Rare 1950s Premier drum set in marine pearl

It’s not every week that we get a kit come through the shop that makes me swoon. We get lots of classics come through in really nice condition, that sound equally as nice as they look. But when this kit came out of its cases, I wanted it!
I picked it up from the widow of a serious collector, who sadly passed away a few years ago. He had several choice kits in stunning condition, cased in a safe, dry storage facility. But as I took a peek inside the first case, my heart fluttered, this one was that extra bit special. A full 1950s Premier set in original condition complete with a full set of calf heads, what a find!
It’s rare to see full sets in this colour, before the glitters and pearls that most associate with the name Premier. The set is finished in marine pearl, which over time has mellowed to a yellow/peach colour which gives it more charm in my opinion.
The sizes and features on this set are something else too; a 20×14 bass drum undrilled for legs or a tom post. Tone control dampers front and back and a mount for a cymbal arm on the right. A spur mounts from the front hoop to give the drum some stability, when the 12×8 tom is mounted off the opposite hoop via a clamp and L arm. To complete the set there’s a 14×18 floor tom with original leg brackets from that era, a pre-cursor to the spring tension brackets of the 1960s. It’s so rare to see a floor tom in this size and in this condition, what a treat. These three drums are in fantastic original condition with ‘script logo’ badges, and the earlier Art Deco lugs and bass drum rods. The bass drum has 3 small holes near the batter head hoop where the cymbal mount has been moved and the resonant head on the 12 has ripped. Apart from that, this kit is immaculate.
A slightly later, again super rare 16×18 floor tom comes with this set with 1960s lugs and badge. The wrap has faded similarly to the other drums so it’s my opinion that this tom was added within a few years of the set and has been kept together as such, rather than it being added years later.

This set of drums is simply stunning, and in this condition I don’t anticipate another surfacing in the UK anytime soon. There’s the option to purchase the matching Super Ace snare drum with this set, which completes it nicely. Again, in fantastic original condition with original wires.
This set is a must for any collectors of English vintage drums out there or players who are looking for a 20,12,14 bop kit that will turn heads for its style and sound.
More details on this set online at http://www.nickhopkindrums.com

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It’s been a great September so far

We’re only two weeks into September but we’ve been having a fantastic time at Nick Hopkin Drums. David drove up from Torquay with a stunning mid 70s Premier Resonator set that he wanted restored; Copper with a single black band in 22,13,14,16 with a Premier 2000 snare that he’d had since new. He had toyed with the idea of letting it go and buying a new kit, but another drum shop advised him to get in touch with us for a full restoration – thanks guys, much appreciated.

We took the liners out, stripped and polished all the chrome, cleaned the shells and then reassembled the kit, complimented by Evans 360 G2 coated heads on the toms and EQ3’s on the bass drum. It looked and sounded stunning. David was really happy with the work and is gigging the kit tonight in Cornwall; we look forward to a full report and some pictures.

This week I completed the restoration of a Premier 2000 snare drum which belonged to Rick Buckler of The Jam and was used on several of their classic recordings. The shell was badly pitted in places and was missing the throw and butt end, as well as snare wires. The shell came up gleaming with a little TLC and after a bit of fiddling I managed to get a snare throw to fit the drum. New heads and wires were fitted and the drum is complete again and ready to play. We look forward to having another of his in in the next couple of weeks. On Friday night we were watching a great programme on Sky Arts about the history of the Electric guitar, and the Jam were featured. As we watched a clip of them live I turned to Tanny and said ‘that snare drum’s on the bench in my workshop’ without thinking about what I was saying. An hour later it dawned on me what I’d said. What a privilege it is to work on drums with such a history in my small unit in South Wales. A real joy to get these drums to a playable condition again.

We’ve had various other people pop in for advice and a browse, including a couple visitors from London as well as some lads from Ireland who were in town for a couple days. The new showroom is taking shape as I’m gradually cramming more vintage drums and accessories into it by the week.
If you restore your own drums you’ll be excited to hear that I just bought what was left of some drum repair workshops in London. Boxes and boxes of spares parts from all the main companies, both English and American, dating back to the 1920’s. I’m slowly photographing and cataloging these items on my site, but if there’s anything elusive you’ve been hunting for a while, then do call on +44 (0)1873 857960 and I’ll see if I can put my hands to it.

Next week we say goodbye to Charlie who’s been working in the shop one day a week for over a year. Charlie has been a real blessing to the business as it’s grown, assisting in the restoration of many drums that have come through the shop, as well as making a fine cup of tea and generally being really good company. He’s off to University, so we wish him well settling in to his accomodation and his course, he’ll be really missed.

Lots on the cards already for next week, with the UK National Drum Fair to look forward to at the end of the month. I’m not exhibiting this year but will be visiting on the Saturday for a snoop around and to catch up with everyone – Hopefully see you there.