The first time I became aware of DW’s meticulous attention to detail was when I attended a Sydney drumming masterclass presented by the great Chad Wackerman in 1993. I was still living in Tamworth, and in Year 11 at high school. I’d convinced my parents to drive me to Sydney for Chad’s masterclass and clinic at Billy Hyde Drumcraft. Not only did Chad present a ton of information and demonstrations about complex rhythm, but he talked in-depth about the functionality of his DW hardware. What struck me the most was their patented Cymbal Seat Adjustment feature that allows unique spacing between the felts for each stand so that you can set a different degree of wobble for each cymbal according to your preference. Chad mentioned that he preferred his crashes to wobble a bit more than his ride cymbals, and I had it in mind to buy a stand one day and try the feature for myself.
I notice a lot of drummers in recent years have been dispensing with the use of top felt on cymbal stands, and even dispensing with use of the wingnut altogether. I’ve never been a fan of this myself as I’ve seen cymbal tilters and boom arms collapse on drummer friends of mine during gigs, and because they didn’t have a wingnut securing the cymbal to the stand, the cymbal went crashing to the floor. Ouch! Although I don’t like to really clamp them down, I don’t really like to have the cymbal wobble around too freely on my stands as they would if I were to play without a top felt or wingnut. In my opinion, DW’s Cymbal Seat Adjustment feature handles this problem very nicely, and the recent update of the Integrated Cymbal Seat and Wingnut Felt feature is an excellent addition to this system.
Toothless tilters on cymbal stands and snare stands are a big appeal for me. DW’s TechLock feature has always appealed to me for this reason, especially as it’s a feature on most of their cymbal stands, and heavier snare stands.
Following Chad’s masterclass, I started paying attention to ads placed by DW in Modern Drummer magazine. Many of my favourite drummers from that time chose to play DW pedals and/or hardware regardless of the drums they used, and this got me interested in trying out DW Pedals. In 1998, I bought a 5000 Accelerator bass drum pedal, and a 5000 two-legged hi-hat stand. I fell in love with the action of both. The use of the Delta Ball Bearing Hinge, and ball bearings in all possible hinges and joints, as well as DW’s relentless pursuit of minimal friction in all moving parts makes for an astonishing difference in feel and response for the better.
In around 2005 I decided to buy some brand new 9000 series pedals, and all the single-braced 7000 straight and boom stands I could find. These stands were from before 2002 or 2003 when DW changed the design of the tilters so that they’d be a bit chunkier than their antecedents. Around this time, also, they’d discontinued all single-braced stands. For some strange reason, I think all manufacturers discontinued single-braced stands around this time, as well as making their heavy duty stands even bigger and heavier. I didn’t need that kind of weight in my trap case, and so I bought up all the older style single-braced stands I could find from every store in Sydney, as well as keeping a saved search on eBay to acquire as many of these as I needed from around the world.
In 2011, I bought a set of 6000 series flush-base cymbal stands for what I was using as a ‘bop’ drumset configuration at the time. They arrived, and were surprisingly heavier than I expected, but they did the job, and had all the tilting and cymbal seat adjustments I wanted. As the tilters in the 6000 and newer 7000 snare stands have teeth, I kept experimenting with snare stands by other manufacturers, and could never settle on anything other than my older 7000, which, although single-braced with a TechLock tilter, was a bit too chunky for me to want to put in my trap case. The 6000s were somewhat lighter than the 7000s I was using, and so I started keeping two trap cases for different applications.
Fast forward to 2014 when my new Sonor ProLite drums arrived, I’d decided against using boom stands ever again as, with the use of floor toms, I didn’t need that kind of reach anymore. Besides, deciding on an angle for boom arms for what I considered to be aesthetic appeal always did my head in! By this time, I’d acquired all the older style 7000 straight stands I needed, and I bought some of the updated 9000 series double bass drum pedals. I'd previously thought my older 9000s were great, but the newer model is perfect! The other item I purchased in 2014 was the X-hat adapter with the newly designed Incremental Clutch. The incremental clutch is the perfect design for x-hat configurations without the use of a remote pedal as the tension between the two cymbals can be adjusted simply by use of the incremental lever.
These stands are all about 20 years old now. I've used them intensively for about the last 12 years, and they continue to last the distance. The thought of ever replacing or updating them seems too ridiculous to even consider.
With the release of a new hardware line from DW in 2016, I knew definitively that, if I were to endorse the products of a hardware and pedal manufacturer, it had to be DW. Following my Sonor clinic at the 2017 Vintage and Custom Drum Expo here in Sydney, I was fortunate to meet the wonderful Danny Boldiston from D’Addario who distributes DW in Australia. Together we arranged an endorsement between me and DW Hardware and Pedals. I couldn’t be prouder!
The line that convinced me of DW’s ultimate appeal is the new 6000 UltraLight series. I experimented with one cymbal stand in 2017, and was impressed with many of its features. Firstly, it weighs only 1.25 kg - amazing! Secondly – and this really was hard to believe before I tried it – the 6000UL series features the toothless Glide TilterTM on all cymbal and snare stands! So, after being very happy with the first stand, I decided to flesh out a full set of 6000UL stands and pedals. I could use the Accelerator cam on the 6000AX bass drum pedal, and collapse it for transport. I could also enjoy the unique feel of DW hi-hat stands in the 6500UL hi-hat stand that would collapse very nicely into the trap case, and be as fully adjustable and robust and I need it to be. I like to use splash cymbals from time to time, and I always found that lugging around adapters and boom arms was an unnecessary and preclusive amount of weight and hassle for what it was worth, and so, for the first time, I started using two DWSM904 4” Cymbal Stackers to mount on top of my new 6710UL cymbal stands. Finally, I could fit the six cymbal stands I need, plus a hi-hat stand, snare stand, tom mounts, stackers, x-hat adapter, throne and pedals into one small Protection Racket bag with wheels, and use this for everything!
I’m happier with my hardware configuration today than ever before. I’m able to leave my lovely 15-year-old 7000 stands and 9000 pedals setup on my practise and recording drumset in my home studio, and I can take out one trap case with all my 6000UL stands and SM adapters to all my engagements around town without breaking my back. I did a gig toward the end of 2017 on a large outdoor stage that was very windy as it was by the beach. Music stands were being blown over and gaffed to the stage. My 6000UL stands stayed standing, without the need for any gaffer tape to hold them down. I was very impressed by this. I was also on a riser, and they didn’t wobble around like I expected that they might. Also, the new One Beat Drumstick Holder that attaches to floor tom legs keeps a pair of sticks handy in case one ever breaks or flies out of my hand during performance.
The one remaining item I’d like to try out is the new MFG line of pedals. For the moment, I can’t imagine anything playing better than the 9000 series, but I’m sure these will follow through on their promise! Find them here: http://dwdrums.com/hardware/dwmfg/
Check out DW’s 6000 UltraLight stands here: http://dwdrums.com/hardware/6000/hardware.asp and the pedals here: http://dwdrums.com/hardware/6000/pedals.asp
The single braced 7000 series has been re-released, and you can check them out here: http://dwdrums.com/hardware/7000/
You won’t be disappointed!