Category Archives: Cymbals

Love, The Music Weirdos

We’ve been called out…by a fifth grader. It happened back at either Christmas or Thanksgiving before everyone was about to dig into the mountains of food that my sister-in-law prepared. Her son had something he wanted to read that he had worked very hard on the day before. I’m still not sure if it was a school assignment or if he just got a wild hair being away from school but he stood up and started reading his 2 page document. I can’t remember the point of it all or if he even had one, because I was laughing so hard, but he wrote about everyone in the family – maybe it was why he was thankful for them – I dunno, but when he got to us we were lovingly referred to as the music weirdos. The child knows us well!

What other house could he go to and find cymbals in the living room chairs, guitar cases everywhere, drum parts on the coffee table,  and boxes of records piled in the floor from the boys latest conquest? (the records are what I came home to yesterday- and they were nice enough to warn me at least! And there was actually a really cool Edison Diamond Disc record in there from the 1920’s so for now the boy can stay!)

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If you’ve never seen one of these up close, they’re really very cool. They’re about 1/4″ thick but it’s not vinyl like we know it today. The early material inside was actually a wood “flour” core with an asphalt binder and later changed to add more china clay and less wood flour. Each side was then coated with a condensite varnish and the whole thing was laminated together. Produced from 1912 until the demise of the company in 1929, they were the third best-selling brand behind Victor and Decca but they were more expensive and only meant to be played on Edison Phonographs which used a diamond stylus that ran in the grooves and produced the sound. Any other kind of player with steel needles would damage the record and then they were only good for hot plates. Unfortunately the records were also expensive for the times and coupled with the fact that the music selection wasn’t as diverse as some of the other labels people lost interest and the technology didn’t last long. Kinda like a Beta tape versus a VHS. Please tell me you remember BETA tapes so I don’t feel so old.

Of course in order to get the really cool Edison record there were also about a hundred other records ranging from opera to Elvis to classical to the Statler Brothers and a whole pile of Sinatra 33’s. And we don’t even own a record player. So what’s a girl to do with all this vinyl?? Decorate with it? Play it? Make stuff out of it? Sell it? I’m leaning towards decorate and sell (don’t tell the menfolk!) How cool would a whole wall of records look? Kind like this but with more records….
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Did I mention we already had another stack of records stashed before the current ones came in? We better do something quick before they multiply again!

P.S. In other sorta related news: When something new comes into the house, something old should go out so to try to play by those rules, there’s a new “Shop” heading up at the top of the blog for you to check out what we’re clearing out. Sometimes the need arises to sell stuff in order to acquire other cool stuff like drums….or cymbals …..or food…..! Extra parts, cool cymbals, unique drums and other gear related items some from our own personal well-loved collection.  And there may even be some records on there soon….! So click on over and check back often. You never know what us music weirdos might be looking to sell to a loving home.

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Teach Your Step Mom to Play 7 Nation Army on Drums in 7 Easy Steps

1. Introduce your step-mom to the drums. Mom meet drums. Drums meet mom. Teach her how to hold the sticks and work the pedals. Teach her simple beats. Boom tap boom tap boom boom tap boom tap, etc. (there is a whole drummer language at work here trust me I just haven’t learned to speak it all yet.)

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2. Next, take over the radio in the car whenever y’all are going somewhere together and play her every White Stripes song on your iPod that you like. Repeat as needed but focus on the songs you like the most ingraining them into her psyche so that random riffs play through her head while she’s sitting at her desk at work. Eventually she will become the one playing you her favorite White Stripes songs. (Remember moms and dads there is no rule that says if you like bluegrass you can’t like Jack White- in fact I think he may even like bluegrass a little too…..give your kids music a chance ’cause sometimes it’s not just noise… unless maybe it’s the Beiber then I’m so sorry, I’ll pray for you…)
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3. Casually mention to your step-mom how easy the drum parts are in most of those songs – how they’re mostly quarter note beats and one day, if you’re really lucky, she will say hey if Meg can do it I bet I can too. [editor note: this happened about a week ago…. Look out world this chick has some sticks and she’s not afraid to use them!]

4. Work out your solo for 7 Nation Army on the guitar and then invite your step ma into the music room and have her play the part of the drummer. (black clothing and wristbands are optional)

5. Break down the parts of the song for her and tell her what to hit and when. Smile as she starts hammering away on the wrong drums. Gently correct her attack of the ride to sound more “tappy” and not so “crashy”. Remind her this is Meg White not Metallica.

6. Start to play, nod at her when to come in and listen as she gets lost halfway through the song and says, “man I need to write this stuff down so I know what to hit and when.” Cue light bulb moment when you excuse yourself from the room and return with sheet music. (Just because she only reads guitar chords doesn’t mean she can’t be taught drum score. There are a few old dogs and cats who can still learn some new tricks)

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7. Watch her light bulb moment happen when she puts it all together and realizes what all the dots and x’s mean after you explain them and then executes them in a semi-pleasing way while you rock on the guitar, even if they are just all quarter notes with one eighth note thrown in for grins.

Your work here is done!

P.S. For some more odd pairings (as if a step mom playing White Stripes on the drums wasn’t odd enough!) you can catch Jack White and the picker people (as we refer to them), Frank and Mike together tonight- Monday Jan. 9th on the History Channel in a new episode of American Pickers. And yes we are big fans of this show ’cause you know how we love a good deal on cool stuff around here!


What We Got for Christmas a.k.a Cymbal Love

Happy New Year and Hallelujah! Finally, I can talk about our new pretty shiny thing! (All cymbals to me were previously known as pretty shiny things and I really had no idea that there were different types that produced various sounds! Now I have been schooled. You pick up things – literally and figuratively when you live with drummers…!)

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[random pretty shiny things pic from Dale’s Drum Shop last summer]

So this pretty girl- yes I’ve decided it’s a girl because she’s curvy- is an 18″ Paiste 2002 series Novo China.
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This was the boy’s big gift for Christmas. We’re still not sure if he knew it was coming or not being as we’ve had it since last April…and he may or may not have noticed the big Paiste box that randomly appeared and disappeared and ultimately ended up hiding in plain sight in our bedroom and who knows if he is a curious kid or not- I’m sure he’d never tell if he happened to sneak a peek in the box… But we got such a good deal on it, it was hard to pass up at the time and we knew it would make a great addition to the kit and if we saved it for Christmas we could kill two birds with one stone. And sometimes as parents we do manage to plan ahead and this is beneficial because no one wants to really wants to be running into their second Target of the day on Christmas Eve 10 minutes before they close needing to buy 6 more gifts for people on their list….ahem…

But back to the bling.

She’s really unique for a couple of reasons. Most 2002’s are traditional finish and most 2002’s have red logos but she’s a rebel because she has a reflector finish and black logos- this isn’t uncommon, just much harder to come by. Apparently older 2002’s from around the ’70’s had black logos but I don’t think this one is that old so maybe it was somebody’s custom ordered homage that era.  She sounds like, as my dad put it quite simply, China. Never one to mince words, my father. Others described her sound as exotic and bright and sometimes slightly trashy. But I don’t hold that against her. I think she sounds pretty. And as an added bonus she has an inverted bell that can be played as an accent for even more versatility which isn’t an option on a traditional china.

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We tried and tried to come up with a clever way like what we did last year to present it to the boy but he headed us off at the pass with “Hey remember that treasure hunt thing “Santa” had me do last year where I had to solve the clues in order to get to my iPod touch??- please don’t do that to me again.” SO we resorted to Christmas Story methods– when Ralphie has opened all his gifts and his Dad says hey what’s that over there behind the desk?? And Ralphie looks and finds his beloved Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time. Only we don’t have a desk so we hid it behind the cushion of the chair in the living room and after the destruction had occurred [see below]

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we asked him to straighten up the cushion in the chair and thus he found his pretty new shiny thing. Of course we couldn’t resist taunting him with the original box first thing that morning- we wrapped a tambourine in it just for kicks. Because what fun are kids if you can’t mess with them from time to time?


Drummer’s Paradise

So a few weekends ago we ventured over the river and through the woods and north on 95 and 15 to a quaint little (I use that word loosely – 2 levels encompassing 4,000 square feet maybe isn’t little, but it was a welcoming and homey place) drum shop that we had been wanting to visit. Well, my dear husband had been wanting to visit…and the boy went because we said the word drum and he knew the trip would end with a concert…and I’m the designated navigator so they needed me! haha! 

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Getting there was half the battle- hello people in Northern VA and MD why must you all drive so crazy at the same time in the same place???…one more reason we will live in the sticks forever! But the afternoon we spent browsing through the shop was well worth the traffic. And even I who came along only for the scenery and promise of seeing Tommy Lee at the end of  the weekend couldn’t resist the allure of allll the shiny pretty weapons of mass percussion!

Dale’s Drum Shop has been in business for almost as long as Crüe has been a band which is almost as long as I have been alive!It was opened in 1982 by Dale and Gail Wise in Harrisburg, PA after his 7 year stint as Buddy Rich’s drum tech. And it was like walking into our home away from home as soon as we stepped in the door. Unfortunately we didn’t get to meet Dale or Gail because they were both out that day, but everyone else there was very cool, helpful and friendly.

Come on in! If you’ve got any questions just give a shout. By all means go up stairs – there’s lots more to see. Take your time and look around. We really appreciate you coming such a long way to visit our place! Sure you can sleep here among all the DW’s.” (Well that last sentence isn’t quite true, but the boy did ask if he could stay there that night or maybe it was live there…)

There were racks and racks of cymbals…

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And enough snares to beat the band….

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And more DW’s than you could shake a stick at!

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Now I know this wasn’t a DW kit (sorry hunny!) But it was probably one of my favorites in the whole shop!

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We wanted t-shirts but they were all out so we settled for a drum key and wait for it…. something that makes noise! It’s called a thunder tube and it really does sound like thunder.

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So until our next trip, I leave you with parting pictures of drum heaven {upstairs fittingly!} in Dale’s:

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And thanks again to Dale’s for their wonderful customer service and for letting us wander around and snap pics of all their cool stuff!


Riveting Revelations and Sizzle Cymbals

[10 points if you can say that title five times fast!]

Behold! Another cymbal for your viewing pleasure!

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Zildjian A Custom 18″ Crash with factory installed rivets. Yes rivets, not ribbets.

This was news to me and I didn’t understand what they were when I first saw a picture of a cymbal like this. Are there holes in that cymbal? Let me see that thing a little closer…

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What are those little things hanging out of the holes? Why would anyone want a cymbal with holes and weird little tubular pieces of metal hanging out of it? It was like a cymbal with nose rings- visually interesting, but what’s the use? Just made the cymbal look tougher I supposed.

{By the way I love you people with nose rings especially if you’re reading this blog! I just needed an analogy! Lord forgive me and please be with those starving pygmies in New Guinea. Amen.}

But then we acquired this Zildjian and I was mesmerized. The sizzle! The shimmer! Those rivets which are installed loosely in the holes vibrate and give it a sizzle sound which is actually very cool! Apparently people have been doing this for years! Some will even drill the holes and install the rivets themselves! {GASP!} For those squeamish about drilling and puncturing, a similar effect can be achieved using small lengths of ball chain at different intervals around the diameter of the cymbal or one continuous length draped over the top as seen here.  Or better yet just get’cha one that has the rivets factory installed such as this beauty. 

All kidding aside though, this cymbal definitely adds a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to your playing and I’m in love! Unfortunately the guys- not so enamored. Oh they definitely thought it was cool, but ultimately not really cohesive with the sound they have going on with their kit. In other words, they play so loud, the sizzle fizzles in comparison. So my lovely riveted cymbal and I had to part. You know what they say – if you love something let it go….

We shipped it out to its new happy home last week and it was truly a little sad to see it leave. But it was still a really cool piece of gear to check out for a little while. And maybe one day my handsome husband will reunite me with my riveted beauty perhaps as part of my very own kit…hmmm….pink sparkle wrap? Tube lugs? Till then, I’ll keep y’all posted.


Extra Extra! Read all about it! How not to lose your “edge”…

NOTE: the following is what my handsome drummer husband had to say about his latest find. He’s sooo excited that I thought I’d give him another opportunity to shout if from the rooftop and show off his treasure!

{So, since becoming unemployed I’ve been flippin drum gear to supplement my income (I don’t suggest this as a full-time job btw). Last week I ran across an ad on CL “drums for sale” for an unbelievable price. The description read “drum kit with travel cases and extras” and “I believe they are Pearl”, no specs listed only a small fuzzy cell phone pic of what was to me clearly a pdp kit (some people don’t know what they have).

Figuring I could clean ’em up and make a few dollars I made contact around 10 p.m. and was invited to come check ’em out. Upon arrival I noticed it was a 6pc pdp cx kit with dw 5002’s and 5500 hat stand…along with skb cases, 3 Sabian AA’s, an AAX, a Paiste Sound Formula, a Zildjian Z Custom and a Roc n Soc throne……and some “extras”. Just a few days later (my fingers are still sore from cleaning and polishing), most of the stuff has gone to a good home, a small profit was made and I’ve decided to keep those “extras” to compensate myself for the pain and suffering. So here are the “extras”…and yes I kindly paid the asking price…}

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Thanks for sharing hun! Soooo happy for him!

So I learn new things everyday living with drummers like for example, that top drum in the picture is a dw maple and brass edge snare with satin finish and the one on the bottom is a dw lacquer bamboo solid stave snare. The boy and the husband were beyond excited to stumble upon them in their travels. (I believe the boy slept with the edge snare the first night…..! No! Just kidding! But he is very protective over it!) They are both really really pretty–this is apparently my first requirement when choosing drums and cymbals followed by — oooh shiny! oooh sparkly! (Nevermind what they sound like!)  But I am taking note on all the new information they bestow upon me as needed and here’s what I’ve learned so far. 

The edge snare has a 10-ply maple center section with chrome plated brass top and bottom edges. Not only does this construction make it durable but it also helps it project rich warm sounds with lots of volume.

The solid stave bamboo is just that, solid – not laminated which helps in producing those darker tones. It also sports a slightly deeper snare bed and is lacquered inside to increase sensitivities and enhance higher end frequencies.

A few other things I’ve learned during this past week- a case full of hardware is heeaaavvvy, we can fit a whole drum set with hardware and cymbals plus 2 snares in the back of our blazer, and one should never store drums in a basement because the amount of work to get said drums back into their polished and shiny pre-neglected glory is intense- just ask my poor husband who stayed up to the very wee hours of the morning 2 nights cleaning his way to a profit. I did help though….on one drum…….I’m a perfectionist…what can I say….I guess I just took too long since he could clean 2 or 3 to my 1…

Thus ends the story of how we acquired our two new percussion “family members”. Pretty soon the snares will outnumber the people here! Strangely enough the guitars already do! But that’s a story for another day…or another blog! Guitarlove anyone? Hmmm…! So until later, rock on my friends!


Cymbals for Crafting

What you can make with a cymbal : )

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{Happy Birthday Capt’ Gray!}

NOTE: No cymbals were hurt in the crafting of this pirate hat. One Zildjian 17″ crash did lend its help in forming the perfect diameter circle to make the brim. Sometimes it’s useful to live with drummers!