Winter NAMM Show 2018: Drums


2018 marks Gretsch’s 135th anniversary, and to celebrate they are offering a limited edition Broadcaster Series kit featuring three-ply shells consisting of two maple inner plies and one mahogany outer ply. New for Gretsch is their 301 single flange hoop, which is featured on this line of drums. Two finishes are available: Dark Emerald and Classic Mahogany. Only 135 of these kits will be manufactured.

Interestingly, this year Gretsch is bringing back their own hardware, which they haven’t manufactured since the 80s! Two series are offered: They heavy-duty G5 Series, and the lighter-duty G3 series.


New for 2018 at the Istanbul booth, and spanning a wide variety of sound colors, are their Hamer line of cymbals consisting of sixteen different models in the following sizes and configurations: 10” splash, 15” and 16” hi hats, 16” crash (three versions), 17” crash (three versions), 18” crash (three versions), 20” crash/ride, 21” dry ride, 22” dry ride, and 22” warm ride.


Also new for 2018 are the 20 and 22” Sterling rides, and the 22 and 23” Agop rides.

Finally, Hamer suspended crashes are offered as well in the following sizes: 17”, 18”, 19”, and 20”.



We couldn’t help but notice Ludwig displaying a new line of snare drums based on their coveted Black Beauty snare called Raw Brass. These snares essentially utilize the same raw material of the original Black Beauty, but without the nickel plating. They feature raw brass shells without a sealer, which gives them a raw organic look that will continue to change over time through oxidation. Tonally, they exhibited an appealing dry, more focused sound than the Black Beauty.  —DG


Paiste PSTX Cajon 1622 Crash

Paiste definitely did not disappoint this year, offering a staggering array of new cymbals for 2018 including the PSTX Cajon edition 16” crash designed for hand playing, as well as the new PSTX 12” Cajon hi hats. In the same line are three new stacks in combos of 12/10” and 10/8” configured with brass top and bronze bottom cymbals. Rounding out the new cymbals in the PSTX line is the 20” Swiss medium crash.

Paiste Masters Edition

Next up are the new highly responsive, fast decaying Masters Editions extra thin crashes offered in 18, 19, and 20” sizes.

Also new in the Masters Edition line of cymbals is the 22” masters dark crash/ride and the 8 and 10” dark splashes. And for something completely different, and were the obvious standouts for Paiste this year comes the new Masters dry and extra dry series of ride cymbals. Both versions are available in 20, 21, and 22” sizes.


Roland’s TM-6 Pro Trigger Module could be just want many of today’s modern drummers needs. Pair this module with some Roland triggers and you can accomplish many things:

Augment your acoustic kit with electronic drum sounds, blend your acoustic sounds with sampled acoustic sounds, or ignore the crappy sounding house kit and carry your “standard” acoustic drum sounds to any gig—just throw your triggers on the backline kit and go!

Manage and play backing tracks with your band! Export songs from your DAW along with a seperate export of the click track. The TM-6 will play both WAV files back in sync and let you route the click track to just yourself or to other audio outputs.

Maybe the TM-6 Pro is still too big a step for you to take into the world of electronic drums? The new RT-MicS is a stand-alone trigger/sound module hybrid. Just clamp the device onto your snare drum or tom and choose from one of eight pre-loaded sounds ranging from snares to handclaps to percussive elements, or load your own samples into the device ahead of time. No additional hardware necessary.


We were able to audition Sabian’s new FRX line of cymbals for 2018, which should appeal to drummers that don’t want to hold back in fear of drowning out other instruments on stage. These cymbals are designed to reduce mid and high frequencies without sacrificing tone, and while they are nowhere near as quiet as Zildjian’s L80 low volume cymbals, we felt they, in fact, didn’t compromise nearly as much in the tonal department.



New for 2018 at the Sonor booth is their line of AQ2 drums. These kits expand upon their small sized compact kits, but offer upgraded all maple shells and many more sizes are available as well. For example, the bass drums start as small as 14” in diameter, and go up to 22”, opening up the possibility of combining many different playing situations from the same line of drums. Offered in four high gloss lacquer finishes, these kits are compatible with a wide variety of Sonor hardware as well, and each drum is available for purchase separately.


Catching our attention at the trick booth was the new affordable line of VMT series drums, offering the same aluminum shells as their premium kits configured with a 13” rack tom, 16” floor tom, and 20 or 22” bass drum. To cut down the price tag, this line of drums is limited to three finishes: black, blue, and white. Also, steel hoops are utilized on the bass drum instead of aluminum hoops, and powder coated lugs are not offered, even though the lugs are the same high quality versions found on their premium kits. The snare is an 8-lug model and is considered an optional extra.

Turkish Cymbals

We were very impressed with what we were hearing at the Turkish booth, and the new Lale Kardes Signature Series cymbals were no exception. Designed to be a heavy rock cymbal, they produced an all-around raw, lower pitch, earthy tone while still maintaining brightness and good definition.
Also new for this year were the Travel Series cymbals designed by Chris Wabich. This series of cymbals are perfect for the traveling drummer, easily inside roller luggage or underneath your seat. The set consists of 13” medium hi hats, a 17” medium thin crash, and a 16” flat ride. We felt the hi hats projected very well for their size. The ride cymbal had great definition and could be used as a crash as well. The 17” crash was pleasantly dark with a fast decay, and maintained enough definition to be used as a ride as well.


Yamaha unveiled its new Tour Custom all-maple 6-ply shell kit. Sitting right in the middle of their entire line of drums, these relatively affordable kits were designed for the working drummer. Since the shells are are thinner than most of Yamaha’s other drums, they are lighter in weight as well, providing the added bonus of more resonance and warmer tone from a lighter touch.

These kits are offered in five natural satin finishes: Butterscotch Satin, Licorice Satin, Candy Apple Red Satin, Caramel Satin, and Chocolate Satin. Snares not included, they are sold in 4-piece configurations wit a 20 or 22” bass drum, 10 and 12” rack toms (13” also available as an option), and 14 or 16” floor tom.

The EAD10 is an innovative solution for drummers who want to record themselves playing drums, whether for lessons, jamming along with favorite drum tracks, or who are simply trying to become the next YouTube video sensation. With zero complexity, a single sensor device mounts to your kick drum and picks up the sounds of your entire drum kit, relaying the data to the control module, which augments your kit with additional and/or enhanced sounds.

The companion iOS app facilitates recording videos of your performances and uploading them to the web. This definitely simplifies the process of recording your performances, and it’s both fun and effective, but no, it’s not a replacement for proper miking on a studio recording.
—DG and SK


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