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A players perspective on Pete's Remo percussion set up.


WHATS NEW?  2010


This is a massive development from the older Remo Kanjira.  This really is a happening drum and goes everywhere with me.  The skin is textured to feel just like the real thing and the bass end is out of this world.  I tend to mic it inside to get that extra bit of bass end although amplification from the front is also fine.  This is one of those drums that turns heads when you play it.  No one can believe the sounds that come from this little beast!!
CLICK HERE FOR FREE KANJIRA LESSONS   Intro to South Indian drumming.pdf


Very affordable, very portable, indestructible and with the ability to be tuned ultra high, this fantastic new addition to the Djembe family will be a hit for sure.  Also works well as a bass doumbek.
Intro to African & Ghanaian drumming.pdf

This version of the Traditional Irish Bodhran is not to be confused with the 'frame drum' style Bodhrans which were primarily very higly tuned and used for finger drumming applications.  This new drum is ultra low and played with a double ended stick or 'Tipper'.  The head is the thick 'Bahia' head which brings out the ultra low tones required from a traditional Irish drum.  For me this really sounds fat and meaty and really does the job.


I was honestly shocked when I first heard convincing quality of the new Remo Kanjira in 2009.  I was equally shocked when I first played these new frame drums at NAMM 2010.  Of course, the Remo frame drums and ethnic percussion has always been great but these new developments are really going ahead in quantum leaps.  They look, feel and very importantly sound just like the real thing.  The frame drums have that characteristic top end 'crack' which is a real keystone of the traditional drums.  It is fantastic to see a company moving ahead and developing these drums which otherwise would be merely imported from distant shores.  Of course, I do not need to stoke up the argument of the advantages of synthetic skins vs animal.  That is long done and dusted and the benefits are obvious. It is great to see options coming along for the percussionist that are practical and as good as the real thing.  The DAF also features the rings inside the shell which gives it its distinct sound.  Don't take all this for granted.  Years ago I remember spending months trying to import one of the traditional drums from Iran and when it arrived it sounded more like an egg box!


These drums have a great bass end and are also very clear on the rim for the 'TAK' sound.  Many traditional players I have spoken to are really happy to play these drums.

PANDEIRO.  Again, the new Pandeiros are hitting the mark.  There has never been an alternative to the traditional sounding Pandeiro.  This new range however are just that.  The feel and weight of the skin, the bass end, the weight of the drum, the crisp response of the jingles.  Available in pre tuned and tuneable versions, this range is really rocking!!!

intro to Capoeira.pdf  

Detailed info / product numbers of all the new perc   


The Remo company's influence on everything percussive is age old and stretches back to the early revolution of plastic drum heads for drum set.  People were as amazed then as they are now as the development of plastic drum heads is extended to virtually every percussive membraphone you can think of.  It is a company that I have been attracted to for many years, especially as a percussionist as well as a drum set player and I am now very pleased to be a full endorser.   This page will take you through a few perspectives on the Remo instruments I use, the applications I find for them and the settings I use them in.  For detailed spec of the instruments please visit www.remo.com

I'm going to start with the Bongos and Congas.  I remember a couple of years ago I was invited to play in a percussion festival in Malaysia.  It was an outdoor festival and I performed at around 11pm.  It was prior to my endorsement with Remo and I was using standard calf heads.  Quite a bizarre day indeed, ranging from lethal heat in the soundcheck which tightened the skins up so much that even when almost totally loosened, they still were on the verge of splitting, to the total opposite at night.  However much I tightened the skins the drums still sounded well below the desired tone because of the humidity.  Frustrating indeed and we've all experienced it even in packed sweaty clubs where you just cant tune the drums high enough.  At the time I was fairly closed minded on the subject of plastic heads for percussion and didn't think there was an alternative.  However, a few weeks later at another gig the percussionist in the support band had a pair of Remo bongos.  Naturally inquisitive I had to try them out and was amazed at the clarity of tone, sharp cutting sound and they cranked up REALLY high!   There was a solution after all and there was the added benefit of not having to tune up/down before and after the gig.  


I had already long been a fan and user of Remo's frame drums and Taiko etc but this moment truly converted me to their Latin stuff as well.  Another point not to be missed with these is the tuning factor.  This is especially important with the Congas where you might have the tones of the drums tuned to a specific set of notes.  I like the fact that you can guarantee the tuning from night to night and not spend ages in the sound check sorting it out, sometimes at odds with the environment. As with all drums, you need to spend some time with them and be sure the response and tone is what you are after.  I actually prefer the Poncho Sanchez model of congas which are warm in tone for the studio but also very bright and cutting for live work. The larger drums also have a fantastic wide belly shape which really adds to the warmth of the drums.  I have opted for the hard wearing black finish (TUFF-E-NUFF) which appears to be indestructible, even in the hands of the roadies!   It adds a bit of weight to the drum but looks great.  I also have some of my Taiko drums in the same finish.









My real baby of the moment is the in-line tuned, Paulo Mattoli Djembe with a bronze finish which comes across as a hi-tec classy metal finish.  The great benefit of this drum is the incredibly innovative tuning system which avoids any protruding tuning lugs or housings on the shell.  I actually find some djembe's with conga style tuning systems very troublesome to strap around your waist to play standing.  Great dangers are posed for a certain part of the male anatomy!  No more wincing in agony for me in the middle of a solo!  Tone wise the instrument projects well live and has subtleties in the studio.  As with the bongos, you can crank it nice and high and get a bright slap and earthy bass tone.  The skins are slightly thinner that the mondo variety on other Remo djembes which I actually prefer.


Another interesting alternative to the Djembes are the Ashikos and Klong Yaws. The Klong Yaws (traditional Thai drum) are very long and look great on stage.  In the studio if you mic it from the bottom end you get a phenomenally low sub bass frequency.  GREAT!!!

Ashiko and Klong Yaw

Next up are the range of small festival Djembes, kids djembes and Doumbeks.  I prefer to use all of these for middle eastern style played played sitting down with the drum horizontal on the lap with the left hand coming over the top holding the drum in place. (See my darabouka tutorials Here) The kids Djembe and Festival Djembe work well as a sort of 'Quinto-Djembe' in the studio or for some solo fills live but it really is the middle eastern style on the drums that works for me.  The kids Djembe is actually very close in tone to a Persian 'Zarb'.  I have used it on a number of sessions to create the effect of 'Zarb'.   The Daraboukas come as pre-tuned or tuneable.  The rim and lugs are not too intrusive for the traditional playing position but I prefer the smooth edge of the pre-tuned version. 

Festival Djembe, Tuneable Darabouka and pre-tuned Darabouka

Developing the Arabic hand drumming theme, the massive range of frame drums are amazing. Again, you have sets of pre-tuned or tuneable drums.  My favourites and most used are the John Bergamo frame drums, Bendir, Layne Redmond Req and Glen Velez Tar's. 


Some of these drums have subtle tuning mechanisms inside the shell so your holding hand is not hampered by lugs and rims.  This means that you can then tune the drum to a desired pitch, although the drums do not tune much further than a few semi tones from the root pitch.  If you get the opportunity to try a few drums out in the shop then you can be sure to get a drum close to the pitch you desire.  I also like to take a nested set of frame drums in with my session gear.  For something that takes up so little space (they fit inside each other) you can really set up a lot of multi toned grooves.


Nested Frame drum set   

New REQ 2010

Lets get on to the Japanese drums. I have had a Remo Hira-Daiko for the best part of seven years and have done hundreds of gigs on it, including traditional Japanese drumming gigs where you attack the drum with maximum force with broom handle sticks.  I thought at the time that it would last max 1 year so I bought two so I would have one to fall back on. (See...I actually bought the gear before I became an endorser!)   As it turned out, I am still waiting to see any visible signs of wear on the drum at all.  If you have been to one of my Taiko to Tabla gigs you will know what I mean when I say attack with maximum force! 

In action on the Hira-Daiko

Besides the Hira Remo have a whole range of Japanese and far eastern drums. I would honestly recommend them all, but the Shime-Daiko is in a class all of its own.  A truly fantastic drum which would also be an interesting addition to a drum set players set up.  Another great choice is the large Nagado Daiko, also known in Japan as Miya Daiko.  This comes as pre tuned or tuneable.  I prefer the tuneable version although this is not in any sense light to carry up the stairs!

 Shime Daiko and the powerful Nagado Daiko (Miya)

Hira Daiko and stand. I make a tall stand from drum rack sections to stand and play.

Click to enlarge

intro to Japanese drumming.pdf

We can't forget to look at some of the interesting sound innovations Remo come up with as well, from their entertaining fruit shakes to their spring drums, sound shapes, ocean drums, rattle stix, pocket shakes, talking drums and loads of other stuff.  I have a whole case of this stuff for the studio and it always goes down a treat.  It can convert the most pretentious producer into a little kid with a new box of toys in seconds!


 Massive gong drum                                             Mini Shakers

Spring shape and Talking Drum

Sound shapes

Spring drum

Ocean drum

Rattle Stix

Pocket shakes


Then there's the stick based percussion instruments such as Timbales and drum set etc.  I use the Valencia timbales, 13" 14" with renaissance heads.  These are really cool to play and a lot more responsive than the drums I used before.  Importantly the heads of the tuning bolts are not proud of the drum rim which makes a big difference in how the drum feels.  I don't understand why more companies don't adopt this style.

Pete on the Remo kit

With Mr Remobelli in LA 2004

In LA 2004

At Remo Valencia LA in 2005


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