The 2 products that struck me at NAMM

Drumsinhisheart

Silver Member
Larry, keep in mind that The NAMM Show is (ostensibly) a trade show, not a retail event. The primary purpose, even though plenty of the public actually gets in to see it, is for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to get together and conduct trade. So the actual sound of the demo instruments is secondary to the appearance, marketability, and pricing structures of them. Frankly, this is one of the troubling sides of the music instrument industry, but to be honest it's no different from automobiles, electronic gadgets, home furnishings, etc., etc., in that regard. Mass production, mass marketing, and mass consumption lead to all the attention on curb appeal and price, and very little on longevity, performance, craftsmanship, or other indications of substance.

There are a few outcomes of this mindset. One is that preference is given to things that sell quickly on the retail floor, that provide fast turnover of investment without too much actual exploration of details. Another is the ongoing "race to zero" for how inexpensively a product can be made and marketed -- clearly seen in the extremely low-end (in all senses of the term) lines being offered by almost every major brand. And a third is the practice of innovation for innovation's sake, focusing on what's new and different for each year -- which produces not only planned obsolescence but also an awful lot of solutions for non-existent problems, and very few significant improvements overall.

Sorry if this sounds like a rant, but it disturbs me that so much of the music instrument industry is focused on churning the dollars instead of advancing the actual quality of the products. The fact that exhibitors didn't bother to tune their instruments well is just an indicator of the priorities in play.
Well said. The custom makers have a passion generally not found with the majors despite their hype. So many have come and gone, even really great makers of fine instruments. That's a shame. The custom and DIY movement had a lot of influence on the majors and what they had to bring to the table to stay current. It'd sad how things have dwindled down to dollars. Perhaps that is a sign of the times for most manufacturing today.
 

b4z

Member
This thread has me thinking about the 2014 namm show with Steve smith playing the sonor cocktail kit. Literally the worst Tom tuning I have heard, sounded like a kids plastic toy. It's on youtube. Then I'm thinking about the ddrum junior sized drumset I bought for my 4 year old Christmas Eve. That little music store tuned that damn thing to perfection. The 13" floor Tom will go down so low it's ridiculous. It just kills.
 

bradydrums

Senior Member
We were sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy some of the tunings on our snare drums, larryace. One complaint I have received last year was that our groups of snare drums, while sounding great, were all tuned within a similar range. It was suggested we get a little diversity on tuning this year, so we did. I personally would have taken 5 of the snares on display up to a much higher tuning, as we tend to tune considerably higher than our American counterparts and that's where I like to hear them for myself.

The drums were each tuned specifically at 5:00am Thursday morning, and re-tuned again around 10:00am on Friday morning, Saturday morning & Sunday morning. However, when large crowds of non-dealers are present, such as at a NAMM show, it is inevitable that the drums can get a little detuned throughout the day by an attendee with a drum key deliberately altering the settings, or an attendee (or child!) turning the knob for the snare strainer so the wires are loose / flabby, or beating the crap out of the gear with a non-musical touch. We try to be vigilant about these things but it does happen.

All of that said, did you get a chance to test all of the snare drums on display? For those that were tuned a little lower than preferred there were equal counterparts that were tuned higher to show off the instrument's tuning parameters (and sounded fabulous).
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
As Bo pointed out, it's about the high volume mass market business. There is a boutique sideshow looking for outlets but most of it is starter packages to a margin. "Little Johnny is coming into the store with Mom so we need to sell them something that won't put Mom into sticker shock and book Johnny into lessons, what kind of margin can I get on this boxed set?" That's what keeps the store open. Next you have the shiny objects, musical instrument jewelry for the doctor/lawyer set. Highly buffed lacquer over fancy veneers. Again sound is secondary. Get an impressive endorser to rave about the sound (or some shills on forums) and they'll move. Most of those customers don't have any tone in their hands anyway so they'll flip it for something else in 6 months. Mark it up as premium so they think it's special and again it's about margin.

It's business. Journeyman musicians aren't going to buy much new gear, they can't afford it. And the ranks of part timers with disposable income who are discerning players is a drop in the bucket to the industry.

I got into NAMM once about 10 years ago. Found myself at my friend Bruce Zinky's booth and spent about 10 minutes noodling through the production version of an amp he sold me the prototype of. Looked up and realized that I'd drawn a crowd, so I handed the guitar to the closest guy with a music store owners badge and called Bruce over.

I used to go to trade shows for the electronics assembly business that's my day job. One high volume SMT line is about a million dollars. When I was putting a proto line in at Dolby I only needed a budget about half that. A lot of reps wouldn't talk to me. Then I moved to a tier one contract manufacturer with 14 high volume lines and suddenly I was everybody's best friend. "Here, lets go into our private booth, have a drink and talk about the future." That's just the way it is.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
"Little Johnny is coming into the store with Mom so we need to sell them something that won't put Mom into sticker shock and book Johnny into lessons, what kind of margin can I get on this boxed set?" That's what keeps the store open.
This rings true to me. When I was looking to get into this hobby, I was amazed at the amount of misinformation and marketing that were thrown at me. Once I understood the rules of the game, I still had trouble buying what I wanted. I was constantly steered towards ZHTs and an intermediate kit. "Oh, you want Ludwig drums & Ludwig hardware?" GC staff looked at me like I was insane. "Yes, I want a Signet configured exactly like the picture of the Signet on the front page of Ludwig's catalog". I gave up in frustration 2 months later and bought a used Renown.

I wish there were a site for parents of to-be drummers, just so that the time and financial commitments could be clearly communicated up front. A site to tell them what boxes to save for resale. A timeline of expenditures. An explanation of just how much room in the mini-van will be taken up. How and where to resell to recoup costs. Reoccurring costs (heads, sticks, felts, sleeves).
 
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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I wish there were a site for parents of to-be drummers, just so that the time and financial commitments could be clearly communicated up front. A site to tell them what boxes to save for resale. A timeline of expenditures. An explanation of just how much room in the mini-van will be taken up. How and where to resell to recoup costs. Reoccurring costs (heads, sticks, felts, sleeves).
Have them visit this site. We're always talking about how beginners totally blow it when making their first purchases. Heck, have them PM me ;)
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
All of that said, did you get a chance to test all of the snare drums on display? For those that were tuned a little lower than preferred there were equal counterparts that were tuned higher to show off the instrument's tuning parameters (and sounded fabulous).
No, I just tapped on one of the snares, that happened to be tensioned on the low side. Disappointed with the tuning (like every other drum I heard from every other merchant there) so I just moved on. But like everyone says sound doesn't matter at a trade show lol. I still don't agree with that in any way, but whatever.

I hope my post was not construed as me not liking Brady drums, I like them very much. You guys make fine instruments.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Have them visit this site. We're always talking about how beginners totally blow it when making their first purchases. Heck, have them PM me ;)
We talk about shells and cymbals and drum related stuff. I've seen todd talk about some to the allstate-reqirements and a couple others talk about drumcorp. Non-musical parents need something more, because this is a strange instrument that has a number of non-obvious financial and logistical commitments.

Example: You're not going to get your kid 24/13/16 kit if the family car is a Prius with a booster seat in the rear, no matter how much he/she says it's what they want.

Perhaps we should discuss the parent thing in a "Parents of Drummers" thread or something. I'm getting to a point where my 5yr old is beginning to take an interest.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
Have them visit this site. We're always talking about how beginners totally blow it when making their first purchases. Heck, have them PM me ;)
...
Perhaps we should discuss the parent thing in a "Parents of Drummers" thread or something. I'm getting to a point where my 5yr old is beginning to take an interest.
Have you PM'd Bo?

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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
We talk about shells and cymbals and drum related stuff. I've seen todd talk about some to the allstate-reqirements and a couple others talk about drumcorp. Non-musical parents need something more, because this is a strange instrument that has a number of non-obvious financial and logistical commitments.

Example: You're not going to get your kid 24/13/16 kit if the family car is a Prius with a booster seat in the rear, no matter how much he/she says it's what they want.

Perhaps we should discuss the parent thing in a "Parents of Drummers" thread or something. I'm getting to a point where my 5yr old is beginning to take an interest.
There have been several times in my 10,000+ posts where we talked about people needing to know what they need to know. However, several times we've come to the conclusion that people only learn by making mistakes too, and it's all part of the learning curve. So we try to help as much as we can, but becoming a drummer, or any musician or artist, for that matter, means that there isn't really a methodology of how to go about it no matter how much there should be one.

For starters, people have to want to listen, but part of the fun about becoming a drummer is buying what you like, or what your current hero likes, and then you discover what works for you and what doesn't. I was a huge fan of Stewart Copeland back in the 80s and even attempted to play on a kit like his, and I discovered that what he plays and how he tunes did not work for the work I was doing at the time. I reckon a lot of drummers who show up at weddings with their amber vistalite Bonham kit find out the same thing as well ;)

So I get that people don't want to hear it, and unfortunately, you can get parents to listen, but the kid is the one who's not listening to the parents to begin with, eh?

On the one hand, this is bad for parents doling out the big bucks for their kid, on the other hand, it's good for all of us worker-bee drummers because it creates this huge market of people buying drum stuff that didn't really exist before the 1980s, and thus, keeps the prices reasonable for us.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
it is inevitable that the drums can get a little detuned throughout the day by an attendee with a drum key deliberately altering the settings, or an attendee (or child!) turning the knob for the snare strainer so the wires are loose / flabby, or beating the crap out of the gear with a non-musical touch.
A most valid point Kelly, & anyone who's run a booth will experience the same "honour" of watching "not so little Johnny" with his group of captive fans mercilessly wailing the living shit out of that beautiful instrument you poured a lifetime of love into crafting. I have zero tolerance of that, & firmly (but politely) suggest they visit the Mapex booth ;)

Brady, & other companies run with passion by hands on proprietors, tend to approach things more personally than some examples of indifferent reps at these shows. It's just how it rolls.
 

steadypocket

Gold Member
A most valid point Kelly, & anyone who's run a booth will experience the same "honour" of watching "not so little Johnny" with his group of captive fans mercilessly wailing the living shit out of that beautiful instrument you poured a lifetime of love into crafting. I have zero tolerance of that, & firmly (but politely) suggest they visit the Mapex booth ;)

Brady, & other companies run with passion by hands on proprietors, tend to approach things more personally than some examples of indifferent reps at these shows. It's just how it rolls.
Hands on proprietors who are passionate about their craft rule. They just do.
 
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