Custom & Vintage SDX
The Custom and Vintage SDX is an expansion pack
for the award winning Toontrack Music drumsampler Superior Drummer 2.0.
It features extensive stick and brush recordings of a unique collection
of drums and cymbals.
SDX gives everyone from top producers down, access to the cream of
custom and vintage drums, built by craftsmen from the 1920s right up to
the exceptional instrument makers of today, like Johnny Craviotto.
of these highly prized instruments (like a 1920s Ludwig Black Beauty,
or Craviotto Timeless Timber) can only be found in the collections of
top studio drummers or hired from rental facilities in the major music
centres of the world
Recorded at 2Khz studio in London using an
EMI TG Desk used for many legendary recordings of the early seventies
including The Beatles Abbey Road and Pink Floyds Dark Side of the Moon.
It is considered one of the best sounding desks ever made.
Custom and Vintage SDX was played by Chris Whitten. The drummer on
classic hits like What I Am by Edie Brickelland The New Bohemians and
The Whole Of The Moon by The Waterboys.
Whitten was hailed as a
world class drummer playing on Paul McCartneys Flowers In The Dirt album
and subsequent record breaking World tour, and Dire Straits 18 month On
Every Street tour. Chris has also recorded with such varied artists as
Johnny Cash, Julian Cope, World Party and The Pretenders.
Custom and Vintage SDX was produced by Peter Henderson who started his
career at Air Studios where he trained and worked with Beatles recording
engineer Geoff Emerick (Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road etc). as well as with
the legendary George Martin.
Henderson produced Supertramp´s 20
million selling Breakfast In America, for which he won a Grammy. He has
also worked with Paul McCartney, Rush, Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, Tina
Turner and Ringo Starr.The KitsNoble & Cooley Star Series
”This is an exact copy of the set I took on the road with Paul McCartney in 1989.
At that time I was one of only two drummers touring with these radically designed drums.
toms and snare are single-ply, steam-bent shells (in the style of
vintage Slingerland Radio King snare drums). Designed for N&C by Bob
Gatzen, the shells proved time consuming and expensive to produce.
Sadly, only the Star Series snare drums are still in production.”Camco Oaklawn
”Thought by many to be one of the best sounding drum kits ever made.
went through several incarnations and factory sites (Oaklawn, Chanute,
Los Angeles), with the mid to late-1960s Oaklawn era drums being
regarded as arguably their finest.
The Camco name finally faded at
the end of the 1970s, but their drums live on in the hands of those who
love classic drums. Current prices reflect that desirability. Lucky for
me the rock sizes are slightly less hard to find than the 18, 12 &
14 bop kit, so desired by jazz drummers.
Camco drums have a big, warm
tone that instantly says vintage. However in my opinion they easily
match - and surpass in most cases - the drums being designed for
recording today.”Slingerland Studio King
acquired by Gibson guitars in the 1990s, the Slingerland name briefly
re-emerged with the manufacture of Radio King snare drums and Studio
King drum kits under the watchful eye of Pat Foley in Nashville,
Tennessee. During the making of Custom & Vintage, Mike Udell at
told us the Studio King set in his inventory was
one of the best kits hed ever owned. Having already achieved great
results with a Radio King Select snare drum from the same period, we
decided to rent the Slingerland kit and record it using the standard
1970s method. We removed the bottom heads of the toms and resonant head
of the bass drum. Sennheiser 421 microphones were positioned inside the
toms instead of the usual method above the batter head. This gives you a
fatter sound, with a lot of separation. More to the point, its the
archetypal sound of the 1970s studio drummer.”Ludwig Keystone Drum Set
Ludwig Drum Company had little idea what was about to hit them in the
months following February 9th 1964, The Beatles debut U.S. television
appearance on The Ed
Sullivan Show. The band were a sensation and
almost overnight everyone wanted to own a set of Ludwig drums just like
Ringos. In fact, Ludwig were still struggling to keep up with demand
when along came another drumming icon John Bonham.
As well as his use
of the Supraphonic snare drum, Bonham popularised larger sizes,
including the 24" bass drum similar to the one sampled for the Superior
Vintage Add On. This 60s era Ludwig set belongs to 2khz Studio owner
Nick Yeatman and we were very happy he lent it to us so we could capture
that phat and funky Ludwig sound.”Gretsch Round Badge Drum Set
the same time Ringo Starr was playing Ludwig drums, Charlie Watts - his
opposite number in The Rolling Stones - was playing Gretsch, another
brand. The Round Badge era of Gretsch drums
(manufactured until 1971) has been the choice of many of the most
important jazz drummers in history and still is among
players. In the 1950s and 60s, Gretsch focused its marketing effort on
the jazz fraternity, pioneering the now standard jazz sizes of 18" bass
drum, 12" and 14" toms. The smaller drums were more convenient for
fitting into the small performance spaces in crowded jazz clubs and into
the trunks of small cars or NY taxi cabs. During this period Gretsch
first used the slogan "that Great Gretsch Sound". Even today, many jazz
musicians regard the great Gretsch Sound synonymous with jazz drumming.
The Round Badge set we recorded has more of a rock bias, with the
inclusion of larger sized drums; 22”, bass drum, 13" and 16" toms, as
well as the jazz standard 8" x 12" mounted tom and 14" x 14" floor tom.
It still has that very distinctive Gretsch sound though.
Incidentally, Charlie Watts still uses his vintage Round Badge Gretsch kit on the road and in the studio with The Stones.”The Snare DrumsSlingerland Radio King, Ludwig Black Beauty and Supraphonic.
trio represent the most recorded snare drums of all time, and are
probably the only snares you would ever need. One of the first
single-ply drums, the Radio King has become an industry standard in
wood-shell snare drums.
It amazes me that these old drums - many of
them dating back to the pre-WWII jazz and big band era - can stand up to
the punishment of modern playing. Not only that, they actually sound
better than most snare drums being built today. Its truly a testament to
the skills of the drum builders of yore.
Compared to the glamour of
the Radio King and Black Beauty, the Ludwig Supraphonic is a
bread-and-butter drum. Perhaps due to the seal of approval given by
icons such as Steve Gadd, Hal Blaine and John Bonham, the Supra is said
to have appeared on more records than any other snare drum. It is surely
a must for any serious studio drummer.”Craviotto Timeless Timber
”Johnny Craviotto is a legend in the industry. Some are already proclaiming him the Stradivarius of 21st century drum makers.
magical ingredients combine in this snare drum; Craviottos workmanship
and ancient birch wood, seasoned by being submerged for over 200 years
at the bottom of Lake Superior, North America.
In the 1800s logging
mills dotted the shorelines of lakes and rivers that were adjacent to
the virgin forests of North America. Most of the lumber was used for
building the great cities of the Industrial Revolution, except the logs
that were lost before reaching their destination. These logs became
waterlogged in transit and settled to the bottom of the lakes.
Forgotten, these sunken timbers - some of them up to 1200 years old -
have remained at the bottom of lakes and rivers for over a century,
untouched and perfectly preserved in the icy cold waters of the North.
maple and birch logs were rediscovered in Lake Superior, salvaged, and
sold for premium prices to high-end furniture craftsmen and boutique
I feel very privileged to have this drum in my collection.”Noble & Cooley Star Classic
is one of two identical snares I played on the critically acclaimed
Paul McCartney world tour of 1989/90. After the tour I kept both drums,
because not only do I love their sound, but also they remind me of the
most exciting time in my career so far.
For Superior Custom &
Vintage I wanted to add something special. So I asked Peter Stanbridge
to craft two Jarrah-ply wood hoops for one of the drums. Like Craviotto,
Stanbridge is a lone artisan, building unique drums from exotic woods
out of his Newfoundland workshop, 15 minutes from the most easterly
point in North America.”Noble & Cooley Alloy Classic and Zildjian Drum
built an enviable reputation on the superb quality of their wood shell
drums. Towards the end of the 1980s they decided to branch out into
metal, first in collaboration with the Zildjian company and then on
their own with the Alloy Classic. The Zildjian drum, made from the same
secret alloy as Zildjian cymbals, was an extremely expensive limited
edition when it first appeared in 1989. The Alloy Classic was much more
reasonably priced and is still available from Noble & Cooley today.
While on tour with McCartney, I mentioned to Bob Gatzen - N&Cs
design guru - that they didnt have a metal shell drum to rival the
quality and success of their Star Series snares. He may have already had
that in mind because an early prototype showed up for me to take on
the1991/92 Dire Straits world tour. This was recorded for The Custom
& Vintage SDX.”Canopus Zelkova
”Seen by many
collectors as the ultimate, this snare drum is bored out of a solid
block of Zelkova -a Japanese hardwood prized for its density and
resonance. Its a construction method that owes more to traditional
Japanese Taiko drums than Western-style snare drums we are more used to
Im surprised to learn the Zelkova has been around since
1978. Perhaps its because Canopus is drwarfed by other well-known
Japanese drum companies like Tama, Pearl and Yamaha, or because its
ferociously expensive and available only to order from Japan.
In any case, you are unlikely to see one of these drums unless its in the hands of a collector or studio drummer.”Noonan 5" x 12" Solid Mahogany Snare Drum
Noonan is one of a kind; a boutique drum-maker from England. Another
rare breed is the solid drum, hollowed out from a single block of wood.
In Noonans case, its a small sized, mahogany drum. The manufacturing
process involves Gary taking a solid block of mahogany, mounting it on a
lathe, and then turning it until left with a single 12” diameter snare
shell. Its very labour intensive and expensive as large blocks of wood
frequently have flaws in them. There is no flaw in the end result. This
drum took me by surprise. Im so over the piccolo snare, but still wanted
to sample a broad range of snare drums. The Noonan brought a smile to
my face however. Its a drum with attitude... and so much fun to play.”Slingerland Radio King Select Snare Drum
of the drum sets recorded for Custom & Vintage is a 1990s
Slingerland Studio King. We were inspired to record the Slingy kit after
we were so impressed with a Slingerland snare drum that came from the
same source - Mike Udell at Drumhire in London. A 6.5" x 14" Radio King
Select. The top of the range 1990s reissue of a solid, one piece
classic, signed by Slingerland drum finish guru Pat Foley himself.”WFL Maple 6.5" x 14" Snare Drum
is a 1930s model, which would place it very close to the beginnings of
the WFL Drum Company. WFL are the initials of William F Ludwig. The
origins of Ludwig drums can be traced back to 1909, when as a young
drummer, William Ludwig was playing “rag time” music with a snare drum
and a bass drum operated by a simple foot pedal. The pedal was neither
powerful nor fast and William set about to design a better solution.
Along with two other family members William set up the “Ludwig &
Ludwig” drum shop and soon expanded their business to drums and tympani.
Unfortunately, by 1930 the company had run into financial difficulty
and William sold the Ludwig & Ludwig brand to C.G. Conn LTD . Seven
years later, Ludwig set up a new company called WFL and began to build
again. He now found himself in direct competition with Ludwig &
Ludwig – the company that bore his name. However, by the mid-1950s Conn
decided to get out of drums altogether and the Ludwig name was returned
to William F Ludwig. At that point WFL became known simply as the Ludwig
Drum Company. This drum is one of our favourites. Being one of the last
we recorded, we decided to do something different. I approached the
drum with perhaps an acoustic ensemble or jazz mentality, much reducing
the strength of my playing strokes. The end result is a natural sounding
drum with added warmth and character.”The CymbalsZildjian K Dark Crashes
”These are cymbals I used on both the McCartney tour and again with Dire Straits (On Every Street tour, 1991/92).
love the tone of the K Dark series. One of the biggest problems for
recording drummers is balancing loud cymbals with the rest of the kit.
These Ks are never overbearing, and Ive had great success using them in
all my live and recorded work since the late1980s.”Zildjian K 20" Heavy Ride and 18" Sizzle Ride
chose both these cymbals during rehearsals for the McCartney tour, and
theyve remained two of my favourite cymbals ever since.
The Heavy ride is surprisingly sweet. The stick sound is crystalline and the wash, although quite high pitched, is warm.
I would be playing some Rock n Roll standards, as well as early Beatles
songs with Paul, I was on the hunt for an older sounding cymbal. I
couldnt find anything quite right in the Zildjian catalogue, but going
the extra mile for me, one of Zildjians most experienced cymbal testers
picked out this 18" K ride and factory drilled it for rivets. I have to
say I really enjoyed laying into it on songs like Cant Buy Me Love, and
with the memories of that tour, this unique cymbal will probably go with
me to my grave.”Zildjian 1950s 22" Ride
”Maybe Im too nostalgic, but I have a soft spot for older cymbals.
Some say metal compounds mature with age, I dont know.
I do know, the further you go back in time, the rarer these cymbals become.
call the 1960s the great cymbal holocaust. Rock music came along and
guitarists were plugging into amplifiers with an ever-increasing
wattage. Meanwhile, cymbal manufacturers stuck to their centuries-old
formula, producing thin cymbals more suited to the acoustic music of
previous decades. The result? A lot of beautiful cymbals from the 1940s
and 50s bit the dust.
A few larger, heavier ride cymbals survived
however. I came across this one at my local drum shack. It has a deeper
tone than many modern rides, and just the right balance between stick
definition and roar.”K Zildjian Istanbul 16" Crash, 18" Ride, 20" Ride and 13" Hi-Hats
K Zildjians are regarded as the ultimate cymbal by many serious jazz
drummers. They are delicate and very rare, commanding prices far in
excess of any other cymbal in the vintage market.
Each cymbal is
unique, having been hand-crafted in Istanbul, Turkey (the birthplace of
the modern cymbal), by a family of craftsmen who handed down their
experience and skill to each new generation. Because of the human factor
in the manufacturing process, Istanbul Ks vary greatly in quality.
recent acquisition, the 13" hi-hats have already become my go to pair. I
found the 20" ride on Ebay, but it turned out the owner lived a couple
of miles from my house in London. Thin is the thing with these vintage
rides. K Istanbul collectors have told me this is the thinnest 20"
cymbal theyve ever come across.”Paiste Sound Creation
a relatively recent offering from Paiste in Switzerland, the Sound
Creation line are no longer made and are rapidly disappearing into the
vaults of collectors and drummers in the know. Almost all the Sound
Creation models exhibit a dark, jazzy tone. However, there are no rules,
and cymbals such as the Bell Ride can find a place in any genre.
by drummers such as Al Foster and Jack DeJohnette, along with the
earlier 602 Paiste cymbals, Sound Creation almost defined the drum sound
at ECM Records, contemporary jazz label and home in the 1970s/80s to
artists such as Pat Metheny, Keith Jarrett, Jan Gabarek and Eberhard
SCs sound entirely different to the Zildjian cymbals I
endorse, and I thought they would add a different timbre and yet more
choice to Custom & Vintage.”Steve Hubback Cymbal Sculpture
is a new friend of mine, a maverick musician and artist. Its because he
sees himself more of an artist than a cymbal-maker that Ive stuck with
his description: a cymbal sculpture. Its quite an extraordinary piece,
twenty four inches in diameter with many different tones to be found
across the surface playing area. Steve was living in Iceland at the time
I commissioned the instrument and his forge was open-air. I got some
great pictures of him working the fiery furnace wearing his arctic
survival gear. Hubback has his own contemporary music ensemble; Metal
Moves. He also makes instruments for many contemporary musicians around
the world. Im proud to be the owner of such an individual piece of art.”About the studio
Custom & Vintage SDX was recorded at 2KHz Studios, London using an
EMI TG Desk. 2KHz’s TG is an ex-Abbey Road Mobile console (1964 design)
with a 28 channel /16 track configuration, with Germanium Transistor Mic
The TG console was EMIs very first transistor design and
was used for many legendary recordings of the early seventies including
The Beatles Abbey Road and Pink Floyds Dark Side of the Moon. It is
considered one of the best sounding desks ever made.
The drums were
recorded with a selection of vintage microphones by Neumann (including
valve U67’s on overheads and KM 56’s on toms), AKG and Sennheiser.
an added feature one of the room microphones (a Neumann U87) was
processed with a Helios F760 compressor, the type found in early Helios
1970s consoles as used by Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones and
Apple Corps (The Beatles own studio).About Chris Whitten and Peter HendersonChris Whitten
made a name for himself providing drums for the classic hits What I Am
by Edie Brickelland The New Bohemians and The Whole Of The Moon by The
He cemented his place as one of the Worlds top drummers
with two critically acclaimed projects in the early 90s; Paul McCartneys
Flowers In The Dirt album and subsequent record breaking World tour,
and Dire Straits 18 month On Every Street tour (1991-92). Chris has also
recorded with such varied artists as Johnny Cash, Julian Cope, World
Party and The Pretenders.Peter Henderson
career at Air Studios where he trained exclusively with Beatles
recording engineer Geoff Emerick (Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road etc). Peter
also worked on numerous sessions as an in-house engineer with the
legendary George Martin.
As a freelance producer/engineer he has
worked in top studios all over the world and co-produced Supertramp´s 20
million selling Breakfast In America, for which he won a Grammy (Best
Engineered Album). Peter has also worked with Paul McCartney, Rush,
Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, Tina Turner, Ringo Starr and The Tubes.
Superior Drummer 2.0, SDX and Toontrack are registered trademarks of
Toontrack Music. All other product names used in this webpage are
trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or
affiliated with Toontrack Music