A great man (I think it was Mr Miyagi from The Karate Kid) once said:

"There is no such thing as a bad student. Only a bad teacher".

Wise words.

And some that really make sense to me, having been involved in drum and music

education professionally for the past 10 years. In that time I have been extremely

fortunate to have met some truly inspirational teachers and I would like to dedicate

this blog/magazine - (you could call it either a blogazine or a blagazine, depending

on if you think I know what I'm talking about!) - to those drummers who have really

made a difference in the world of drums and drum education.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's December!

And so Christmas looms...

The big-boys and branding giants of drum equipment and instrument manufacturing who seem to dominate the glossy magazines in the high street stores, can afford to pay for their advertising because they are, quite simply: rich.
The small companies, the one-man-sweat-shops, the sole traders and struggling craftsmen however... Well, they can't afford to reach such a wide audience. I completely understand what it is like to struggle financially (and emotionally) - I'm a musician:

You put your heart and soul and blood and sweat and entire life-force into something you completely believe in and then wonder if anyone but you is going to get to know about it...

It can be quite vexing.

So, not only is Drumazine trying to let the world know about less well-known drummers, but also salute and applaud these smaller companies. The world of drums has choice! You just need to be made aware of the options...

To start this trend of giving free advertising to companies and individuals who might not otherwise be able to pay for it, Drumazine would like to introduce you to:

Craig Lauritsen, founder of Cymbalutopia Hand Crafted Cymbals! 

Drumazine: Hello Craig and welcome to Drumazine! For those people reading who might not know about Cymbalutopia Cymbals, let's find out all about who you are and what you do...

Craig Lauritsen: I have a workshop at my home in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia.
It's a large property with two sheds; a large hammering/showroom and separate lathing shed.
It's a beautiful spot with koalas and lots of beautiful native birds.

Dzn: And how long have Cymbalutopia Cymbals been in existence?

CL: I've been hammering cymbals since 2004ish and started the business in 2007 after receiving a lot of interest in my work. Matt Nolan (another independent cymbalsmith from the UK) recommended me to join the then fairly exclusive 'cymablholic' website community and things really took off after that.

Dzn: Why did you start to make cymbals?

CL: I've always admired handcrafted instruments and handcrafted cymbals were very difficult to get here in Australia. What little that was available was often inconsistent sonically, so I thought I'd make my own. I'm also very attracted to 'sounds' and wanted to discover ways to create specific sounds with bronze.

Dzn: You make beautifully crafted hand-made cymbals. Do you make anything else (like sticks or cymbal bags or hardware)?

CL: No, just cymbals. I'm very passionate about the art of cymbalsmithing and it takes up a very large amount of my time.

Dzn: Where did you learn your trade?

CL: There's nowhere to go to learn cymbalsmithing, so I spent a lot of time sourcing information from the internet and even more time practicing the craft andexperimenting.

Dzn: What materials do you use to make your cymbals?

CL: The cymbals I make usually start out as Turkish blanks or unmarked turks. They are B20 to B25, so 75% to 80% copper and tin. My hammers and anvils are various forms of hardened steel, shaped by me to perform specific tasks. I also built my own lathe to my own specifications.

Dzn: Can you tell us a little about the different ranges you offer?

CL: My most popular line is the 'Kontroversial' series. They're my take on the 'old K' sound and the name actually came about because of a blind fold test in which one of my cymbals was picked as an old k.
They feature extensive hammering and are finished with a two part brush finishing technique which creates a slightly harder surface and hence a slightly brittle stick sound.
The SHM series uses a special hammering technique to install larger deformations in the bronze, which adds a trash component to the sound.
The Dark Matter series features a final round of hammering with a special hammer I designed. The resultant sound is dark and complex.
The CLTB line are all hammered from Turkish blanks.
The Rare Jazz series is another alternative for drummers looking for a jazz sound.
There are sub series like TW (my take on the Tony Williams Nefertiti ride sound) and EJ (my take on Elvin Jones' ride sound).

Dzn: Now, some more personal questions(!): Do you have a favourite band or type of music?

CL: I love jazz or any music which uses a large degree of improvisation.

Dzn: Do you play drums yourself?

CL: Yes, I've been playing drums professionally or semi professionally for twenty five years.

Dzn: Do you have a favourite drummer?

CL: I love Jack DeJohnette, Jim Black, Zigaboo, Steve Jordan, Stanton Moore, gosh, so many favorites really.

Dzn: You make a very traditional acoustic instrument; How important do you think new technology is in modern day drumming?

CL: I think that the basic drum kit has evolved but the materials used to make it are essentially the same. I personally am attracted to handcrafted instruments made by skilled craftsmen and don't think that technology can ever reproduce that.

Dzn: Finally, people reading who are in the market for some new gear might like to know:
Where can we get your stuff? (Do you have any specific dealers?)

CL: I don't have specific dealers at this stage. A lot of what I do is custom requests, so emailing me directly or through the website is best.

Dzn: Where can we hear Cymbalutopia Cymbals being played?

CL: I've sold my cymbals to drummers from all over the world including Gregory Hutchinson (one of my cymbals features on his new instructional DVD), Luke Flowers (Cinematic Orchestra), Hamish Stuart, Riki Gooch, Darryn Farrugia, Michael Iveson and I'm about to do something for Jochen Rueckerts.

Dzn: How much do they cost?!

CL: A 22" cymbal is between $500 and $550.  (Australian dollars; equating to around £330 - £360 UK sterling)

Dzn: And what's your website?

CL: www.cymbalutopia.com

Dzn: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about? (Any other links or information about Cymbalutopia Cymbals?)

CL: I'm on facebook as well and www.cymbalholic.com is a great site for cymbal lovers and I post there a lot.

Dzn: I would now like to say a very big Thank You for sharing yourself with us! Happy cymbalsmithery! 

CL: Thank you, it's been a pleasure.

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