Noble & Cooley Zildjian Alloy snares

Highly collectable N&C Zidjian snare drums

Have you ever seen three of these snares in the same place? Me either, until these snare drums arrived at the shop.

Noble & Cooley Zildjian Alloy snare drums available at Nick Hopkin Drums

These Noble & Cooley / Zildjain snare drums have become highly collectable and sought after for a number of reasons.

The very first of these snares were manufactured in low numbers. The smooth alloy snares were produced as a collaboration between Noble & Cooley/Zildjian in 1989-90. The drums were available as 14 x 6.5″ and 14 x 4.75″ and it is rumoured that only 300 of the 6.5″ and 100 of the 4.75″ were manufactured. Some drums went to artists, and some were made available to the public via selected stores Worldwide. Due to manufacturing discrepancies, a quantity of these original shells cracked, making the existing drums scarcer and thus highly collectable.

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Noble & Cooley Zildjian Alloy snare drum 14x4.75 at Nick Hopkin Drums www.nickhopkindrums.com

In 2003, Noble & Cooley teamed up with Zildjian again to produce a snare drum to mark Zildjian’s 380th Anniversary. Only 500 of these snare drums were manufactured, each coming with a certificate of authenticity. These drums were only offered in a 14 x 4.75″ shell, differing to the original drums in that they feature a one piece ‘groove tone‘ shell. Note also that the Noble & Cooley nodal lugs are staggered.

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What do they sound like?

That’s the question everyone is asking. Yeah they look cool and unique and are highly collectable due to the low numbers, but do these snare drums actually sound any good? The answer is Yes, they sound absolutely incredible! Ask a bunch of name players and record producers what their top 5 recording snare drums are (which I have), and these snare drums feature alongside the Ludwig Black Beauty and Tama Bell Brass snares.
I took one of the 380th Anniversary snares out to the legendary Rockfield studios in South Wales a few years back, where a producers was tracking drums for a rock band. They had a 1970’s Ludwig Black Beauty 14×6.5″ snare set up and were 4 songs in. We set this snare up, tuned it up and listened back in the control room…. it ended up being used for the rest of the record, no question. It sounded jaw dropping! I know other name players with both the the 6.5″ and 4.75″ in their snare collections that regularly feature on recordings.

Here’s a short video featuring all three of these snare drums, recorded in the shop with a Zoom iQ5 microphone in an iPad. It gives you an idea of what these drums sound like ‘in the room’.

All three snare drums discussed are available to buy on our website. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. We offer Worldwide shipping on all items and accept all major credit cards and paypal.

 

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Rare Hayman Iceberg

Hayman ‘Iceberg’ drum set

The word Rare, in the vintage drums World, is banded around a bit too much for my liking. This set, however, is super rare.

So here she is; Hayman Iceberg 22,12,13,16

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Emerging in 1971, the ‘Iceberg’ was displayed at trade shows but very few were actually manufactured. Sources close to Ivor Arbiter confirm  ‘only a handful’. Of that handful of drum kits produced and I know of only 1 other in Europe in the same condition as this -excellent!

This set is a great example, having come from a collector. It is in great condition with some minor scuffs and scratches from use, the 12 & 13″ toms are still fitted with original Hayman heads! The only thing on this set that isn’t original is the front bass drum hoop.

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Don’t miss out on this, I doubt you’ll see another up for sale anywhere soon! Check out a stack of photos on the website. We will ship this set anywhere in the World, contact us for a price.

Snare of the week

Ludwig Jazz Festival

As I regularly get asked for recommendations on snare drums, and advice on getting vintage sounds in the studio,I thought I’d start a weekly column discussing various classic and vintage drums with some accompanying video content.

First up I’m going to take a look at the Ludwig Jazz festival; a timeless classic, this model became Ludwig’s most popular wood shell snare drum of all time. It became the backbeat to Rock n’ Roll alongside the metal shell ‘Supraphonic 400’ and sold in huge quantity in the 1960s due to a certain drummer named Ringo. (Note: Ringo’s drum was a mid-60’s drum but with a 5.5” depth shell – read more here).

Introduced around 1960, this 3-ply 8 lug snare drum evolved from a snare drum that Ludwig were producing in the 1950’s. Ludwig produced the ‘New Swingster Dance Model’ snare which was 14 x 5.5”, later renaming it the ‘Barret Deems Model’ (1956). By 1960 it had been re-named the ‘Jazz festival’ and the shell was half inch shorter at 14×5”.

We have a selection of these wonderful drums in the shop, in a variety of colours and with different features according to age – with and without internal tone control muffler, nickel and chrome hardware options. As I’m sure you’ll agree, these drums sound amazing and remain a firm favourite in the recording studio as a ‘go-to’ drum.

If you are looking to begin your vintage snare collection, or you are looking for a classic vintage sound in the studio, then this would be a great starting point. Here’s a video of some of the Ludwig Jazz Festival snares we have in stock…

 

All the drums featured in our video are available to buy on our website; we accept paypal and all major credit cards and all items ship Worldwide. I hope you found the words and the video helpful in searching for your sound.

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Vintage Drums, what else?!

OK, so I know its been a long time since there has been a blog on the Nick Hopkin Drums website. As the business continues to grow it seems I have less and less time to sit down and write about what I love – Vintage Drums.

That’s not entirely true; last August I launched a vintage drums magazine – Vintage Drums Legendary Sounds – which is gaining momentum and getting great feedback, but all truth told I am spending so much time editing and compiling each issue of that that I’ve let the NHDrums blog slide into the slow lane, with just the occasional post about a particular or peculiar snare drum that has arrived on my doorstep.

What running the magazine has done for me, is open up conversations with loads of drummers worldwide, and start to tap into what’s really happening out there – single handed running a business can be lonely, especially in this digital age, and its easy to become very insular. This past month I’ve been talking on the phone and via email to some really interesting characters, more recently Dave Elitch in LA. I wish we were in the same time zone, so we could physically hang out and talk and play drums, and I may stop calling him at stupid times when he’s still in bed!!! Anyway, Dave is one of those guys who lives and  breathes drums, whether he is playing or teaching and has a huge appreciation for the drums of the past. He recently posted something on his instagram profile which is food for thought, about how technology is advancing so fast that we are losing specific skill sets (not just music) – probably the basis for another whole article – read it here.

Talking to lots of players it’s interesting that most people fall into one of two categories – people with way too many snare drums who couldn’t choose a top three, and people with one or two snares that suit them for everything. Choosing two is hard; What would be your favourite 2 snare drums? I think A black Beauty and something else, although my something else changes every time a batch of snares land at the shop! There are quite often wild card drums, sometimes un-badged or by lesser known brands that sound incredible and would be overlooked by 90% of us. I think I need to start a video series on ‘would be contenders’!

The shop seems quiet at the moment although a steady stream of gear continues to flow in and out at regular intervals. In this fast moving digital age it seems vintage is starting to become ‘hip’, whatever that means. Old stuff is getting cool, and expensive! My mission since opening almost six years ago, has been to share my passion for drums with others and educate younger people where I can. A lot of younger players, are priced out of investing in a vintage snare or kit, at the moment. Talking with Bob Henrit yesterday, he commented that the state of the music industry today means the majority of musicians who would have been ‘pro’ ten years ago are now ‘semi pro’ at best, and/or skint. I still believe that the old ones are the best, so if you are a younger player looking for that sound that you have in your head, or you heard on your favourite record – but are on a super tight budget – give me a call or drop an email and I’ll do my best to advise. There are other good guys out there too, who know what they are talking about, who I can put you in touch with if needed.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Drums! We have some classic snares in store as always and are just negotiating a rather lovely consignment of drums that should be here soon – probably in a month or so, just after the Chicago Drum Show. Watch this space as i endeavor to get a blog up weekly. Back to editing Issue #4 of the magazine now, which  needs to be with the designer in 3 days!

If you were unaware of the magazine’s existence, all 3 issues are available in traditional print and digital download from this lovely website – Issue 4 is out Monday 11th June – www.vintagedrumslegendarysounds.com

 

Snare of the day

Ludwig Acrolite

Today we are featuring a classic late 1970s Ludwig Acrolite snare drum.

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These snare drums have always been regarded among drummers as a studio favourite. I remember English drummer Bob Henrit (Argent, Kinks) telling me that his go to snare drum in the studio, during the 1960s and 1970s was an Acrolite. He may take other snare drums into the studio, but if the drum sound wasn’t working, he could always reach for his Acrolite and it would sound great. People sometimes talk about these drums like they’ve recently become really popular, but they’ve been loved for decades.

This particular snare that we have at the shop is in original condition. A previous owner has engraved his name in the top hoop, but that doesn’t affect the sound. It still sounds great! More details and images on Nick Hopkin Drums website.

Featured Drum Kit

Ludwig Vistalite ‘Big Beat’

This stunning 1979 ‘Big Beat’ Vistalite has just gone online at Nick Hopkin Drums.

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22×14, 12×8, 13×9, 16×16 and matching snare drum in blue.

This 1979 Vistalite set recently arrived at the shop, and its a real head turner. The shells are in great cosmetic condition, with no issues – no cracks, no splits, no crazing. There are a few minor scratches from use, but hey, this kit is nearly 40 years old.

It’s so nice to see a set like this still complete with the matching snare; all drums have pointy Blue/Olive badges and serial numbers that suggest 1979 to date. The back rods and claws on the bass drum are non-original, and the bass drum hoops are metal with black inlay, but otherwise everything is present and correct. A real stunner to look at, and exactly what you’d expect sound wise from an acrylic kit from the Golden Age of drums. More information and photos on the Nick Hopkin Drums website. This kit is sold with the snare drum and ships worldwide.

Snare of the day

Leedy Utility

This lovely 1960 Leedy Utility snare drum arrived in the shop a couple days before Christmas.

Leedy Utility snare drum late 1950's at Nick Hopkin Drums, www.nickhopkindrums.com

This 14 x 5.5″ Leedy snare drum in original, natural mahogany is in great condition. Dated 1960, it features 6 original chrome lugs, single flange hoops, vintage snare drum claws and the original 3 point snare strainer.

The Blue oval badge, with the postal code 48 printed after the word Chicago, dates this drum 1960. Overall this drum is in great, original condition. Featuring an original vintage calf head on the batter side and a Slingerland True-Tone on the resonant side, it tunes up easily and sounds great – the calf head giving it that great vintage tone. It sounds great with brushes as well as sticks; it benefits from a lighter stick to experience the full tone of the drum.

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This Leedy snare drum may suit a player looking for something quirky, an alternative to some of the other 6 lug vintage snare drums that are popular. More details on the website…