Nick Jones literally grew up in a drum factory.
I’m not using hyperbole here. He is the seventh generation of his family, which has run Noble & Cooley drums since 1854. While the company has produced toy drums
for its entire 150-plus-year operation, its high status among the drumming community is hewn from its legacy of providing field drums to the Northern Regiments in the Civil War, for its role in rebirthing the concept of steam-bent, solid-shell snare drums, and in founding the custom, boutique drum movement that followed.
Much of the equipment used in the Noble & Cooley factory is historic, and in some cases from the 1800s. Working with drum designer and inventor, Bob Gatzen
, Noble & Cooley pioneered concepts that have in many cases become industry standards today: nodal point mounting, precise bearing edges, furniture grade finishes, symmetrical venting, solid, steam-bent shells, staggered ply layups, and hybrid shell composition, to name a few. And they’re still innovating today, as you will hear in my conversation with Nick.
Nick serves that company as one of just THREE people who build drums, along with his dad, Jay. While Noble & Cooley has recently taken on investment
to enable the company to grow its sales and marketing presence—the results of which are a vastly improved online and social media presence—the product is more Ferrari than Lexus. These are not mass-produced, assembly line drums; in many cases you’ll hear Nick talk about making seven or 10 of a particular drum as a production run. You will hear the genuine, close relationship between the craftsmen in the family to the individual lumberjacks they work with to fell the trees that become some of the world’s finest drums. This is old fashioned, honest business that gives me goosebumps to talk about. You’ll hear that plainspoken, no-spin New England in Nick’s voice, and he’s open and direct about the challenges and shortcomings such a small operation faces.
Noble & Cooley has generously extended two special offers for listeners of the show. You can use promo code DRUMSHOWROOM to get 50% off all accessories through the end of the 2017, and promo code DRUMSHOWROOM1 to get 15% off all Web Special drums at noblecooley.com.
In this episode:
- A picture of the N&C facilities
- Growing up at the N&C factory
- Company background: toy drums and pro drums
- Drum museum, the Noble & Cooley Center for Historic Preservation
- Nick is not a drummer; he’s a bass player
- Profile of the team
- Tours available at your request
- John Keane’s involvement and growth in brand awareness
- Drums built by three people
- Steam-bent wood sourced from the local lumberjacks in Granville, MA!
- Lots of hands-on effort on brass lugs and throwoffs
- Insights on drum sounds from a bass player
- What Nick’s playing: a Verellen Meatsmoke amp head and Bergantino cabinet and his new self-built bass, built in the N&C factory
- Trying to find inspiration from the bass in drum design
That does it for part one. We’ll be back with the second half in just a couple of days.
In this episode, I also talk about a really important topic. It’s the holiday season. And that means it’s also depression and suicide season. According to a study of more than 2,000 musicians, 71% had experienced panic attacks and/or high levels of anxiety, 68% had experienced depression, and of those, just 30% claimed they would be very likely to, or had already sought help. Much more including resources and more here
I want to tell you about a friend of mine, Matt Dydo, who’s a huge music fan and experienced stagehand. Matt is a marketing consultant in New England, and he connected me with Kenny Sharretts, the amazing drum tech featured in a recent pair of episodes
. I wanted to say thanks to Matt by promoting his work helping small businesses and nonprofits with their websites, social media, content, SEO, video production, and branding. If you’re in need of any of these services, visit mattdydo.com
to learn more. Thanks again Matt!
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