BY NICOLAS GRIZZLE
We caught up with fiberglass drum makers Jenkins-Martin at the Chicago Drum show last month to check out their unique shells. Their spun fiberglass, solid-color drums were a standout amongst all the wood and metal offerings surrounding them. Though their design is vintage-inspired from the Blaemire sound of the 1960s-80s, it has a modern sound due in part to the fact that, well, they’re still pretty new. Jenkins-Martin launched with a debut at the Chicago Drum Show in 2012, so it’s kind of their home show, in a way.
The drums produce a lower fundamental note, which is part of what shapes their characteristic sound. The fiberglass is spun in one continuous strand with no need for seams or plies. It gives the shells a pure tone with solid resonance. It also lessens the unpredictable variation that comes from using different trees or metals from different climates. It’s all about preference. These high-end kits retail for $2,600 and up for shell packs, with snares in the $600 range.
The company is headquartered in Ohio, with a California vibe. As the story goes, co-founder Jerry Jenkins was in Southern California looking for a way to manufacture drums that sounded like the old Blaemires he loved. He met Allen Blaemire before the drummaker and former naval engineer passed away, and learned some of the secrets to his drums. He met Dave Martin, who was making carbon fiber drums as a hobby in Ohio, and a partnership was born.
Hal Blaine was a fan of Blaemire’s drums, and apparently, engineer and producer Steve Albini likes the sound enough to have one in his Electrical Audio studios in Chicago. Check out the kit he had been using, which was pulled out of the tracking room for display (and probably sale) out on the show floor in the video above.