Big Fat Snare Drum: Get The 70s Sound
- By Jordan Liffengren
- Published May 28, 2014
Big Fat Snare Drum is a snare drum topper that lowers the fundamental pitch of the drum, allowing the drummer to achieve that big, beefy, 70s thud. Unlike gels and tape, BFSD lowers the pitch without any of the hassle. Simply placed on top of your existing snare skin, the custom blend of patent pending rubber and plastic instantly face-lifts your medium to high-pitched tuned snare drum and delivers that sought after, authentic, deep and warm tone we all know and love. Equipped with a thumb cut out for quick removal, a rubberized gasket for weight, balance and stability, the BFSD was designed for the drummer’s convenience and makes it easier than ever to achieve that signature sound with no need to retune or bring a second drum.
Some early adopters of the BFSD heads include Joe Clegg (Ellie Goulding), Shawn Pelton (Saturday Night Live), Tyler Stewart (Barenaked Ladies), Steve Goold (Sara Bareilles), Eddie Fisher (One Republic), Ian O'Neill (Gavin DeGraw), John Wicks (Fitz and the Tantrums), Josh Day (Jennifer Nettles), Brian Young (Fountains of Wayne), and Kellii Scott (Failure).
LP Toys That Jingle, Jangle, Jingle
- By Gregg Juke
- Originally published in the April 2014 issue of DRUM! Magazine
The title of this article might conjure up images of Gene Autry, little doggies getting along, or maybe even an imagination-filled adventure with a coveted Red Ryder BB Gun. But in this case, we’re talking the tambourine and its many variations. Maybe you’re thinking, “Hasn’t everything that can be done with jingles already been done?” Apparently not, as LP recently sent us six innovative jingle-themed instruments and accessories for both the drum set player and hand percussionist.
The Tradition Continues
First up are two new offerings that share a traditional tambourine design – the Professional Single Row and Professional Double Row models. While the names might seem self-explanatory, a few details are in order. Each tambourine is 10" in diameter, handmade from Asian Oak, and has nickel-silver alloy jingles. The Single Row has 8 pairs of jingles, and the Double Row has 16 (that’s 16 and 32 jingles total, respectively). In both cases LP set out to mimic the sound of popular tambourines from the ’60s and ’70s, so if you’re dying to unleash your inner Jack Ashford, one of these just might be for you.
While these instruments have proven popular with a number of pro percussionists, and the workmanship is undeniably high end, the retail prices might seem a little steep to casual players – the Single Row is listed at $119, and the Double Row is priced at $169. In addition, while the Single Row is a little thick, it is playable enough, but the Double Row seems a bit unwieldy, despite its included finger hole.
However, the sheer volume of these instruments enhances their playability. Both tambourines are loud, so you don’t have to work as hard to be heard over a band in acoustic situations. It would be a good idea for LP to add a tapered or form-fitted hand-grip area, as well as a foam or rubber grip. Any concessions these additions might make in tone would more than make up for improved performance and user comfort.
Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now
LP has applied the jingle concept to the feet in ways that might benefit drummers and percussionists alike. While there are a plethora of options out there for those interested in complicated and often expensive foot pedal systems or electronic stomp boxes that require amplification, the Foot Tambourine is a simple and easy solution.
It is a mini-crescent tambourine with two sets of jingles, an all plastic shell, and an elastic band. The elastic keeps the tambourine in place on either foot, even during pretty vigorous playing – it worked great while I played djembe. The Foot Tambourine can easily fit in a small accessory gig bag with some shakers and other items, but may even fit in the pocket of your djembe or cajon case, so it’s really a no-brainer to tote. With a suggested retail list price of $20 (and a street price closer to $12.99), you can’t go wrong.
LP has explored another idea with the concept of “feet beats,” creating two versions of what it calls the Jingle Kick. The Jingle Kick is a solid, high-impact ABS plastic pedal accessory that can be used as an alternative bass drum beater. It can also be mounted onto LP’s Fusheki bracket for a delicate tambourine sound without the thump of a bass drum. Each version has six sets of jingles – one with steel jingles ($25.99), the other with brass jingles ($29.99) for a lighter, more traditional tambourine sound.
While the Jingle Kick is a great idea, I did find that its shape and contact area made it difficult to perform anything fancier than basic quarter- and eighth-note patterns on the bass drum. Then again, do you really need tambourine on every bass drum beat of your band’s version of Mahavishnu Orchestra’s “Birds of Fire?” Probably not, so these accessories are perfectly suited to the times when you need a little four-on-the-floor spice.
It would help if the Jingle Kick were shaped a little more like a bass drum beater to give it a feel closer to what drum set players are used to. At least then there’d be a greater chance of hearing it on the next Narada Michael Walden-inspired thirty-second-note bass drum explosion.
Click Hi-Hat Tamborine
Puttin’ On the Mitch
The “hi-hat tambourine” accessory is an idea that has stood the test of time. Many companies make a version of the miniature tambourine that can be clamped to a hi-hat stand’s pull-rod, giving each chick sound a bit of added emphasis. There are even several old photos of Mitch Mitchell using one with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and before that drummers often threw a full-sized headless tambourine right over the hats.
LP’s Click Hi-Hat Tambourine is an updated version with a neat little twist – it features a big button right in the middle of the Click that allows the player to have two different sounds: “on” and “off.” In the “on” position, the tambourine jingles ring normally with each chick, and even when the hats are played slightly “splashy” (half-open). In the “off” position, the jingles are clamped down and will not ring, although they will vibrate slightly when hit with a stick, giving the drummer yet another useful percussive effect in the form of a more dry, staccato metallic chink sound.
The Click is made from high-impact plastic and apparently can take quite a beating. It also performed flawlessly with all types of hi-hat foot patterns. It never slipped and added no discernible weight to the hi-hats, which is a really big plus in terms of not having to make any playing adjustments to use it effectively. The MSRP is about $60, but the street price is actually usually under $40, which is a great value for a well-made accessory of this type. A big thumbs-up for the LP Click Hi-Hat Tambourine!
While a few of the products in our roundup could use further development, there were quite a few winners, which is exactly what we’d expect from a company that has been at the forefront of percussion innovation for nearly half a century. If you’re looking for some new rhythmic accents with a jingly flavor, you owe it to yourself to take a look at these new instruments and accessories from LP.
Models & List Prices
Professional Single Row Tambourine $119
Professional Double Row Tambourine $169
Foot Tambourine $20
Jingle Kick Steel $25.99
Jingle Kick Brass $29.99
Click Hi-Hat Tambourine $59
Pro Tambourines: Asian Oak, Nickel/Silver Alloy Jingles
Foot Tambourine: Red ABS Plastic, Steel Jingles
Jingle Kicks: Black ABS Plastic, Steel, or Brass Jingles
Click Hi-Hat Tambourine: Red ABS Plastic, Dimpled Steel Jingles
Latin Percussion, 973-478-6903, lpmusic.com
Simmons Crams Features Into New SD1500 Kit: 500+ Custom Samples
- By Radim McCue
- May 12, 2014
Simmons, the brand that really kicked off the e-drum era, has announced a new flagship model, the SD1500KIT. The kit aims to be the most realistic and full featured electronic drum kit in its class, with new sounds, and improved responsiveness and feel.
The SD1500KIT is a full sized, ergonomically designed 6-piece drum kit, with hi-hat and three multi-zone cymbals with 22 specific trigger points. Its traditional Simmons hex-shaped blue anodized frame and die-cast aluminum hardware feature memory lock mounts for speedy setup and maximum stability. The multi-position hi-hat pedal and triple-zone snare pad are designed for sensitivity and responsiveness, and the crash cymbals offer dual zone and choke capability.
The Simmons' flagship SD1000 Digital Sound Module has been upgraded and enhanced with a new custom sound library featuring more than 500 samples of the popular classic and modern drum kits. The combination of Simmons exclusive Variable Attack Response programming with features such as full 64-voice polyphony, full programmability, and powerful on-board processing, plus alternate playback sample capability gives drummers a huge palette of sounds to draw upon.
"This exciting new kit truly outshines and outplays anything else in its class," remarked Jim Norman, Simmons Product Manager."The new SD1500KIT is ideal for drummers looking for a low-volume rehearsal kit, for schools or churches needing a full size, low-impact stage setup, or for small and mid-sized project studios where recording acoustic drums might not be an option.”
The new Simmons SD1500KIT electronic drum set is available now at a street price of $999.99. For more information visit www.simmonsdrums.com or your favorite music retailer.
ChopZzz: Practice Where You Sleep
- By Radim McCue
- April 30, 2014
I remember reading stories about Dennis Chambers practicing his oh-so-soft touch by practicing on a pillow when he was young. But we never expected to see a product like ChopZzz™. It’s a pillowcase helps drummers hone their chops from the comfort of their bed without waking a soul.
According to the manufacturer it has multiple benefits, helping:
- Drummers to practice, develop their technique and stimulate creativity without making a racket
- Turn sleepless nights into discreet practice sessions, and then sleeping on it
- Girlfriends or loved ones stuck for drummer gift ideas
- Touring musicians in need of a portable practice tool
- Homeowners with an eye on a funky bedroom look
The British-made product also comes with a 4-page educational booklet complete with a series of rudiments to apply to the kit.
Currently available at http://www.chopzzz.com as packs of 1 (£15.00) or 2 (£26.00) + P&P and shipping worldwide, selected retailers will soon be stocking the pillowcases too.
Stone American Exotics Debut
- By Radim McCue
- April 22, 2014
Stone Custom Drums has announced its new Super American Exotic snare drums. Stone is well known for its shells of exotic and North American woods, manufactured in Indiana. Now it is adding exotic drums that are built around a core of native woods such as cherry from Indiana. Stone also owns the original Slingerland shell molds and its designs are influenced by the golden age of American drum making.
The Super American Exotics are currently available in a choice of koa (above), rosewood, or bubinga over native wood cores. The 7-ply drums are available in 10-lug or 12-lug models, and in 14 x 5 1/2 to 14 x 6 1/2 sizes. For more information contact Stonecustomdrum.com