(One) More Cowbell!

I just picked up this beauty of a cowbell made by the ubiquitous cymbal company Zildjian. A "Zil Bel"! A beauty of a bell with a very pretty chrome finish, an unique shape and a truly wonderful sound. More of a clear bell sound with a slight ring to it as opposed to the clonk clonk kind of sound from your typical bongo bell, or flatter sound from the usual Afro Cuban type cha-cha or mambo bells.
 As you can see, the metal of this bell is a little thinner and has a flared shape for a more open mouth. I think this is what gives it the clear bell sound it has.

I bought this lovely little bell from the excellent local drum shop Sam Adatto's. Sam's shop is a true treasure, while Sam focuses primarily on trap sets, you just never know what he has in there, so I try and stop by regularly. He was selling this sweet bell for just $29.95, turns out Zil-Bels go for $150 on auction and vintage drum sites! So thanks for the deal Sam!

I'm using this bell on my pedal set up, and it really sounds good with the beater I have on there. Pedal and conga work is pretty challenging to say the least. So far on the right foot I have son clave with various tumbaos, all 4 downbeat and just beats 1 and 3 with tumbaos and some limited fills and improvising and montunos. For the left foot I am developing beats 2 and 4 as suggested by a friend; the jazz high hat ride.
There is no better practice for really ingraining the clave into your playing and making it a part of you. I say that like I'm an expert, but really I have a long way to go. Eventually I'll be incorporating this method into my rumba practice as well. I find that third hit of the clave and getting the right swing on the 2 side to be very challenging with the pedal set up. Though Pedrito Martinez seems to have no problem with it.

He makes it look so easy doesn't he? Truly an incredible musician.

What's that you say? More cowbell? Well here you go...

Monster Skin!

Whew, putting this new skin on my Resolution quinto nearly knocked me out. It took every last trick I knew and some I made up, and about half of the tools in my tool box to get it on, Not to mention about 3 hours of my life. Usually a normal skin takes me 30 - 45 minutes to get on!!!!

I've had this skin for about a year now. Mike at Land Hand Percussion had included it in an order for free. I finally got around to putting it on a drum. Well it didn't look that thick before I soaked it, but now I am wondering just what kind of monster did this skin come from, a Minotaur?

I have a feeling that this skin is going to have a voice like you won't believe! I'm waiting for it to dry, then I am going to give it a coat of shea butter. Hopefully I won't break my hands on it while I'm breaking it in!


Cecil Carter, Rest in Peace

Sadly, Cecil Carter, a rumbero and wonderful human being passed away today 3/13/2012. Cecil's death was caused by lymphatic cancer.

Cecil was a tremendous rumbero with a quinto slap that cracked the air. Incredibly humble, Cecil would wait in line for a turn at the drum even though he had twice the experience and skill of many of the other rumberos around.

Cecil was active in both the New York and San Francisco Bay Area rumba scenes and was an accomplished percussionist in several other styles as well.

I feel fortunate to have heard his music, seen his warm smile and played alongside him at rumbas here in San Francisco and jamming at the Ashby Bart drum circle.

Goodbye Cecil, you are missed by many.