• On Vintage Drums

    Vintage Drums

    I have always loved the sound, feel and design of particular “vintage” instruments. I have a thing for them partly because I grew up with them; when neither they nor I were “vintage”  ;-)

    Through the years, materials and manufacturing techniques have changed, and the artisans that hand-crafted instruments have largely been replaced by modern high-tech design and production methods which inevitably have changed the sound, feel and design of instruments. Over time the influences of new music evolved to incorporate the new equipment and sounds. Manufacturers and musicians, working in a grand feedback loop, also evolved to produce and reflect those new sounds. One small step at a time the Stradivarius, your American classic 50s Telecaster, or whatever, were left behind while the world, for better or worse, moved onward to the next cool thing!

    It’s fun to see that some of those old sounds are being rediscovered by a generation that never knew them originally. Some manufacturers and musicians have gone so far as to attempt to replicate those vintage sounds. Emulators and altered digital sound files are one way but there are also manufacturers who are trying to re-make various classic instruments or to make new instruments in the old ways. That’s cool but I have found that if I want a vintage sound and feel, the best way to accomplish that is to use actual vintage equipment!

    For “vintage” sound I’ll take a 1970’s Star drum kit with some 60’s and 70’s artisan made Turkish Izmir, and Canadian made Zildjian, cymbals or a Parisian 60's Dolnet alto saxophone (I also play the sax) over most modern drum kits and saxophones. Don’t get me wrong, the production control and uniformity of modern equipment, and the quality music these instruments make, are a marvel of our modern age.

    That said, these “vintage” instruments were not digital or carbon copy clones, they did not experience the same mass production that we see today, there was character, and often a beauty and uniqueness that could speak to you; and if it did speak to you, you were hooked! To each his/her own. Like I said, I have always loved the sound, feel and design of particular vintage instruments and that’s why I play them; now you know ;-)