SIA handcrafted Snare drums

So you may or may not have seen that we took delivery of a couple SIA snare drums last week. They crept onto the website over last weekend, and have already seen some keen interest in the shop. Handcrafted in Sydney, Australia by Sia Seysan these snares are absolutely stunning.

There’s not a great deal of info on these drums out there, in fact I don’t think SIA even has a website. Regardless, they’re starting to pick up some tasty reviews so we thought we’d better get some on the rack for people to try. We’re the first shop in the UK to stock these beauties, in time for their debut at London Drum Show this autumn.

We have a lovely 14×7″ Sheoak stave snare drum, which is absolutely stunning to look at. Fitted with 10 vintage-esque tube lugs and triple flange hoops, this drum just sings. We tried it at a couple tuning points and it just sounds lovely. Very loud, great sensitivity to the snare wires when eased off a little, I guess its really down to personal taste. But this drum doesn’t disappoint on any level, way up their with the other top drum companies out there.

I recorded it with one mic at an average mid-high tuning, and also with a kit (bass drum mic and one overhead). You can hear it here; it’s got a great tuning range, if you come down to the shop and play around with it you’ll see what I mean. More information on this drum on the website.

We also took delivery of a 14×6″ in Brush Box which you can view here What stunning snare drums these are; We don’t deal with much modern gear here, but occasionally something crosses our radar that we think is worth shouting about. These tick all the boxes.

Slingerland ‘140’ aluminium snare

A short blog about a great snare drum we have at the shop, this Slingerland ‘140’ ridged aluminium.Sling 140

With its super thin metal shell, this drum is really bright with plenty of volume. I find that with the snares slacked off a little, there’s loads of sensitivity with many a jazzer putting this drum through its paces in our shop. We brought a few over from the USA and this is the last one in stock.

The only non original feature is the tone control muffler – the original was missing so we fitted this one in the existing holes; Fully functional, most probably wouldn’t notice. 8 lugs, stick saver hoops and the simple but practical rapid snare strainer… tune it high for jazz and get a real funk crack out of it, or tune it down low for that 80’s thud that seems en vogue at the  moment with a bit more attack than an acrolite. Sound files here, short video feature here. More images on our website –  Nick Hopkin Drums. Enjoy.

Hayman ‘Vibrasonic’ snare drum

Today I’m looking at a Hayman ‘Vibrasonic’ snare drum that recently came into the shop as part of a full kit. This snare drum is in lovely condition. It dates to around 1973, by the silver badge and the colour of the drum – ‘Regal Red’. This would have been manufactured towards the end of the Hayman name; Hayman ceased production of drums in 1975, you can read more about that here.

This snare drum is in lovely, original condition. There are no marks or scratches to the red wrap and neither is there any wrap lifting (which was common on hayman drums, especially around the lugs). The chrome is good, the only real exception being on the original snare strainer; despite this, it is fully functional and has the Hayman logo inscribed. All features are original – baseball bat style tone control dampener, 1o lug triple flange hoops, turret style lugs, slot head tension rods.

The white ‘vibrasonic’ shell interior is in great condition, with no crazing. The shell is round and sound, all good. I fitted the drum with new Remo Ambassador heads and the drum tuned up great. There are some sound files of the drum at low / mid tuning & mid/high tuning, both with and without moon gel. It sounds great at both, but for me its sweet spot is at a mid/high tension.

I’ve done a short video feature on this snare drum on my YouTube channel. There are more images and information on the snare drum and the matching drum kit on

Camco ‘Studio’ snare drum , 1960’s

OK, so a week or so ago i talked about some vintage snares that may not have crossed your radar before. Today lets take a closer look at one of those snare drums, the Camco ‘studio’ model. I picked this drum up at the Chicago drum show in May this year. I liked it because it was different to everything else we see here in the UK; different to the Ludwig & Slingerland drums too on many levels.


The drum is a 4 ply shell with fairly fat re-rings and a white interior to the shell. The exterior is finished in a blue/silver ducco, fitted with eight tuxedo lugs and original chrome over brass hoops. The original ‘beer tap’ snare strainer is present and functional, the only non original piece of hardware being a small replacement nut on the snare butt. The drum was made in Oaklawn Illinois in the early-mid 60’s and is in great shape for its wires – it still wears the original snare wires and the shell still has the drum key holder, although the key itself is missing.

This drum has a completely different vibe to it than other snare drums from this era – either American or English, and I cant quite put my finger on why. Some argue that these drums are the best you’ll hear, but I think that’s subjective. That said, this drum really does sound stunning and is in great condition cosmetically for its age. Rare to have one in the UK. Why don’t you come and try it?

There’s a short video about the drum on my YouTube channel; there is also a sound file of this drum being played at different tuning.

Available to try in the shop, also on our website with Worldwide shipping available.

Premier 2000 snare drum

It’s been a while since I’ve had a Premier 2000 snare drum in the shop, for many reasons, but mostly because the drums we’ve been offered have had the chrome hanging off them! Whilst with some snare drums the appearance is secondary to sound, and the battered drums have a bit of vintage Mojo going on (eg. Ludwig Supraphonic 400) when it comes to the Premier 2000 i find that players like them as cosmetically perfect as possible.

The 2000 snare drum, was Premier’s flagship snare drum throughout the 1970’s. It was actually introduced in the late 1960’s, the very first incarnation featuring a chrome over brass shell (possibly surplus shells from the Royal Ace line). The majority that we see are chrome over aluminium with some of the later drums in the 1980’s being chrome over steel. You can read more of the history of this snare drum in my article for Not So Modern Drummer.

So this late 70’s / early 80’s drum that has just arrived at the shop is in excellent condition; it has a couple of scratches to the shell and one small dent. The chrome on all the hardware is absolutely faultless, which is really great to see. Die cast hoops are in great shape, note that the tension rods on this drum are square head. It even has the original Premier ‘double 12’ wires intact, and fitted with a new Remo Emperor it tunes up great.

There’s a sound file of the snare drum being played here and a short video about it on the Nick Hopkin Drums You Tube channel.

The drum is available in our shop to try, there are more images and details about it on We offer worldwide shipping on all drums.


Premier Modern Classic, Solid maple shell

Today I’m looking at a stunning solid shell snare drum that recently arrived in the shop. Its rare these days to come across solid shell snare drums, especially hand built in the UK. But here we have a snare drum from the hands of one of the best craftsmen in the world, Keith Keough.

This is one of the early drums that Keith made when he was at Premier’s UK facility in the North of England. The badge says ‘Modern Classic’ and that really is what we have here. Premier went on to develop the hand built Modern Classic range winning awards globally; this is one of the early drums, call it a prototype if you wish.



The drum features a solid steam bent maple shell with a 10mm thickness; an interesting point to note here, that a lot of steam bent shells are quite thin requiring re-rings to keep the drum in shape. Not here. This drum is as solid as they come, a really beautiful shell left unfinished giving it a kind of aged, vintage vibe.


There’s good attention to detail with the hardware with 10 aged tube lugs, with small plastic plinths between the shell and the metalwork giving the shell maximum resonance. Fitted with a high end Trick GS007 snare strainer, its easy to adjust snare wire sensitivity whilst playing while the lever itself has several on/off points for quick wire adjustment.


Inside the shell has a Premier paper tag dating the drum 02/02/2013. Keith’s signature appears on the shell alongside #2 of 50. I’ve spoken to Keith about this drum, and its doubtful that 50 of these were made. Its more likely that this was number two of the first 50 shells he made for Premier that were fitted with different hardware configurations (but this is just mere speculation on my behalf).


From a players view this drum, this drum sounds as good as it looks. Plenty of volume and tone, amazing response tuned high and a great fat weighty sound tuned low. The Trick throw gives the player optimal precision over the snare wires, allowing for great sensitivity and little choking. We’ve made a short video about this drum on our You Tube channel Nick Hopkin Drums.

A stunning, solid maple shell snare drum that looks and sounds awesome. Keith has gone on to form the British Drum Company, and great drums are promised there; from a collectors viewpoint, this is a must have for anyone serious about unique hand built drums. There are more images of this drum on our website here.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog & YouTube as we start our weekly articles on snare drums accompanied by video & audio. Join our mailing list also to find out about new gear as it lands at the shop –

Slingerland ‘Clamshell’ snare strainer

The Slingerland ‘Super Strainer’ was introduced in 1940 on Radio King snare drums, but is commonly referred to as the ‘clamshell’. It replaced the three point strainer which had featured on all drums until then. It looked great, with its streamlined design and extended throw off lever, but today is disliked by many for its fragility. Its rare to find a Radio King from this era with a complete arm on! However, Slingerland continued to use this strainer on drums up until the late 1950’s, gradually phasing out the three point.

Here’s a late 1950’s Radio Kings with the Clamshell throw off:

Although the extended lever is often missing from earlier drums, most snare throws I’ve come across are still functional without it. Occasionally the bolt holding the arm itself in place has worn out from years of use; the alternative is to replace it with a modern lever, of which we have several in stock. We picked these up when we were in the USA in May and they work a treat. Although they look nothing like the original, they really do work allowing these great drums to be played again.

We have several in stock on our website with worldwide shipping,  as well as a couple of fine Radio King Snare drums. One is late 1950’s in  white pearl with Nickel hardware the other mid 1950’s with chrome hardware in Blue glitter.

Why not come and visit us to try these snares out and check out the Clamshell throw in more detail. We’re open weekdays and weekends.