Vintage drum musings…

Somehow it’s Friday. For the past two days I’ve had The Strokes debut album ‘Is this is?’ on heavy rotation, taking me back to 2001. I was living in Brighton around that time, helping a friend build a studio, and sleeping in the loft of that building as we did so. Mad times, working all hours, building an empire. I lost the plot somewhere around that time, and ended up moving to Wales via a sleepy village outside Brighton for a couple years where I met my wife. James did really well with the studio and it continues to grow – check it out Brighton Electric. If you’re on the South Coast of the UK, well worth checking out I’d say.

Back to now and I’m wondering if I can track down The Strokes drummer for a chat about recording that album, for our magazine Vintage Drums Legendary Sounds. He’s come up in my mind as I’ve been finalising a piece on Clem Burke for issue 3 and we’ve been talking about the whole New York sound;The Ramones, New York Dolls, Blondie, The Strokes…. We have a lot of other cool stuff in Issue 3, including articles on Charlie Watts and Ronnie Verrell, as well as behind the scenes recording a drum sample library and loads of knowledgeable contributions on vintage drums from a variety of sources. Almost there, looking at End February publishing date.

Looking around the shop I’m just seeing loads of cool snares! Yesterday we sold a nice 40’s Carlton Standard to Chris from White Feather Collective. I’m spoilt for choice to recommend one, but this Slingerland Sound King is one of my favourite drums. 14 x 6.5″ chrome over brass shell that just sounds great at any tuning, more common in the 5″ shell size, these drums are a must have in the studio arsenal.

Slingerland Sound King 6.5 snare drum available at Nick Hopkin Drums,

In an attempt to get the year off to a good start, I’ve been trying to tidy the shop. In doing so, I seem to be discovering boxes and boxes of vintage spares that aren’t listed on the website. Slowly but surely I am photographing and listing these, but it’s a long journey! If you’re still searching for that elusive spare part to complete your project or most loved snare/kit, do drop us a line and we’ll let you know what we have available.

Signing off on a fairly chilly Friday afternoon to update the website and get some orders packed and ready to ship tomorrow.




Snare of the day

Fibes SFT690

We are fortunate to have two stunning Fibes snare drums in stock at Nick Hopkin Drums. Both drums are in amazing condition, with original parts including the snare wires.


First up is a 14×6″ Crystalite drum; this clear acrylic shell is recognised as something of a classic, rarer in the 6″ depth. All hardware is correct and in great condition, the shell is immaculate with no cracks. The SFT snare strainer is complete and fully functional; it comes with a set of original wires which are in great shape. This drum tunes up easily and sounds great!

We also have a 14×5.5″ fibreglass in Brown Marble. This is an original, and rarer Fibes colour. Maybe you have the kit to match? Again, all the hardware on this drum is original; it even has the Fibes rubber bumper fitted to prevent the snare knocking against the tom.

Both these drums sound great, with loads of sensitivity and response from the extended snare wires. Plenty of volume from these shells when required, a lovely bright crisp tone. An alternative to the vintage wooden and metal shell snare drums in your collection.

More details on both drums on our website…

Snare of the day

Slingerland Radio King, 1958

This stunning late 1950’s Slingerland Radio King snare drum arrived at the shop this week. What can I say, one of the nicest sounding Radio King snare drums I’ve had in the shop for some time – some just sing when you hit them!


Finished in Black Diamond Pearl, this 14 x 5.5″ solid maple shell is in lovely condition. The previous owner had this drum restored 10 years ago – the bearing edges were re-cut, as were the snare beds. The shell interior is date stamped 21 JUL 1958 and is in great condition, with original hardware fitted; twin felt internal tone control/muffler, Sticksaver hoops and Clamshell snare strainer and butt end. The lever on the strainer has been updated with a modern replica arm, which functions great (the original lever comes with the drum).

Fitted with Remo heads and Puresound wires, the drum tunes up easily and sounds like a dream. A wet one. More information on the website…

Snare of the day

Slingerland Standard Concert

This stunning Slingerland Standard Concert model snare drum arrived at the shop just before the Christmas holidays.

14 x 6.5″ 3 ply shell in Black Diamond Pearl in lovely condition with original hardware – Rapid strainer, Stick saver hoops, 16 lugs. Black Brass Niles badge serial number¬†57646, the interior of the shell is date stamped Feb 1965.

lingerland Standar Concert model snare drum 14x6.5 in Black diamond pearl at Nick Hopkin Drums,

As you can see, there’s some wear to the chrome on the batter side hoop, revealing the brass – the brass hoops adding real character to this drum. The tone is absolutely lovely, that warm vintage sound but with plenty of crack when played with a rim shot.

What can i say? A fairly rare drum in the UK, in fact we don’t come across many Slingerland snares deeper than a 5″. This was purchased from a collector in the USA. and selected for our shop, both due to its original condition and amazing tone.

You can view more details about this drum on the website.

Are 6 lugs the new 8?

With the rise in popularity of the 6 lug vintage snare drum, we take a quick look at some of these drums that were introduced as a budget student range. The Ludwig Pioneer and Slingerland Deluxe Student model, have equally become go-to snares for many studio players looking for a drum with a different characteristic to conventional 8 and 10 lug snare drums. Once overlooked as being ‘low end’ these drums are fast becomming classic snares worth having in the collection of any working drummer.

Here’s a short video of some of the snare drums we have at Nick Hopkin Drums – They are all tuned to about the same (75 bottom, 75-80 on a drum dial) although age of heads and type of wires do add character. Filmed on an ipad with a simple Zoom iQ5 microphone.


A ducco week

OK, I know. It’s been a while since I wrote anything about the shop. We’ve had a busy couple weeks, but now all the drum shows are over for a while we can get back to sharing some stunning vintage drums with you.

This week these 3 ducco delights dropped through our letterbox, and I don’t really want to see any of them leave! They are looking for new stands to sit on and be played and loved though, so take your pic. Which would you play first?



Left to right: Ludwig ‘Barrett Deems‘ model; Geo. Way ‘Studio‘ model; Leedy ‘Broadway‘.

All drums available at Nick Hopkin Drums with International shipping.

Update on life

I’m sorry I’ve been quite on the blog front, but the last couple months have been mental.

I launched¬† a vintage drum magazine ‘Vintage Drums, Legendary Sounds’ in August. The website currently offers it only in digital format to read online – – demand for traditional paper copies led me to having some printed, and we are on our second batch – available here at Nick Hopkin Drums.¬† 50 pages of vintage drum candy – interviews with Clem Cattini, Hal Blaine and Roberto Spizzichino. Features on Drum Companies and articles about playing, collecting, restoring and recording drums from contributors worldwide.

Issue #2 is currently with our designer being laid out and is packed with more great vintage drums content. It comes out in November and both digital and paper copies will be available directly from the VDLS website.

(photos: Clem Cattini 1967 Ludwig set; Alan White Oasis memorabilia; Staccato Super Furry Animals kit; Steve White’s Slingerland Radio King)

After months of planning, collecting gear and talking to loads of people, last month we had a successful weekend at the UK Drum show in Manchester, where I put together a display of iconic British drums. Here’s a couple pictures of what we displayed….There’s a full write up in Issue #2 of VDLS magazine.

This weekend I’m at the Crash It! Show at Mannheim, Germany. Come and say hello if you are coming.