Humes and Berg
Drum World UK
Noble and Cooley
Drum Workshop manufactures:
Drums, Hardware, Pedals and Thrones
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Drum Workshop drums began in 1972 by a 26 year old called Don. He opened a small studio for teaching in Santa Monica, Calif. John Good saw an advert for Drum Workshop in the Yellow Pages and he signed up for lessons when he was 17 to improve his drumming. John Good is now Drum Workshops vice president.
Realizing that overhead was eating up his profits, Don brought in investors and additional teachers and began selling sticks, books and drums to help subsidize the expenses. Hiring John as a part-time sales manager, the two spent hours discussing different ways to improve the art of drumming through improving drum products.
Out of these brainstorms came the first DW product: Don’s new design for a height-adjustable trap-case seat. Selling about a dozen seats a month, John quit his day job and went to work full-time for Don.
When DW received a purchase order for 100 seats from Camco Drum Co., Don and John realized that they had an innovative product that would sell. Thirty years later, DW is now offering a new version of the trap-case adjustable seat, made out of a lighter weight material, called the 6100 Adjustable Trap-Case Seat.
However, when DW created the original trap case seat, they had the capacity and personnel to create only a dozen seats a month, not 100. Don was still teaching and playing a nightly gig while John built the products. Shortly thereafter, Camco Drum Co. owner Tom Beckman approached Don in 1977 with an offer to sell him Camco’s machinery, dies and molds, everything it took to make Camco drums and hardware—everything except the Camco name itself. This gave Don the opportunity to expand his capacity for creating the seats and to expand his product line.
At that point, Don made the decision to accept the offer and change the direction of Drum Workshop from teaching and selling to manufacturing.
Borrowing most of the money from his parents and some from outside investors, Don purchased Camco’s tooling and reintroduced the Camco 5000 nylon strap bass drum pedal under the DW name. The pedal was refined to improve consistency, quietness, smoothness and adjustability of its mechanical operation. As the pedal was rapidly becoming “the drummer’s choice,” Don continued to search for ways to further improve it.
The addition of the Chain & Sprocket drive system in 1980 not only vastly improved the DW pedal, but also helped set it apart from others on the market. Three years later, DW introduced a double bass drum pedal that incorporated a unique linkage with universal joints. DW’s 5002 Double Pedal not only filled a need and solidified DW’s position in the market as innovators, it ushered in a whole new era in drumming since, for the first time, single bass drum players could now use both feet to create new rhythms and increase speed. Throughout the ‘80s, DW created other innovative DW hardware, such as the rotating two-leg 5500T and the remote (cable) 5502LB hi-hat stands, to meet the needs of DW Pedal endorsers like Travis Barker, Abe Laboriel Jr., Vinnie Colaiuta, Gary Novak and Carter Beauford.
As Don was developing DW Pedals and Hardware, John was on the road building his expertise as a drum technician.
As a drum technician, John also discovered that each drum has a unique range where it sounds its best, eventually leading him to create DW’s unique Timbre Matching system.
By the ‘80s, with endorsements by the world’s top drummers, an expanding dealer network and a strong marketing campaign, DW’s full line of top-quality bass drum pedals and hi-hat stands had created a unique market position for the small American company. Meanwhile, DW Drums were starting to attract attention throughout the drumming world, as well. To accommodate the increased demand for its hardware products, DW doubled its manufacturing space, moving to Newbury Park, Calif.
With Tommy joining Jim Keltner, Chad Wackerman, Larrie Londin and other high-profile players, DW produced their first serious drum catalog and went to the January 1990 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show, hoping to interest a handful of their top pedal dealers to each take one drum kit.
Since its first debut at NAMM, DW has pioneered the Delta Tri-Bearing pedal system featuring the patented Delta ball-bearing hinge, the Edge brass/maple snare drum, the concept of smaller F.A.S.T.® tom-tom sizes, the Woofer Bass Drum Tone Enhancer and the True-Pitch® Tuning System. In addition, DW has perfected a wide variety of Lacquer, Satin Oil and FinishPly™ drum finish choices. Today, drummer’s drummers such as Sheila E., Terry Bozzio, Neil Peart, Marco Minnemann and Gary Novak, along with drummers of popular acts such as Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Dixie Chicks, Incubus, Mana, Missy Elliott, Avril Lavigne and so many more have chosen to play DW Drums, Pedals and Hardware exclusively.
To accommodate an increasing need for space, DW moved to its current facility in Oxnard, Calif., in 2000. That same year, DW created a new line of drums called Pacific Drums and Percussion to meet the demand for entry to mid-level players. The new line still uses some custom techniques, but primarily uses computerized machinery to cut costs and reduce steps to create high-quality drums in large quantities. DW moved most production of Pacific drums to a DW-run factory in Ensenada, Mexico, in 2002. Pacific Drums have now made DW’s innovation and quality available to a larger market, while still maintaining the reputation of DW drums as high-end unique instruments.
In addition to expanding its product line, DW continues to create new drum concepts. John now carries the nickname as DW’s “woodologist,” continually searching out different wood to create unique sets. In the late ‘90s, John learned of 500-year-old hardwood that had sunk in Lake Superior 100 years ago. The logs were harvested by underwater treasure hunters and used to create DW’s Timeless Timber line, featuring 25th Anniversary Lake Superior Maple sets in 1997 and DW’s 30th anniversary Lake Superior Birch sets in 2002 (pictured at left). DW has also continued this tradition by releasing rare woods as limited edition Private Reserve kits.
Along with expanded product lines, DW’s 30th anniversary year included the addition of a new position, promoting Chris Lombardi, to Chief Executive Officer after 16 years of work with the company.
DW’s 30th anniversary also marked the release of the most technologically advanced pedal on the market. A limited number of precisely machined Titanium 9000 single and double pedals were released as testament to the custom features and patented technology that has continued to make DW pedals an industry standard. The numbered collector’s pedals featured a titanium footboard, lightweight aluminium cam, patented Delta hinge and a certificate of authenticity. Later that year, the road- worthy production version of the 9000 series pedal was released and featured patented Floating Rotor Technology. This feature optimizes speed, power and precision with friction-reducing ball bearings in the rotor, mounted on a free-floating drive shaft, and incorporates several of the unique features that makes the 5000 Series line up of pedals standard issue for the world’s top players.
Over the years, one thing has remained constant, a ceaseless enthusiasm and the desire to keep making things better so that drummers can continue to raise the bar.
Drum Workshop Products