December 16, 2006


I had a blast last night. We had a gig at the Manila Pavilion, and it's for this school event of ISHRM. It was a great gig because the crowd was really wonderful, most of them were up on their feet and responded well, and we played well despite the absence of one of our singers Kim Madridejos (rest in peace to Kim's grandmother).

But what really made my day is sound system provider Ricky Ramos' new drumkit... A spanking brand new Tama Starclassic Bubinga drumkit!! Oh my God... This is one of my dream drumkits! It was my first time to play on a full Starclassic drumset. And what's more... It's a bubinga wood kit!

When I arrived at the Manila Pavilion, some of my bandmates were already there and were telling me that Ricky Ramos has a new drumkit. When I entered the Coral Ballroom, I can't believe what I was seeing. What a beautiful sight! I was speechless, and I was close to tears (yeah, I'm that shallow when it comes to things like this). I commended Sir Ricky for his choice of new drumkit, and I kept on saying to him and to everyone around me that this is one of my dream drumkits. And I was at awe with the fact that I'm going to play that kit.

The new drumkit is so beautiful, I needed to stand back, stare at it, and admire its beauty. When I was setting up and adding some of my personal gear to the kit, there were moments when I just have to pause for awhile and admire the drumkit once again.

Pardon the photo. The spotlight was too strong. I'll take better pics next time.

The Tama Starclassic Bubinga kit has a white finish with a diamond strip inlay around the middle of each drumshell. The outer ply is actually maple wood, for finishing purpose (Note: Tama offers the top-of-the-class Starclassic Bubinga Omni-Tune kit, which is 100% bubinga wood and has this high-tech tuning system). This baby just came out early this year, so it has all the latest specs offered on Starclassic drums, such as the re-designed Star-Cast tom mounting system, which is now finished in chrome (or black nickel, or brushed nickel; depending on the drum's hardware finish) and is more streamlined (its shape contours with the die-cast hoop's shape).

It's a 6-piece set-up: 10" and 12" toms, 14" and 16" floor toms, 22" kick, and a matching 5.5"x14" snare drum. I played on them... And it was drummer heaven. The news about bubinga is definitely true. The toms were singing and the kick drum was downright thunderous. I love the toms! It's very responsive to dynamics and the notes are so clear. I don't need to forcefully wallop the drums in order to make its presence felt. But when I did, wow it responded with authority! It has that in-your-face sound. One can definitely feel the power of these drums. The 10" tom has that timbale-like crack, and the 16" floor tom sounded really huge (I tuned it as low as possible)! The Starclassic Bubinga snare drum also sounded incredible, and produced the same sound qualities which I just described.

It was my first time to play on a full bubinga kit. My verdict on a bubinga drum's sound? It's like a maple drum on steroids. The guys from Tama are right... You need to hear it to believe it. I'm a believer now.
Tama is the first drum company to utilize bubinga wood as a primary shell material. Before, bubinga (also known as African rosewood) is used as an exterior ply on drums because of its beautiful grain and deep, dark, exotic look. Bubinga is also used on other musical instruments, most commonly on bass guitars.

Though the Starclassic Bubinga snare drum sounded great after I got its tuning right, I still set up and played my trusty 5"x13" Tama Artwood snare drum. The latter's sound is a much better fit to my band's style of music. The new kit also came with Tama's Iron Cobra double pedal and hi-hat stand. I used to own an Iron Cobra double pedal. I was feeling nostalgic, so I decided to use it and give my current Pearl Eliminator double pedal its day off. Though heavier in feel, it worked nicely.

Our one-and-a-half hour-long set last night was one of our best gigs this year. Ricky Ramos is one of the best in the business, and the sound and the equipment were topnotch. And thanks to my joy and excitement of playing on a beautiful set of high-quality drums, I was really on top of my game. It was probably one of my best performances this year. I was really wailing on the toms. I played a bunch of multi-tom fills and licks which caught the attention of my bandmates at times. The toms were really singing, I just had to play them more! I love doing some of those wild drum licks from time to time. And it's such a satisfying feeling when I'm able to nail those chops on a great-sounding set of drums.

It's true... Great-sounding, high-quality musical instruments can really help a musician express himself/herself much better. And every passionate and dedicated musician is deserving of such quality gear.

I'm home, still wide awake, drinking hot choco, listening to music, and writing this blog entry... and I'm still having the Bubinga hangover! I wish I can have my own Bubinga kit someday. I'm looking forward to playing that drumkit again. See you later, Bubinga!!