BY PHIL HOOD

When we wrote about the return of Rogers drums last fall it was one of our biggest online stories of the year. Many readers wrote in requesting more information, which we’ve been gathering all along.

behind the scenesGetting updates on Rogers is not that easy. The company has been tightlipped since the project began in 2016. Partly that’s the style of Reliance Manufacturing, the parent company in Taiwan. They are one of the world’s most respected manufacturers and suppliers of components but they prefer to keep the focus on their clients and products. Another reason is the protective attitude of Ken Fredenberg, the company’s brand director, who guided the team behind the Rogers relaunch. His goal from the start was to create something that was as useful and innovative as Rogers was in its heyday, and not merely slap the name on a set of drums. To do that he assembled a team to design, assemble, customize, and distribute here while building the components in Asia. “Our goal from the start was to do it right,” Fredenberg says, “and give Rogers the focus and prestige it deserves as a brand that was so innovative in its heyday.”

Rogers Dyno-Matic Bass Drum Pedal

Rogers has been slow and steady in their relaunch. After spending months talking to Rogers fans in 2016, as well as buying and taking apart Rogers drums to understand the sound, the team decided to move forward first by producing parts for vintage Rogers drums. “That helped us gain credibility for the brand,” Fredenberg recalls. “We didn’t want to try to get big too fast. The whole emphasis is on doing it right.” Next came the actual snare drums, which became available in 2017. They replicated every detail of the Dyna-sonic snare drum and drew rave reviews from the drumming community.

They’ve now come out with the Rogers Dyno-Matic bass drum pedal, a neat piece of kit that recreates the Swiv-O-matic. It features chain drive and an adjustable axle assembly, which raises and lowers to accommodate bass drums 18″ to 30″ in diameter without affecting beater response.

“There were three things Rogers was good at,” says Fredenberg. “They were innovative and they had a sound. And their team had great marketing. Joe Thompson [original Rogers design engineer] and Ben Strauss [marketing director] and their team did great work. But one challenge they had then was consistent manufacturing. We bring that to the table. We call it ‘classic innovation,’ which means doing what Rogers did right and bringing it to today’s player.”


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Having so far successfully resuscitated the parts, pedal, and snare niches, what will Rogers tackle next? Think vintage hardware. The company sneak peeked some prototypes at the NAMM show in January, but Fredenberg says next year will see final products becoming widely available. “We’re going a different route [than most manufacturers] because I see a channel where Rogers fits in today’s market for drummers who don’t need all the big heavy hardware,” he says.

Mysteries of Mapex

At the Winter NAMM show Mapex had a shroud over a drum set in their booth, with dark hints about what was coming down the pike. Then last month an image suddenly appeared on social media, with little or no explanation. But alert readers have asked me “What’s going on?”

Well, the answer is still murky, but it is about new design and shell construction. [DRUM editor Nick Grizzle visited the company HQ in Nashville last month, but he’s sworn to secrecy.] Actually, these kits will no doubt incorporate some of the ideas we’ve seen popping up in Mapex snare innovations the last 24 months. I won’t hazard a guess as to which ones until we’ve seen the drums in question. But it should be good when it arrives.

The Drums Formerly Known As?

Reader Angelo Bregoni wrote to me to ask about this logo that he had seen on the front of Dixon Drums recently.

“What is it?” he wondered. Alien signals? Gang graffiti? Ancient hieroglyphs? Well, no. It’s a new logo that Dixon has used on some products. I think it’s pretty cool. It’s made by stacking all the letters in the word “Dixon” on top of one another. It is meant, like most design changes, to help make the brand visible, and embraceable. Since Dixon is continuing to expand its lineup, it makes sense. It doesn’t replace the traditional Dixon logo, but it is starting to find its way into the market.

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