Summer Namm Report: Drums

Summer Namm Report: Drums

By Radim McCue Published July 21, 2009

The Summer NAMM Show was a bust, at least in terms of attendance. Between the recession and the hulking absence of several big name exhibitors such as Fender, Peavey, Roland and others, the show was smaller than usual, both in number of exhibiting companies and attending dealers.

But that didn't mean it was all bad. DRUM! saw some interesting products on the floor from Alesis, Mapex, Ludwig, Tama and more.

In terms of drums, Yamaha was showing off several new colors in their Rogers Prospector line. We especially liked the red version here. Pound for pound, the Rogers line keeps improving under the watchful eye of Dave Jewell at Yamaha US. They also introduced a maple Tour Custom.

Rogers Prospector (above); Tour Custom (below).

Ludwig had several hot kits on display, none better than this Element. It features shells constructed of cherry and gum woods, an innovation credited to Kevin Packard. It's an interesting combination that makes for tubs with a solid thunky fundamental and pleasing overtones. They also showed the segment-design Epic X-Over Striped Series, featuring a Walnut/Maple/Walnut Inner and Outer shell with a Poplar Core, and 3-ply Birch Reinforcement Rings.

Ludwig's cherry-gum design.

Mapex had a booth filled with excellent examples of their recent drum sets, plus some concert drums. They displayed Meridian Maple and Meridian Ash kits (not pictured) as well

Tama showed off their latest Starclassic models B/B, built for Mike Portnoy, as well as the new Starphonic snare drums endorsed by Dean Butterworth (Good Charlotte), Bob Buccarelli (Hawthorne Heights) and Keith Harris (Black-Eyed Peas), among others. There are several key concepts behind the Starphonic design, which aims for a sharp, focused snare sound that is still open enough to make it flexible for different styles. Special features include a nifty freedom lug and claw hook that enables you to quickly remove the head without having to take the tension rods all the way out of the lugs. A new bearing-edge design, in which the edge sits 2.5mm from the outside edge of the head, helps achieve the sound design, according to Tama. A detachable butt plate lets you change the snare side head, but maintain tension on the snares. And, a new hi-carbon snare wire design lets the snares sit closer to the head for a focused sound.

Starphonics. Uhm, tasty!

Alesis had one of the biggest booths at the show, and displayed a wide range of new gear for drums and recording. The recession is not slowing down their new product introductions. The hottest news was the new DM6 and DM10. The DM 6 has a new look and we particularly like the meatiness of the pedal compared to the earlier Alesis models. The DM-10 furthers the usefulness of the Alesis line by creating an open platform for drumming. Rather than being limited to the onboard sounds, or Alesis-branded accessories, you can use the extensive built-in samples or use the DM10 as a trigger-to-MIDI interface for performing and tracking with software drum modules such as BFD and Toontrack.Check out more at

The kit features the DM10 sound module and Alesis RealHead drum pads, Sugre cymbals and ErgoRack mounting system. The brain contains more than 100 sampled kits and drums, made from samples of classic studio drums and cymbals. More dynamic level samples and articulation are built-in so as you play harder or softer the drum or cymbal changes timbre. We were particularly impressed by the new articulation of the hi-hat.

Alesis DM6.

Alesis DM-10

Get the How To Tune Drums Minibook when you subscribe to our newsletter