David Valdés

Modification of a Premier bass drum.

This project is a consequence of a larger one; namely, to provide myself with the proper drums to recreate as close as possible the original sound, character and looks in Stravinsky´s “The Soldier´s Tale”.

 

For the bass drum I used a 28″x12″ Premier (model 188) from the 70s. Here you have a photo from the catalogue and a technical description:

Catálogo Premier. © Premier Co.
© Premier Co.
Modelos de bombos. © Premier Co.
© Premier Co.

It was finished in “Burgundy Pearl” and it featured “Everplay” heads:

Carta de colores Premier. © Premier Co.
© Premier Co.
Parches Premier Everplay. © Premier Co.
© Premier Co.

This is the original finish. To be honest, I didn´t like it very much.

© David Valdés
© David Valdés

I stripped off the shell, a not difficult task, as the wrap was glued only along a narrow band.

Casco sin herrajes ni vinilo. © David Valdés.
© David Valdés

I sanded the shell until it was perfectly smooth. Once sanded I applied several layers of tung oil.

Casco lijado, listo para las manos de aceite. © David Valdés.
© David Valdés

Altough I like the original “Art Déco” original lugs, they weren´t the style I was looking for (and they were not in very good condition). For a more antique and simple look I got some tubular lugs at STDrums:

Bellotas originales Premier. © David Valdés.
© David Valdés
Bellotas de estilo tubular ST Drums. © David Valdés.
© David Valdés

I also added some leagther gaskets (STDrums) to avoid contact/friction noises. They look phenomenal, too:

Arandela de piel entre el casco y la bellota. © David Valdés.
© David Valdés
Bellota montada sobre el casco. © David Valdés.
© David Valdés

I then started working on the counterhoops. I got rid of the red wrap and the black paint (not from the central “channel” as it would get covered with the new wrap). I sanded them until they were perfectly smooth and, again, I applied several coats of tung oil. The next photo shows two different stages of the process:

Aros del bombo. © David Valdés.
© David Valdés

As a final detail I glued a strip of white marine pearl wrap (STDrums) to the central “channel” that I had from previous projects.

 

Because I was going to fit the drum with natural heads, I susbstituted the original square-headed tension rods with tap-style ones. Changes in temperature and humidity greatly affect natural heads, so you have to constantly adjust the tunning of the bass drum. Tap-style rods are much more practical. I got these “Paris style” tension rods at STDrums:

Llaves estilo París. © David Valdés.
© David Valdés
Montaje de parche de piel, aro, garra y llave. © David Valdés.
© David Valdés

With everything ready, I only had to put the goat skins on (Baena Sonido) and mount everything. Here you have some photos:

© David Valdés
© David Valdés
© David Valdés
© David Valdés
© David Valdés

This bass drum features the sizes, character and look that I was looking for for my project; on top of that, it sounds fantastically well! Also, apart from being a perfect chamber-music-bass-drum, it can also be incorporated into a trap set (remember this article on Milhaud´s concerto), so it is doubly useful.

 

A future article will show the different mounting possibilities of this bass drum. Stay tuned, as this has just began 😉.

 

 

…et in Arcadia ego.

© David Valdés