Why vintage gear??

What is it about vintage gear that makes me drool?

I’m 23 years old, born in 1985.  So “vintage” drums (in my eyes) were created at least ten years before I was born.  I own a early to mid seventies Gretch “stop-sign” badge kit, and every time I play it, I fall in love all over again.

I’m wondering why exactly these drums and other drums like them hold such a high place in my heart.  There’s a few things I feel like I need to be clear about first though; why these drums shouldn’t make me drool…

  • The hardware isn’t as solid.  This is an easy one.  I don’t care how many people rave about the Rogers Swiv-O-Matic pedals/mounts, they simply aren’t as solid.  I see absolutely no reason to use these things, especially the tom mounts (unless you’re trying to keep it all original):  In fact, when Gary Gauger created RIMS mounts in 1980, everything else was immediately rendered outdated and useless.  And pedals and hi-hat stands are the same way… I’m sure some people still swear by Ludwig Speed Kings, but I’ll take a modern DW 5000 or my Tama Iron Cobra any day of the week.
  • The drums weren’t necessarily as well made.  Interestingly enough, the idea of the “sound reinforcing ring” is coming back into vogue.  I know Tama and DW offer them currently, and I’m sure most custom companies do as well.  People like them now for the effect they supposedly have on the tone, “warming up” the sound of the drum.  But what is used now as a sort of tone-enhancer was originally used for a much more utilitarian purpose-keeping the drums in round.  For an interesting article on this topic you can check out this page.
  • The shells were not as 100% anything.  To my knowledge, the shells on my Gretsch kit (Jasper) are maple/gumwood.  Gumwood, eh?

That aside, let me say I obsess over the sound of my kit.  “That Great Gretsch Sound” is due not to the alchemic silver sealer (GASP) but a combination of the maple/gumwood shells, die-cast hoops (which choke the drum a little), clunky hardware, and 30 degree or less bearing edges.  In other words, the reasons we SHOULDN’T like these drums are actually the reasons we do! I love the sound of vintage drums because they capture a way of making musical instruments that the world will never again see.

Trust me, I like technology.  My Tama Starclassics have precision bearing edges, perfectly rounded, thin shells, and the latest suspension mounts and hardware designs, all designed to optimize performance and resonance and minimize weight.  I love these drums.  But part of my heart will go out to my way-too-heavy-for-their-sizes 22×14 kick (ten lugs, mind you!), 13×9 rack tom, and 16×16 floor tom.


A Warning.

By the way…  I chose to update this because I’m going to start writing a little more regarding my first love, drums/music.  I’m only 23, so I’m wrong about a lot of stuff (and please let me know if I am).  However, I’ve been blessed enough to teach private lessons for about five years now, and have anywhere from 25-30 students a week, so I’ll be sharing any insight I might glean from them.

I also will review any gear that might come in to my hands, along with the occasional album that fits my fancy.  I am really going to try to update this thing at least once a week.  However, those of you who know and just read that sentence are undoubtedly rolling your eyes, so we shall see.

Have a good sunday!

New heads!

Betcha thought I’d never update this again!  Well, I’m avoiding homework on a Sunday afternoon, so I figured I might as well.

Excited for some new drum heads coming in–Morgan Young , my drum teacher and mentor, just turned me on to Remo’s new line of Vintage A snare heads.  2-ply, coated, except instead of two 7 mil plies (see Emperor, etc.) it’s a 7.5 mil and a 3 mil.  Paired with his 14×5.5 Masters Birch snare, there’s not a better sounding drum around IMO.

BONUS:  I just found out they expanded the Vintage A heads to a full tom line (!) and promptly ordered a set for my Starclassics instead of the usual Emperors I’ve used for so long.  Update on the tom sound soon.

A Delightful Evening.

To relax after a normal day, I put on my smoking jacket and retired to the deck to enjoy my pipe and a glass of wine.  This evening’s pairing was a  glass of St. James’ Winery Country Red, which I complimented with a bowl of Mclelland 2010 Classic Virginia Flake enjoyed through my Kaywoodie straight prince.

The Mclelland Virgina tobacco and my Kaywoodie are a proven combination for me; the 2010, like most good Virginias, improved towards the bottom of the bowl.  It’s taken me a while, but if smoked correctly the tobacco near the bottom can be stoved while the top is burning, and I was able to achieve that balance.  A Virginia can taste like hot air if you pack it too light or smoke it too fast, and I’ve found the key (something tells me this is universal to pipe smoking) is to continually let the pipe smoke as if it was about to go out; it’s a delicate balance.  I was once reminded by a fellow pipe smoker that complex chemical processes are going on as the flakes burn; it is not wise to smoke it too hard or else it will become very harsh.

The wine was very good as well.  It’s a semi-sweet red, which I have found to be my favorite type of red usually.  Definitely fruity, with a good mouthfeel, and a nice, bright aftertaste.  However, when combined with the sweet taste and aromatic of the Mclelland 2010, it was almost too tangy.  Between a few puffs on the pipe, I was ready for something a little lighter and drier; together the two left a sweet taste in my mouth that was definitely enjoyable, but for lack of a better term, unexciting for my palate.  I think next time I might try a drier riesling coupled with the Virginia to see if I can vary the experience a little.

Until next time, then?

RE: Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus

I will come out and say it:  I completely support Miley Cyrus’s place in the music business. 

Yesterday at the music store I heard a few kids making fun of her and how bad the music is and whatnot, and I about joined in the conversation.  However, after a few moments I realized that most of her fans are around fourteen and under, I realized what she is doing is absolutely fantastic.  Here’s why:

  • Kids are excited about pop music.  Guaranteed it’s not the Beatles, but I teach drum lessons in a music store and three years ago I couldn’t get any ten-year-old kid pumped about music.  Hitting drums, maybe, but not music.  Now every single kid under fourteen that’s enrolled in my studio has her albums and listens to them religiously.
  • Kids are excited about musical instruments.  At the music store we have kids coming in all the time wanting to learn how to play guitar and sing like Miley Cyrus.  And as a result of that, I have a twelve year old student that’s starting a band with a few of his friends that are trying to play her songs.  Twelve year olds playing in a rock band!  Again, they’re not playing Zeppelin, but hey, you have to start somewhere.  Guaranteed when I was that age I was listening to STP, the Smashing Pumpkins and Soundgarden, but I was a weirdo.  Most kids were listening to Puff Daddy and Britney Spears, and a musical diet like that is akin to growing up eating nothing but Ho Hos and Slim Jims for every meal.
  • Kids are excited about concerts!  Miley Cyrus sold out a 12,000 seat auditorium in eight minutes flat.  12,000 seats.  In eight minutes.  Guess who most of the concert goers were?  Kids.  Young kids.  I wasn’t excited about going to concerts until I was at least a 7th grader, let alone seven years old.  Geez.

Just some thoughts:)


The Jerk Arminian.

So Joel just posted the Mark Driscoll quote that gives me so much trouble, and I realized something. So many Calvinists I know or have heard of either elitists or jerks. They all have this complex that they know everything that comes out of their mouth is truth. They have the whole “God’s sovereignty wins” trump card that beats me in every theological discussion I’ve ever had. Man. I’m sick of reacting with love… time fight fire with fire!

When’s the last time you heard an Arminian talk with the cocky confidence a Calvinist seems to have? Didn’t think so. I’ve never met a prick Armenian before.

So, I decided I’m going to be that guy. The Jerk Arminian. I can’t wait for the next time a theological argument comes up! I can just imagine…

Calvinist: So, Derek, how have you been growing in your faith lately?

Me: Oh, you know. I’m being drawn closer tot he image of Christ every day, because my understanding of how God relates with mankind actually makes room for spiritual formation.

Calvinist: I wonder if I’m part of the elect…

Me: Can’t really know if you’re a Calvinist, can you? According to you, Jesus wasn’t powerful enough to save EVERYONE.

Calvinist: I’ve really been feeling my depravity lately.

Me: I haven’t. Jesus is actually at work inside me, changing my nature to be like his. In fact, I’m completely sanctified. And you’re a heretic.

Man, I can’t wait.

(p.s. Please don’t take this seriously. I don’t hate Calvinists, nor do I think they’re self-righteous jerks. Nor am I going to be a jerkoff Arminian. Yet.)

Don’t Bash It Until You Try It.

Regarding a certain conversation I had with some friends at Culver’s a few Sundays back, I submit to you this statement.

Today, Sam Burke and I dined at the one and only Country Catfish restaurant in Kokomo.

And Sam said it was good.


Love, Derek