My NAMM 2013 Report

If I had to pick a theme this year, it would be expand! As more and more booths expanded up to the 2nd and 3rd floors, and off to distant places, requiring even more walking than normal.

I won’t cover every thing I saw, but I will hit the more interesting things I saw in the world of drums.

The absolute undisputed star of this years show was the new Atlas hardware system from Ludwig. In short, it’s a new bracket that replaces an existing lug. It acts as a lug, as the tom holder, eliminating the need to drill for a separate tom bracket or use a RIMS type mounting system. It also can act as a cymbal holder, and as floor tom leg bracket.

Here it is as the lug, tom holder, and cymbal holder, all at the same time:

Here holding a ride cymbal off a bass drum:

Or install two brackets with a straight bar and create a more versatile ride cymbal holder

Or install two brackets to make two splash holders:

And the best aspect is the bracket screw is adjustable, so it can retro fit non-Ludwig drums.


Yamaha rolled out the new Live (Oak) Custom, which blends features of the their Maple Absolute with their previous Oak Custom line. The result is a great sounding drum kit. The construction of the oak shells allows you to have smaller sized drums to have a HUGE sound. The 14×22 bass drum sounded monster, and the 20″ bass drum sounded like a much bigger drum. I did think their was a point of diminishing returns, as the larger bass drum on display actually didn’t sound as good as the 14×22. It’s only available in 4 finishes, but it was the most exciting new drum kit of the show.


Pearl brought back their famous Export line. A Pearl Export was my first drum kit, so it warmed my heart to see an old friend return to production. Unlike the last few Exports that had been so upgraded they ceased to be entry level kits, this “new” Export is a throw back to the 80’s version of the Export as a well made entry level kit. And even the price is a throw back to the 1980’s, as it’s very affordable. The best part is it is now available with a 20″ bass drum, which is good for parents looking for a kit for younger children. 


Tama has a new “Star” line.

But what caught my eye was not the new maple and bubinga shells, or the stunning finish, but rather the new floor tom leg bracket: 


The news in cymbals was Zildjian had redesigned the famous “A” line to be a throwback to how the “A”‘s used to be pre-1980’s. The cymbals run thinner, and feature a new logo.

Also featured was a 23″ Sweet Ride. It has a nice mix of spread and ping. Really sweet spread, but I noticed it never got overly washy, and there was no annoying overbear roar you often get when playing a lot of notes on a big ride. It was almost like it had a built in compressor so you could get all the nice spread of a thinner ride, but without it washing out on you.

Also, Zildjian has taken the electronic mic/pick up system used on the Gen-x e-cymbals is now available to used on regular cymbals.

The downside is you have to drill a small hole. I couldn’t believe it when my rep told me you really have to drill, but he says enough people requested that this system be adapted to regular cymbals, they made it.

It’s neat, and adds a cool visual aspect as well as a great sonic aspect for live and recording. But drill? really? I don’t know about that.


Premier is still working on their come back to the US market:  and featured a line of nice wood snare drums.


 Other things of interest:

Amedia cymbals had a square ride, which actually sounded rather pleasant, similar to a K ride. Also an 18″ cymbals with a massive bell. I’m not sure it was a ride, as it was rather thin. It seemed to be more of a special effect type cymbal. 

Gaai is a small custom drum manufacture. What struck me is I have never heard so much low end coming from an 18″ bass drum. 

But what really caught my attention was the use of Cork in place of a suspension mount. 

Gretch proved what is old, is new again. But, really? Clip mounts?

On the other hand, they had a new mount on the Renown line:


KMS has joined forces with KAT to make a new line of quality affordable electronic drum kits. For a $599-$699 price range, these were impressive.

Liberty is a new name to the US drum market from the UK. They look nice, but do we need another brand?

Paiste had Abe Laboriel Jr.’s unique drum set on display:

People have tried marketing Carbon Fiber drums before, but the concept has never really taken off. Ming drums hopes to change that:

As usual, the salespeople in the Peace booth acted like they are too scared to talk to anyone, but they always have some wild and interesting finishes:

Rocket drums always has something exciting on display:

Roland had new bar style trigger pads on display:

If you can’t decide if you want wood or acrylic shells, or if you want a small or a big bass drum, SJC says have it all at once: 

A new name was marketing all stave shell drum kit:


Also of note was the new Evans drum head 360. It is not a new head, but a new collar design that will be applied to all existing tom and snare drum heads. The new design allows you to throw on a head and get a working tone right away without having to seat the head. And once tuned up, it will hold it’s tone, even when a tension rod is removed. I was very, very impressed by the live in person demo. It really makes you wonder why they and Remo have not done this before. But it is note worthy that Aquarian has had a similar concept in place for years.








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