GEAR EXPO 2022: A new kit can mean different things to different players, but whether it's a once-in-a-lifetime investment in your dream kit, or a more practical purchase to solve problems such as portability or noise levels, there's something for everyone.
2022 has already brought us some great additions in all three of the categories we mentioned above, from beginner-friendly, to iconic reissues and boutique additions. Here are some of the must-try kits for different players this year.
Ludwig Vistalite 50th Anniversary
The unmistakeable Vistalite turns 50 in 2022, and Ludwig is going big with the celebrations. First up, its reissued the lesser-spotted Red and Green single Acrolite finishes which are available for the entire production run this year in Fab (22x14", 13x9", 16x16") Pro Beat (24x14", 13x9", 16x16") and Zep (26x14", 14x10", 16x16", 18x16") configurations.
But if a see-through acrylic kit in a single colour is too pedestrian for you, there’s plenty more available in the Anniversary line-ups. The finishes are split into three patterns: Pattern A is the triple-stripe, offered in Black Sparkle/Smoke/Black Sparkle; Blue/Green/Clear or Red/White/Blue.
Pattern C is the ‘Candy Cane’ style spiral available in red/yellow, and Pattern E is a dual finish offered in Clear/Smoke. Each of the Anniversary configurations are limited to 25 of each kit worldwide, so get them while you can!
Tama STAR Factory Vault (STAR Mahogany with Tineo Outer Ply)
If you thought that Tama's flagship STAR line of drums couldn't get any more 'boutique' then think again. For 2022, it has introduced the Star Factory Vault, which promises "a truly rare and exceptional drum experience for the discriminating drum enthusiast".
STAR Factory Reserve kits will offer the highest quality, hand selected woods, and most meticulous attention to detail using time-tested, lengthy construction processes by Tama's greatest drum builders. Each kit will also be available in very limited quantities.
Kicking things off, is the gorgeous STAR Factory Vault Mahogany with Tineo Outer Ply kit featuring thin 6mm/8-ply (with 6mm reinforcement rings) mahogany shells, finished with an outer ply of Tineo brought straight from the Andes mountains.
It's offered as a five-piece shell pack including 22"x16" Bass Drum, 10"x7" and 12"x8" rack toms, plus 14"x14" and 16"x16" floor toms. The finish is called Caramel Tineo Burst, and a matching 14"x6.5" snare is available, but not included.
Natal DNA Stealth
At the tail end of 2021, Natal released the DNA Stealth - a concept so simple and obvious, it’s surprising that it hasn’t been done before. Essentially a regular acoustic kit, the Stealth DNA is fitted with mesh heads straight out of the box, meaning that it’s instantly a quiet kit for home practice.
It comes with a set of perforated practice cymbals which are also low-volume, and also includes all of the hardware you need to start playing as soon as you get it home - even down to the drum sticks.
As well as the obvious saving in volume, we can see this being popular with those wanting to convert it to an electronic kit using triggers, and of course, you can fit regular drum heads too if you need to play it loud. Natal has also made the snare available separately if you’re looking for a more ‘drum-like’ alternative to a practice pad.
Tama Club-JAM Pancake
Small kits are big news, and Tama is continuing its scaled-down offerings for 2022 with the introduction of the Club-JAM Pancake. It joins the rest of the Club-JAM series as the lightest and most portable kit in the range.
With a 12”x4” snare, single-headed 10x3.5” and 13x3.5” rack and floor toms, and an 18”x4” bass drum, the whole kit can be packed into a single bag for transporting, making it an excellent solution for busking and smaller gigs.
The Tama Club-Jam Pancake is available in two finishes: Hairline Black and Champagne Mist, both with vintage-inspired wood hoops on the bass drum. The custom bag is available separately.
Tama True Touch Training
Taking a similar approach to Natal’s DNA Stealth, the five-piece Tama True Touch Training Kit offers a solution to quiet, space-saving practice combined with authentic feel and tone at manageable volumes.
The Solid Kick Bass Pad is made from multiple foam layers to replicate the feel of a bass drum and is anchored by two sturdy legs, while the 8”/8.5” AND 9” tom pads feature a dual-layered foam playing surface which work with the resin shell to create pitched tom sounds at low volumes.
Meanwhile, Tama’s AAD Snare Pad uses “strong, heavy base materials” and “multi-layered foam pad materials” topped with a dual-layer mesh head to give you a tensionable playing surface for the snare drum. Inside, there’s a “sound source” that replicates the snare wires for immediate feedback and response.