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Old 02-25-2013, 09:45 PM
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Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
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Default Yamaha DS-550U throne review

In one of my last threads about lightening up my hardware to getting some lightweight Yamaha stuff, I mentioned that in reality, the heaviest thing we drummers are carrying around is the throne. Granted, we as drummers are the heaviest part of the kit, so it's understandable that we need a nice heavy-duty throne to handle the person playing the drums.

For the last 10 years at least, I've owned the heaviest DW throne available to me at the time, and it continues to serve me well. In fact, in the last couple of years, I've upgraded the seat top to a Roc-n-soc that's a little wider and maybe a pound or so heavier than the original DW seat top (which I still sometimes prefer, oddly enough).

But for the last three years or so, I've often wondered how I could lighten my load. Carrying around the DW throne with the Roc-n-soc seat top literally adds close to 30 pounds in my trap case. When I was younger, I'd manage to get everything into one trap case and deal with it. Nowadays I split the hardware into the trap case and nice heavy duty hardware bag so I'm not killing myself to load one heavy thing.

Now as most of you know, I've gotten brand new lightweight Yamaha hardware and couldn't be happier (7-series hi-hat and snare stands, and 6-series straight cymbal stands). I was a little reluctant on getting a lightweight throne, but I think the Yamaha DS-550U light weight throne has cured me of that.

This throne weighs in at maybe 6 pounds, comes with a 2" padded seat that's 12" round. The legs do the usual folding against the stand for pack-up, but there's no wing nut at the bottom when you extend the legs to lock them in place. They just stay there once you fold them out. The height adjustment tube (and I think this is the big improvement over other thrones designed like this one) has a knurled finish as opposed to being smoothly chromed. The memory lock really locks into place on it, and for the life of me I can't get it to slip. I'm not going to stand on it and jump up and down, but when I'm sitting on it and really playing hard, it just doesn't budge. The wing nut that holds the seat top to the height adjustment tube doesn't budge either, keeping it from twisting (which is another major cause of back pain over time from drumming - this is why canister thrones are so good for your back too - the seat must remain rigid).

The only issue I have to deal with is it feels like it rocks a little, only because of the lack of a wing nut holding the bottom legs out. The play is minimal, maybe about 1/8" of an inch if I rock on the seat, but that's it. So you may find it negligible. I might have a hole tapped for a wingnut in the future, but right now I'm getting used to it.

Overall, the plusses of having a super light throne outweigh that one little issue. Obviously, if your rear-end is large, maybe a 12" round seat won't work out, but the height adjustment tube will accommodate other seat tops, but when I tried my Roc-n-soc top on it, although it does work, it defeated the purpose of carrying around a light weight throne. I'm small, so the 12" size works, and the 2" padding is sufficient for my arse. I've done 6-hour rehearsals on it so far and not only does it not fail, I'm not wishing I brought my big Rock-n-soc either.

So if you're looking to lighten your load, I recommend this throne. Granted, it may not survive 10 years of abuse like my DW one, but I also didn't spend $180 for it, either. I found this one used for $40. New with free shipping makes them about $60. I can easily afford another one and won't cry about the replacement. For me, it's cool that I can now get all my hardware into a small trapcase and not kill my back loading it into the truck. I just realize I'm no longer in my 20s. I don't want my workout being the load-in and load-out of the gig. I want to save myself for the actual playing! Now go get one ;)

EDIT: I also wanted to add that it's nice to see my big zep kit not surrounded by a chrome forest. I always thought it a bit oxymoronic to have this nice thin-shelled vintage drum kit being supported by hardware designed to be able to jack a car up on it. If I can get strong and light that almost disappears, that puts the emphasis back on the drums. And that's cool. Although, I have to admit, just showing up somewhere (anywhere) with a 26" bass drum is an event.
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