RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

  • In Memoriam: Ron Vater

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Feb 24, 2020

    Ron VaterDrumstick maker Ron Vater died on January 25, 2020. Born on January 25, 1957, Vater spent much of his youth at Jack’s Drum Shop in Boston, which was owned by his grandfather, Jack Adams, who would take Ron and his brother, Alan, to see such drummers as Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, and Elvin Jones when they played in Boston. 

    During his late teens and early twenties, Ron helped run C. Vater Music Center in Norwood, Mass. along with Alan and their father, the late Clarence “Clarry” Vater. When the store experienced a drumstick supply issue from a well-known manufacturer, Ron and Alan started turning their own drumsticks for the store. This was the beginning of the Vater drumstick business.

    The Vater brothers drumstick manufacturing became a full-time endeavor in the mid-1980s. They were soon producing drumsticks for Pearl, Tama, and numerous drum shops across the USA. Vic Firth asked the Vaters to manufacture hickory drumsticks for his own brand. Ron and Alan worked closely with Vic at their factory designing many of Vic Firth’s models that still exist in the market today. That led to the design and manufacturing of Zildjian drumsticks and many other brands, until the Vater brand was launched in 1991. While the family continued to manufacture drumsticks for others, as they still do today, the Vater brand became their main focus.

    Being mechanically inclined, Ron Vater oversaw the activities on the Vater factory floor. He would troubleshoot, maintain, set up, and operate the machines, all while teaching other workers, including his son Dante. Ron would sharpen the knives for the lathes and keep an eye on the quality control portion of the factory floor production process. 

    According to a post on the Vater website, “Ron loved Vater Percussion. He loved his high school sweetheart and wife of many years, Susan. He loved their boys, Eric and Dante Vater. He loved cars, fishing, spending time with friends and the many Vater artists that became part of his extended family over these years. He loved that the drumsticks Vater Percussion made were being used around the world by passionate musicians. Ron Vater will be missed by all those who knew him and worked with him. His passion and commitment to manufacturing the best drumsticks in the world will be carried on by the Vater Family, the many dedicated Vater Percussion employees and by all of you who create music and express your percussive passion with Vater products.”

  • Promark

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Feb 24, 2020

    PromarkSYPRSPYR Mallet Line 
    Designed in collaboration with world-renowned percussionists, designers, and educators Kevin Shah and Tony Nuñez, the SPYR series is a comprehensive, foundational offering for high school and college-level band directors seeking to outfit their marching corps or concert percussion section with quality implements.

    All mallets in the SPYR line are built with Promark’s patented mallet manufacturing process, ensuring a durable and consistent mallet that even the most demanding ensemble can rely on.

    With the launch of SPYR, Promark Drumsticks has created a color-coded hardness scale to make it easy for percussionists to quickly select the appropriate mallet from their bag. The color-coded scale will be present both on the packaging, as well as the product itself. The updated backer card and label artwork will communicate the color-coded hardness scale (very soft to very hard) and how it applies to the mallet, illustrating the optimal range of the instrument it was designed for. The product will also feature this scale through matching color-coded yarn on the stitch of the wrapped mallet head and through the color of the mallet head itself for all unwrapped mallets.

    Included in the SPYR series will be six wrapped marimba mallets, two unwrapped marimba mallets, four vibraphone mallets, and twelve xylophone/bell mallets.


    Promark FiregrainFiregrain Technology Expands to 747 Sticks
    The Classic 747 profile is one of Promark’s most popular options and the choice for many legendary drummers. Measuring .551-inches in diameter, like our Classic 5A model, the Classic 747 features an extra 1/4-inch length, as well as a thicker taper and large oval tip, making it capable of crossing genres and playing styles with ease.

    Firegrain, introduced in 2017, is Promark’s patented revolutionary “heat-tempering” process that turns ordinary hickory drumsticks into precision tools with unprecedented durability and allows drummers to play longer naturally.

    More Information

  • Paiste

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Feb 24, 2020

    Paiste Formula 602Second Phase Formula 602 Relaunches
    In 1959 Paiste launched the Formula 602 series. Towards the end of the 1980s, Paiste introduced the Signature Series and an overwhelming number of Paiste drummers shifted their attention to Signature Series cymbals. Due to the resulting Signature Series focus, Paiste eventually ceased to manufacture Formula 602 in the early 1990s. Paiste ultimately reintroduced a selection of the most popular classic Formula 602 models in 2011.

    The 2020 Relaunch enhances the assortment with heavier weight classic models for louder situations and additional sizes to existing models. The 16-, 17-, 18-, 19-, and 20-inch Medium cymbals are medium heavy, multifunctional cymbals with full, strong crash sound. Especially the larger models are well-suited for ride playing due to their silvery transparency. The 16-, 18-, and 20-inch Heavy cymbals provide drummers with more volume and assertiveness. Their bright, powerful, solid crash sound cuts through even in loud situations. They also perform excellently as versatile ride cymbals with a clear ping.The 14- and 15-inch Heavy hi-hats are perfect for precise, articulate playing thanks to their defined, crisp sound. When played heavily, they cut brightly and powerfully through in louder situations.The crystal-clear sound of the 13-inch Heavy Bell sustains almost endlessly. This extremely thick effect cymbal features a bright piercing ping.

    Similar to its smaller equivalent, the 15-inch Sound Edge hi-hat has great softness, finesse and, thanks to the wavy bottom cymbal, an always concise chick sound. This larger model provides more richness and low-end.Thin Crashes, now available in 17- and 19-inch sizes, are sensitive, responsive cymbals for full accents with silvery highs.The elegant, subtle 20-inch Paperthin responds to strokes by sticks, brushes, or hand with deep voluminous breath.

    Relaunched Formula 602 cymbals were faithfully recreated using master cymbals in the archives of Paiste. Their authenticity is greatly aided by the fact that Paiste still employs the same traditional hand production techniques as in the 1960s.

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Percussive Arts Society
110 W. Washington Street Suite A 
Indianapolis, IN 46204
T: (317) 974-4488
F: (317) 974-4499
E: percarts@pas.org