Twin Cities Drum Collective - Travel Date series drums

TCDC’s Travel Date: A Featherweight Drumset That KO’s the Competition


At Twin Cities Drum Collective we are always looking to innovate. Our Travel Date Drumsets are no exception.  Built in limited production runs, these kits are fun to play with surprisingly big sound, and when they hit the floor they always go fast.

 For the uninitiated, Travel Dates are the TCDC version of shallow, lightweight drums designed for working drummers who want highly portable kits designed for small stages.  Our Travel Dates would actually fit in a Cooper Mini, and they are the perfect size for coffeehouse, brew pub, and practice-space playing.

 While other companies have their versions of smaller-scale drum sets, TCDC uses design and craftsmanship details that set our drums apart.  To begin, we start with all maple 6mm shells which are not only light but also have the benefit of providing a wide tuning range

 Then rather than overwhelming the shells with heavy cast lugs like most other drum companies , we use super-lightweight machined aluminum lugs. These are made to exacting tolerances and made right here in Fridley, MN.  These drums are finished exclusively in a satin oil finish highlighting the grain and character of the maple shells that are the platform for the Travel Date sound Finally, we put the same care into cutting the bearing edges as we do on our other brands.  TCDC Travel Dates feature our Big R (for big radius) bearing edges that allow heads to seat perfectly and that result in a sound that balances warmth, response, and resonance

 And on the topic of sound, TCDC Travel Dates punch way above their weight while staying light on price at $950 for a three piece set. 

 This past year about 10 of these sets have been sold with numerous drummers posting pictures of Travel Dates gracing stages around Minneapolis and St. Paul, including Dave King (651 Drums Artist) playing a set with Happy Apple at the Dakota Jazz Club ( last fall.

 When you consider design, craftsmanship, and price, we think TCDC Travel Dates can square off with any competitor and deliver a knock-out.  Check em out!

Announcing the Twin Cities Drum and Guitar Show


 We have an exciting announcement for drum and guitar fans in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and beyond.  For the past six months we have been working with our friends at Capitol Guitars in St. Paul and at Modist Brewery in Minneapolis to launch the first annual Twin Cities Drum and Guitar Show

 The show, also sponsored by The City Pages, will be held on Sunday July 28th from 11 to 6 at the Modist Brewery.  This show is already attracting some of the most interesting and exciting custom brands from around the country.  On the drum side, British Drum Company from the UK and Jenkins Martin Drum Company from Ohio are early registrants, and of course TCDC will be displaying its own TC Drums, 651Drums, Modern Vintage Drums, and Laser Shark and Travel Date drums.  On the guitar side, custom companies Mpls Guitar and Whalehazard Guitars are on board in addition to Capitol Guitars showing off what is new and hot in the world of guitars.  Also expect other interesting vendors, like Dr. Decibel, who specializes in hearing protection and in-ear monitors for musicians.

 But we are just getting rolling, so we expect a lot of other great drum and guitar companies to come on board, as well as vintage drum and guitar vendors.  We’ll keep you updated!

 The show space will be in Modist’s warehouse, with the tap room open for socializing and grabbing a beer while enjoying a bite from food trucks.  Yeah, it’s going to be a fun day.

 But that’s not all.  For drummers, we have confirmed seven (!) time Grammy winner Paul Wertico to conduct the drum clinic.  Listing Paul’s accolades is beyond the scope of this blog, but do check him out at his website at  http://www.paulwertico.comThis clinic will be special.  In addition to Paul, the Twin Cities Drum and Guitar Show will have a guitar clinician TBA (wish we could share the short list).

 Top cap it off, when the display show ends at 6, we will be giving away prizes and then hosting eclectic bands in the taproom, so feel free to hang and soak up the musical performances.

 Stay tuned for updates, tell your friends, and be sure to make it down.  When the TC Drum and Guitar Show becomes an institution, you’ll want to say you went to the first one!

Do Your Drums Spark Joy? Consider Consignment!


Transparency With Consignments and Trades at Twin Cities Drum Collective


When crafting a new policy on consignments, it occurred to us that a full blog on consignments and trades would be a help to guide our customers through the process.  Too many drum and music shops deal without clear guidelines and sometimes with little integrity.  Our goal at TCDC is to make consignments and trades a fair, efficient, and satisfying experience for our customers. 


With this in mind, this blog contains realities about parting with your drums and cymbals to be transparent and to ensure that we share expectations, leading to everyone being satisfied with the outcome.


Let’s begin with some truisms.  Many people overvalue their used equipment, and it is easy to see why: We love our drums and cymbals!  Making music is personal, and it’s hard to separate our emotions from our gear.  We get it, though at the end of the day, market value reigns supreme.  Like selling a house, anything on the market too long loses its luster, and it does not benefit you to wait for months or longer to move your drums or cymbals.


The second obvious reason for overvaluing is that people want to get back as much as they can back from an investment.  That is an understandable desire.  However, the reality is that most drums and cymbals do not gain value, and most are expected to go down, often significantly, in value. 


Low- and high-end kits on the secondary market suffer the most here.  Low end drum sets have a lot of brand-new low-end competition, and most people won’t buy a used set to save only a couple hundred dollars, especially since parents prefer to bring home something shiny and new to motivate their son or daughter, unless money is a serious priority. 


On the high end, drums above a couple thousand dollars face a particular bias too.  If you had several thousands of dollars to spend, then why not splurge on the new drums of your dreams instead of a used drumkit?  Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.  Some high-end drums, even with higher prices, can be a true value for the buyer.  This is especially true with desirable vintage, elite, and hard to find drums.


So, it is helpful to check expectations anytime you want to part ways with drums and cymbals.  Fortunately, in the internet age, it is easy to check Reverb and EBAY or other online sources to see what gear similar to yours is priced at.  Chances are your drums and cymbals will not demand more, and we encourage you to research to be informed.  This information is the friend of both of us.


Once you have done the research, and you have decided to sell, it’s important for you to know that your (hopefully) favorite drum shop needs to turn a profit on buying, trading, and consigning.  It’s somewhat embarrassing to even acknowledge that this happens, but some people forget that the drum shops are not charities!  The shop that hosts the sale pays rent per square foot (a stacked drumset takes up four of them), utilities, advertising, insurance, and for the employees who will happily talk with anyone and everyone who wants to kick the tires on your drums.  If selling your gear was easy, then why bring it into the shop?  Do you want to talk to all those people, vet buyers, handle transactions, and in some cases pack and ship? Exactly! So selling your gear has to work for the shop too.


To that point, gear that the shop buys or trades requires a purchase or trade of 40% below an expected sale price although we reserve the option of offering less if the equipment is in poor condition or not likely to move based on other circumstances described below.  When we buy our goal is to have an expectation of selling it in a reasonable period of time, under six months to be sure.  Having stock that turns over slowly is a recipe for failure in a retail business of any type, so drum shops cannot offer top-dollar for drums that are likely to sit.


With consignments, we can offer better deals because if the eventual sale doesn’t happen we can both walk away without taking a loss other than time.  Currently, we offer the best consignment rate around on quality vintage and high-end drums because these items priced competitively tend to move efficiently, which is a benefit to both the consignor and the shop (though keep in mind that someone buying a high end consignment might take away from a sale with a better margin for the shop…Que será será…it’s the price of doing business!)


With lower quality and with less desirable drums and cymbals our consignment rate by necessity needs to account for the added time, effort, and cost needed to sell those instruments. Some equipment is not desirable, and our shop does not want to be known for being the land of the misfit toys.  Frankly, there are other music stores that don’t mind warehousing the undesirables for as long as it takes, and with items that are of low quality and/or in poor condition, we are likely to take pass unless they are priced to move with a suitable consignment rate.


So what determines value?  Like stated above, the condition of your drums and cymbals is probably the most important factor.   To be as objective on condition as possible, we follow the guidelines below with our progressive consignment rates:


Mint: Brand new condition (e.g., new old stock or rarely played and carefully stored) 15% Consignment Rate.

Excellent: Looks almost new and shows only slight use. 20% Consignment Rate.

Very Good:  Shows light wear that is less than what is expected given its age. 20% Consignment Rate.

Good: Shows a little more wear than what is expected given its age.  Or, is in above good shape but with a well-done repair or alteration. 25% Consignment Rate.

Fair: Still in decent condition but shows more than normal wear.   Or, is in above fair shape but with a poorly done repair or alteration. 30% Consignment Rate.

Poor: Barely useable condition.  40% Consignment Rate.


(NOTE: On borderline calls TCDC offers the lower consignment rate)


The next factor is desirability.  Standard sizes and configurations with popular finishes remain ever popular and desirable.  Deviations in these factors make a sale harder.  T.S. Elliot once wrote, “The more you please generally, the less you please profoundly.”  Well said, though when you are trying to sell pleasing generally enough is the name to the game.  Of course, there are exceptions that can make a drum or set ultra-cool and desirable, but most everyone will recognize and agree when that is the situation.


And last, although trends come and go, some factors currently lack popularity, and those factors may never be popular again.  Unpopular factors include power toms, ultra-deep bass drums, super-heavy hardware, and hanging floor toms.  And hanging floor toms.  The Cosby Show was once a hit and will never be again.  Hanging floor toms were never the Cosby Show, and as innocent as hanging floor toms are, they are never coming back either.  It is time to move on with grace and lower the price.   For drums that have factors that limit the desirability of them, we add 5% to the consignment rate assigned to the condition levels.


At the end of the day, selling your drums and cymbals is like selling a home.  Having a property sit on the market for a long period of time benefits no one, and the longer properties sit the more their value drops. 


At TCDC our commitment is to you receiving top dollar for your drums and cymbals.  To that end, we let you know what your drums and cymbals are realistically worth, and we will do our utmost to sell them on a timely basis, including listing them on internet marketplaces.  We also guarantee that you will be treated fairly, because that is what our reputation rests on (and we happen to be good people too).  And we pay you at the time we collect the funds for the sale, which again, is about integrity.


If you are ready to say goodbye to your old gear, then let’s work together to make a new love connection: Nothing is cooler than your drums and cymbals bringing happiness to someone new, and you moving on to something better!













Video: The Coolest Clinic on Earth featuring Dave King and JT Bates

Here it is! The full Dave King and JT Bates “Coolest Clinic on Earth” performance that we hold each December!

Thanks to Dave, a 651Drums endorser, and JT for their support of Twin Cities Drum Collective. It's our honor to be associated with these awesome guys, and Minneapolis and St. Paul are lucky to have such talented drummers in our music community. Be sure to check out their duo Real Bulls when they surface again…always a great show. And thanks to those true Minnesotans who came out for this unique, COLD, event. See you back for this event next December!

Introducing the Laser Shark: A Killer Drum at a Killer Price

It started as a joke, but ended up being seriously awesome. Kelly wanted to build a few snare drums designed to be both high quality and affordable. That meant that although we would use an all maple shell and machined aluminum lugs, we would also have to keep the production streamlined and simple. So, our new build would be the same size with the same finish (6.5 x14 with Natural Satin) to keep the build speedy, along with making it a distinctive 6 lugger, which also trims cost and production time (Of note: Some builders absolutely swear by having as few lugs as possible on a drum).


The first batch of these went unbranded…no badge, no name, and these unnamed drums went fast, inspiring us to make more. It was then that Kelly came up with the the idea of branding them the Laser Shark. Though not totally original, it brought a lot of laughs and a definite cool factor to this serious snare drum. It was agreed that we should make it official with a badge, laser engraved out of wood.

We think the end design turned out perfect, and that fact that people are swallowing them up seems to validate our thinking. It’s a killer snare drum at a killer price. And a laser is actually used in its production. So there’s that too.

Second Annual Coolest Clinic on Earth

Join us at 2pm on Saturday, December 15th as 651Drums artist Dave King of The Bad Plus holds court for our Second Annual Coolest Clinic on Earth! This outdoor clinic lives up to its name as we expect air temperatures in the 20’s.

No worries though as Dave will bring the heat on the set, and we’ll bring the heat with fire pits and hot coco and cider! This is a FREE event and will be the most fun you’ll ever have in the parking lot of drum shop. Also, expect day-of specials in the shop.

See you there Twin Cities drummers!

Interview with Gordy Knudtson

Just a couple of weeks ago Gordy shared with us a 2018 interview with him from the program Drum Heads and Tales than spans his experiences in the Steve Miller Band as well as explanation of the Open/Closed Technique he has pioneered. If you’re not familiar with this drumming technique, then check out the video for sure!


Gordy Knudtson has been on the forefront of the Minnesota drumming, and music, scene for the better part of four decades. Between his time directing the percussion program at McNally Smith, giving private drum lessons, and doing studio and live work around Minneapolis and St. Paul, he has taught and influenced a Who’s Who list of Twin Cities drummers.

On November 17th, Twin Cities Drum Collective has the unique opportunity to feature Gordy’s new (yet-to-be-named) Trio that also features mega-players Jim Anton, bass player in Jonny Lang and Greazy Meal among others, and the awarding winning guitarist Dean Magraw. After the musical performance and intermission, Gordy will conduct a drum clinic that spans many topics that include technique, drum ergonomics, and playing to the song. What’s been especially fun is hearing the excitement from drummers who know Gordy…if you have met him or seen him play, then chances are that you have great memories of him!

This performance and clinic is not to be missed. RSVP on Facebook and then Get Your Tickets! Use PROMO Code Friends_of_TCDC for a 20% discount at checkout!

Twin Cities Drum Collective Presents: An Afternoon with Gordy Knudtson and Friends

Saturday November 17, 1:00PM at the Historic Parkway Theater

An Afternoon with Gordy Knudtson & Friends

Twin Cities Drum Collective Presents: An Afternoon with Gordy Knudtson and Friends

Saturday November 17, 1:00PM at the Historic Parkway Theater

In addition to curating one of the coolest destination drum shops in MN and beyond, TCDC is promoting education and events showcasing amazing talent.

In this spirit, we are proud to announce a collaboration with the historic Parkway Theater in Minneapolis to feature the debut of Gordy Knudtson’s yet-to-be-named trio with Jim Anton and Dean Magraw. These guys are all world-class musicians and will bring it, to say the least!

The trio performance will be followed by a drum clinic in which Gordy covers playing techniques and ergonomics to musically understanding and fulfilling your role in a band.  

This unique event, which is not limited to drummers, showcases Gordy’s jaw-dropping technique, style, and taste in musical, solo, and educational performances complemented by other world-class musicians.

In addition to outstanding music and education, this is a Social Event, so network with Twin Cities musicians before, during intermission, and afterward while enjoying craft cocktails (including non-alcoholic) and snacks from the bar.

The event is ALL AGES!

RSVP on Facebook and then Get Your Tickets!

Use PROMO Code Friends_of_TCDC for a 20% discount at checkout!

First Annual Beats and Brews is in the Books

Twin Cities Drum Collective’s First Annual Beats and Brews is in the Books! Last Saturday was a blast as we hauled 10 complete drumsets and a dozen snare drums into the Uptown VFW in Minneapolis to showcase our three drum brands and socialize with drummers from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and beyond! (BTW, if you have not caught a show there, you should plan to do. It’s a gem of a venue with outstanding staff!)

Over the course of the day we had over a hundred drummers come through, and there were times when all the sets were rockin’. Pretty cool. So many people commented that not only about how great the drums sounded, but also about how each brand had its own distinct tone. The Modern Vintage line captures that vintage sound (complete with classic Gretsch bearing edges), our 651Drums feature sharp attack and full sustain (with dual 45 edges), and TCDrumCo perfectly balances warmth, attack, and sustain (with roundover into 45 edges). Of course we had a great many finishes on display too, from customs paints and fades, to a satin flame wrapped kit, to beautiful natural satins, including one with inlays. The feedback was gratifying!

Of course, the clinics were real highlights. Jeremy Harvey from Cloud Cult played along to tracks and dazzled with his musicality on a 651 drum set. Jesse from Malamanya demystified Latin grooves on the congas and timbales, and Pete Buxman gave a great rudimental lesson on accent grids.

Last, drumset Karaoke turned out to be a blast! While many drummers were a bit shy to try it, those who did left with all smiles. We gotta do that again!

The day ended with giveaways of Low Boy Beater swag, including a new beater, and one lucky drummer walked away with one of our Twin Cities Drum Collective store-branded 6-lug snare drums.

TCDC thanks all the drummers who came out for the festivities! And special thanks to our sponsors Tackle Instruments (awesome stick and cymbal bags and accessories), Low Boy Beaters, and the great folks like Joe at the Uptown VFW and Craig at Fulton Brewery.

See you at the next event!

Our first course for drummers: Get Your Hands Together

TCDC is proud to announce our first course for drummers. It’s titled “Get your Hands Together” and the focus is on the 40 Rudiments.

If you are unfamiliar with some or all of the 40 rudiments, then this course is for you!

Rudimental Guru Peter Buxman will guide you through, be you a beginner or more advanced drummer. Expect fun and meaningful progress with your drumming skills.

This six week course is at 11am on Saturday mornings from November 10 through December 15. The cost is $130 with enrollment limited to ten drummers.

Email us to enroll today and Get Your Hands Together!


Rudiments are commonly called the building blocks of drumming, the technical skills you need to be fluent on the snare or on the set. Through mastering the rudiments, you will have an increased vocabulary to express your musical ideas. How up are you on the rudiments?

This Six Week Course is Outcome-Based! Why do anything if you don’t see the results? The results you will achieve include increased accuracy, speed, endurance, and most importantly, musical expression!

To measure your results, both the first and the last scheduled days plan for baseline and follow-up assessment of knowledge, performance, and speed. Even though this is a group course, there is no limit on how far you can take the weekly material in terms of accuracy and speed.

Enrollment Information:

This course is designed to be cost-effective. Groups lessons are less than half the cost of individual lessons. The cost is $130 with enrollment limited to ten drummers.

Groups work! Studies should that people learning in groups use each other for support and accountability, challenging each other to reach new levels of proficiency. We encourage our lesson groups to be connected to enhance the learning experience.

Materials needed include a practice pad, metronome, and larger size (e.g., 2B) sticks. These items are available for purchase at TCDC if needed.

Awards are given at the end of the course. These awards include, Top of the Class, Most Improved, and Best Effort. Award winners receive a 10% discount off any purchase up to $500 at TCDC.

Course Instructor:

Peter Buxman has a Bachelors of Science from Kaplan University and has been an instructor since 1993. He specializes in rudimental drumming as well as all styles on the drumset.

Pete participated in Drum and Bugle Corps for 11 years taking home awards with the Blue Knights, has been the head percussion instructor for the Lakeville North High School Marching Band since 2006, and has played snare drum with the Macalaster College Pipe Band since 2007.

Peter is also a professional drummer for Riverside Entertainment where he plays and subs in a variety of bands, including the Riverside Hitmen.

Peter placed 4th in the World in the 1992 DCI Rudimental Competition.

Email us to enroll today and Get Your Hands Together!

Course Schedule:

November 10- 11:00am

  • Introduction and Pre-Assessment

  • Grip/position

  • Rebound stroke

  • Down stroke

  • Combinations rebound/down stroke

  • Single stroke roll

  • Single stroke 4

  • Single stroke 7

November 17- 11:00am

  • Multiple bounce roll (buzz roll, closed roll, press roll)

  • Double stroke roll

  • By the stroke: 5,6,7,9,10,11,13,15,17 stroke rolls

  • Flams

November 24- 11:00am

  • Single paradiddles

  • Double paradiddles

  • Triple paradiddles

  • Paradiddle pyramid

  • Paratriddles (introduction to hybrid rudiments)

December  1- 11:00am

  • Triple stroke rolls

  • Flam taps

  • Flam accents

  • Flam/flams

  • Flamacues

  • Flammed mills (groups of 4 and 6)

  • Flam paradiddles

  • Flam paradiddlediddle (with and w/o flam)

  • Pataflaflas

  • Swiss Army triplets

  • Hybrid rudiment du jour

December 8- 11:00am

  • Flam drags

  • Inverted flam taps

  • 4-2-1 16th note grid with variations

  • 4-2-1 Triplet grid with variations

  • Hybrid rudiment du jour

December 15- 11:00am

  • Drag

  • Single drag tap

  • Double drag tap

  • Lesson 25

  • Single dragadiddle

  • Drag paradiddle # 1

  • Drag paradiddle # 2

  • Ratamacue

  • Double ratamacue

  • Triple ratamacue

  • Hybrid rudiment du jour

  • Post-Assessment, Awards, and Next Steps!

Email us to enroll today and Get Your Hands Together!

First annual Beats and Brews in Minneapolis

On October 13th at 2pm, Twin Cities Drum Collective is presenting its first annual Beats and Brews Product Showcase at the Uptown VFW in Minneapolis.

This event will feature custom drum sets and snare drums from all three of our product lines: Twin Cities Drum Company, 651Drums, and Modern Vintage Drums. In addition, we will be bringing select drums, cymbals, and accessories from our South Saint Paul store as well as an array of Tackle Instruments stick and cymbal bags and Low Boy Beaters.

This event features mini clinics/performances from master instructor Peter Buxman, Jeremy Harvey from Cloud Cult, and the drummers of Malamanya.

ALSO: Don’t miss drumset Karaoke to AC/DC songs!

Last but not least, expect to special pricing on custom drum orders and in-stock drumsets as well as raffles and giveaways!

This is a FREE event sponsored by:
Fulton Brewery, Tackle Instruments, and Low Boy Beaters.

Hope to see you there for this great drummer hangout!

Stayin’ Alive!  Being an Independent Drum Shop in the Big Box and Internet Age

Opening a brick and mortar drum shop and custom drum company is not for the weakhearted, and it is certainly a poorly conceived get rich quick scheme!  As we have said here and there, running a drum store and building custom drums are labors of love.  This blog shares some of the challenges independent drum shops and music stores in general face, which makes their eventual success all the sweeter.

To begin, much of the world has passed by small drum shops.  You are reading this blog on a device on that much of what you want is a search and a click away.  It’s convenient, comes straight to you, and if you buy from a big-box store or major distributor, you can often get a rock bottom price since they frequently get volume-based deals from major companies.  I’d be lying if I said I never bought something online from Amazon, Sweetwater, or (gasp), Guitar Center. Online business is simply part of our world, which is why Twin Cities Drum Collective is slowly wading into it over time (hey, check out our Reverb listings)! 

Nonetheless, how we shop has unintended consequencesMinneapolis and St. Paul has seen great, even exceptional, drum shops come and go.  Thompson Drum Shop (downtown Minneapolis), Torps Music Store (which had a nice drum department in St. Paul), Ellis Drum Shop (St. Paul and Richfield), The Drum Loft (NE Minneapolis), and probably a couple I’m missing have gone into extinction.  While I’m sure there were a variety of reasons for why they closed, competition from the internet no doubt factored in, especially with the last couple of closures.  

While the internet can be an alluring place to shop, something is lost here.  The touch and the feel that is so important to buying drums and cymbals is gone, as is the service, advice, assembly, or other help related to the product.  I know a great number of drummers in the Twin Cities felt tremendous loss when these shops went the way of the dinosaur (though admittedly dinosaurs go extinct when they don’t adapt to customer needs).

Another challenge is that Big Box stores have large buying budgets that can create an advantage at the price point and the quantity of products they carry.  In fact, many major brands require a significant buy-in to carry them, ranging from a low of $2500 to $5000 or above. When you think about the number of drum and cymbal brands out there, this can become a challenge for smaller shops.  At our drum shop, we have been lucky to get through the door with many major brands, although we choose not to stock many full drumsets by them on our floor.  This is for two reasons.  First, we like to save the floor space for our signature brands, 651Drums, TCDrumCO, and Modern Vintage Drums, and second, most everyone knows what a Drum Workshop or Ludwig drumset sounds like, so you should special order the one you want rather than buying one off the floor that has been worked over by many customers!  We have also been selective at Twin Cities Drum Collective, choosing a balance between iconic brands, our own custom brands, and sometimes passing on brands that might please generally but not profoundly.

Another challenge is the Big Boxes’ advertising budgets that create a huge funnel that drummers are drawn through.  This powerful tractor beam pulls many in, but do note you are being pulled to the Death Star!  This is why the independent music stores like TCDC need customers to spread the word.  We don’t have a tractor beam, but we are building a rebellion!  Of course, this requires drummers to follow, like, share, and talk about our content and very existence!

Simply put, the challenges noted in this blog are merely realities that independent drum shops face, so it comes down to this: we need to work harder, build a grassroots following, and develop customer loyalty because we offer something more or better.  The something more and better philosophy is what has lead us to develop our custom drum lines for drummers who are more discerning, while also catering to those drummers looking for a more personal feel, a better buying experience, and for for exceptional service.

As an example, a couple of months ago a young man came in with a TAMA snare drum with a seemingly broken throw-off.  It didn’t stick, it was full-on stuck.  Time to order a new one, right?  It had been a slow day, and we certainly could have used the business.  But not so fast.  Instead, we took the snare downstairs to the shop and applied some TLC with an advanced version of WD-40, restoring the the throw-off to perfect function.  Problem solved.  No charge.  That’s what an independent drum shop does, an act that probably won’t happen at a Big Box store and can’t happen on the Internet.  

As another example, a tour manager called us after hours looking for a particular cymbal in a specific size.  We didn’t have it, but searched on his behalf and found it at a Big Box so his drummer could be happy.  We are here to help, even if in the short term our help is in the service of the big guys.

And of course, the best examples are the customers who are learning about our custom drums made right here in South St. Paul, Minnesota.  There is little more satisfying than working with a customer from beginning to end to deliver their dream drumsThat’s what we do best.

At Twin Cities Drum Collective, we know that we aren’t entitled to your business or loyalty, but we hope to have the opportunity to earn it.  We also hope you’ll spread the word, being part of our grassroots movement to create a lasting legacy in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN and beyond!

Thanks for your Support!

The Great Snare Drum Throw Off Throw Down!

Custom drum builders obviously love to put the best available hardware on their drums, and when it comes to snare drums, there is an obvious focus on the throw off (I’m old fashioned and sometimes still call it a snare strainer).  

This blog will talk about the great throw off debate that has happened in our Minnesota drum shop, and of course has happened in custom drum companies across the country.  For the sake of this blog, we will focus on throw offs primarily used by small to mid-sized custom drum builders who have not designed their own.  Obviously most major drum companies like Drum Workshop and Ludwig have their game down in this department, although some major companies are lacking (Gretsch, I’m talking to you!).  Nonetheless, most custom drum builders are not sourcing from the major drum companies, so we’ll leave them out. 


Trick Multi-Step Throw Off

First, let’s talk about the best of the best out there.  To many drum builders, the Trick multi-step throw off is the cream of the crop.  The Trick throw off is machined from aluminum, is available in several finishes, and has flawless operation.  You will find that perhaps a majority of custom drum builder’s adorn their snares with the Trick.  

So what’s the downside?  Well, the first is cost.  A item this thoughtfully designed and machined comes with a price that will add about $60 to the cost of the drum, if the builder simply puts it on at his or her cost (selling at cost is a terrible way to stay in business)!  In fairness, the expense is 100% justifiable to some (see below), and I have to say that it’s a pet peeve when people want something exceptional at a low, low cost. The other downside is its bulk that can make getting your snare drum into the case or bag a bit of a hassle.  The key word here is a “bit”.  If you love the Trick, it really won’t matter much to you.  Last, a person could make the case that the Trick is over-engineered, a critique that might reflect a bit of envy.


Dunnet R4C Throw Off

Another frontrunner in the throw off department is the Dunnet R4C.  Like the Trick, this throw off has perfect operation, and it unlike others on the market, it swivels to accommodate both right and left handed drummers, and it has a quick release feature to change heads without losing your settings.  Cool. 

I also think this throw-off is a clear winner in the looks department, with a design that would compliment most any snare drum style and finish.

The downside with this throw off is the same with the Trick, the cost.  However, the design and execution makes no compromises, so like the Trick, the cost might be warranted to some.


Inde Strainer / Throw Off

On the up and coming list is the Inde throw-off, which operates similarly to the Ludwig P-85.  Well-conceived with smooth operation an a reasonable cost, I see this one popping up more and more. 

In the looks department, it is attractive but not quite generic enough to work esthetically on all snare drums.  To be fair though, it was designed to be on Inde drums, which look outstanding, and not necessarily to be put on everyone’s snare drum. 

As a replacement throw off, the Inde is a top contender with an adjustable mounting option to line up to existing holes.


So what do we use at Twin Cities Drum Collective?  What you want of course! 


That said, our stock choice is the Gibraltar Deluxe Classic, which has a Ludwig P-85 style of operation that is smooth and efficient.  Further, it is relatively compact, and it looks great at a reasonable cost, literally taking thirty to fifty dollars of the price of the snare drum depending on the choice of throw off.  

Now it comes down to thishow often do you use your throw-off? 

In my punk band Dillinger Four, I have literally never turned off my snares in 25 years!  I have had snares with the Trick throw-off, which was basically an exceptional yet dormant feature on my drum.  If you rarely use the throw-off, save your money so long as your snare has a well-made one on it.  

However, if you use your throw-off often, and you have a preference, then let’s hook you up with what you want!  That’s the very definition of custom…making personal choices about the details that matter to you. 

Know that at the Collective, we are looking out for both your preferences and your pocketbook!

Welcome to the Twin Cities Drum Collective

Welcome to the first Twin Cities Drum Collective Blog!  In our regular blog we will be talking about custom drums, product reviews, drumming resources, the ups and downs of running a drum shop, and of course any and all topics related to custom drum building and drum repairs.  Additionally, we hope to feature the occasional interview with leading drummers in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul area and beyond Minnesota.

It’s only fitting in this first blog to discuss the (several) missions of TCDC, and how we are similar to, and different from, other drum shops and companies.  

First, Twin Cities Drum Collective is similar to other drum shops in that we are a retail store that carries major brands of drums, cymbals, and accessories.  Major drum companies we carry include Drum Workshop (DW), Gretsch, Ludwig, PDP among others, and we carry cymbals by the big three, Paiste, Sabian, and Zildjian while also stocking Bosphorus, Dream, and Meinl.  In short, we can order most major brands of drums and cymbals.  Say you want a set of Paiste 2002s, well just email or call us and we’ll get what you want in store!  Same with hardware…we stock a nice selection of DW and Gibraltar, but if you want something special, we can likely get it for you.

We then round out our inventory with Aquarian and Remo drumheads (and yes, we can order Evans!) and Los Cabos, Vater, and Vic Firth sticks.  If you’re into a particular size or another brand like Promark or Regal Tip…let us know and we’ll get you covered!  

We also stock all the “back shelf” stuff you need from felts and washers, to snares, and hardware bits and pieces.   Oh, and we should mention that we carry excellent case, bag, and accessories brands like SKB, Impact, and Tackle.   

So how is Twin Cities Drum Collective different?

First, we offer full service repair and and reconditioning right here in our South Saint Paul shop.  Cracked Vistalites?  We fix 'em.  Trouble tuning drums?  We’ll cut you new bearing edges, and you’ll discover you do know how to tune drums. Tired, worn, or damaged wrap?  Then let us rewrap your set.  We are one of the few drum shops in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area set up to assist you with these services.

In addition to drum service and repair, we have our custom drum lines which are the heart and soul of Twin Cities Drum Collective and that set us apart from the pack.  When Kelly and I conceived of doing our own custom drum line it quickly became apparent that we had similar and different visions related to looks, branding, and building philosophies…like most drummers do!  So instead of creating just one custom drum line, we quickly decided that we would not limit ourselves and would embark on creating three custom drum lines under the umbrella of the Collective.  

Our Lines


Kelly’s vision was Twin Cities Drum Company (TCDrumCO), and after over 10 years building custom drums, he already had a lug design and a particular bearing edge picked out. 

Machined from aluminum and given a brushed finish in the shop, Kelly’s lug is different from anything else on the market, a true differentiator as they say in the industry.  The feedback has been affirming, drummers love the look of it! 

Kelly gives TCDrumCo a roundover into 45 degree bearing edge.  This edge fits the contour of drumheads and gives a perfect balance of warmth, attack, and sustain

The TCDrumCO badge is laser-cut into maple, and again, has a distinctive look among custom drums.


Lane’s vision was 651Drums, a brand defined by its intersection between form and function.  The lugs on 651Drums are also machined from aluminum and are given a high polish right here in South St. Paul, Minnesota.  This polish leaves the lugs looking like chrome without an added chemical process and with nothing to fail down the road. 

651Drums feature the Dual 45 Bearing Edge, designed for a wide tuning range, bright attack, and long sustain.  Then, the badge is acid etched into chrome. 

The end result is a drummer’s drum that spans musical styles from jazz to punk.

Then there is Modern Vintage Drums (MV Drums).  These drums start with Okoume/Poplar/Okoume shells.  What is Okoume you ask?  A sustainable wood with the same look and sound qualities of Mahogany. 

These drums are given the classic roundover bearing edge for that warm, vintage tone and finished off with beavertail lugs and the art deco inspired MV Drums Badge. 

For fans of the look and sound of vintage drums, Modern Vintage Drums are your thing.  Check em’ out.

Full Service...and grilling!

Last but not least, we offer expertise and service that you will not find in other music stores and drum shops.  This is we what we do, so if you need advise, lessons (we have great instructors), or simply want to support a Minnesota drum company run by people with a passion for drumsets, then we are your shop. 

Drop in anytime, and stay connected to our social media for information on our weekly patio grill-outs called “Beats and Brats” (held on Wednesdays until the snow flies and maybe beyond…we do live in Minnesota!), or for our other events and gatherings held both at our South Saint Paul store and at select venues in Minneapolis.

At TCDC, we like to say that everything we do is “by drummers, for drummers!”  We'll see you around!