Gift Ideas For Drummers (2018 Edition)
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If you have a drummer in the family and you’re in need of a little inspiration as what to get them for Christmas or their birthday then this post is for you!

This is an updated version of last year’s Christmas gift ideas post. Most of the recommendations are the same, but I’ve made a couple of tweaks and added some new suggestions.

I haven’t included any drum kit or cymbal recommendations. If you’re planning on buying any of these big ticket items I’d recommend visiting your local drum shop. You’ll get a far better idea of what you get for your money in a drum store vs buying online. The staff at most drum shops are drummers themselves so will be well placed to give you solid advise based on experience. A big shout out to Soundattak in Colchester, my drum shop of choice!

So here it is, my drumming gift guide for 2018…

  • Evans RealFeel Practice Pad
    The 12 inch pad is my personal favourite as it fits on a standard snare drum stand (if they have a drum kit, they'll have one of these already). If you think they might prefer something a little more portable the 6 inch variation is a good shout.

  • Evans RealFeel Folding Bass Pedal Practice Pad
    If they already have a practice pad, they might like Evans' Folding Bass Pedal Practice Pad for working out the feet. They'll need their own bass drum pedal to go with this, but if they have a drum kit they'll already have one of those. This pad makes working on foot technique easy for those times when practicing on a real kit isn't possible.

  • ACS Pacato Hearing Protectors
    Musicians are notoriously bad at looking after their ears, with many forgetting that they only get one set which will have to last them a lifetime! With that in mind, and though not the most exciting gift, a pair of earplugs that are designed for musicians make the perfect stocking filler. Also a gentle reminder that they should protect their hearing!

  • ACS Custom Moulds
    Hearing protection but for the more serious musician! ACS Custom Moulds are (as the name suggests) moulded to the ears, providing far better protection whilst preserving the quality of sound. I use ACS PRO20s, which are excellent.

  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Studio Monitor Professional Headphones
    The Audio-Techica MX50 headphones are a little on the expensive side but well worth the price tag if you ask me! I use these when practicing on my electric kit or playing to music on my acoustic kit. They're versatile headphones and the sound quality is excellent.

  • Vic Firth Drumsticks
    Every drummer has his or her favourite type and brand of drumstick. If they've been playing for a while, this might be a tricky one. A safe bet are Vic Firth 5A American Hickory Wood Tips, these are super versatile and even if they're not their preferred stick, they'd be a useful addition to their stick bag. Personally, I use Vic Firth 55A American Hickory Wood Tips. These are very similar to the 5As, but a tad thicker. I'm surprised more drummers haven't tried them as they are great drumsticks!

  • Vic Firth Brushes
    A set of a brushes is a must have for any drummer and the Vic Firth Steve Gadd Signature Wire Brush are a great choice. If they're good enough for Steve Gadd, they're good enough for anyone! Brushes are primarily used in jazz but also great for playing quieter songs and gigs.

  • Meinl MSB1 Stick Bag
    I'm always surprised by how many drummers don't have a stick bag! Save them from a lifetime of misery (and looking thoroughly unprofessional!) as they endlessly search through their rucksack for the right drumstick or their earplugs and grab them a quality stick bag.

  • Dixon Speed Wrench Drum Key
    Most drummers will already have a standard drum key... or like me, hundreds of them scattered between various jacket pockets and backpacks. But I doubt many have one of these Speed Wrench Drum Keys. They'll be thanking you the next time they need to change a drum skin!

  • Drum Books
    I'm a firm believer that you can never have too many books. This is as true for drummers as it is for normal humans! I've already written a post on this so won't repeat them all here, but here are a handful of favourites. Jost Nickel's Groove Book and Fill Book are both fantastic, some of the ideas are a little advanced so this isn't really suitable for beginners. Stick Control is a must have for all drummers of all abilities, it's a classic. Benny Greb’s The Language Of Drumming is a great all rounder for all abilities. Mark Guiliana’s Exploring Your Creativity On The Drumset is another more advanced book, but a great choice for drummers looking for ways to push their drumming to the next level.

  • Drum DVDS
    Benny Greb's The Art and Science of GROOVE is hands down the best educational drumming DVD. Benny is a master educator and drummer. I doubt it's even possible to make a better educational drumming DVD. For the more advanced drummer, Jojo Mayer's Secret Weapons For The Modern Drummer Part 1 and Part 2 are also very good.

  • Sonos One Voice Controller Smart Speaker
    This is a more general recommendation for any music lover not just for drummers. I absolutely love my Sonos One speakers, so much so that I now have three of them dotted around my home. The sound quality is fantastic and I love having the option of having the same music playing throughout the house or in just one room. Sonos Ones are more on the expensive side so if you don’t think they’ll care about the “smart” functionality, the Sonos Play:1 speakers are also very good and a little bit cheaper.

If you have questions about any of my suggestions, let me know in the comments or drop me an email. If you're a drummer and have your own suggestions, please do the same!

Five Things #129
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Every Tuesday I share five things I've liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s Five Things…

  1. I'm only 30 minutes into this but Tim Ferriss' podcast with the drummer Dave Elitch is really good. If you're learning any instrument you'll get a lot out of the first 30 minutes at the very least. I'm sure the remaining 1 hour and 40 minutes will be just as good.

  2. If you like board games check out Ravine. I played it for the first time yesterday and it's a lot of fun. It'll be a fun game to get in time for Christmas. Here's the trailer.

  3. Prepare to have your mind blown: The Shepard's table illusion.

  4. Two videos exploring writing and mixing music on an iPad Pro. I'm really hoping Logic Pro will come to iPad in some form soon. Please Apple, please!

  5. Do you need to work long hours to get a lot done? Charles Darwin didn't think so!

That's all for this week. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and you'll get the next one delivered to your inbox.

Five Things #128

Every Tuesday I share five things I've liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s Five Things…

  1. A interesting video exploring how much music is worth.

  2. If you use Instagram you're probably familiar with the term Influencer. Influencers are people with large followings that make a living touting various products to their fans for very large sums of money. Often without revealing their endorsements have been paid for. What a sleazy business.

  3. A great headline: Scientists unravel secret of cube-shaped wombat faeces and an even better opening paragraph: “Of all the many mysteries that surround the common wombat, it is hard to find one as baffling as its ability – broadly acknowledged as unique in the natural world – to produce faeces shaped like cubes.”

  4. I don't think I really appreciated the genius of the London Tube Map. Fascinating video.

  5. An amazing collection of images: Earth’s Wonders Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before

That's all for this week. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and you'll get the next one delivered to your inbox.

Five Things #127

Every Tuesday I share five things I've liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s Five Things…

  1. A band from L.A. booked a European tour by deceiving music venues into thinking they had a large fan base, when in fact they had no fan base at all. Unsurprisingly, when no one turned up to the shows people got a little bit suspicious. It turns out "the band" was just one guy and that he'd set up a fake booking agent and record label to arrange the tour. The whole story is nuts. Bands often big themselves up to impress their fans and to book better gigs, but this is something else. How on earth did he think he'd get away with it?!

  2. A great episode of the Reply All podcast, The Snapchat Thief. If you aren't using a password manager and an app for two factor authentication on your accounts, this should convince you to reconsider that!

  3. Part 1 of a fascinating four-part investigation by Der Spiegel into how Manchester City and its owners broke UEFA's financial fair play rules.

  4. I really like Vox's Earworm series on Youtube. This is my favourite episode to date: Jazz Deconstructed: John Coltrane's "Giant Steps"

  5. The Beatles have released a 50th anniversary edition of the White Album and it's HUGE (107 songs on Spotify). Enjoy!

That's all for this week. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and you'll get the next one delivered to your inbox.

Five Things #126

Every Tuesday I share five things I've liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s Five Things…

  1. Rob Reid's After-On podcast very quickly became one of my favourites. I subscribe to far more podcasts than I could dream to listen to, but I always listen to After-On. His most recent episode with Laurie Santos was on the science of happiness, listen to it! You'll learn a ton.

  2. This story is kinda difficult to summarise in a paragraph... Lil Miquela is a bot and social media influencer with over a million followers on Instagram. She admits to not being real and was once hacked and replaced by a Trump fan. It's all a bit strange but makes for an interesting read. 2018 is weird.

  3. Food for thought from Seth Godin. Are you the world's worst boss?

  4. An interesting breakdown of the music theory behind David Wise's Donkey Kong Country soundtracks. One for the music nerds!

  5. A great Bowie quote on creativity (click through for the longer quote): "I learned that mixing elements of bad taste with good would often produce the most interesting results…. It wasn’t so much about how I felt about things, but rather, how things around me felt."

That's all for this week. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and you'll get the next one delivered to your inbox.

Five Things #125

Every Tuesday I share five things I've liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s Five Things…

  1. This isn't a particularly fun read but it's well worth reading: This Is How We Radicalized The World

  2. Merriam-Webster have a fun new tool called Time Traveler which allows you to find when words or phrases first appeared in print by year. My birth year, 1988, was clearly a golden year: "Channel surfing", "emo", "JPEG", "mad cow disease", "mosh pit", "unibrow".

  3. Tiny books that fit in one hand might be the future of physical books! They look pretty cool but I'll be sticking with my Kindle for now — which you can also use to read with one hand!

  4. An interesting piece on how AI is being used in music. It's hard to imagine that AI composers will ever totally replace human composers, but it'll be just another tool in a composers tool kit.

  5. On a related note... Ólafur Arnalds recently explained how he's been experimenting with using algorithms to augment his music: "The idea behind this is not to create a computer that makes music for me, it's to create an instrument that I'm playing". Here's his performance on NPR's Tiny Desk series.

That's all for this week. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and you'll get the next one delivered to your inbox.

Five Things #124

Every Tuesday I share five things I've liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s Five Things…

  1. I've been on a good run with books recently. Last week I started and finished Bad Blood by John Carreyrou. The book investigates the rapid rise and fall of the blood testing startup Theranos and it's founder Elizabeth Holmes. Theranos was a company built on lies, deception and a dangerous disregard for good science. It's an astonishing story.

  2. A great profile of Eric Barone the one man team behind the popular indie video game Stardew Valley: "It took him four and a half years to design, program, animate, draw, compose, record, and write everything in the game, working 12-hour days, seven days a week. His budget was the part-time wage he made as an evening usher at the local stage theater."

  3. A slightly different profile, this time of the world's oldest hairdresser, Anthony Mancinelli, he's 107 and still cutting hair full time. What a guy!

  4. How could this not bring a smile to your face? The Super Mario Bros. Overworld and Underworld themes played on the marimba.

  5. Metric have a new album called Art of Doubt and it's very good! A few tracks to check out if you don't have time to dive into the whole album: Dark Saturday, Art of Doubt, Die Happy.

That's all for this week. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and you'll get the next one delivered to your inbox.

Five Things #123
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Every Tuesday I share five things I've liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s Five Things…

  1. Super Mario Bros. with a full sized jazz big band, orchestra and choir — so cool! Here's another video where Charlie Rosen explains how he approached arranging the whole project.

  2. The Verge Science channel on YouTube have been producing a tonne of great videos. This one on the causes of rising sea levels was particularly interesting.

  3. An interesting read on the future of self driving and electric cars. Quite a headline too: "Why you have (probably) already bought your last car". Unfortunately I doubt it's true for me and my car!

  4. A different perspective on self driving cars: "The Key to Autonomous Driving? An Impossibly Perfect Map".

  5. To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Spotify's release, Spotify has revealed its most-played tracks and artists over the last decade... And, not totally unsurprisingly, they're quite an uninspiring lists! Far too much Drake and Ed Sheeran for my liking!

That's all for this week. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and you'll get the next one delivered to your inbox.