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

Slingerland Magnum 702 series

Well, its late in the day, but I have some time to sneak a quick write up on a tasty snare we have in store!

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If you’re looking for a great Rock snare drum, maybe your search ends here…. an early 1980s 14×8″ Slingerland Magnum 702 series maple snare drum! This 5 ply maple shell snare drum is featured in the 1983 Slingerland catalogue. This drum is in lovely condition, featuring all original hardware including 10 full length lugs,  stick-saver hoops and Slapshot strainer.

The Slapshot strainer has lovers and haters, the latter due to it’s cumbersome nature. Personally, I love any drums where the snare wires extend past the diameter of the shell, it seems that most of the classics do – Ludwig Super Sensitive, Premier 2000, Rogers Dynasonic, Slingerland Radio King, to name a few. This strainer is a little bulky, but is fully functional and with a good set of wires present adds to the sensitivity and versatility of this drum.

That said, I took this up to Northstone Studios with Jayce Lewis a few weeks ago, giving it a trial run – it definitely rocked, plenty of volume, great body with a nice, full sound due to the depth. All in all, a winner.

What a great snare drum, one we certainly don’t see everyday here in the UK. More details on the website.

Vintage drum musings…

Somehow it’s Friday. For the past two days I’ve had The Strokes debut album ‘Is this is?’ on heavy rotation, taking me back to 2001. I was living in Brighton around that time, helping a friend build a studio, and sleeping in the loft of that building as we did so. Mad times, working all hours, building an empire. I lost the plot somewhere around that time, and ended up moving to Wales via a sleepy village outside Brighton for a couple years where I met my wife. James did really well with the studio and it continues to grow – check it out Brighton Electric. If you’re on the South Coast of the UK, well worth checking out I’d say.

Back to now and I’m wondering if I can track down The Strokes drummer for a chat about recording that album, for our magazine Vintage Drums Legendary Sounds. He’s come up in my mind as I’ve been finalising a piece on Clem Burke for issue 3 and we’ve been talking about the whole New York sound;The Ramones, New York Dolls, Blondie, The Strokes…. We have a lot of other cool stuff in Issue 3, including articles on Charlie Watts and Ronnie Verrell, as well as behind the scenes recording a drum sample library and loads of knowledgeable contributions on vintage drums from a variety of sources. Almost there, looking at End February publishing date.

Looking around the shop I’m just seeing loads of cool snares! Yesterday we sold a nice 40’s Carlton Standard to Chris from White Feather Collective. I’m spoilt for choice to recommend one, but this Slingerland Sound King is one of my favourite drums. 14 x 6.5″ chrome over brass shell that just sounds great at any tuning, more common in the 5″ shell size, these drums are a must have in the studio arsenal.

Slingerland Sound King 6.5 snare drum available at Nick Hopkin Drums, www.nickhopkindrums.com

In an attempt to get the year off to a good start, I’ve been trying to tidy the shop. In doing so, I seem to be discovering boxes and boxes of vintage spares that aren’t listed on the website. Slowly but surely I am photographing and listing these, but it’s a long journey! If you’re still searching for that elusive spare part to complete your project or most loved snare/kit, do drop us a line and we’ll let you know what we have available.

Signing off on a fairly chilly Friday afternoon to update the website and get some orders packed and ready to ship tomorrow.

 

 

Snare of the day

Slingerland Radio King, 1958

This stunning late 1950’s Slingerland Radio King snare drum arrived at the shop this week. What can I say, one of the nicest sounding Radio King snare drums I’ve had in the shop for some time – some just sing when you hit them!

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Finished in Black Diamond Pearl, this 14 x 5.5″ solid maple shell is in lovely condition. The previous owner had this drum restored 10 years ago – the bearing edges were re-cut, as were the snare beds. The shell interior is date stamped 21 JUL 1958 and is in great condition, with original hardware fitted; twin felt internal tone control/muffler, Sticksaver hoops and Clamshell snare strainer and butt end. The lever on the strainer has been updated with a modern replica arm, which functions great (the original lever comes with the drum).

Fitted with Remo heads and Puresound wires, the drum tunes up easily and sounds like a dream. A wet one. More information on the website…

Snare of the day

Slingerland Standard Concert

This stunning Slingerland Standard Concert model snare drum arrived at the shop just before the Christmas holidays.

14 x 6.5″ 3 ply shell in Black Diamond Pearl in lovely condition with original hardware – Rapid strainer, Stick saver hoops, 16 lugs. Black Brass Niles badge serial number 57646, the interior of the shell is date stamped Feb 1965.

lingerland Standar Concert model snare drum 14x6.5 in Black diamond pearl at Nick Hopkin Drums, www.nickhopkindrums.com

As you can see, there’s some wear to the chrome on the batter side hoop, revealing the brass – the brass hoops adding real character to this drum. The tone is absolutely lovely, that warm vintage sound but with plenty of crack when played with a rim shot.

What can i say? A fairly rare drum in the UK, in fact we don’t come across many Slingerland snares deeper than a 5″. This was purchased from a collector in the USA. and selected for our shop, both due to its original condition and amazing tone.

You can view more details about this drum on the website.