Archive for the ‘Pads’ Category

Simmons and the plagiarisms

Monday, October 12th, 2009

I recently won an auction where 2 vintage hexagonal shaped pads had been offered. Although the description did not say anything about “Simmons”, the picture really made me believe that they were. Finally I got these two pads for a reasonable price of 1 Euro. Yes, a bargain. But when they finally arrived, I was very astonished what I had actually bought: Two pads manufactured by a polish company named “Polmuz” (“POLish MUZak”):

I was not disappointed at all knowing that I probably got something that might have been even rarer than any other Simmons pad I already owned. An almost 1:1 copy of the SDS7’s MKIII pads. Today I could hardly resist when I saw another two pads of a U.S.S.R. manufacturer named “LELL”. Just the same as my Polmuz: hexagonal shaped pads, made in 1984, obviously Simmons copies. While Simmons hardly clamped down on plagarism, the eastern bloc manufacturers had always been protected by the iron fence.

In western countries, the hexagonal shape associated with electronic drums was registered as a trade mark. That’s why Simmons could tackle against competitors like Pearl who initially delivered there DRX-1 console with hexagonal shaped drum pads as well. But Pearl was forced to change the shape into something between octagonal and round as you probably remember. Some manufacturers tried pentagonal pads like Dynacord or Maxim, some produced octagonal pads like Weinberg or Cheetah. But there was no company that did not copy anything from Simmons at all: either the design or the sound generation.

If you are generally interested in what the Russians produced during the cold war, I recommend the Museum Of Russian Synths

Suitcase kit and Musicaid SDSV

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Yesterday I got an email by Earl Harvin, professional drummer. One of his last projects was the latest Pet Shop Boys album “Fundamental”. He sent some pictures of his suitcase kit and a very early SDSV brain given to him by Lol Creme (10CC, Godley and Creme):

Suitcase kit

Some facts and tales about the suitcase:
Dave Simmons only built around 15 suitcases, all by hand! I have seen some with Alumium edges and some in black plastic suitcases (like my one). The black suitcases are said to come from a local angler requirements store, but this is not proved. The suitcase got pretty well known by the band Saga who integrated the suitcase into a famous drum solo/drum battle between Michael Sadler (singer/suitcase) and Steve Negus (drums)

Musicaid SDSV
The first SDSV kits had been produced even before “Simmons Electronic Drums” had actually been founded. The early SDSVs do not only show the “Musicaid” logo on the back side as well as on every module, they also have red pushbuttons (instead of black ones) to switch the sounds:

Musicaid SDSV

Musicaid SDSV

The old Musicaid company got bankrupt in 1981 (although the sales showed an amazing positive tendency) but after a short production break “Simmons Electronic Drums” has been founded and the SDSV became very famous.

Just another white SDSV

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Sometimes it is really hard to resist. For me this is the case when I am offered an SDSV at a reasonable price. This time I more or less fell over a 5-piece SDSV (standard BD, SN, 3xTT) with 4 small and one bassdrum pad in pure white. And yes, my inner voice forced me to take it. As my Simmons buddy Michael only lived 13km away from the seller I took the opportunity today to pick up the drum set and visit Michael for a cup of coffee afterwards. Michael, who is at least the best Simmons tech that I know, could not resist to take a look inside my new baby because channel four and one tom card did not work properly.
By the way he also demonstrated the next level of his SDS3 clone (sometime Michael causes me anxiety…).
Before I left, he asked me “how many white SDSV kits do you have now?”. “Three” (plus two red, one black and one blue). Still I believe the SDSV is the sexiest electronic drum system ever built. That’s why I already know that whenever I will fall over the next one for sale, I will take it.