Over the last decade, the global drumming community has witnessed something of a product boom. Custom drum builders have blossomed in every corner of the planet together with innovation in hardware, accessories and digital drumming technology. It’s a great time to be a drummer, with more choice than ever before. If fact it can be a little overwhelming.
So, it came as good news to welcome a new online retailer to the UK online marketplace that specialises in products from custom drum builders and accessories you might not otherwise find without trawling the darkest corners on the web.
55DC.co.uk is the brainchild of Glasgow based Fraser Stewart. Launched in 2020, 55DC is home to a growing roster of bespoke custom drum makers as well as some really interesting and innovative products new to the UK market. That’s not to say they are exclusive to 55DC but having them under one roof certainly makes them easier to find. Also, the knowledge that the company have researched each manufacturer and the quality of the product, takes a lot of the gamble out of buying a custom product online, particularly from overseas.
One item that immediately caught my attention was Flint Percussion’s Suspended Shell System. I’ve not seen anything like this before. Borrowing elements of engineering from marching band systems this is a 14” x 5.5” frame with die-cast hoops top and bottom, with 12 (yes twelve) tension rods connecting them, with a free-floating snare strainer below. You simply slot your choice of shell into the frame. It means you could have a selection of custom, undrilled shells, perhaps in different materials (birch, maple, oak), that retain their maximum natural resonance and enable very fine-tuning. The frame is robust yet light and I’m told, also produces the most awesome side sticking sound you’re ever likely to hear. The system is endorsed by UB40 stickman Jimmy Brown and he knows a thing or two about side sticking.
Custom drum builders Tee Drums are probably the most recognisable brand on the site. Tee make stunning custom drum shells in some absolutely gorgeous and unique finishes. Being a child of the 60’s I’m particularly drawn to their Paisley designs although some of the natural wood finishes merit special attention.
Other brands on the site include talented Serbian builders Oriollo who’s stunning seemless, cast bronze or spun-aluminium snares and full kits demand attention and offer amazing value, starting at just under £300.00. There are some interesting maple/acrylic hybrid snares from RT Customs from South Wales and Old Barrel Drums who make drums out of . . . erm, old barrels.
Hardware products on offer include some pretty awesome custom snare hoops. The bell bronze set are not cheap but . . . OMG! And hand-made snare wires which are a match for Puresound but without the hefty price tag.
Williams Drumheads come from Brazil. I’ll be testing these babies out very soon so watch this space but from what I’ve seen and heard so far, they’ll give the big brands a run for their money. They sound musical and very punchy.
Elsewhere on the site there’s a page for “reclaimed” drums where you can find old tubs turned into useful (or not so useful) household items. Tables, light shades etc. Just in case you don’t have enough drummy stuff around you.
Fraser says that he’s talking to new brands all the time, so expect to see more awesome products on 55DC.co.uk over the coming months.
The world of percussion manufacture has grown so much in recent years it’s sometimes hard to keep tabs on what’s new and what’s good. And we can’t have it all! 55DC offer a welcome window to quality and value products that you might not otherwise find. That makes the site well worth a visit.
Live venue closures and almost no gigs mean that COVID has all but silenced the live music industry here in the UK. With restrictions due to being lifted on June 21st, we find we have to wait another four weeks (as I write this) and even then, can’t be sure venues will have the confidence to open their doors nor audiences the confidence to attend....
For us drummers, there was a small ray of sunshine in an otherwise awful year that was 2020, and that was DrumathonLIVE 2020. Conceived by Errol Kennedy and Bev Sage, DrumathonLIVE 2020 raised funds for the NHS during the first lockdown.
Since 2018 the Music Managers Forum has been working in partnership with a number of third level music business courses, building connectivity between student education and the music management sector.
What is Shufflewire?
Shufflewire is a completely free-to-access directory and network with a key focus on the needs of anyone who works in the music industry. You can also post classified ads where you can promote your upcoming gigs, sell gear and equipment, as well as post jobs.