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  #1  
Old 01-11-2010, 06:57 AM
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Default Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

What's up everyone!?

I'm sort of new here so allow me to introduce myself by showing you the gear I'm using right now. My gigging setup is pretty minimal but this is the rig I use at home. It's symmetrical in terms of having a ride, crash, china, splash, hi-hat, bass drum pedal, two toms on each side. I can play completely left handed, completely right handed, or anywhere in between. What I'm really into is independence, coordination, and ostinatos so this setup allows me to work on all of that very comfortably.

Please check out my YouTube page for examples of my playing!
http://www.youtube.com/mattwalker21

Artwork is another passion of mine. I did all of the work on my bass drum, tom, and snare drum heads. Please drop by my deviantART page for a gallery of my work!
http://mattwalker21.deviantart.com/

I'll throw down some complete specs if anyone requests but for now I'll just get to the pictures! Thanks for taking a look and please don't hesitate with any questions or comments.







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Old 01-11-2010, 07:00 AM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

Here's another batch.















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Old 01-11-2010, 07:00 AM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

...and why not a picture of myself with them:P.

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Old 01-11-2010, 08:22 AM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on of the most unique kits I've ever seen. I love your heads, are they handpainted or is it a digital design that painted upon them? The finish of your kit is also something else, I've never seen a bassdrum with a fade from top to bottom. I like it very much.
Please give us al the specs you can.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:23 AM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

Welcome to the forum Matt. Great looking and innovative kit you have there. I listened to some of your stuff. Very clever & skillful plus a great sound, especially the snare. I'd like to ask, what genre of music do you play using the style of drumming on the video's? I can imagine an experimental style of jazz rock or similar but I'm struggling to think of anything else.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:42 AM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

What sort of kit is that? The badges are unknown to me. Great head shot. Cannot hear you on youtube due to my crap pc. Sorry. Welcome to the forum.

Looks like a Yamaha.
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Old 01-11-2010, 01:23 PM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

I love the fade on the bass drum, I've always thought it should go like that...
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Old 01-11-2010, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

I also love the fade on the bass drum versus the others. It is such a unique kit. Your artwork is very well done and tasteful. Interesting use of the racks too. I absolutely love your kit! Stunning!
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Old 01-11-2010, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

Very clean set-up; everything is gorgeous!

Is that a panda spitting out a rainbow on your snare drum?
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:26 PM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

That thing is insanely beautiful! Be careful though, there's a snake in your bassdrum ;)
I really like the heads... but doesn't that wear off real quick if you play it?
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:37 PM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

That is one of the most gorgeous kits I've ever seen. I too absolutely love the fade on the bass drum. The gold hardware really sets it off. The setup is equally interesting, looks extremely comfortable and unique!...Congrats and welcome!!!
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:55 PM
Tyler Adamson Tyler Adamson is offline
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

I love the art work on your heads. Is it something that you are going to be selling? If so I might be interested in buying a few for my new kit.
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  #13  
Old 01-12-2010, 12:39 AM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

Absolutely stunning... quite simply one of the best looking kits ive ever seen :)

(and you know it you lucky devil)

I dont normally like gold hardware at all, but here, against the turquoise and natural shells its perfectly at home, and its an incredibly tasteful choice. The heads are inspired too.

Good stuff indeed.
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:14 AM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

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Originally Posted by shrink View Post
Absolutely stunning... quite simply one of the best looking kits ive ever seen :)

(and you know it you lucky devil)

I dont normally like gold hardware at all, but here, against the turquoise and natural shells its perfectly at home, and its an incredibly tasteful choice. The heads are inspired too.

Good stuff indeed.
Agree. VERY tasteful setup. Ive always liked the natural/turqoise fade, and the gold hardware fits beautifully. Specs are never a bad thing (hint hint)

With all of the HHX's it looks like it would cost almost as much as my house.

PS. GET THOSE IN A MUSIC VIDEO
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:25 AM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

Quote:
Originally Posted by frank0072 View Post
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on of the most unique kits I've ever seen. I love your heads, are they handpainted or is it a digital design that painted upon them? The finish of your kit is also something else, I've never seen a bassdrum with a fade from top to bottom. I like it very much.
Please give us al the specs you can.
Thank you! The designs are hand drawn by me on the head with markers (usually Sharpie or Prismacolor). Actually, the bass drum was done using a Prismacolor paint marker but most of my work is done with normal felt markers like Sharpies.

Here's a list of specs for everyone. Hopefully it will address some of the questions other people have.

Drums:
Conaway Custom Drums - Natural to blue fade with brass hardware
This includes a perpendicular fade direction on the bass drum. I've always thought that's the way it should go. This way, the fade looks consistent when the drums are all set up!

8x7
10x6
12x7
14x10
20x18

Tama Starclassic Performer 14x5.5 Snare Drum - Transparent Black

Also, sitting behind the set is another workhorse snare I often use:
Pearl Virgil Donati Signature Snare 14x5

Cymbals:
Sabian (except for one Wuhan)

20" HHX China
20" Legacy O-Zone Ride
17" HH Dark Crash
9" Prototype Splash/China
14" Legacy Hats
10" Legacy Splash (top hat), 9" Terry Bozzio Radia Bell (bottom hat)
21" Legacy Ride
18" Legacy Crash
12" Wuhan China
18 HH Thin China

Hardware:
Pearl

Eliminator Pedals and Hi-hats
ICON rack (customized here and there)
Spring cushioned throne
Gyro Lock Snare Stand (it was a gift but if you gig a lot, which I do, you may not want to consider it because it's really heavy)

Heads
Evans

Coated G Plus tom batters
Clear G1 tom resos
Coated G1 snare batter
Hazy 300 snare side
Aquarian Superkick II bass batter (I was trying it out but will go back to single ply EMAD when it needs replacing)
EMAD Resonant (without the muffle rings) on bass reso


Again, all the artwork on the heads was done personally by me. It makes things more interesting than just the plain, blank heads. My designs don't get worn off at all because I apply them to the backside of the head, not the top of the batter that you play on. The actual design is inside the drum and never gets touched. I have done commissions for my work in the past and definitely welcome any more if anyone is interested. Fair warning, though, it may take months for me to complete anything because my schedule is really hectic. I'm in my last couple semesters of a Bachelor of Arts and Science degree in Physics and Religious Studies (odd combination, I know) so my artwork unfortunately has to take a backseat to my schoolwork as well as all the gigging I do.

And, yes, that is in fact a panda spitting a rainbow on my snare drum:P. If you check out my gallery you'll see that I have a pretty healthy obsession with pandas, haha.

Hopefully that addresses everyone's questions. Thank you so much for all of your really generous comments! I really appreciate it!! And, please, don't hesitate with any more questions, comments, or picture requests you may have!
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:45 AM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

Oops, I forgot to answer this one!


Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
Welcome to the forum Matt. Great looking and innovative kit you have there. I listened to some of your stuff. Very clever & skillful plus a great sound, especially the snare. I'd like to ask, what genre of music do you play using the style of drumming on the video's? I can imagine an experimental style of jazz rock or similar but I'm struggling to think of anything else.
I play pretty much all styles of music. That phrase gets bandied about pretty liberally but I play gigs with bands ranging from big band, small jazz group, pop cover tunes, musical/comedy revues, pop-punk, math metal and everything in between. Most of my income comes from playing Real Book jazz stuff at dinners, cocktails, luncheons, etc and playing music and comedy revue shows with a local theatre company (this music has covered pop, R&B, musicals, movie themes, disco, country etc).

That said, I do have some projects of my own that play more experimental stuff that incorporates the odd times, fancy footwork, and ostinato independence. I love stretching out and playing really weird, modern jazz with small jazz groups. It's a lot of fun to take a corny old jazz standard like Blue Monk or something and turn it on its head into something really strange and wild.

The kind of independence, coordination, ostinato stuff I work on really applies to everything I play. These skills are applicable to all drumset playing, even if you're just playing a boom-chuck rock beat or straight ahead swing. First of all, it gives me the physical facility to comp any rhythm I want with any appendage or sound source I want. It also gives me the cognitive facility to come up all of the different phrases, textures, and ideas that I might want to play or interact with my band mates.

This playing is directly applicable, however, to solo drumset playing. My heroes are among the likes of Terry Bozzio, Grant Collins, and Chad Wackerman (just to name a few). The independence and coordination they use to create ostinatos and multi-layered, drumset compositions absolutely blows me away. It really is on the cutting edge of musical expression and technical possibility on the drumset. If I could one day be a tenth of the musician that Terry Bozzio is, I would be a very happy man indeed.
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:34 PM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

That's a really really really nice kit!!!!!
I like your rack system, it's the same idea as the Gibraltar Stealth hardware, isn't it?
And then that finish........ lovely!!
But what is that thing in your bassdrum in the first picture??

You say you play all kinds of music, also math metal. Is that the Dream Theater stuff with odd time signatures?

Bram
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:17 PM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

When I read the thread title, I thought, "Well, this sounds interesting." I was right.

Cool videos too. It really helps to see the kit in action. What I like about it is there are a lot of components to it, but the way you have it set up makes it quite compact. In fact, I noticed you don't twist your torso at all to play anything out to the left or right. I also like how you are maximizing the use of every limb. Anyway, very cool stuff.
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

Thats another one of the standout kits I've seen here. Gorgeous drums and your artwork is tasteful, it could so easily have detracted from the beauty of the shells.

I love the symmetry idea, its great to see people working on it.

Just out of curiosity, do you play open handed all the time? Or do you cross your hands on the left sided hi hat to play the standard way at all?

Thanks for posting the pics


Sean
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:41 PM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

Hey Matt, thanks for taking the time to explain everything. One thing I don't get is how the artwork goes under the head. Do you 'paint' it on the bottom or do you put a piece of paper (or whatever) and 'glue' that to the drumhead?
With the first option you would be able to recycle the artwork instead of having to make new ones every time your heads need to be changed. The second option will affect the sound I'm afraid.
But anyways, you have inspired me a lot. I might do something to a clear head I've got around here somewhere maybe soon...
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Old 01-13-2010, 01:58 AM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

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Originally Posted by Bram View Post
That's a really really really nice kit!!!!!
I like your rack system, it's the same idea as the Gibraltar Stealth hardware, isn't it?
And then that finish........ lovely!!
But what is that thing in your bassdrum in the first picture??

You say you play all kinds of music, also math metal. Is that the Dream Theater stuff with odd time signatures?

Bram
Thanks! I wasn't really that familiar with Gibralter's Stealth stuff but I just looked into it and I guess it is a similar idea. I don't have the snare on its own separate stand, although that would be nice. Basically, I'm just trying to get the rack to have the smallest footprint and most economical setup possible. For quite some time I had a bar spanning across the centre and mounted the toms and some cymbals off of that but that was bulky looking and took up more space than I would like. This summer I had the idea that I could put my setup together using two separate racks on each side. It involved cutting down some rack tubes and doing some tricky things with stands and angles but I eventually got it done. It really allows the drums and cymbals to be seen and, most importantly, it allows me much easier access to my bass drum when I take it out for gigs. I don't have to worry about maneuvering around a centre rack bar or clams when I'm taking the bass in and out.

And the thing in my bass drum is just a little stuffed snake from a fair or something. It guards my bass drum from mice, rats (well, not rats since Alberta is "rat free"), and other rodent pests:P.

I do like playing Dream Theater kind of stuff but I'd say that's more along the lines of prog metal. Math metal is more like Dillinger Escape Plan and Meshuggah and other similar "angular" approaches to metal. It can sound frantic, choppy, disjointed, mind-numbing, and just all around crazy. Basically, these bands are taking tension and dissonance to the edge by employing rhythmic tools to their fullest. This can be odd time signatures, extremely long phrases, extremely short and choppy phrases, and all kinds of stuff like that. DEP sounds very frantic with times and phrases changing constantly and making huge dynamic changes on a dime. Meshuggah has more of a minimalist approach where they'll play a melodic figure or time signature that repeats every, say, 23 beats or something like that, between only two or three notes. There's a lot of layering that goes into this kind of stuff with lots of extreme tension and release. A few friends of mine muck around with this kind of stuff and I write things here and there on the computer but it's really difficult to write or find players that can pull it off together so I mostly just play along with records and stuff like that.
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:01 AM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

Quote:
Originally Posted by boomstick View Post
When I read the thread title, I thought, "Well, this sounds interesting." I was right.

Cool videos too. It really helps to see the kit in action. What I like about it is there are a lot of components to it, but the way you have it set up makes it quite compact. In fact, I noticed you don't twist your torso at all to play anything out to the left or right. I also like how you are maximizing the use of every limb. Anyway, very cool stuff.
Thank you so much! I really appreciate you taking a look and hearing what you think. A goal of mine is to be able to play anything I want with any limb. Why does your right hand have to always be better than your left, or your right foot better than your left, or your hand better than your foot, for that matter? I don't know if it'll ever be possible to have all the limbs on the same page but it certainly can't hurt to try!
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:05 AM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

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Originally Posted by Doom View Post
Thats another one of the standout kits I've seen here. Gorgeous drums and your artwork is tasteful, it could so easily have detracted from the beauty of the shells.

I love the symmetry idea, its great to see people working on it.

Just out of curiosity, do you play open handed all the time? Or do you cross your hands on the left sided hi hat to play the standard way at all?

Thanks for posting the pics


Sean
I usually try to play open handed as much as I can. My jazz independence isn't as up to snuff with my left hand riding so on gigs I'll usually cross my right hand over when playing the hi-hat. Here and there I'll cross my left hand over to the right side hi-hat and play the traditional way I lefty would, just to muck with it. The open handed approach really is what I prefer for everything if I can execute what my ears want me to play that way. It just feels so less constricted and ergonomic to me.
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:07 AM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

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Originally Posted by frank0072 View Post
Hey Matt, thanks for taking the time to explain everything. One thing I don't get is how the artwork goes under the head. Do you 'paint' it on the bottom or do you put a piece of paper (or whatever) and 'glue' that to the drumhead?
With the first option you would be able to recycle the artwork instead of having to make new ones every time your heads need to be changed. The second option will affect the sound I'm afraid.
But anyways, you have inspired me a lot. I might do something to a clear head I've got around here somewhere maybe soon...
Basically, what I do is just flip the drumhead over and draw all the designs on the underside of the head. I use markers mostly, not a thick material like paint, so the ink doesn't really affect the sound that much, if at all. I certainly haven't noticed any differences between the sound and tuning qualities of a head with my artwork on it versus a blank one.
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:44 PM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

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Originally Posted by mattwalker_21 View Post
Basically, what I do is just flip the drumhead over and draw all the designs on the underside of the head. I use markers mostly, not a thick material like paint, so the ink doesn't really affect the sound that much, if at all. I certainly haven't noticed any differences between the sound and tuning qualities of a head with my artwork on it versus a blank one.
But if you buy new heads, you'll have to start over??
And how did you do the snare head, since it is a coated one?

Bram
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:43 AM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

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But if you buy new heads, you'll have to start over??
And how did you do the snare head, since it is a coated one?

Bram
All of the heads on my set are coated. The underside of drumheads are all the same mylar surface so the coating doesn't make any difference to the application of my work. And getting new heads is part of the process. I don't want to have the same designs for all of eternity. Art is a very "here and now" sort of thing, just like music; the context the art was created in is just as important as the work itself. It's not like the designs are destroyed after I change heads either; I still have all of the work I've done in the past preserved in pristine condition since the art never gets touched by a drumstick.
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:43 PM
joeneau joeneau is offline
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

Hey man,
fantastic set up you've got there.
as has been said previously in this thread i've personnally never been a fan of the bronze hardware but it really looks great on your shells!

jusy out of interest, whats the book thats open on your music stand in the second set of pictures? haha!
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Old 01-15-2010, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

That is a funky set-up you have there my friend, both the kit itself AND the graphics. Astonishing!
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Old 01-16-2010, 02:34 AM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

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Hey man,
fantastic set up you've got there.
as has been said previously in this thread i've personnally never been a fan of the bronze hardware but it really looks great on your shells!

jusy out of interest, whats the book thats open on your music stand in the second set of pictures? haha!
That book is pretty much the centre piece to my 'drumming canon'. It's Gary Chester's "New Breed." I don't even know what my life would be like without having been introduced that that book. It, along with the playing of Terry Bozzio, completely changed the way I think about drumming, music, and general approaches to practicing and developing any sort of skill. A couple of the other main books in my 'canon' are "New Breed II" (of course), and Marco Minnemann's "Extreme Interdependence." If anyone hasn't checked out these amazing books, you definitely should! Their uses are absolutely endless.



Thank you all so much again for all of your generous comments and questions! I really appreciate it!! :D
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Old 01-16-2010, 04:35 AM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

I see you've come your way to here, Welcome on DW forum Matt :-)
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:07 AM
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

Really tasteful and gorgeous set. The fade on the bass drum is unexpected and goes well with the rest of the set. I especially like the gold hardware and how even the pedal strap and foot percussion block match the rest of the blue on the finish. The custom heads put it over the top. Clearly, a lot of thought and care have gone into this set.
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Deathmetalconga View Post
Really tasteful and gorgeous set. The fade on the bass drum is unexpected and goes well with the rest of the set. I especially like the gold hardware and how even the pedal strap and foot percussion block match the rest of the blue on the finish. The custom heads put it over the top. Clearly, a lot of thought and care have gone into this set.
Thank, you! Haha, I hadn't even thought about the blue cams and straps on my pedals matching it, too! I just happen to prefer the feel of the blue cams and belts (instead of chains) on my pedals. The blue colour of the percussion block and artwork was a conscious decision to match the drums, though.
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  #33  
Old 02-12-2011, 02:14 PM
AtomicFlapjack AtomicFlapjack is offline
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

Sorry to bump such an old thread, but jeeeeeeeez this kit is LUSH, and anyone who hasnt seen it before should be thankful for this bump haha. Beautiful.
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  #34  
Old 02-16-2011, 04:33 PM
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Deathmetalconga Deathmetalconga is offline
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Default Re: Custom Conaway Drums, Quasi-Symmetrical Setup, Abstract Drumhead Art

Very beautiful kit! I'm not too fond of shallow toms but the finish, heads, hardware, cymbals and arrangement are gorgeous. And like the open-handed possibilities.
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