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There’s only a select few drum companies that hold the level of prestige and pedigree as Pearl.
If Ludwig are the Fender of tubs, then it’s surely Pearl who get to assume the role of Gibson in this power play: they’ve created some of the most iconic kits of time and have aided in providing a platform for the greatest drummers to let loose their chops. Whether you think of Toto’s Jeff Porcarco, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith, Dennis Chambers or even Omar Hakim, you can bet your buck that they’re busting it out on a Pearl.
The Japanese drum luthiers have been crafting drums since 1946, thus celebrating their 75th anniversary in 2021. It’s only natural to expect something big and breath-taking from one of the world’s leading drum companies, and thankfully they haven’t disappointed.
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How does the expression go, with great power comes great responsibility? In the case of Pearl, they have been responsible for some of the most powerful drum sounds in recorded music history, not to mention gracing thousands of stages the world over.
Boasting several landmark periods in their drum making history, Pearl have decided to wind back the clocks to what most drum scholars would consider the golden era of drum manufacturing, the ‘60s and ‘70s, with modern takes on two classic Pearl designs, the President Series Phenolic and President Series Deluxe.
A snapshot in time – Phenolic
To truly appreciate the 75th anniversary of Pearl, we need to take a trip back to 1966, when the Pearl Phenolic line was born. Pearl have cut no corners here, reintroducing their original Hermetically Pressurised, thermo-layered solid Phenolic shell.
Put simply, this process involves the extreme heating of each layer of the drum shell and once formed, allows the shells to respond more like a single solid shell, as opposed to the traditional ply-shell construction.
What this allowed these unique drums to do is cut through, speak and project much louder, which is particularly desirable in this era in which crowd volumes often compete with that of the bands playing (we’ve all seen the footage of screaming Beatles and Shadows fans). A true rarity and most desirable in vintage drum collecting circles.
The 75th anniversary President Series Phenolic has brought this incredibly unique set of drums into the modern era with all the advantages of modern durable hardware, while still looking every bit as vintage as the originals.
Such features include the gorgeous Battleship lugs, claws with T-handles, a shell mounted cymbal arm and internal adjustable mufflers for true vintage style control of attack and sustain.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a Pearl kit without the classic Pearl script badge on the shells and iconic vintage logo on the bass drum, and it goes without saying that these design touches look a treat: they’re trim and tidy, and act as a neat throwback to the manufacturer’s earliest days.
These drums truly look and sound the part, with every element and detail of the original shells maintained in true Pearl precision. Being produced in a single configuration featuring a 22”/14” bass drum, 13/9” rack tom and 16”/16” floor tom, they ship with the classic Oyster White finish. An optional matching 14”/5.5” snare is available for purchase to complement this kit.
With only 100 of these drum sets being released, they are an absolute must for any lover of classic vintage drum tones from the ‘60s or ‘70s, a true collectors item and a player’s dream.
The Deluxe suite
If it wasn’t enough for Pearl to give us a modern taste of their famed Phenolic shells, the President Series Deluxe drums are yet another tip of the proverbial hat to some of their most celebrated drum shells in their 75-year history.
Special to the President Series Deluxe are the beautifully crafted 6-ply Lauan Shells. Lauan, part of the mahogany family, is known for its exquisite depth, sonic size and rich, dark tones, all attributing to that original made in Japan sound.
The origins of these shells and the use of Lauan dates back to 1961 in Pearl’s lustrous history, giving these drums a colossal vintage sound, that is both commanding but never harsh, subtle or buttery.
The President Series Deluxe also features all of the same rugged and vintage styled hardware of the Phenolic, including the aforementioned Battleship lugs, claws with T-handles, shell mounted cymbal arm, and internal adjustable mufflers.
These limited edition shell kits are being offered in two configurations, a 20”/14” bass drum, 12”/8” rack tom and 14”/14” floor tom pack, or a 22”/14” bass drum, 13”/9” rack tom and 16”/16” floor tom pack for those needing a louder and more pronounced low end. Two truly vintage inspired finishes are on offer, Blue and Desert ripple, both of which offer a matching 14”/5.5” snare.
Pearl has stopped at nothing to achieve the perfect balance of vintage tone and aesthetic paired with modern playability and reliability in these 75th anniversary President Series drums. They sound great when recorded and deliver a snappy, resonant tone, and their cool vintage looks really help to put the cherry on top.
Of course, it would be nice to see an option of some vintage styled flat based stands to be offered with these kits, but that’s likely me just chasing the whole vintage package.
Afterall, as they say, all good things come to those who wait, and it’s certainly been worth the time waiting for this anniversary to feast on these magnificent works of drum craftsmanship. I’ll take one of each, please!