Shaw is the UK's oldest brand of drumstick, dating back to 1866 and thus celebrating its 150th year in 2016.
Shaw was acquired by The Music Shipping Company, based in the West Midlands, and MSC, wishing to keep the historic name alive, decided to expand the marque to encompass a range of percussion instruments, many of which are produced in the UK. These now include accessories, drum mats, practice pads, and even custom drum kits.
Running parallel with the Shaw rescue is that of another respected UK brand, much younger than Shaw, but also long distributed and kept alive by Music Shipping Company. This is the fondly remembered Big Dog hardware.
When Big Dog found itself ailing, Music Shipping Company again came to the rescue, deciding to update and improve on the stands and pedals and rebrand them under the Shaw banner. Thus we have this set of K Class Shaw drum hardware.
MSC's boss Craig Fenney says the company intends to develop several ranges of Shaw hardware, but being realistic, the place to start was with this intermediate level package. "We want to do a range above and a range below, but we had to start somewhere."
Music Shipping Company marketed Big Dog and knew exactly where improvements were needed. For example, the snare drum stand basket will now go perfectly flat if need be. All the stands are double braced and what strikes you is that it is all well put together with a reassuring honesty about it.
First up is the cymbal stand, which is a disappearing boom design. There is no straight stand since the boom converts to straight anyway. The design of the three tube sections means that the stand will go lower than most (760mm/30"), which is handy for hanging a ride cymbal over your bass drum. But it also converts to a straight stand and extends higher than most at 1880mm/74".
High-density foam Cympad Optimisers allow the cymbal to ring better than with standard felts. These are made and branded for Shaw by Cympad in Switzerland. Securing the cymbal and Cympads is an extra heavy wing-nut, embossed with the Shaw logo. It's a handy oval shape, heavy, and spins freely.
Steadying the ship - in fact all of the stands - are newly-designed rubber feet. Again, they're Shaw-branded with extra steadying side panels, and they have a clever rounded profile with ridged grips so that they remain stable at any angle.
Also up for review is a double-tom floor stand which utilises the bottom section of the cymbal stand with a heavy cast top section that holds two fully rotating phenolic ball 'L' arms. Additionally at the rear there is a built-in clamp to take a further accessory such as the K Class Boom Arm.
The bass drum pedal typifies the range. It is surprisingly weighty on account of every component being heavy-duty. The base plate is thickened steel with rubber grippers. Attachment to the bass drum hoop is via a side-clamp thumbscrew for ease of reach and the jaw clamp has rubber grippers to protect your hoop.
The double-chain driven quadrant cam is smooth and absolutely silent. Action is tailored via beater length and angle, and a powerful spring with chunky knurled screws.
Another nice touch is the heel plate which is not flat but is slightly angled up so that when your foot is at rest on the board it almost forms a flat, continuous long-board profile. The squared felt beater face is curved to make sharp contact with the head.
Shaw also offers a double-kick version with a slave pedal connected via the usual drive and the action faithfully duplicated on both pedals.
Matching well is the hi-hat pedal with equally large footboard which can be swivelled around to make space for your slave double pedal if needs be, secured by a drum key bolt.
The up-tube has a formidable memory-lock and both the Aerodisc bottom cymbal tilter cup and the top cymbal clutch are fitted with foam Cympads. A large black nylon wheel adjusts spring tension and, like the bass pedal, the silent action is firm and smooth.
Finally, the snare stand is an off-set basket design with geared tilter. Like everything else it is weighty and just feels well-made and secure. Tightening the basket involves a large wing-screw which is steel, not plastic, and consequently is smoothand strong.