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

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…

Snare of the day

Leedy ‘Shelly Manne’

This lovely Slingerland era Leedy snare arrived at the shop recently and is now on the website….

Leedy Shelly Manne Snare drum available at Nick Hopkin Drums www.nickhopkindrums.com

This drum was available 1958 – 1965 and was among the last Leedy drums manufactured. These Slingerland era drums feature 3 ply shells with chrome hardware; this model is fitted with a 3 point strainer and Slingerland’s stick saver hoops.

Finished in White Pearl, this 14 x 5.5″ snare drum is in lovely original condition – with the exception of new heads and snare wires. It tunes up nicely and has a nice, bright response. Although a long way from the original solid shell Ulysses Leedy drums of the early 30’s, this drum is fairly sought after by players and collectors alike.

More information on the website.