These new single-ply Evans G Plus heads have been causing quite a stir – particularly in the popular music press. So we thought we ought to call a couple in to see what all the fuss is about. A 10” clear and a 14” coated duly arrived (they come clear and coated in 6” - 20”) and we fitted them to a couple of Pearl master toms with Remo ambassador heads to the base. Evans state that the G Plus is made from a film exclusive to Evans and that it delivers the open warm tone of a traditional single ply, while the added thickness provides increased durability, a dense attack, plenty of projection, shed loads of sustain and a centered pitch that other single-ply heads lack. Bold claims!

The 10” clear head (probably due to its increased thickness) took a little longer than normal to tune into the thinner bottom head. It didn’t really deliver at a higher ‘jazz’ tuning, but did produce very little ring and we thought that a lower tuning might bring more out of the head. Tuned down, the 10” clear produced a very punchy tom sound with none of that annoying ring - which is clearly where this head works best (needs to be). In contrast to the clear head, the 14” coated was a breeze to tune and we quickly found that warm, deep punchy floor tom sound without any ringing or overtones – and this is going clean without any dampening tape or gels. From a jazz perspective, the coated 14” is definitely the pick of the pair and we’re looking to team this up with a 12” – but that’s another story. For more go to www.evansdrumheads.com

When they first became available back in 2006 Stagg’s top-end Vintage Bronze cymbal range drew considerable attention with the kind of dark, warm tone associated with older premium brand Turkish-style cast-bronze cymbals, but at the kind of price you’d expect to pay for a mid-price European pressed cymbal. Made in China from B20 cast bronze that’s hand-hammered and finished with an earthy aged appearance, the sound has echoes of 1950s and 60s cast cymbals and has now been expanded with a line of Thin Crash models. The Vintage Bronze sound features a rich, slightly trashy tone with complex punchy crashes and good stick articulation on the ride cymbals and, perhaps not surprisingly, have become increasingly popular among jazz players, especially those

JVC headphones on limited budgets. Being mostly hand made each cymbal has its own unique characteristics so drummers will find subtle variations in sound with each cymbal to suit their own style. The range features Medium Splashes, Medium Crashes, Medium Rides, Medium Ride Sizzle and Medium Hi Hat models available in all the most popular sizes, with recommended prices from £38 for an 8inch Splash to £299 for a 22in Ride. The new Thin Crash models come in 14in, 16in and 18in with the distinctive Vintage Bronze finish but have a lighter weight and faster decay and are priced at £57.40, £88.20 and £120 respectively. (JN) For more go to www.staggmusic.com

The Gretsch drum company’s history is synonymous with jazz and many of the music’s greatest drummers, including Art Blakey, Max Roach, Elvin Jones and Tony Williams have played Gretsch kits, while today Vinnie Colaiuta is among the company’s leading endorsees. Now distributed by the giant Fender corporation, Gretsch are rolling out a big push on the UK market, focusing on its lower priced ranges, particularly the newly updated Catalina Club and Renown Maple ranges. With prices ranging from £500-700 the Catalina Club is terrific value with 7ply mahogany shells, lacquer or wrapped finishes, four shell pack configurations, from 18in bass drum jazz sets to 24in bass rock monsters, shorter tom depth options, suspended mounts and Evans heads. The Renown Maple range, inspired by Gretsch’s admired USA Custom range and featuring 6ply Rock maple shells with die cast hoops and Evans heads, is also re-styled for 2010 offering shorter, more traditional depths tom sizes, four shell pack configurations, four very sellable new finishes and prices up to £1200.

For more go to www.gretschdrums.com

Looking to recreate the definitive jazz drum sound of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, California-based Drum Workshop have designed a new thin 8 ply maple and gum wood drum shell based on vintage models that has a similar dark, warm sound but with the clarity and attack required in today’s music. The Jazz Series shells also have a newly designed ‘Butter Edge’ bearing edge that is slightly rounder than regular DW shells and works in-conjunction with die-cast hoops to produce a wide tuning range with bags of resonance.

All DW Jazz Series shells are timbre matched for tuning compatibility and come with DW’s classic round tuning lugs, suspended tom mounts and coated DW drum heads. Being DW of course these Jazz Series drums are available in a more sizes than you can shake a stick, including traditional, standard, fast tom, and alternate tom sizes, bass drums in standard, traditional and alternate sizes and snare drums in head diameters from 10in to 15in and depths from 4in to 8in. Finishes are plentiful too and can be ordered in a multitude of styles from natural and exotic woods to stunning sparkle lacquers. For more go to www.morico.co.uk

This is one of Ludwig’s centenary models and it’s quite a character. You’ll either love or hate the laser engraved shell with, for me, its rather overworked swirls and whirls. With a deep brass shell coated in black nickel, a 14-inch head and diecast hoops and tube style lugs, there’s no doubting its Black Beauty lineage. I loved the feel of it as it’s wonderfully responsive, has a really full tone at the bottom end and a highly defined sound even when it was being played softly at lower levels. It also has a crisp, clear snare sound. The rims are higher than normal and this gave cutting rim shots an extraordinarily well defined “stick click”. But behind a 35-piece band, this baby was struggling on projection and power. Slot it into a small combo however and this Black Magic really comes into its own and this is clearly where it is best placed. The Black Magic isn’t a fully fledged Black Beauty, but a little customising could make it into a really tidy piece of kit.

For more go to www.activemusic.co.uk

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