Keeping the Beat: Yamaha Drums Celebrates 40 Years

(Yamaha | Posted 2007-03-12)

Keeping the Beat: Yamaha Drums Celebrates 40 Years

For 40 years, Yamaha Drums have been synonymous with quality and durability. Yamaha drums have been heard on countless recordings, and the brand is the touring drum of choice for top artists in a variety of musical styles. "Yamaha has pioneered many 'firsts' in the drum industry," said Dave Jewell, marketing manager, Yamaha Drums, Pro Audio & Combo Division. "Our unparalleled quality control and dedication to excellence has enabled us to attract the best players in the world. Drummers are known for being demanding about their gear, and the sense of customer satisfaction with Yamaha extends from professionals to beginners."

Innovations instituted by Yamaha Drums include the hideaway cymbal boom arm, ball-style tom mount that rotates 360 degrees, locking hi-hat clutch, Subkick and the Nouveau Lug casing. One of Yamaha's manufacturing advances includes the Air Seal System process, which contributes to perfectly round shells by using an inflatable bladder to exert uniform pressure on the inside of Yamaha's handmade shells. This helps distribute the glue evenly. In addition, staggered diagonal seams are used to contribute to the strength of the shell. Yamaha also introduced interchangeable pipe diameters for its hardware, which is designed and manufactured in the company's motorcycle factory.

Yamaha is the only drum company that makes acoustic and electronic drum sets, and is the only drum company to offer 100 percent wood kits in four different wood shell materials: Maple, Beech, Birch and Oak. Skilled craftsmen study as apprentices for three years before they are given the title of Yamaha Drums Craftsman.

In 1979 Yamaha introduced one of its most renowned kits, the Recording Custom series, regarded as the most recorded kit in history. Yamaha was also the first drum maker to offer 100 percent Birch shells. Legendary international drum marketing manager Takahashi "Hagi" Hagiwara, who retired in 2004, was instrumental in helping to elevate Yamaha Drums as the world's preeminent drum maker.

Over the years, Yamaha has been associated with some of the best drummers to ever pick up a pair of sticks. Artists affiliated with Yamaha include Tommy Aldridge, Carter Beauford, Matt Cameron, Keith Carlock, Ndugu Chancler, Billy Cobham, Anton Fig, Al Foster, Steve Gadd, David Garibaldi, Levon Helm, Steve Jordan, Manu Katche, Russ Kunkel, Shannon Larkin, Paul Leim, Rick Marotta, Russ Miller, Prairie Prince, John "JR" Robinson, Oscar Seaton, Dave Weckl and ?uestlove.

Every year, Yamaha drum artists participate in entertaining and informative clinics that are generally held at local dealerships. In 2006, the newly-renovated Yamaha Artist Services Hollywood center opened with a drum custom shop, a small performance space, a showroom that features every drum and hardware item in the Yamaha catalogue and a recording studio that allows drummers to hear how the equipment sounds in studio situations.

In 2007, Yamaha Drums is introducing several new products to commemorate this special anniversary:

- The limited edition 40th Anniversary Washi Drum Set is wrapped with washi paper (a type of Japanese paper used in traditional arts) that depicts scenes from the Genpei War, which threw Japan into tumult from 1180 to 1185.

- Taking its name from a helmet worn by samurai warriors with traditional Japanese armor, the new Kabuto Snare Drum consists of a steel shell coated with an eye-catching red lacquered finish.

- The ornate Phoenix Snare Drum, made of brass, is adorned with the Phoenix logo that decorated early Yamaha organs and is applied to the drum with the same engraving work that is found on Yamaha brass instruments.

- Two other anniversary drum kits, the Golden Temple kit and the Silver Temple kit, named after two of Japan's most revered temples.

For more information, write Yamaha Corporation of America, Pro Audio & Combo Division, Yamaha Drums, P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622; telephone (714) 522-9011; e-mail; or visit

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