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Find Out What's New from the Expo Floor at PASIC 2019

Check out all the new gear you may have missed!

November 21st, 2019 by Alex Howley

Not everyone can make it to PASIC every year, and even when you can, it can be tough to catch everything. The expo hall is always packed full of new designs and prototype gear that's bound to be the next big thing, but it's almost impossible to catch it all.

That doesn't stop us from trying, though! We walked around the convention hall to find out what's new in the world of percussion. Follow along with our walk-through, hear from some of the product manufacturers, and learn what gear is making waves in the percussion world.

Adams

German Classic Timpani

These timpani don't just look gorgeous - they are all kinds of innovative as well. They offer tons of different pedal configurations, but the really exciting one in the first-of-its-kind balanced action Dresden pedal design. It has the same springs and hand-crank (and pedal position) as Dresden timpani, but Adams has figured out how to remove the clutch!

Black Swamp

25th Anniversary Concert Snare Drum

Black Swamp pulled out all the stops this year, and this drum was the star of their show. This gorgeous anniversary snare drum is in the all-time upper echelon of jaw-dropping snare drums on the expo floor.

Progressive Tambourine

This unique design combines Black Swamp's SoundArt and Leggiero jingles, on different sides of the tambourine, for a fascinating and versatile instrument that can create both lush, wide-open sounds and dry, crisp notes.

Duo-Tone Timpani Mallets

These sleek new mallets have two completely different sides to their heads, which allows for very quick shifts between softer, more gentle, warmer playing and a much more articulate sound. Plus, the carbon fiber texture on the shafts looks awesome.

Dynasty

5.0 Octave Rosewood Marimba

This new marimba is designed to solve the common issues that happen with most marimba frames over time, and especially marching frames. The rails are one solid piece of ash, which prevents the infamous sag that tends to happen over time, and makes sure you don't have to stuff pennies or folded-up pieces of paper into your frame anymore. It also has an easily removable auxiliary rail, which, when removed, makes the frame look like a concert instrument, thanks to the (very pretty) unstained wood frame.

The real show-stopper, though, is the electronic height adjustment, which can adjust by tenths of an inch at a time, and can save preset heights as well. Every person can know the exact height the instrument needs to be, and can raise and lower it by themselves, without any risk of damaging or warping the frame by doing one side at a time!

New Marching Snare Drum Finishes

Dynasty's new Shou Sugi Ban finish involves curing the wood through a burning process and then sanding it back down - the result is this stunning wood-grain texture that makes every little detail in the wood stand out.

Grover

Sleigh bells

Playing the sleigh bells is an oft-overlooked part of being a concert percussionist, yet it's an instrument that almost every percussionist will play at a gig (at least every winter!). Instead of having a bell on the top of this set, there's a pad there - that means you can pick up and put down the bells without making a ruckus, and you can hold the bells by the pad for a comfortable alternative playing surface for extra precision!

Slapstick

Slapstick is another great example of an instrument that often gets overlooked, despite being on countless pieces of literature. This new design has a tensioning system that involves rubber bands and pegs, allowing you to control how much tension is put on the hinge. It also has large, comfortable handles, and an f-hole that allows air to escape for a wide-open sound.

Multi-Instrument Mount

This versatile mounting system goes on a 3/8" rod and allows you to attach accessory arms at any angle off of your stand - a nifty little system that is sure to come in handy.

Innovative Percussion

Drew Tucker Signature Vibraphone Mallets

These bold new mallets give you a classic sound with a modern design. The extended length of the shaft is designed to make everything look and sound a little more old-school, and the mallet head is a blended yarn (instead of cord) for a warm, lush sound.

Dan Moore Signature "Classic Vibe" Vibraphone Mallets

These short mallets have a massive head by comparison - they are made as a throwback to the early days of jazz vibraphone, and they are excellent for dampening and a clear, loud projection.

Wei-Chen Lin Signature Marimba Mallets

This series has six mallets - five melodic and one bass mallet. The blended yarn gives the whole series a strong, clear fundamental pitch with each note - and they just feel great to play with.

Meinl

Mike Johnston Groove Bell

The Groove Bell is made to be versatile enough to provide you any sound you need, without having to tape up your cowbell or use jerry-rigged solutions. This cowbell comes with two magnetic dampeners (a small one and a larger one), allowing you to control overtones with precision, as well as alter the pitch of the bell!

Matt Garstka Equilibrium Hi Hat Cymbals

Designed in collaboration with Matt Garstka, the new Equilibrium hats strike a tasteful balance between a clear, dry chick sound, a washy and full-bodied open sound, and clear tip articulation. They sound fantastic, and there's little doubt you'll start seeing these crop up in drum videos all over the internet.

Pageantry Innovations

Full Cart Hydraulic Shock Mount

PI's booth this year was pretty impressive - they had an all-new layout, and the main attraction was their new hydraulic shock mount. This mount removes an entire cart from the ground, and can be raised and lowered by an air pump, to keep every piece of equipment in your carts pristine, and to keep your sound signal as uninterrupted as physically possible.

Waterproof Synth & Mixer Cart Covers

In another exciting move, Pageantry is releasing waterproof covers! No more rushing for tarps to cover your synth or mixer cart - you don't have to panic about your most expensive gear getting ruined by a little drizzle anymore.

Pearl

Philharmonic 20th Anniversary Tom Freer Limited Edition Snare Drum

This drum is made of cast brass, and weighs like 20 pounds. It is STUNNING up close. It comes with real gold-plated hardware, a refined throw-off mechanism that improves on the typical Philharmonic design by removing some wiggle room and making the action even smoother, and it sounds incredibly powerful. If you get a chance to get one, do it - only 20 are being made!

Rustic Percussion

Slapstick

Rustic Percussion has just started making a slapstick, and in usual fashion, it sounds and feels great! It might hurt your ears though. If you're not careful.

Sabian

HHX Complex Series Cymbals

The HHX Complex series is double-hammered, with a shallow profile. They are (as the name suggests) very complex, with a dark, warm sound that washes with a wide, rich collection of overtones - and they look pretty neat, to boot.

Tama

Starphonic Concert Snare Drums

Tama likes to innovate, always bringing new ideas to the table - and this is no exception. The Starphonic Concert Snare Drum is a gorgeous new drum with a sloped snare bed on the bottom bearing edge, a buttery throw-off, a hybrid fine tuner on the strainer that lets you adjust the balance of the different wires, and is designed as a mid-level drum.

The real star of the show is the Bravura model, though - the multi-frame snare wires are incredibly easy to remove, and the frame allows the snare wires to connect with the bottom head perfectly flat - virtually no curve around the edge of the drum - for an impeccable response!

Vic Firth

REMIX Brushes

The REMIX series of brushes are made out of unique materials, and each have a fascinating sound that is tough to get without them. This is a draw in and of itself, but what makes them really cool is that they're designed to be combined with rubber bands for an even wider variety of new sounds, and the ability to flip them over in the middle of a tune for a completely different sound.

Expanded DoubleGlaze/PureGrit Lines

Turns out, people like it when they get to choose the feel of their drum stick. The extra-grippy DoubleGlaze sticks and the completely raw PureGrit lines of drum sticks have been expanded to include the Extreme 5A, Extreme 5B, and 7A sticks.

Symphonic Collection Sticks

The new Symphonic Collection is a gold mine for concert percussionists. They all have a different application, and the three of them together would cover pretty much any piece of music you need to play. They feel great, and they are all pretty heavy thanks to the laminate material they use to make them.

Theo Milkov Mallets

If you've never seen Theodor Milkov play marimba, stop what you're doing and go watch - this guy will blow your mind. That he has designed his own mallets is no surprise, but the mallets themselves are really impressive, too - they are designed to be the same weight across the entire series, no matter what hardness you're using, and the wool used to wrap the mallets, in tandem with the heavy design, makes for a warm sound with practically none of the "clicky" articulation we marimba players often try to avoid.

Yamaha

Chimes

A heavy-duty frame, an easy hanging system, wide caps for easy playing, a reliable pedal, and an excellent sound. What more could you ask for? Yamaha has updated their chimes and is offering both a standard-size professional model and a shorter student model!

Student Model Vibraphone

This student model keyboard is tiny. The non-graduated, thin bars, and the extra-small resonators, make for an instrument that could fit in your pocket (not really). But what makes it fantastic is that, despite being small in dimensions, when you play it, you'll be shocked at how much it sounds like a normal vibraphone. It can be lowered to extremely low heights, making for a quality instrument accessible to players with small bodies and small hands.

That's All - Until 2020!

Hopefully you enjoyed our "virtual tour" - if you're a percussion gearhead and want to find out about new stuff as it comes out, be sure to sign up for our newsletter. And let us know what you think of all the new stuff!

Alex started working here in 2015. He's a drummer, a producer, a Boston Crusaders alumnus, and a writer. These days, he makes all kinds of different music as a percussionist and an audio engineer.



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