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

 

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Snare of the day

Gretsch 4153

This stunning Gretsch 4153 snare drum just arrived at the shop….

Gretsch 4153 snare drum available at Nick Hopkin Drums www.nickhopkindrums.com

This 14 x 6.5″ Gretsch snare drum dates to early 1980’s a truly sounds stunning. Truth be told, I usually find wood shell Gretsch snare drums quite boxy but this one is something else.

 

This is a 6 ply shell in natural finish, with all original hardware. The die cast hoops and lugs are in good shape, as is the lightening snare strainer – and the drum is in round. One noticeable feature is the uneven snare beds; looking at the drum from above, one can see that the beds are cut off centre. The snare wires lie flat however, and there seems to be no compromise in sound – this drum just sounds great right across the tuning range.

Not seen that often in the UK, I’d say most people with this snare in their collection hang onto it. I know two record producers who have been using an identical snare as their ‘go to’ in their studios for the past 20+ years…..

More info here

Snare of the day

Gretsch 4157 Midnight Blue Pearl

This stunning 1960’s Gretsch Name Band snare drum, model 4157 arrived at the shop a couple weeks ago and has been making visitors drool. This 14 x 5″ wood shell is finished in a lovely Midnight Blue Pearl wrap which is in excellent condition.

gretsch-name-band-snare-drum-1960s-midnight-blue-pearl-at-nick-hopkin-drums

This Round Badge era 1960’s drum features all original hardware – tone control muffler, micro-sensitive strainer, drum key holder and key. Original die cast hoop and tension rods complete it.

Fitted with Aquarian heads and Puresound wires, the drum tunes up easily and sounds great. That Great Gretsch Sound.

Available at Nick Hopkin Drums with Worldwide shipping.