By Phil Hood

When this question first popped into my email inbox I laughed.

But then I called a friend at a Mapex and found out he’d gotten the question before, too. “Do they really give away all that gear that is advertised in contests and giveaways? Or is it all a ruse?”

We musicians can be a little skeptical. After all it’s the music business. But the answer is yes, companies give away a lot of instruments and accessories through giveaway promotions and they’re usually happy to do it.

My second call was to David Levine of TRX Cymbals. He’s also one of the founders of the Hit Like A Girl Contest [full disclosure: the contest was co-founded with DRUM! Magazine]. This year he helped ensure that contest winners received more than $25,000 worth of kits, hand drums, cymbals, and accessories from companies like Zildjian, DW, Mapex, Sabian, Yamaha, and others.

“Absolutely,” he said. “We try our best to make sure that every prize is shipped, delivered, and received, anywhere in the world. I’ve done contests with many companies and they always give out the products as advertised.” Then he added with a laugh that there was one time a company was unhappy. “Once when I worked with Ludwig I gave away two Legacy Classic kits in a contest [in DRUM! Magazine] and Ludwig were the ones who were screaming. That was a lot of gear.”

Why Giveaways?

Companies participate in promotions mainly to publicize new products or to gather information from their customers (surveys). That’s the time that a new drum set or cymbal is being advertised most heavily. A contest just adds to the general excitement of the overall campaign. Zildjian currently has a campaign promoting new 25th Anniversary A Customs. The prize: a trip for two to the Zildjian factory to pick out some new cymbals. You have until November to enter.

Sometimes It Goes Wrong

I know of two occasions in the 27-year history of DRUM! Magazine in which we could not locate giveaway winners using information they had put on the entry form. And, we couldn’t find them searching online. In those cases, we picked a new winner at random. Some people give out email addresses that they rarely use when entering a contest. If that’s you, then don’t be that drummer. (Hey Lenny, if you’re out there, check your email next time you enter.)

What Are The Odds?

The odds of winning depend on the number of entries received. That’s the deal. I have seen contests with 100,000 entries and other contests that had fewer than 1,000 entries. And, I’ve sometimes had the pleasure of calling some lucky person and saying, “Hello, is this Kathy? I’m calling to let you know you’ve just won a drum set.” Usually this is followed by a couple of seconds of silence and then a shout… “No way! You’re not joking?” No, I’m not. The contests are real. They are as fair as the drum companies can make them and they always try to give all the prizes away.

Maybe you should consider entering? Here’s a few contests going on right now.

Cascio Music: Win an Eric Hernandez Sabian Cymbal Setup

DRUM! Magazine: Win An LP Steve Gadd Signature Cowbell

DRUM! Magazine: Simmons SD-2000 Kit Giveaway 

Last Chance


Send your questions about artists, gear, companies or anything else you want the backstory on to Phil@stringletter.com. One winner this month receives a Maxonix Stick Ark (pictured).

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