A classic Mr. Rogers

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Picked up this 14×5 chrome over brass Rogers Dynasonic snare a few months ago with all the patina of a well aged drum. Luckily all the dirt & grime is superficial and the drum cleaned up nicely.
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5 lines across the shell, oval badge, serial numbers in the 5’s , white muffler, and one piece bottom snare guard put this in the mid-70’s range.

Chrome over Brass shell.
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Swivomatic snare strainer, secure on/off locking position. Roger’s Swivomatic line of hardwares were very innovative back in the day, even artists endorsing other drum companies would install swivomatic tom mounts and use Rogers stands with their kit.
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The snare bridge – this is the key feature of a Dynasonic snare drum. The bridge allows the snare wire tension to be set independent to how tight the wires are pressed against the shell. It does take some fine tuning though , I had to spend some time on a vintage Rogers forum to determine the best way to set up the snare.

Combined with the ultra shallow 0.004″ snare bed this makes for a super sensitive snare drum across all tension ranges.
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This drum is loud! I played it beside a 14×5 Acrolite and it has more highs, more response, and a more solid tone. Just a honking beast.

However I’ve decided to let it go to someone who can make more use of it, as I have been doing all my teaching and playing on electric kits lately. Much like the Ayotte kit that I used to have, great stuff, wrong time. Much happier to see it being used.

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Review – Mapex Black Panther Velvetone & Kickports.

Had a chance to play a very nice set of Mapex Black Panther Velvetone (maple/walnut/maple shells) this past weekend for a conference, and the drumkit was loaded with kick ports on all the toms and two kickports on the bass drums.

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22b/10/12/14f/16f w/ 14 snare standard 6 piece kit in regular sizes (not shallow toms)

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The snare was cranked tight and was crisp and had plenty of body, rim shot had plenty of life but didn’t blend with the shell’s tone as much as a metal snare would. The SonicSaver hoops (Sticksavers copy, really) did a good job focusing the tone from an Ambassadors batter head, the rest of the hardwares felt solid to the touch and strainer adjusted with a satisfying ‘click’.
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Bass drum was the highlight of the kit. 22×18 thump in the chest, the more I lay into it the more low frequency seemed to open up. Noticeably deeper than maple shells, but the warmth was retained by the sandwiched maple plies. I’m a fan. Hardware quality also very high but the spurs design seems outdated compared to other big names like Pearl / DW / Yamaha that uses bigger gear-teeth that instills confidence.
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Toms : Yuck. All the toms were fitted dead pin-stripes and Factory Remo reso with a Kickport FX opening a 2″ hole at the bottom. They might work wonders on studio sessions, but on the a live set they are positively concert-tom sounding, with the 10″ being the biggest offender. No body at all, just attack.  The 12″ was decent, considering the 2″ hole.
14″ floor tom was absolutely dead no matter what I do, I tried tuning up the batter, the bottom(with hole) but to no avail.
16″ floor tom was the saviour of the bunch, plenty of boom and I got the same sense of “bass opening up” when I lay into it.
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Hardwares : Everything worked as it should except for the nylon joints that are designed tight so even when you have loosened the bolt you would need to excerpt force to adjust the tubes. This is a super annoying design because when you raise up the toms, the friction would pull the tripod up along with the top portion, so you need another arm to keep the tripod in place, and then a third arm to tighten the bolt. That means it’s not always possible to adjust your stands from behind the kit and at times you need to walk around to the front to do so. C’mon even Gilbraltar got it figured out.
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Would I own a set of walnut drums? I wouldn’t mind, actually there’s a 4-piece shell pack on ebay now for $1,600. Skip the Mapex hardware, snare and the 14″ tom, leaving only the good stuff. It would be a toss up for me between these walnut drums and a set of DW Design Series.

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Missed connection

I had been searching for a 13″ snare for a while and came across this Gretsch 13×7 walnut snare at guitar center a few months back. Hands down the best 13″ I’ve heard anywhere. Throaty, smooth tone with a solid crack. The 13″ pork pie little squealer is also nice, but not nearly as warm and responsive as this Gretsch .

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It was going for $350 everywhere but someone is blowing them out for $195 on amazon and eBay! I’d get one if I actually had a use for it.
Someone buy it please ! Buy them all so I don’t have to look at the ad every five minute.

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Recording.. The lo-fi way

Click track from the phone mp3, prerecorded piano on garageband,
Drum audio out to garageband input,

Play along to click track with no sound and magically turn into drum tracks on garageband .

Then match it with piano track on GB.

I need an audio interface… Or at least a audio splitter so I can hear what I’m playing.

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Best gear, wrong sound

G Stone 10th anniversary and singer Ludia Li. Classic Chinese pop tunes, proved to be too much for the A Customs . they wash out too quick and all blended in and sounded the same. Should’ve brought the Sabian AAX’s.
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Soundman also said the toms are too muddy and kept asking me to tune up. Might have to try powerstroke 3 next time. Or maybe muffle the bottom heads a bit.
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EC2 on G1 right now.

My all time favorite drum sound is a 2000’s 16×14 Pearl Export hanging floor tom with pinstripe top and coated diplomat with an extra thin (akin the heads from a student drumkit) homemade collar underneath, sandwiched in a powerstroke-type set up. Just so boomy and deep.
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Troll lamp that slides down halfway through every song and blocks off half the charts.
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Major action in the backstage.

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Borrowed my friend’s hihat jingle, added some much needed texture.

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I’m digging the smoke-chrome wrap.
Also tuned up the CF snare w/ genera dry on top, sounded good for this theater.
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Also raised the China up higher, all for show!

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Good show all in all, always a blessing to be able to jam with other musicians. I always think Chinese oldies sound very similar to metal tunes. Just need more distortion. Who wants to form a Chinese oldies metal band with me?

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Purity..

I’m a sucker for conformity and I used to go out of my way to get gears from the same brand. (Once waited 16 months for a Tama multi clamp..)
Just realized last week that my current set up is a mismatch batch of Pearl Tama Yamaha DW Gibraltar Tempus Sabian Zildjian LP Evans Remo AND Aquarian. And I hate Aquarians.

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In other news, I probably don’t have OCD.

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YEAH SHOW 4000

Helped out at a 4,000 people strong function last week , finally got to take the Tempus out with the new wrap and lugs!

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I managed to find enough lugs just days before the show, definitely was cutting it close. (And of course two days after I bought everything a complete Stage Custom Nouveau drumset appeared on Craigslist with everything I need for dirt cheap. OF COURSE.)

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All in all it wasn’t too much hassle, just needed to be patient when wrapping to prevent bubbles and find some washers to compensate for the extra thin shells. Oh and some extra tension rod to match the lugs that now rests at a different distance away from the hoops.

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Came out pretty good i’d say. Add lightness!

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The soundman gave me a hard time because the toms rumble too much. For some people even an EMAD w/ thick rings and a regulator is still too live. I’m doing another show with the same sound guy next week.. Perhaps I will change that. Or just bring some buckets.

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The CF snare had a lot of ring and I tried a genera Dry on top, much too dead… So I swapped it for my trusted Supra.

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Annnd the snare cord broke after 6 songs. Halfway through song 7 I went salsa mode. Although my friends who were there said they didn’t notice it. Figures, as we were only the opening act. Everyone was there to see cell celebrities from HK.

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Anyway, back to the CF snare it is..

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Good show , good show. God knows we did our part. No pressure.

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Cymbal meet

Got together with a few fellow drummers tonight and checked out each others cymbals , good to finally hear some different models and how each person uses it.

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Some of my favorites :
– Sabian AA Xplosion crashes , really expressive ,Chad Smith wasn’t kidding!
– Zildjian A Custom Thins anything : sounds like butter! Opens up nicely at low volume.
– Sabian HHX anything
– Zildjian K anything (my friend Adrian laid down some tasty licks on those hats. I need to up my game to become worthy of those brass!)
Sabian AA Chinese 18″. Sounds just right.

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Some duds :
– Zildjian New Beats (cold and gongy)
– Zildjian Quick beats (very 1 dimensional )
– Sabian AA Studio anything ( lifeless and gongy)
– Zildjian A crashes (too heavy)

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surprises :
Sonic 20″ ride – surprisingly expressive and warm sounding .
Zildjian A crash – horrible. lifeless .
Zildjian ZBT rock hats – very nice when closed. 
Sabian B8 anything – the only reason we all had it was because we were young and gullible.

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Looking forward to next time ! Gotta pick their brains some more!

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Back to work!

Back to work after a summer break. Been meaning to update my Tempus set for a while now. Time to hustle before the show at the end of this month!

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I’ve always wanted to build a set using Yamaha’s super light nouveau lugs. Add lightness!

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Need another snare… Anyone got a nouveau they don’t use? Let me know!

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So it begins

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