Thursday, March 01, 2012

More on Pinstripes

The distressed font
indicates rockingness to me.
Ever since reading T. Bruce Wittet's piece about the drumming equivalent of the fusion mullet, the Remo Pinstripe, I've been sort of half-determined to try to them out for the first time since the late 80's, this time with a jazz tuning. I had the opportunity the other day on a visit to Portland's wonderful used/vintage drum shop, Revival Drums with my friend (and great drummer) Steve Pancerev, where I snagged a used set they had languishing in the head dump in the back room.

First impression: I got them home and put them on my drums, tuned them up high, and they actually sound OK. The last two-ply head I've used are Remo Emperors, which always tended to sound a little tubby, with a chunky attack; the Pinstripes have a glued-together outer ~1.5", which minimizes that quality somewhat. The Pinstripes have a fuller, bassier tone than the coated G1 Evans I was using previously, and while I was expecting to sacrifice response and some nuance, they feel surprisingly good with a high tuning. Better than you'd expect. I haven't let an uncoated/untextured head near my drums in over 20 years, so that clear-head tonality is something of a novelty- I can't say I'm wild about it. Something trailer-park about it...

Days later: They're not wearing well. What at first seemed full and round is starting to feel decidedly boomy with further playing. Definition suffers substantially on anything denser than 8th notes. The attack is flabby-sounding compared to the coated Ambassadors, Remo Renaissance, or Evans G1s I normally use. The instrument feels less responsive.

Conclusion: The Pinstripe is not as dead and buried as you might have thought, and worth trying. They're usable in a pinch, at the very least. Someone seeking a rounder tone than you get with the standard coated single ply head may dig these a lot. Overall they don't work for me with a jazz tuning.

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