Recent Customer Feedback:
First of all, let me complement you and your crew on building me a fantastic set of drums. The true gold glitter is nicely flashy and subtle at the same time, if that’s possible. I played three gigs with them this past weekend, and the drums were amazing.
The first was a funk gig in Carrboro, NC, and I literally played the drums “out of the box” the way you had them tuned, and they sounded great! The sound guy acted shocked that I got such a low, punchy tone out of such a small bass drum, and rightly so; it does sound bigger than it really is. The toms just needed a spot of moon gel on each one, and they were perfect. Nice round, vintage-y tone, and great attack.
On Fri. night I played a bop gig, so I had to tune them up high, and boy! That’s where these drums really shine. These guys seem to be tailor made for the Max Roach tuning. As you know, I’ve been a gretsch guy for a long time, and while I still love the sound of their drums, lately they’ve simply priced me out of the market for their high end drums. When I came to you, I was looking for that gretsch sound with more usable hardware, and a more durable finish, and these new drums are all that and more. My Black Labels are easier to tune, and have a wider tuning range than my old set that was twice the price (and they were bought in 1998!).
My Sat. jazz-dinner gig was wonderful, because I unpacked the drums, set ‘em up, and just played, w/ no hassles or problems. They were still perfectly in tune from Fri, after sitting in the tuxedo bags in the car overnight, and sounded wonderful in the small venue with brushes all night.
I love the fact that I’m supporting a small American company, and keeping my business in my home state. Your devotion to being “green”, and using american made products whenever possible was one of the big reasons I chose you guys to build my kit, and I’m sure glad I did.
The bottom line is that you have exceeded my expectations; I love my drums!
Thank you for the perfect sounding set of drums. I have now had them for about four or five months, and there is no old Slingerland or Gretsch I would rather play when it comes to sound. The bass drum has the perfect amount of natural deep end, so that I can really tune it how I want and still get a nice low end oomph. The toms are so warm and respond so well from the lightest touch of a brush as well as from super loud rimshots. They never sound bad. Thank you for making me such a nice kit Dennis!
Well, the kit showed up yesterday safe and sound. It’s hard for me to tell you how happy I am with them. Not only are they absolutely beautiful, they sound amazing! Right out of the case. The bass sounds great with nothing in it. I’ve got the very same head combo on my 24” Slingerland, and I had to put one of those Evans EQ pillows in it to get the sound I wanted. I bought one for the new drum, but I don’t think I’ll need it. Everything about them from the shells, to the hardware looks to be very high quality, and the cases are fantastic as well. Quality is something I know. I’ve work as a machinist, and now as a inspector for a aerospace manufacture here in Dayton for quite a while. It has been such a long time since I bought something, and was really happy with what I got. My hat is off to you, and your crew for the outstanding care, and talent that you put into your product. I hope you saved a few nice pics of them to put on your daily blog.
Thank you much!
I recently took possession of my first set of Black Label drums (actually, my first set of custom drums…period) and was so impressed with the process that I decided to write an open letter to Dennis and all of his prospective customers. First and foremost, while I have been a bass player for a good portion of the last 15 years, I have been a drummer for over 20 years and was, and always will be, a drummer at heart. After opening a high-end boutique bass specialty store in 2003 (www.blueberryhillbass.com) and devoting the majority of my life for the last 10+ years to basses, bassists, and playing bass, I recently decided to revert back to my original passion…drums. Through this process, I decided that I would finally treat myself to a custom, hand-crafted, professional set of drums, and thus began the research process to find the perfect person for the job. I began researching every name in the custom drum world…from small, one-man-shops who were virtually nameless and unknown to well-known brands with large marketing budgets and endless options to choose from. The process was long, and many different drum builders were seriously considered, but I ultimately decided to reach out to Dennis Stauffer at Stauffer Percussion.
Dennis was not only extremely knowledgeable about his own products (which one would assume, but is not always the case), and was also extremely knowledgeable about other brands and products within the industry. This made communication very easy…something that is extremely important when discussing custom musical instruments. I was able to tell Dennis what I was looking for and he knew exactly where I was coming from as a musician. He made countless recommendations that helped me understand the scope of what he was able to do to create a drum set that met my needs and was an absolutely joy to talk to and work with through the entire process. In fact, Dennis took the exact same approach that I take with my own customers at Blueberry Hill. I’ve found that the best formula is to be hyper-knowledgeable about the subject matter you’re consulting on. By making honest and dispassionate recommendations, the customer has all the information that s/he needs, and can then make decisions with perfect information, feeling confident that something isn’t being forgotten or omitted that will later lead to dissatisfaction. Dennis was a true professional in this regard, and I feel that I not only received great advice throughout the process, but that I actually gained a friend as a result of our detailed conversations. And keep in mind that I wasn’t promising to purchase a Peart-esque 30 piece monster set-up. This level of service was all over a simple “old school” 4-piece ’60?s-inspired drum kit, nonetheless!
As for the actual kit itself, upon opening the boxes once it arrived, I was immediately impressed with the kit components…the quality of the hardware and mounts, the quality of the shells, the quality of the wrap, etc. I was even impressed with the performance of the head recommendations that Dennis made. Excellent choices all-around, and the small hole on the Fiberskyn front head was a nice touch. We also discussed a new Black Label logo front head that would showcase the detail of the drum badges in greater detail, and Dennis worked overtime to create a front bass drum head that exceeded my own expectations. You wouldn’t get this kind of commitment to perfection and personal attention to detail from many other drum companies. And as for the craftsmanship of the actual drums….outstanding! I frequently talk to customers who are concerned about buying an instrument that they have never seen before, and I can fully understand their hesitation. I even had a bit of my own through this process. However, all of those concerns evaporated as soon as I opened the box containing that first tom. Dennis does exceptional work…bottom line.
And lastly, a drum kit review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning performance and tone. Upon the opening of each well-packaged box, each drum emerged perfectly tuned and ready to go. The rack tom was full, warm, and punchy. The floor tom had a deep, thick resonance that was warm, yet powerful. And the bass drum sounded a lot bigger than a 22? diameter drum. The feel of the batter head was great and the overall drum was resonant, punchy, and deep. There was a guttural thump to it, while still maintaining the depth and resonance typically associated with a much larger drum without a ported front head. Very nice!!!
Overall, my experience with Dennis and Stauffer Percussion (Phattie, Black Label, Cocktail Drums) was an extremely positive one all the way around. Dennis was timely with his telephone and e-mail responses, he had detailed and thoughtful answers to every question I could come up with, and in the end, he delivered a killer set of professional-quality drums. Not only was the process of working with Dennis on a set of Black Label drums fun, but the end result is something that I will enjoy for countless years to come. I hope that you feel the same when you order your set as well. ; )
The cocktail kit arrived yesterday (Friday). To say I am pleased would be an understatement. The kit is AWESOME! They sound great right out of the box. The finish and assembly was better than expected. I previously played a Yamaha Club Jordan kit. The Yamaha kit is a good product. Without a doubt, your kit is better. The band was very impressed as well. I was pleased to find the six upper mounts. I don’t know if I will every use all of them, but it is nice to have the flexibility. The Gibralter pedal works great with the gig rug. I always found the “U” bracket that mounted to the tom legs a pain to set up.
Thanks again for an excellent product. I saved the original shipping box to use for now (great job on the packaging). The kit will make its debut this Thursday (St. Patrick’s Day). I hope to shoot video of an upcoming gig. I will let you know so you can see/hear the kit in action.
Best wishes to you, your family, and your staff.
Thanks a bunch man for the new snares… Wowzers!… Double Wowzers!… LOL. It’s really late for me and I only got to take them out and crank ‘em up a bit. I am stoked man! I have been playing for a long time, played on a lot of drums, played big names, played American custom companies, etc. and I’ve got to say your attention to detail is perfect, in my honest, humble opinion. After experiencing the news of the economy going sour a couple of years ago and a lot of companies folding, I am glad I found your company (And it still being viable for that matter!) I am glad I went out on a wing and decided to get a couple of your drums and I will definitely be coming back for more in the future! Excellent first impression and still in awe at how beautiful these drums are and how they sound.
Thanks again, It has been a great pleasure doing business with you.