Every time I go to a drum show, I’m always looking for something new and significant. In an art form that is so basic and primitive; the drum and the percussive arts in general, it’s really hard to surprise me. Over the last 150 years, we’ve seen incredible innovations and variations on the theme, leaving us with some very good instruments. So now we’re left with simple refinements, right? Not just yet! There’s always someone thinking a little left of center, and those are the guys I’m looking for. This year at the Chicago Drum Show, I found another one of……. those guys.
Enter, Holland Drums. If ever there was a percussion instrument that I didn’t know I needed 25 years ago…..this is one of them!
Scott Holland, of Holland Drums, has made a significant hybrid instrument that effectively crosses the lines between the snare drum and the hand drum. If you find yourself working with singer/song-writers or have the need to provide lower volumes and different timbres, this is a drum you should give serious consideration.
The “Muffin Top” drum sits on a regular snare drum stand and was originally meant to be played with your hands, with and without snares. But as with most good instruments, it allows you infinite possibilities. When backing up various artists over the years, the variety of music has generally allowed me to push the creativity of the situation because I don’t have a lot of rules and regulations when I come up with drum and percussion parts. That being said, the only rule I always keep is to “play for the song.” That rule has kept me busy creating different and unique set ups that fit each situation.
When using the Muffin-Top drum, I’ve found it to perform not only as a centerpoint piece, as does a snare drum on a drum set, but also as an auxiliary drum in a non traditional set up that is more percussion based. If need be, it can be switched out at a moment’s notice with a conventional snare drum for a little hand drumming. If a significant portion of your gig's set is on the quiet side, you can use this as your primary drum. I’ve found it’s also great with sticks and brushes, as well numerous other implements used to effect different textures.
This drum provides great sonic opportunities with and without the snares applied. Imagine being able to play a part with your hands on a snare drum without wracking your knuckles on the metal hoop, as you would with a conventional snare drum. Then, with a flick of the snare throw-off, playing something of a Latin nature, then switch it up again with a pair of brushes or sticks, without changing drums!
As part of a drum set, there is a whole world of new possibilities when combining this “hand-drum” with your feet. Kick, hat, cowbell, tambourine, or whatever else you can whack with a pedal, will offer continued pattern combinations and grooves that will definitely be something new for most single drummer set-ups. When added as part of a hand drum/percussion set-up, this drum fits in especially nice. With the snares off, it provides a “neutral” hand drum sound that isn’t quite a conga, nor a djembe sound. Add the snares and you have a nice soft snare sound, perfect for those times when it’s all about color.
When looking at the Muffin Top drum, it looks different from any other drum I’ve ever seen.
At its heart is a solid, 6” depth, stave construction shell made of bubinga wood, milled to a unique design to accommodate a Remo djembe head, which has a 2.5” drop. Solid walnut stave construction shells are also very popular. The batter side lugs, rods and claws are Remo as well, but, the black counter hoop is custom made locally.
On the bottom rests a standard, conventional 14” snare head. A gold-tone, triple flanged counter hoop and Adonis lugs nicely round out this model. This particular drum has “split style” Puresound snares, and a Trick throw off. I particularly like the very gradual snare bed that’s barely visible and doesn’t seem to make any negative impression on the head, which helps provide nice sensitivity.
Holland Drums utilizes different choices for different model combinations. Wood, snares, throw-offs, lugs, heads, gold-tone or chrome hoops, etc. are all optional. There is a 16” x 16” Cocktail Bass Drum available that will offer even more sonic opportunities for set-up combinations.
Being a custom shop, Holland Drums has successfully combined two completely different drums, from different parts of the world, with fantastic results. Thus opening the doors for optional sounds and playing combinations, which is really what we all want in our drum choices, and Scott Holland has certainly succeeded in doing so. I really do wish I had this drum 25 years ago!
From Lancaster County PA, Thoughts from the shop………. Brian Hill