As a result of reviewing the Outlaw Drum Company's incredible snare drums, I had the opportunity to try their wooden kick drum beaters, known as the “Hammer.” When Michael Outlaw sent me home from the Nashville Drum Show with a snare drum to review for Not So Modern Drummer Magazine, he slipped one of his wooden kick beaters inside the box for me to try. When I took it for a test drive, it was love at first kick. Cut into the one of the impact sides of this small, elongated chunk of wood was an angle that I all too well understood. Soon I was on the phone with Michael to discuss this small marvel and asked him to send me a second beater as I tend to use a double pedal. A week later a happy box arrived with not one pair of matched beaters but two different sets.
Michael had taken the opportunity to include an additional set of larger hammers with a somewhat different design. I thought this was a good idea as we all tend to play a bit different from each other and most of us like to have some different options to choose from. What I didn’t like was that Michael hadn’t incorporated what I thought was the one of the best features of his original design: the angled impact side. So after a very pleasant conversation, mostly about why I was so adamant about that angle, Michael redesigned the larger beaters with one impact side angled and sent them north. Now, we have a real ball game.
Both styles are born of the same first generation, American Heart Pine that has become the signature of the company. The wood is extremely dense with a very tight grain pattern that produces a nice solid attack, much more definitive than most felt heads. Each Hammer incorporates two different angled impact sides that provide two different impact results. One side remains straight while the other is angled to meet the kick head straight on. Meeting the kick head “straight on” provides maximum coverage and contact with the head, increasing the effect on the strike-zone. Utilizing the angled side of the beater also extends the life of the drum head when the choice of impact material is wood.
I found that the smaller, elongated Hammer brings about a very focused, defined, and articulated note. This is something that I really like about this smaller beater because I often find myself playing busier kick patterns and double-pedal parts. Something that I tried with this smaller beater was to add two, one-quarter inch shaft collars from the local hardware store to each hammer, directly under the mallet head. This is something that I see from a few other select drum companies to add to the over-all weight and velocity of the kick mallet without adding to the mass of the beater. This worked especially well for me as I tend to require a real presence from my kick drum. I want you to feel it!
The larger Hammer is full of solid mass, bringing out the extreme low-end and power of the drum; great for instances that require pure, raw kicking power. I liked this heavier mallet for those straight ahead rockin’ tunes where it’s really all about feeling it deep down, low and dirty. A real chest pounder!
Both Hammers punch out lots of sound regardless of the size of the kick drum, while remaining sensitive and easy to control when it’s time to turn the volume down. The sonic presence and punch that result from an angled Outlaw Kick Hammer will ensure your kick drum never gets lost in the mix, regardless of the volume! These “Rebel” beaters pack the sledgehammer attack of the crack Georgia Brigade that inspired it all!
If you’re looking for something with real power and presence, and as organic as the drums you love, try these Georgia Heart Pine Hammers by Outlaw Drums on your kit and just hear the difference. For information on these beaters and all that Michael Outlaw and Outlaw Drums can offer, just visit their web page.
From Lancaster County, PA…..Thoughts from the shop.