Hayman Vibrasonic

I picked up a Hayman Vibrasonic kit a few weeks ago, from a friend who is an avid Premier collector.

A brief history: The brainchild of Ivor Arbiter, originally the drums were named George Hayman, but soon shortened to Hayman. Arbiter had identified a gap in the market for a LOUD drum set at a time when drummers were seldom miked-up outside of the studio. The original plan was to have metal liners inside the shells, and some drums were produced in this way, until settling on the “Vibrasonic” lining – five coats of polyurethane – which are claimed to be superior to Ludwig’s white “Resocote” and serve to improve the resonance and projection of the drums. The drums had a mixture of features which, prior to 1969, would only be seen on expensive American products – triple-flange hoops, which gave a more open sound (very new to British drums), non-telescopic spurs, adjustable, swivelling shell mounts and cymbal arms and an abundance of tension screws. The first test of Hayman’s projection qualities was successfully completed when Alf Bigden performed at Caesar’s Palace in Luton, a 1500 seat theatre, backing Shirley Bassey, playing an un-mic’d Hayman kit. Hayman Drums took the drum market by storm, with their fresh, modern look and attracted a number of high profile endorsers in a short time (the drums were officially launched in February 1969 , production abruptly ceased in 1975). Played by Michael Giles (King Crimson), Jim Capaldi (Traffic), Aynsley Dunbar, Bill Bruford (Yes), Simon Kirke (Free), Bob Henrit (Argent), Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix Experience) and even the legendary John Bonham took delivery of a midnight blue Hayman kit in the late 60’s. 

So back to this kit. It looked as if it hadn’t been played in some years; tension rods were missing from the toms, the bass drum leg mounts weren’t tensioning properly and it was very dirty. All the interior screws, washers and dampers were badly corroded. Sometimes kits just need re-heading and the chrome needs a clean, but in this case the kit needed a complete refurb. On the plus side, the wrap was in great condition, there were no extra holes in the shells – something of a rarity these days on vintage British drums – and the white ‘vibrasonic’ interiors were in good condition (as they can be prone to ‘crazing’).  

Heads off. All lugs and exterior fittings removed. All interior screws, washers and fittings soaked to remove rust/corrosion. Shells cleaned inside with warm water, outside with warm, mild soapy water, then dried off. All tension rods sprayed with WD40. All lugs, fittings and hoops cleaned and polished. The brass Hayman badges, all intact,  date this kit between 1969 and 1973.

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Following  the cleaning of all components, the kit was reassembled. The snare mechanism had been replaced at some time with a Premier so there is one small extra hole from the original. Fitted with clear Remo ambassador heads on the toms, coated Remo ambassador head on the snare drum and bass drum and a clear resonant bass drum head to display the white ‘Vibrasonic’ interior. Personally, I think the kit looks new. 

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The new owner of this kit is an avid collector who loves everything about vintage drums. However, he doesn’t keep his drums in glass cases, he plays them. I’m looking forward to hearing about the Hayman’s future outings. 

Next kit lined up for a complete refurb is an Ajax ‘Nu Sound’ in burgundy ripple. Lots of vintage kits and snares for sale on my site – Nick Hopkin Drums

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7 thoughts on “Hayman Vibrasonic

  1. Damn good work mate

  2. Wow, amazing blog structure! How long have
    you ever been running a blog for? you make running a blog glance
    easy. The overall look of your site is magnificent,
    as smartly as the content!

  3. Hi, really enjoyed reading about this restoration, particularly as I have just inherited a similar set from my father who died recently. He owned and played his Hayman kit since he bought it new, some time in the 70s.
    My kit is not in as bad condition as the one you show here, but also nowhere near as nice as when you finished your restoration! Probably somewhere in between.
    Anyway, my reason for writing is that I could do with some help in identifying exactly what model and possibly what year this kit is. I’m not wanting to sell it, far from that I want to learn about it then play it. Ideally somewhere approaching how well my dad did! I think it may also be worth thinking about restoring it in some way to help preserve it.

    Let me know if you are at all interested in looking at it. All the best, Alex Wild.

  4. Nice job, I have a 24, 13, 16, snare and also a 26, 13, 14f, 16f, snare in Midnight Blue. Interestingly as with lots of other parts if they are different years they don’t match. For instance I think I have about 5 different damper arms, some splines will not interchange. Some of the last kits (I have a Regal Red 22, 12, 13, 16, snare, silver badge) have weird details…no cymbal mounts, no dampers and snare lugs with rubber grommets on the one side used on the toms.
    I have the original BBC Radio Big Band Kit (Paul Brodie;s) I also have anothe Gold 22.

    I am in need of a Gold Bass shell (must be good), if anyone has one for sale please.

    Merry Xmas from Oz, Clive Rodell.

  5. What’s up, I want to subscribe for this webpage to obtain latest updates, so where can i do it please assist.

  6. Anyone got a 16″ vibrasonic floor Tom and some bass drum legs they want to get rid off ?

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