning. Throne adjustment is easier than ever across all models with a one-step clamp, which can accommodate a backrest. With its burlier footboard and meaty cam bracket, the 8000 series pedals are now downright bulletproof. Hi-hat storage has gotten easier in this series thanks to a drop-clutch that comes apart so you can leave the bottom cymbals attached.
Talk about a makeover, the 6000 series stands’ “radius rods” (mini-handles for quick assembly and disassembly), spring tension adjustability, flat stands with memory lock, and braces that fully retract almost make loading up the tour van a pleasure.
Designed for heel-up players, the 5000 ADH is a svelte, heel-less bass drum pedal with shorter footplate and more aerodynamic profile. And for drummers who love whacking tiny popcorn snares, the 5303 snare basket accepts drums as small as 8".
No more lugging that clunky end table around to gigs, or propping your computer precariously in your lap while you bust out your electronically augmented jams. Gibraltar’s new GEMS (Electronic Mounting Stand), GEMAC (Electronic Mounting Arm Clamp), and GEMAT (Electronic Mounting Accessory Table) offer a plethora of electronics-mounting or accessory table positioning options to hold everything from sticks to a laptop to your car keys.
The new NRG throne has a contoured foam seat, Super-lock cast seat tension system, memory lock height adjustment, and double-braced tripod base to give your backside a comfy, sturdy place to rest while you go to work.
Now you can make quick, extra-fine adjustments to that auxiliary hi-hat while ensuring is doesn’t get away from you at the crucial moment with Gibraltar’s new 9707XB X-hat with gearless brake adjustment. It’s a closed-hat system, but you can set and reset the cymbal tension all day long with a quick twist of a wing nut.
The Intruder series pedals now have a top-adjustable hoop clamp, so no more breaking your back and skinning knuckles to attach the pedal to the bass drum hoop.
It wasn’t just the Harlequin finish on Gretsch’s USA Custom that caught the eye of passersby in its prime corner location on the NAMM floor. It was also the unique custom-built wood rack in matching Rosewood Gloss Harlequin that had no trouble holding up a variety of heavy-duty cymbal and tom arms. An interesting alternative to the standard metal racks, and crafted in the same diameter so interchangeability of hardware is no problem.
Gretsch shows it’s not averse to tweaking a time-tested formula. From now on, the new DropG badge will replace the long-issued square badge on all new Gretsch drums, though if you’re the nostalgic type, you can still get the old square badge if you ask nicely.
Ludwig celebrates its 100th birthday with a new Keystone Classic lug and tom bracket, making us wonder if there’s a secret Freemason connection in Ludwig’s past — either that or the keystone shape just looks really cool.
The 100th anniversary badge is limited to production this year only, and will appear only on certain kits, like the first 100 Liverpool 4 kits Ludwig makes, for instance.
The vintage-style banana-bar tom mount on the Epic X Over series kit may evoke visions of the Swing Era, but the hardware’s practical applications and cool profile have clearly stood the test of time.
Mapex redesigned the ITS Mounts to keep the bulk of the mount off the shell, allowing it to resonate more freely — always a good thing for toms. Mapex says the new mounts are lighter, more streamlined, and more maneuverable. More of everything!
MRP has created a reinforced rack system plated with black chrome, which will virtually disappear into your setup, unlike shinier alternatives. Its stable footing will accommodate floor tom sizes and even larger-diameter drums like a charm. $899. A smaller version for 4- or 5-piece kit setups is $499.