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Jenkins-Martin drums - Review Skoða sem PDF skjal Prenta út

I received a Jenkins-Martin/Blaemire kit to display at The 2013 Reykjavik Drumshow, held on October 12th. Jenkins-Martin is a new company that is re-creating the legendary Blaemire fiberglass drums that a.o. Hal Blaine has made legendary. The men behind the company are both drummers and drum afficionados; Jerry Jenkins and David Martin. I am not going to go into the details of the history of these drums but you can check out www.jenkinsmartindrums.com where you find all the information about the drums, the company and the history behind them.

The kit I received is in the following sizes: 14x22“ bass drum, 16x16“ floor tom, 8x12“ mounted tom, 5.5x14“ ten lug snare drum, 6.5x14“ 8 lug snare drum and a 7x13“ Jenkins-Martin badged snare drum in blue colour.

Looks & finish:

The kit is in the original Blaemire green colour which to my best knowledge is the colour of the raw fiberglass material which is spun rather than molded like most fiberglass shells. They are therefore very thin and rock hard with little to no flex. They carry the Blaemire badge as homage to Allen Blaemire which only made shells in this colour. Jenkins-Martin Drum Co. offer a plethora of other colours but those drums carry the Jenkins-Martin logo. I had seen pictures of these drums many times beforealt but when I unboxed them I realized no pictures do them justice. They are transluscent, they let light through the shells. Pretty amazing actually and quite stunning to look at.

Workmanship on the drums is impeccable and while handling them and looking at them there is just one thing that comes to mind; quality. These are boutique, high-end instruments. And to top it off the badge designs are one of the nicest I´ve seen, both the Blaemire badge and the Jenkins-Martin badge that the blue snare carries. Jenkins-Martin/Blaemire drums have their own lug and bass drum claw design. I believe the lugs were originally designed by Allen Blaemire himself but are now for the first time being produced. Jerry and David designed a bass drum claw that fit the lugs perfectly. Nice touch. All toms come with 1.6 triple flange hoops, snare drums with 2.3 triple flange hoops. Bass drum hoops are made from the same fiberglass as the drumshells. Tom mount is a Ludwig mount.

Performance:

The Bass drum I set up with an Evans EQ3 resonant head with no port and for batter side I used a clear Remo Powerstroke 3, Evans EQ pad inside just touching the batter head. The bass drum sounds like it´s exploding with sound. It´s very fat and delivers lows in abundance but still retains great attack, even with a non ported head. It sounds huge and rich. Big, fat, rich, warm tone. No matter how hard or soft I hit it, it always does what I want it to do. Even though it has no port it is not too boomy, pretty focused actually. The 14“ depth makes the response faster and it´s a lot of fun to play. Actually, 14“ deep bass drums are slowly becoming my favourite. I did try another reso head with a 4“ port and it sounds beautiful also but with a little less lows and more attack. My preference would be a full front head, no question. That way the drum really shines and shows its potential. In fact this is one of the best bass drums I have played so far. I had another 16x22“ wood bass drum (a high end bass drum I dearly love) at my local, set up with similar heads next to it and the Blaemire more or less killed it.

Toms I set up with Remo clear Emperor batters, clear Ambassador reso´s. Like the bass drum the drums feel like they are exploding with sound. They are very warm, open and have a tone that I would describe as right between vintage and modern. The aaltttack is just right, lots of tone and roundness and lows in abundance. Yet they are focused and I never felt the need to reach for a moon gel or gaffer to control them. They are just....right. Since the drums are made from synthetic material, spun fiberglass, I expected the drums to sound harder or glassier but they are incredibly warm and rich. Blindfolded I would never have guessed these are not wood drums. I also tried them with coated Remo Ambassador batters and then the vintage tone came more apparent. That head combination was my favourite, warm and round but with great projection and moderate attack. Oh yeah, talking about projection. These drums project really well. And I mean REALLY well. They never choke at any tuning and at extreme low tunings they never sounded thin. If the heads would have allowed me to go lower the drums would have handled it. Never have I been able to tune toms so low without loosing tone. It´s extreme. Same goes for high bop tunings. I tuned the 8x12“ way up into Max Roach territory and even higher. It shines in every tuning and always retains the warmth, tone and richness. No limits here.

Note: Jenkins-Martin ship the drums without suspension mounts, stating they don´t need them. I found the 12“ tom sounding off in regard to the floor tom and bass drum. But when I took it off the mount, held it by the rim it sounded a lot richer and with more resonance. Therefore I put a Gibraltar RIMS style suspension mount on it and got the problem solved. This is all in my personal opinion of course. I know there are drummers and drum designers out there who don´t want any suspension mounts but for me they are mandatory.

Snare drums: I received three snare drums, a 7x13“ Blue Jenkins-Martin badged drum, a 5.5x14“ 10 lug green Blaemire badged drum and a 6.5x14“ 8 lug green Blaemire badged drum, that I got a few wtitleeeks later, I´ll tell you more about that drum later. They come with Evans heads; coated Powercenter reverse dot/hazy 300 reso. Snare wires are 42 strand and the throw off is the Dunnett R4 model. OK, let me start with first impressions: These are snaredrums that are as good as they come. These are state of the art, high-end boutique drums. Build quality is impeccable, they look beautiful and they sound gorgeous.

The 7x13“ is the darkest sounding of the three. It has 16 tom lugs that make it look stunning and the blue colour is amazing. The transluscent effect of the shell material makes the drums change slightly in colour depending on the lighting. The drum is very responsive, never chokes at any tuning although I found it really shines in medium-high to high tunings. It has the compression you find in most 13“ snare drums but has lots of body and fatness many of them lack.

The 5.5x14“ drum has 10 double ended snare lugs that are reminiscent of the old Leedy design although being Allen Blaemires own design. This drum is so sensitive and rich that it´s almost too much. This drum could handle orchestral work perfectly. It´s bright, crisp, very punchy, extremely articulate and when laid into, it cracks like no other. Cross stick is clear and rich and rimshots are thunderous. Overall tone is focused, yet lively. Brush sweeps are very sweet and articulate and the drum has great volume potential. Hit hard, it´s loud, really loud. Hit soft it always gives you a rich sound and it´s impressive how great this drum sounds at low volume. Through the years I´ve had a few Brady snare drums and this drum reminds me a bit of them but with their own distinctive character. It wouldn´t suprise me if Blaemire – Jenkins-Martin snare drums would become the studio drummers favourite.

So, to the 6.5x14“. After testing the kit and the 7x13“ and the 5.5x14“ snares which I received first, I felt so impressed that I ordered a 6.5x14“ for myself. I wanted to combine the qualities of both the 7x13“ (darker) and the 5.5x14“ (richness, crispness, tone), so I went for a 6.5“ deep shell, 8 lugs instead of 10 (or 20 tom lugs) to darken the tone, open it up more and loose some of the incredible sensitivialtty of the 5.5“. With 8 lugs it also feels softer under the stick which is something I prefer. This drum is wonderful. It has punch that you feel in your gut, sensitivity in spades, crispness, openness, richness and is really fat sounding. Richness is the key word here. Yet it is moderately focused so I just used a 1“ strip of gaffer right by the rim to control the ring just a little bit. This drum is so good it almost plays itself. Yes, that´s how the drum feels like. Like with the other drums the tuning range is limitless. It sounds great tuned low, medium or high. It´s the kind of drum that makes you laugh when you play it. A stunning instrument. You better get your ghost notes up to speed since these drums are very articulate and won´t forgive sloppy playing. Of the three snare drums the 6.5x14“ is my favourite by far but I admit to have a tendency to like deeper snare drums. But a drummer friend of mine drooled over the 5.5x14“. The only thing I am not fond of is the strainer. I find them stiff and difficult to operate. But maybe that´s just me.

Conclusion:

These drums sound amazing and are obviously made with tender loving care and great attention to detail. The snare drums are among the best I have ever played and the bass drum is a killer. If you want a modern sounding kit with a vintage flavour and with endless tuning possibilities and projection, this is a great choice. The colour options are limitless and you can even have your logo or artwork imprinted into the shell. Neat isn´t it?

 

Halldór Lárusson - December 2013

 

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