Monthly Archives: March 2014

A Look Inside

Check out some of these great images of the inside of some Five Star Drum Shops:

Shop Talk with Ian Prince at Ellis Drum Shop

Ian Prince has been supplying the backbone for top-notch Minneapolis indie bands for well over a decade. Possessing the perfect blend of play-for-the-song sensibility and face-melting technical prowess, Prince is an undeniable powerhouse on the drums. He plays each gig as if it were his last, digging into every stroke with stoic conviction while exuding unbridled passion for his craft.

He’s a drummers’ drummer — so naturally we at Ellis wanted to find out what makes him tick. From his childhood fascination with the Fab Four, to the hard-rocking Houston days, to his current pop/rock project, Story of the Sea, Prince tells all and drops more than a few nuggets of wisdom for would-be rock drummers along the way.

Ellis Drum Shop in St. Paul, Minnesota

Best of NAMM 2014


The NAMM show is the annual gathering of the music products industry. Dealers and manufacturers from around the globe gather in a pilgrimage to Southern California to see what’s new. As always, the January NAMM show is filled with the best and newest gear, and this January was no exception. In polling some of my Five Star brethren, here is a list of some of the new items that impressed us at NAMM:



Paul Francis and the folks at Zildjian introduced the new Kerope K line. These cymbals are warm and soft, and look and sound like some of the softest old K’s from the 50’s and 60’s. Delivery is due in April, so look for these at your favorite drum shop then.



Sabian delivered on their cymbal vote winners, and some cool new stick and cymbal bags. As trends are moving towards bigger, darker, and trashier cymbals, these cymbals all went there.



Yamaha has finally come out with their new Maple high end drums, the Absolute Maple Hybrids. Their heritage comes directly from the Phoenix philosophy of having the hardest wood (wenge) in the center, and then maple flowing out. These drums were beautiful. These drums come from the new Yamaha factory in China, and feature hook lugs and aluminum die cast hoops….. very cool.

Vic Firth


Our friends at Vic Fith have created a new series of bass drum beaters (VicKick), and they are pretty darn cool. There is an “old school” lambs wool beater, as well as a wood and hard felt beaters that allow for two distinct striking positions. You can get a flatter beater position and a more pointed one for two distinct sounds.



While many are trying to complicate gear, ProMark has simplified drumsticks. There took their 4 most common diameters and, by changing nothing but the tapper of the stick, made a more forward balanced model (for power) and a rebound model (for faster response). When you play them, you really get the difference, and why it makes sense.



As well as some very cool new snares, Pearl impressed us with their new “Spin Tight” lugs ($20 for 4). These tension rods expand on the inside and take a special key to work….. and they do work. If you’re a hard hitter and your rods loosen up on you, then this a cool fix.



As well as some great sounding drums, it’s no secret that DW makes some of the most beautiful drums around. Their new Neal Peart, Nick Mason, and Roger Taylor signature drums are just stunning. As a matter of fact, we were so enamored with their beauty that we forgot to actually play them!



Mapex changed a great deal of their drum line at NAMM, and one of their key features of their new Mars and Armory series drums (under $1,000) it makes tuning easier. By moving the contact point of the bearing edge more to the center of the drum, and making it wider, Mapex claims to allow a stronger and more centered pitch…… and from first hearings, we would agree.



It’s Tama’s 40th Anniversary, and they released (re-released??) a collection of their best snare drums of the past 40 years. Pretty darn cool stuff here…..



The family owned Japanese company made drums for years for larger company, but they are now on their own…. The drum are beautiful, the hardware very cool, and they are a company to watch on all fronts.

– Jim Rupp
Owner of Columbus Pro Percussion