Bjorn's Drum Site

Vintage 1959/60 Premier Kit

This kit dates from around 1959/1960. I bought it literally as a box of bits and restored it a few years ago. The original sizes are 20", 12", 16" & 14" snare but I also found a rare 14" floor tom later which I re-wrapped to match the rest of the kit. I chose the black diamond pearl finish as it is period-correct and is also a little 'tribute' to my dad, as his kit had a similar wrap. The hardware is also of the period, being pre-'67 flush-base stands and 250 pedal. The heads are all Remo Coated Ambassadors on the toms and snare, with Smooth White Ambassadors on the bass. Due to the pre-international sized toms and bass these are about the only suitable heads, but are a good choice for a vintage kit anyway. The kit sounds very open and resonant, it definately has that vintage vibe about it, and although it's not played often, I'm rather attached to it. The restoration of this kit is detailed in the 'Premier Project 1 (60's)' page of this site.




Premier 1967 'Transition' Kit

Here's one I bought with good intentions of restoring but time, money and space meant it had to go. It was a good basis for a project as everything was there, but it did need a lot of work and as the dreaded 'mould' had set into the gold sparkle, it would have required a full re-wrap aswell. It's a interesting kit though from around 1967. At this time Premier changed their badges, spurs, tom mounts and hoops. This kit had some of the newer features, and also some of the older pre'67 features. This was quite common at Premier as they used up all their older parts. The tom shells are birch with beech re-rings, but the bass I'm sure is mahogany. It certainly had potential, I hope someone was able to give it a new lease of life!




Premier B101(?) Aquamarine Shimmer

This kit dates from the late 60's or early 70's and I believe is a B101 or B111 outfit. The kit was in a bit of a state when I bought it, but it has come up really nice. The aqua shimmer is a beautiful finish and Premier's 'diamond' chrome is very much evident, having polished up like near-new, despite being 40-odd years old! The kit is 20", 12", 14", with the floortom being the rare 14"x14" size. The bass drum mounted cymbal holder is original to the kit but unfortunately broken inside so won't hold a cymbal arm. This was going to be a keeper but the purchase of yet another kit changed plans a little.... So many drums, so little time... and space... and money! The refurbishment of this kit is detailed on the 'Premier Project 2 (70's)' page of this site.




'70s Premier Aqua Shimmer

This is an early '70s Premier kit in aqua shimmer wrap, very similar to the kit above. It was in very poor condition when I bought it and due to pitting on the hardware, and a large repair to the bass drum shell, it was never going to be a mint collector's kit, but certainly a nice player. It was a strange kit though, with the tom mounts towards the front of the bass rather than towards the rear as on the kit above. And the badges on the toms faced inwards rather than outwards. That would maybe mean that the spurs were in the wrong place but as far as I can recall they were in their original place, with no additional holes in the bass! Speaking to other Premier enthusiasts we thought the toms may originally have been the other way round and that the kit was made left-handed?




Olympic Mahogany Duroplastic

Premier's 'mahogany duroplastic' wrap is a bit of an acquired taste, but there are some players and collectors who love it as Ringo's first kit was a mahogany duroplastic Premier. Far from being a dull brown colour as many think it is, in the flesh it's a rich black/brown/gold colour which looks fantastic. This is a late '70s Olympic kit. Olympic was premier's budget range, using the same hardware (but usually less lugs per shell) but B-stock shells. In this kit's case, the shell interiors and bearing edges were as nice as any Premier I've seen. The kit was in fair condition when I bought it but needed a good strip-down and clean up to get it to the condition shown here. The refurb is shown in more detail on the 'Projects - Other...' page of this site.




Premier Royale

Here's a nice Premier Royale kit in 13", 16" & 22" sizes, and made in England. The Royale dates from the early to mid 80's before it became the APK Royale, and then just 'APK'.... see next kit below. This had the distinctive 'speedboat' style single lugs, oval tom holder and black shell interiors. It was a budget-midrange kit, (I believe coming above the 'Club' and below the 'Projector' and 'Resonator') but feels well built and solid. This particular kit came to me with a 70's Premier 2000 snare, which I kept.




Premier Royale APK transition kit

In the early 80's, the Royale was discontinued, and replaced by the APK (Advanced Power Kit). For a very short time there was an overlap and Premier offered the 'Royale APK'. This kit (12, 13, 16 & 22) has Royale badges, speedboat lugs, a walnut grain wood veneer (not plastic wrap), all Royale features, but also the deep power-sized toms and black painted interiors of the later APK, aswell as the APK logo on the front head. Although not particularly valuable, I think it's an interesting and rare kit, and it was pleasure to refurbish it.




Premier APK

In the 80's, if you didn't have a Pearl Export, the chances are you had a Premier APK (Advanced Power Kit). These were very popular, and produced in England from the early 80's (when they replaced the Royale) to the mid 90's when the Cabria came along. The earliest kits had the 'speedboat' style lugs of the Royale, these later changed to long lugs (as on this kit), and by the early 90's the APK sported small 'low mass' lugs. APK's can be easily identified by the shells having black painted interiors and wrap on the outside as opposed to the lacquer finished shells on the XPK, which was otherwise essentially the same kit. This kit wasn't in great condition but I was able to use some of the shells as the basis of my Mini Premier Project.




Premier Projector

I bought this kit from an ad with a very short description and no photos, and thought it was most likely an APK and would probably need some work. It was in a lot better condition than I'd expected, but It wasn't until I was on my way home I with it that I realised the interiors were not black (as all APKs were), the shells were thin with re-rings and clear lacquered interiors, the bass had 10 lugs, and the snare was a little bit special too. A little bit of research later and I'd identified it as a late '80s Premier Projector with original matching 2035 snare. The Projector was identical to Premier's top of the range 'Resonator' at the time but did not have the inner wooden liners in the shells that the Resonator had. This was a gorgeous kit, beautifully built with a very loud and focused sound. I played it a few times and displayed it on the 'Premier Timeline' at the Scottish Drum show but unfortunately due to other projects had to let it go.




Premier Genista

Although a fairly modern kit (90's) the Genista is already regarded my many as a classic. These were Premier's top of the range Birch drums at the time, the Signia being the top of the range maple option. My kit is in 22", 10", 12", 14" sizes and I have two matching snares, a 14x5" and a monstrous 14x7", although I only really use the 5" snare. They are finished in Turquoise Lacquer. The Genista was built in the UK, now, almost all of Premier's drums are made overseas. The birch shells are all slightly undersize making it easier to seat the heads and tune them well, and the large oval shaped lugs were, at the time, exclusive to the Genista, although Premier later used them for a short while on the Gen-X kits and again more recently on the 'new' Genista models. I use Evans heads which I'm very happy with and all the hardware, stands and pedal, are Premier's heavy duty 6000 series. This is the kit I currently use with the band.

 


Premier XPK Club Kit

My Premier XPK, in the 'Club' configuration, 10" tom, 13" floortom & 20"x8" bass drum, with matching 13"x5.5" snare, in walnut lacquer finish (they were also available in silver sparkle). Going by the badges and hardware I think it dates from the late 90's. Around 2000-2001 they got the oval 'Artist Birch' badges and a little later got an oval tom holder and floortom mounts. Although unusual and fairly rare, I think it's a lovely little kit. and ideal for smaller venues. Premier have recently released a new Heritage club range in the same sizes and same finishes, but now with curved spurs and Genista-style lugs. At the time of writing I haven't played the kit yet, but  the few other owners of these kits I've spoken to love the sound, not just the compact practicality.



Premier Cabria Lite

The Cabria is still a current model (although now branded Cabria APK and Cabria XPK) but this one is a few years old. Bar the Olympic models, it was Premier's entry-level kit, I think made from basswood. This one is in rock sizes with a 22" bass, 12", 13" and 16" toms and a 14" snare. The wrap is a great colour, I think teal. It flips from a light metallic blue, to green, to purple depending on the light.




Premier Mini e-kit

This is a kit I built for my son when he was 5, hence the simple and minimalistic layout. The kit is based on an 80's Premier APK, which I re-wrapped from black to the red sparkle finish you see here. It has a 16" bass, 10" & 12" toms, and 10" snare drum. I made the kit so it could be used electronically, using the mesh heads, triggers and Roland TD-3 module, OR could be fitted with regular heads and used as an acoustic kit. Since the build we've only used it as an e-kit in the house usually through headphones and sometimes playing through a Roland PM10 amp. Although it's a very small kit it's nice to play, and since this picture was taken I've replaced the cheap cymbal pads with Roland items and added a Hi-hat controller. The complete build of this kit is detailed on the 'Premier Project 3 (Mini)' page of this site.




Roland TD3 /TD6 KW

One of the best drum purchases I have ever made! Having limited space and not being able to play an acoustic kit due to the noise/neighbour issue, this kit has allowed me, after a number of years not playing and occasionally faffing about with silencer pads etc. to get back into playing on a daily basis. My only regret is not having bought an e-kit earlier! Aside from the HD-1, the TD-3 is Rolands entry-level electronic kit but has a realistic feeling mesh-head snare and even the rubber tom-pads and cymbals feel pretty good to play. The module has 115 drum and percussion sounds and 32 pre-set kits, it also has a click-track and training mode. Over the years I've had the kit I've now upgraded it with a TD-6 module (more sounds/kits/flexibility), all mesh snare and tom pads, an extra cymbal, and I've also modified the rack making it more stable and more modern looking (like the new TD-9 rack).



Hohner Kit

This kit sure isn't pretty but it deserves a place here as it was my first kit and got me into drumming. I played it, and used and thoroughly abused it for many years, and even gigged it for a while. In hindsight it probably sounded awful. I could play a bit, but didn't really know much about drums, tuning, head choice etc. If a drum was too loud I'd dampen it with a teatowel, or a pair of socks taped over the top of the head. When too many lugs had broken off the toms, I removed them completely, put the good ones to the top, and made them into concert toms. When a cymbal stand broke, my dad welded a tilter to a metal bar, which in turn was welded to the stand... You get the idea.




Trixon Luxus

This is my current project (Mar 2014), a 1960's Trixon Luxus. Trixon was a German brand more famous for their conical shelled kits, and the 'Speedfire' which had a range of toms mounted across an egg-shaped bass drum. Thos kits are highly collectable and rare, the Luxus less so, but it's still a nice vintage kit. This is how it was bought some months ago, with various missing bits, dirty, covered in stickers and with some odd pieces of hardware etc. but also with a lovely Hamma/EMI snare drum. The current status is that I sold most of the hardware and cymbals (as I usually do unless there are some specific pieces I want to keep) and with the money bought a replacement bass hoop, a badge and some other small missing pieces of hardware. Everything is now stripped, and should be cleaned up and reassembled soon......




'Pearl' maxwin

Maxwin was a budget range of drums made by Pearl, they are much like what Olympic is to Premier, or Squier to Fender etc. I believe this kit, in standard 12, 13, 16 & 22 'Rock' sizes, dates from the late '70s or early '80s. Maxwins aren't particularly rare or collectable but not many have lasted over the years, they tend to have been well used and abused and the metallic/shimmer wrap isn't very durable. However, this kit was in nice original condition and didn't need much more than a good clean and some replacement heads (including the Pearl logo bass head) and was sold cheaply to a guy who bought instruments to donate to schools, which is nice.




Pearl Forum

Who'd have thought it, a Pearl  Well I never really played this kit, but bought it very cheaply but it was also in a very sorry state. I cleaned up the stands and stool that came with the kit and sold them, then stripped the kit, cleaned and polished it, and reassembled it, I also added a new snare head and black bass-drum head, topping it off with the Pearl logo. I was very happy with the end result as shown, and so was the buyer when I sold the kit on again.




Cymbals

I've used many different cymbals over the years, from some very old and very cheap Zyns, to Pearl Wilds, Paiste Alphas, 10" and 12" Zildjian SR Hi hats and a 21" Sabian AA dry ride etc. I've downsized quite a bit and am currently happy with my current collection. These are all Zildjian Avedis 'A' ranging from the 60's to 80's but all complement each other well.
 
14" New Beat Hi-Hats
16" Medium Crash
18" Thin Crash
20" Rock Ride




Other Stuff

The drums are stored in Protection Racket Nutcases, which are excellent for the job. They're a little less padded and lack the fleece lining of the standard Pro Racket cases but are lightweight, and I prefer the toggle fastenings to the zips. My drums don't travel much but I'd have no hesitation in carting them around in these Nutcases. Great value for money too. The cymbals and hardware are kept in Protection Racket cases too.

I use mainly Vic Firth American Classic 7A sticks. I used to use heavier sticks but found the lighter and longer 7A's more comfortable and easier to play with, and as most of my playing these days is on the Roland electronic kit, I really don't need to hit hard or use heavy sticks. 

I use a Drumdial for tuning the acoustic kits. With the Drumdial (same as the Tama Tension Watch) you can measure the tension at various points on the heads and tune them evenly. I use the recommended settings as a reference point, so that all the drums are tuned 'there or thereabouts' quickly, and then fine tune a little by ear. I find it a useful little tool.