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Phattie Sounds Like Art II

This is a “one-off” 14 x 7 ash stave snare from Phattie Drums (now known as Stauffer Percussion). It is one of their “Sounds Like Art” snares. And let me tell ya, shes a real beauty! Im not a dragon guy by any stretch, but the craftsmanship on this drum is really quite something to see. It IS a piece of art and a big reason why I pulled the trigger on her. The final deciding factor, was Dennis assured me this is a one of a kind and there will never be another one made AND he gave me a sweeeeet deal on it. SOLD!


So its about the coolest lookin snare Ive ever seen, but how does it sound? She sounds flippin sweet! Out of the box she comes with 10 solid brass tube lugs, a Dunnett R-class throw, 2.3 mm triple flanged hoops, standard snare wires and a 1” thick ash stave shell. All the hardware is black chrome. She came fitted with a Remo Powerstroke X batter and an Aquarian resonant head. The Powerstroke X was way too dry for my taste so I switched it out for an Evans Power Center reverse Dot – perfect.

Ive played 5 shows with her the last two weeks with my band, which is basically a loud, pop rock cover band. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this beast. Its heavy and thick! I played around with it for a couple of hours at home the day she arrived. When I got her tuned to where I thought she sounded good I took it out for its debut. Got through a quick-n-dirty sound check and bam! Off to the races! Whoa!!! This thing has some serious bottom, low end. It was a little too much for my preference. I think it would be very appealing to others and I cant wait to record with it. I like a little more crack, so I took it home that night and put it up against my 6.5 x 14 SS Dunnett as sort of a benchmark. Basically, I just tuned up the resonant head a bit more and that was the trick. This drum is a lot more versatile than I was expecting. It seems to have a nice tuning range. Tuned low it has a very nice and warm, almost mellow bottom to it. Real depth and great for that fat driving back beat. Tuned higher, it really starts to sing and focus up emphasizing more of the mid-range tones and this seems to be where she really likes to sit. It has a ton of crack and cut and starts to take on the characteristics of a steel snare without being too boingy. She has nice articulation when the snares are dialed in just right. I am thinking of going with a 42 strand set to see if I can get a bit more articulation out of her.

I was really feeling this drum by the end of my last show Saturday night. In the center of the drum is a super tight crack and 2” – 3” off center she has very pleasing overtones. Nice side stick sounds, but nothing like my wood hoop snares. Im spoiled with those.  This is a snare drum that is not going to just sit around as a pretty piece of “art” in my living room. This is a great sounding snare that is going to see rotation in my ever growing arsenal of snares.

If anyone is interested in getting one of these for themselves, there are a few left. They only do 25 in one design. Dennis has also made an offer to UGW members for a deal similar to mine, but you must contact him directly for that.





 Review by Steve Arnold, independant drummer from State Colege PA. 

Paiste 19" Dark Energy Crash

The main reason I've been waiting so long to write something about this cymbal is because I don't know where to begin. As a result, I've decided to just let my thoughts flow about this magnificent piece of bronze, almost stream of consciousness style.

I decided to take a risk and buy this cymbal off of Ebay from a seller who while reputable, discounted items heavily due to a probably B-stock type nature. The reason I did this is because in most of the shops new, this baby was selling for just south of $400, which is a significant chunk of change to be dropping on 1 cymbal, less the old K's, Johan's Spizz's and other one of kinds that are floating around out there in the cymbal universe. Anywho, I pulled the trigger, and immediately got the butterflies. It's mine!! YEAH!!

Now the wait.

2 days later..."ding dong." It has arrived. Marvelous!

I opened the professionally packed and shipped box to, even under the rays of my crappy fluorescent work cubical light, this:


Okay, okay, that's not exactly true. It was in a plastic bag with a Paiste item sticker on it that identified it as the cymbal I had been lusting over for several months; my new 19" Dark Energy Mark 1 crash. Easily the best of the line of Mark 1 crashes, with the 17" coming in a very close 2nd, IMHO. Made from the Paiste signature alloy, which essentially falls between B12 and B15 in nature, this cymbal has wide lathe lines and more random hammering patterns than that which appear on other Paistes. I held the cymbal up by balancing the bell hole on my thumb, and I put my ear close as I lightly tapped it with the index finger on my right hand. A deep, low pitched growled hung in the air, not unlike my lower lip, which hung far from my upper lip, do to my jaw involuntarily dropping.

A voice from the cubicle next to me, "Uh oh. Whatcha get this time?"

"A perfectly pressed, hammered, and lathed slice of heaven" I answered. It was Tuesday. Wednesday night was gig night. 18 more hours. Grrrr.

I took it home and threw it on a stand and grabbed a pair of my Vic Firth 8D's to see what she was made of. A subdued Paiste shimmer weaved a web on which sat a much darker, slightly complex mix of undertones. This cymbal screams to be played in a musical context, and in them, she shines. At the gig, it responded exactly how I wished it would with every strike. A strong crash that doesn't over power, with a very long decay that sits perfectly within the mix of the music. Light accent taps on the bow and bell produced 2 distinctly different sounds, both of which responded immediately, regardless of how lightly I hit. The bell itself is integrated but still maintains enough of its own characteristics that it could be used effectively in a more Latin setting.

A guy I know who had one of these for some time described it as "the perfect crash." While all of our notions of perfection will most likely differ, I believe it is safe to say that this cymbal would truly have a practical application in nearly any musical situation that would benefit from the addition of bronze. I believe I may have found a keeper. For now.

Here's a shot of the bottom. I love how the different size hammer marks give it an almost ethereal quality that contrasts nicely against the precision of the logo ink and the circumference of the cymbal itself. It tells a story with every swing of the stick:


Review By Mark Patterson, Drummer from The Steppin Razor Reggae Band

Medicine Man Snare Drum

Medicine Man 5x13 Snare Drum

It’s always fun when I get the chance to try out a custom snare drum from a drum maker that hasn’t had a lot of market penetration. This is due in part, to the fact that lots of custom maker’s drums don’t find their way into local music stores where we can take them for a test spin.

I recently had the chance to spend some time with a Medicine Man 5x13 8 lug snare drum, and it is this drum that is the subject of this review.

About the drum: The drum tested is a natural finish 8 lug maple shell snare drum that was hand made by P.J. Clevenger, the Arizona drum maker that makes drums under the name Medicine Man Drums Arizona… This is not to be confused with Medicine Man Drums of Ohio, same company, different craftsman. This could be a bit confusing, but not to worry, he can explain it if you give him a call… there’s no funny business going on.

The Mighty Trick Pro 1V

The trick pedal does not only live up to its hype... It EXCEEDS it!

 Being over 50 years old, and having played the drums for over 40
 years, it's safe to say I've had many bass drum pedals from a variety
 of manufacturers. My first pedal was a Ludwig Speed King. It's the
 pedal I learned on and frankly, one of the best feeling pedals I have
 ever played. I don't know if I think it was the standard by which all
 others would be judged because it's actually that good, or if it's
 because it's what I learned on, but I can honestly say every other
 pedal I had ever played lacked in some way, either because of speed,
 or feel.

Triangles are a fairly cheap extra to add to kits. I own a few triangles, three smaller standard size and some gigantic triangles which are not used for kit application. So I will focus on the 3 more suitable for our purposes.

LP Pro Triangles

The reason I chose the LP Pro series is due to their good sound coupled with the fact they have three size options. LP also have a set released under their Aspire line. These are also good, but more along the lines of a lower priced cymbal compared to a top level cymbal.

Pearl Percussion Table
Okay, this is the table I recomend for the drummer who wants a table to hold percussion items. It's a decent size; about 3 times the size of Rhythm Tech's tray. And it secures easily to any cymbal stand or tom holder. Have a look.

The base has a type of carpet on it so that replacing instruments on it is quiet. It has raised edges so that shakers and the like wont roll off. And it is priced cheaply for what you get. Believe it or not, it's about the same price as Rhythm Tech's tray. Pretty decent really. I was so impressed, I bought two.
Rhythm Tech The Mountable Gig Tray.

Okay, this thing is well made, sturdy and is a good design. There's just one problem. IT'S MADE FOR HOBBITS!

With all fairness to Rhythm Tech, their blurb gives the true dimensions. And note, it is not called a table. It's called a "tray". Which is what it ultimately is.

According to Rhythm Tech: The Mountable Gig Tray a/k/a MGT is a clamp-on percussion tray which attaches to any stand in your set-up. 
Made of tough powder-coated steel and measuring 13 1/2” wide x 7 1/2” deep, the MGT has a soft, silent, no-slip Neoprene surface which keeps noise down when picking up and putting down instruments.

LP Percussion Table

The LP Trap Table is sold in sections and is not available as a complete unit. You have to pay extra for the additional table tops that extend beyond the borders of the main frame. Please believe me when I say, "This gets pretty bloody expensive!"

Having said that though, this table is great. It's sturdy, comes with its own carry bag, and you can fit quite a lot of gear to it. I've had no trouble with mine.

Meinl hand held and mounted tambourines

A review by Dale...

Over the last few years I've really grown to be a fan of Meinl. Like many drummers of my vintage, I always tended to equate Meinl's quality with the early Raker cymbals which were on a par with Pearl cymbals; i.e. not great. My thoughts now are quite different. Of course there is often an element in their quality control that sometimes doesn't reach the dizzying heights of LP or Rhythm tech. Such as poorly finished bearing edges on the occasional Ibo drum that cut through the head. "Grrrrr" But for the most part this company is as good as any.

Pearl TomBourine PTB10

A Review by Dale... 

Pearl has started to get heavily into the world of percussion lately. And with pretty fine results. I have many of Pearl's percussion products and I'll try to cover as many as I can in these reviews as time goes by.

When it came to developing a mounted tambourine,
decided to release a model with a head; the TomBourine (PTB-10).  How does it stack up? Let's have a look.

LP Cyclops mounted tambourine

A Review by Dale...

I own 2 LP Cyclops tambourines. I have a mounted steel jingle and a hand held dimpled brass jingle version. Let's have a look at them.

LP's blurb says: Most ergonomically designed, comfortable, and durable tambourine ever produced

Unique patented shape has been designed especially for natural arm and wrist motions to offer greater playing ease in all situations


After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

Aldous Huxley

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