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        e great cities of the Industrial Revolution, except the logs that were lost before reaching their destination. These logs became waterlogged in transit and settled to the bottom of the lakes. Forgotten, these sunken timbers - some of them up to 1200 years old - have remained at the bottom of lakes and rivers for over a century, untouched and perfectly preserved in the icy cold waters of the North.
        Recently maple and birch logs were rediscovered in Lake Superior, salvaged, and sold for premium prices to high-end furniture craftsmen and boutique instrument manufacturers.
        I feel very privileged to have this drum in my collection."

        Noble & Cooley Star Classic
        "This is one of two identical snares I played on the critically acclaimed Paul McCartney world tour of 1989/90. After the tour I kept both drums, because not only do I love their sound, but also they remind me of the most exciting time in my career so far.
        For Superior Custom & Vintage I wanted to add something special. So I asked Peter Stanbridge to craft two Jarrah-ply wood hoops for one of the drums. Like Craviotto, Stanbridge is a lone artisan, building unique drums from exotic woods out of his Newfoundland workshop, 15 minutes from the most easterly point in North America."

        Noble & Cooley Alloy Classic and Zildjian Drum
        "N&C built an enviable reputation on the superb quality of their wood shell drums. Towards the end of the 1980s they decided to branch out into metal, first in collaboration with the Zildjian company and then on their own with the Alloy Classic. The Zildjian drum, made from the same secret alloy as Zildjian cymbals, was an extremely expensive limited edition when it first appeared in 1989. The Alloy Classic was much more reasonably priced and is still available from Noble & Cooley today. While on tour with McCartney, I mentioned to Bob Gatzen - N&Cs design guru - that they didnt have a metal shell drum to rival the quality and success of their Star Series snares. He may have already had that in mind because an early prototype showed up for me to take on the1991/92 Dire Straits world tour. This was recorded for The Custom & Vintage SDX."

        Canopus Zelkova
        "Seen by many collectors as the ultimate, this snare drum is bored out of a solid block of Zelkova -a Japanese hardwood prized for its density and resonance. Its a construction method that owes more to traditional Japanese Taiko drums than Western-style snare drums we are more used to playing.
        Im surprised to learn the Zelkova has been around since 1978. Perhaps its because Canopus is drwarfed by other well-known Japanese drum companies like Tama, Pearl and Yamaha, or because its ferociously expensive and available only to order from Japan.
        In any case, you are unlikely to see one of these drums unless its in the hands of a collector or studio drummer."

        Noonan 5" x 12" Solid Mahogany Snare Drum
        "Gary Noonan is one of a kind; a boutique drum-maker from England. Another rare breed is the solid drum, hollowed out from a single block of wood. In Noonans case, its a small sized, mahogany drum. The manufacturing process involves Gary taking a solid block of mahogany, mounting it on a lathe, and then turning it until left with a single 12" diameter snare shell. Its very labour intensive and expensive as large blocks of wood frequently have flaws in them. There is no flaw in the end result. This drum took me by surprise. Im so over the piccolo snare, but still wanted to sample a broad range of snare drums. The Noonan brought a smile to my face however. Its a drum with attitude... and so much fun to play."

        Slingerland Radio King Select Snare Drum
        "One of the drum sets recorded for Custom & Vintage is a 1990s Slingerland Studio King. We were inspired to record the Slingy kit after we were so impressed with a Slingerland snare drum that came from the same source - Mike Udell at Drumhire in London. A 6.5" x 14" Radio King Select. The top of the range 1990s reissue of a solid, one piece classic, signed by Slingerland drum finish guru Pat Foley himself."

        WFL Maple 6.5" x 14" Snare Drum
        "This is a 1930s model, which would place it very close to the beginnings of the WFL Drum Company. WFL are the initials of William F Ludwig. The origins of Ludwig drums can be traced back to 1909, when as a young drummer, William Ludwig was playing “rag time" music with a snare drum and a bass drum operated by a simple foot pedal. The pedal was neither powerful nor fast and William set about to design a better solution. Along with two other family members William set up the “Ludwig & Ludwig" drum shop and soon expanded their business to drums and tympani. Unfortunately, by 1930 the company had run into financial difficulty and William sold the Ludwig & Ludwig brand to C.G. Conn LTD . Seven years later, Ludwig set up a new company called WFL and began to build again. He now found himself in direct competition with Ludwig & Ludwig – the company that bore his name. However, by the mid-1950s Conn decided to get out of drums altogether and the Ludwig name was returned to William F Ludwig. At that point WFL became known simply as the Ludwig Drum Company. This drum is one of our favourites. Being one of the last we recorded, we decided to do something different. I approached the drum with perhaps an acoustic ensemble or jazz mentality, much reducing the strength of my playing strokes. The end result is a natural sounding drum with added warmth and character."

        The Cymbals

        Zildjian K Dark Crashes
        "These are cymbals I used on both the McCartney tour and again with Dire Straits (On Every Street tour, 1991/92).
        I love the tone of the K Dark series. One of the biggest problems for recording drummers is balancing loud cymbals with the rest of the kit. These Ks are never overbearing, and Ive had great success using them in all my live and recorded work since the late1980s."

        Zildjian K 20" Heavy Ride and 18" Sizzle Ride
        "I chose both these cymbals during rehearsals for the McCartney tour, and theyve remained two of my favourite cymbals ever since.
        The Heavy ride is surprisingly sweet. The stick sound is crystalline and the wash, although quite high pitched, is warm.
        Knowing I would be playing some Rock n Roll standards, as well as early Beatles songs with Paul, I was on the hunt for an older sounding cymbal. I couldnt find anything quite right in the Zildjian catalogue, but going the extra mile for me, one of Zildjians most experienced cymbal testers picked out this 18" K ride and factory drilled it for rivets. I have to say I really enjoyed laying into it on songs like Cant Buy Me Love, and with the memories of that tour, this unique cymbal will probably go with me to my grave."

        Zildjian 1950s 22" Ride
        "Maybe Im too nostalgic, but I have a soft spot for older cymbals.
        Some say metal compounds mature with age, I dont know.
        I do know, the further you go back in time, the rarer these cymbals become.
        They call the 1960s the great cymbal holocaust. Rock music came along and guitarists were plugging into amplifiers with an ever-increasing wattage. Meanwhile, cymbal manufacturers stuck to their centuries-old formula, producing thin cymbals more suited to the acoustic music of previous decades. The result? A lot of beautiful cymbals from the 1940s and 50s bit the dust.
        A few larger, heavier ride cymbals survived however. I came across this one at my local drum shack. It has a deeper tone than many modern rides, and just the right balance between stick definition and roar."

        K Zildjian Istanbul 16" Crash, 18" Ride, 20" Ride and 13" Hi-Hats
        "Vintage K Zildjians are regarded as the ultimate cymbal by many serious jazz drummers. They are delicate and very rare, commanding prices far in excess of any other cymbal in the vintage market.
        Each cymbal is unique, having been hand-crafted in Istanbul, Turkey (the birthplace of the modern cymbal), by a family of craftsmen who handed down their experience and skill to each new generation. Because of the human factor in the manufacturing process, Istanbul Ks vary greatly in quality.
        A recent acquisition, the 13" hi-hats have already become my go to pair. I found the 20" ride on Ebay, but it turned out the owner lived a couple of miles from my house in London. Thin is the thing with these vintage rides. K Istanbul collectors have told me this is the thinnest 20" cymbal theyve ever come across."

        Paiste Sound Creation
        "Although a relatively recent offering from Paiste in Switzerland, the Sound Creation line are no longer made and are rapidly disappearing into the vaults of collectors and drummers in the know. Almost all the Sound Creation models exhibit a dark, jazzy tone. However, there are no rules, and cymbals such as the Bell Ride can find a place in any genre.
        Championed by drummers such as Al Foster and Jack DeJohnette, along with the earlier 602 Paiste cymbals, Sound Creation almost defined the drum sound at ECM Records, contemporary jazz label and home in the 1970s/80s to artists such as Pat Metheny, Keith Jarrett, Jan Gabarek and Eberhard Weber.
        SCs sound entirely different to the Zildjian cymbals I endorse, and I thought they would add a different timbre and yet more choice to Custom & Vintage."

        Steve Hubback Cymbal Sculpture
        "Steve is a new friend of mine, a maverick musician and artist. Its because he sees himself more of an artist than a cymbal-maker that Ive stuck with his description: a cymbal sculpture. Its quite an extraordinary piece, twenty four inches in diameter with many different tones to be found across the surface playing area. Steve was living in Iceland at the time I commissioned the instrument and his forge was open-air. I got some great pictures of him working the fiery furnace wearing his arctic survival gear. Hubback has his own contemporary music ensemble; Metal Moves. He also makes instruments for many contemporary musicians around the world. Im proud to be the owner of such an individual piece of art."

        About the studio

        The Custom & Vintage SDX was recorded at 2KHz Studios, London using an EMI TG Desk. 2KHz’s TG is an ex-Abbey Road Mobile console (1964 design) with a 28 channel /16 track configuration, with Germanium Transistor Mic Pres.

        The TG console was EMIs very first transistor design and was used for many legendary recordings of the early seventies including The Beatles Abbey Road and Pink Floyds Dark Side of the Moon. It is considered one of the best sounding desks ever made.
        The drums were recorded with a selection of vintage microphones by Neumann (including valve U67’s on overheads and KM 56’s on toms), AKG and Sennheiser.
        As an added feature one of the room microphones (a Neumann U87) was processed with a Helios F760 compressor, the type found in early Helios 1970s consoles as used by Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones and Apple Corps (The Beatles own studio).

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