GEAR EXPO 2021: Grab your sticks and stool, it's time to take a seat behind the hottest new percussion kit that 2021 has to offer.
New looks, new sounds and the keenest prices around. We've got something for every up and coming skin-smith.
Sonor AQX series kits
Hang onto your hats. Sonor has announced the introduction of the AQX range, offering an affordable entry into the AQ line-up and the options are off the chart.
There's five AQX Series configurations in total:
There's the more conventional Stage (22", 10", 12", 16" and 14" snare) then thre's the Studio (20", 10", 12", 14" and 14" snare). Both include Sonor's new 1000 Series hardware set and a B8 Bronze cymbal set with 14” hi-hat, 16” crash and 18” ride (not available in all markets).
Of course, Sonor is no stranger to making kits in a shrunken format either, having given birth to the Jungle colloquialism in the 90s for a kit using a 16” bass drum. The new line-up also comprises three smaller-sized kits: AQX Jazz, AQX Jungle and AQX Micro.
Just feast your eyes on the gallery below for all the options.
Each of the AQX compact kits is offered as a four-piece set including a 13”x6” snare, and features the same shell construction - 100% poplar to help with cutting weight without losing sound quality or projection.
What’s more, Sonor has stuck with its approach of standardised finish options across the series: with each set available in a choice of Black Midnight Sparkle, Blue Ocean Sparkle or Red Moon Sparkle. So, whichever configuration you go for you’ll be able to make future additions to your kit with ease.
Tama Club-JAM Suitcase and Cocktail-JAM Mini compact drum kits
The Japanese giant has announced two new additions to its JAM series of compact drum kits with the Club-JAM Suitcase and Cocktail-JAM Mini.
Joining the existing Club-JAM, Club-JAM Mini, Club-JAM Flyer and Cocktail Jam setups, the new kits offer even greater size reductions and portability, while maintaining all-important sound and build quality.
First up is the Club-JAM Suitcase. This shrunk-down setup features poplar shells throughout to help keep the weight down, and comes with a 16”x15” bass drum, 10”x7” rack tom and 12”x6” floor tom. However, that 16” bass drum is split-able, allowing you to nest both toms inside for super-easy portability.
Additional features include a bass drum-mounted bracket for a cymbal arm, bass drum riser and natural wood bass drum hoops. A set of gig bags for all three drums is available separately, and the Club-JAM Suitcase comes in Indigo Sparkle finish with a street price of around £375.
Tama Cocktail-JAM Mini
The Cocktail-JAM Mini takes the same format as the existing Cocktail-JAM and brings everything down a size. It’s available in two configurations, both featuring a 14”x6” bass drum, 8”x5” rack tom, 12”x5.5” floor tom and 10”x5 snare drum, all of which fit into two included gig bags.
Both Cocktail-JAM Mini setups also come with a bass drum pedal, plus hardware for mounting the drums. Meanwhile, the second configuration includes cymbal and x-hat hi-hat attachments. The Tama Cocktail-JAM Mini is available in Hairline Black, pricing TBC.
Vox Telstar Maple
Do not adjust your monitor. Yes, Vox has announced the release of the new Telstar Maple drum kit for 2021 which features the same distinctive ‘flat tyre’ elliptical bass drum as their Vox Telstar/Trixon Speedfire.
The 2021 version features all-maple shells, and a more traditional natural maple finish, with the whole project supervised by the Sakae Osaka Heritage build team. By adjusting the drum’s position to allow for striking in different areas, you can change the pitch, character and harmonics that the drum produces.
As well as that 18”+12”x13” bass drum (replacement heads are available from Remo), the kit also comprises a 13” x 7.5” rack tom, 16”x15.5” floor tom and matching 14”x5” snare. As with the 2021 version, the package also includes Sakae flat-base hi-hat and snare stands, plus a bass drum-mounted cymbal arm and single bass drum pedal.
Pricing is still TBC, and the Telstar Maple should be available in the Spring.
Ludwig Legacy Mahogany Black Cat and ltd-edition Vistalite kits
Ludwig has unveiled two limited edition kits for 2021 with the Legacy Mahogany Black Cat and Vistalite Island sunset. We'll let you work out which is which below.
The Legacy Mahogany Black Cat pays tribute to the Ludwig Black Panther finish of the 60s and 70s, and is echoed here with the satin black shell finish. The drums themselves are built from Ludwig’s three-ply mahogany/poplar lay-up and also include quarter-inch maple reinforcement rings.
The Black Cat features maple counterhoops, fitted with silver sparkle inlays across all drums, and comes with Ludwig limited edition badges. The Legacy Mahogany Black Cat shell pack is available in two sizes: Fab (22”14, 13”X9”, 16”X16”) and Pro Beat (24”x14”, 13”x9”, 16”x16”).
Ludwig says that both the Black Cat kit and snare are "strictly limited".
Meanwhile the Vistalite Island Sunset sees Ludwig’s iconic acrylic kit decked-out in green/yellow/red stripes, offering a new contrast to the iconic vintage Tequila Sunrise finish.
It’s available in a Fab configuration (22”x14, 13”x9”, 16”x16”) and Ludwig has also made an optional matching 14”x6.5” snare. Once again, these are extremely limited: production will be just 35 kits worldwide.
PDP limited edition Twisted Ivory & Walnut wood hoop kit
PDP have a limited edition run of Twisted Ivory & walnut drum kits for 2021.The eye-catching kit from DW's sister brand is built from all-European maple shells, and comes in a Twisted Ivory satin finish.
But it doesn’t stop there, as the whole lot is topped-off with natural walnut hoops and claw tension hooks on both sides of every drum.
The limited edition kits will be available as a shell pack (12”X9” tom, 16”x16” floor tom, 22”x16” bass drum), however an optional, matching 14”x6.5” snare is also available in the same finish/hoop configuration.
The PDP Twisted Ivory & walnut kits will be produced for 2021 only, with pricing and availability still TBC.
Visit PDP's website.