Premier Timpani Buying Guide

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Premier Percussion are (often and somewhat unfairly) much maligned due to problems behind the scenes and some dubious decisions on product development. However Premier timpani are good kettle drums. When I look at the state of some kettle drums that come in to be repaired, I can honestly say that if they were made by any other manufacturer, they simply wouldn’t be working.

It is a testament to the original design that although the drums have been developed over the years, despite the obvious and cosmetic changes, the mechanisms have largely remained unchanged. There has been development on the mechanism, which has on the whole made them even more reliable.

There is one main Achiles heel which I explain in how to release a jammed pedal on Premier timps, other than that they are very robust.

Musical appreciation is subjective, Premier drums have a “sound” which you either like or you don’t, but my thought process is who are most likely to buy drums like these, especially with glass fibre bowls? My answer is the education market, schools, colleges, music centres, etc. Now the glass fibre bowls are no way near as good as the copper bowls, but they are a lot lighter. So if you need a set of timpani for children to move around, crashing into walls and doors, do yourself a favour just buy Premier now so that you won’t have to go through the process again in a few years when you have to replace your shiny dutch crap!


14 comments on “Premier Timpani Buying Guide

  1. Cory

    Hello,
    Great page! I have a set of Premier Pro Timpani that I really enjoy using. The one drawback is that the fine tuning wheel can sometimes be difficult to reach. I would like to put calfskin on these drums as some point and perhaps retrofit a hand finetuner perhaps like a set of Ringers. Any ideas or suggestions? I look forward to any insight.

    Best,
    Cory

    Reply
    • pauljefferies

      Hi Cory

      Thank you for your comments.
      What you really need is a set of Premier Series 1 timps, these have the fine tuner at the rear of the drum – also not ideal, but it does work in exactly the same way as a set of Ringers (probably where the inspiration came from). The mechanism on the Premier was completely redesigned after these drums to the way it works today with no levers going towards the rear of the base casting, so the fine tuner had to go. This does mean that to retro fit a fine tuning handle the orientation could be anywhere, so it may as well be at the front. The big problem would be how to achieve it! I have some ideas, but I suspect that every solution would require major structural and mechanical changes that will be very intrusive, probably non reversible and almost certainly very expensive. I think that the cost implications would be the deal breaker – it would probably be more cost effective to buy a set of timps with a fine tuner in place.

      Regards
      Paul

      Reply
      • Cory

        I would still like to hear your ideas if possible on placing a fine tuner lever. Drawings would be great. I’m a pretty adventurous individual and I know of a few people that would be up for the project for the fun of it. With that said I would like to get as many opinions on the matter and even schematics on the idea before I do anything intrusive. The thought of being able to put goat skin on my drums is inspiring. Thanks again for your time. Please feel free to email me at ######@hotmail.com with the heading of TIMPANI PROJECT!

      • pauljefferies

        Hi Cory

        Just to clarify, this is my occupation and is my only source of income. This website is a window into my workshop to enable potential customers to look at what I do and to help persuade them that I am the most qualified and experienced person to undertake work on their percussion instruments. In short I get paid for my knowledge by individual musicians, orchestras and manufacturers. So whilst I am happy to give some advice it would be unfair to all my other customers and myself for me to give you all my knowledge for free.

        What you are thinking about doing is unique, so in order to do it a great deal of care is needed otherwise it will create more problems than it will solve. The process starts with a full set of engineering drawings of the drums as they are, then overlay various solutions onto these drawings to decide which prototype to make first. Once you have a working prototype, then you can reproduce the parts and fit them to the drums. Doing the drawings alone will take a couple of days and I have hundreds of measurements from which to produce them, consequently the price of schematic drawings for what you want will cost in the hundreds of pounds.

        I am sorry I can’t give you what you want but I wish you good luck.

        Regards
        Paul

  2. Rex E. Thomas

    Hi Paul, I recently found a guy on Craigslist who has 3 polished copper Premier Timpani drums priced at $200 U. S. Dollars each. I BELIEVE that’s a pretty good price, judging by what I’ve seen online. I don’t play, but I collect instruments & ive got over 50, none of which I know how to play! So I was hoping you could tell me what to look for, & what to avoid, if I decide to add 1 to my collection. I’d LIKE for it to be in as good condition as I can find, & he’s got 3 to choose from. Any help? Thanxx! Rexx

    Reply
    • pauljefferies

      Hi Rex,

      I apologise for my slow response; I have been away on holiday and it takes a while to catch up on paperwork whilst also trying to catch up on workshop work – there is only one of me and a finite number of hours in the day of which too many of them are already dedicated to work!

      $200 sounds very cheap, I think that they would prefer to sell them as a set of three. The buying guide covers most things, but essentially the base castings get worn, metal and chrome corrodes, the clutch system does wear, and the top of the struts are prone to paint chipping. The best thing to do is to send me some pictures that I can cast my eye over.

      Regards
      Paul

      Reply
      • Rexx

        Hi Paul, Now I AM the one slow to respond! I’ve talked to the guy several times, & he will sell them individually. I don’t play anything, but I collect instruments of all types, just ‘cause it makes me feel good to have them hanging on the wall. I’m actually thinking of buying 2 & making the end tables by my couch. I haven’t been to look at them yet, because they are 30 miles away. But thanxx for the input, & I may be back in touch with more questions.

  3. Lantha

    Hi, I was wondering, do you know the reference of the tuning gauge indices (the small things with letters)? I really need to buy new ones

    Reply
  4. Lantha

    Sorry for the late reply, I did not get any notification email event though I subscribed, strange.
    Anyway, I actually live in Belgium, do you ship to that country ?

    Reply
      • pauljefferies

        Hi Lantha

        These comment boxes are attached to this particular web page. If there is an article/blog post that you want to comment on, use the comments box directly below that article. This way, anybody else (and everybody else) can see what you have written and a discussion can start. For this reason, my replies are more comprehensive and all encompassing, because my replies, although addressed to you, are actually in the public domain, so relevant to everybody. Comments that are in the wrong place I generally leave as an example to everybody of what not to do – it is not my role to instruct the world on internet protocol, I have to learn this new language just like you are doing. However, I do remove any personal information that have been included in comments because I am a human as opposed to a machine and can recognise when someone has done something ill advised.

        Therefore to ask me specific information regarding your instruments, enquire about prices, or buy parts are all best achieved by emailing me directly either using the webform on the contacts page or clicking on my email address and using your own email software so that, for instance, you can attach photographs which often help especially where there is a language barrier.

        I hope this helps explain how, but more importantly why I do things the way I do.
        Paul

    • pauljefferies

      Hi Lantha,

      I have no idea why you did not receive a notification, I have no interest in understanding the inner workings of websites, but I will pass on the comment to IT. However what I generally find is that people incorrectly enter their own email address and obviously never proof read before pressing, “send”. So if your email address is correct, then it will be something technical for which I can only apologise.

      My customer base is global, as is the way of the world nowadays. Therefore it doesn’t matter to me where the parts are going but I do require the correct payment in advance. For foreign customers it is generally cheaper to pay bank transfer fees to PayPal because of the small invoice total, however PayPal charge a percentage of the total whereas an international bank transfer will be a set fee. The financial aspect of the transaction is not my responsibility, I keep things simple – I invoice with the amount I need to cover the parts and postage. If you, the customer, wants to save money by using PayPal, you will need to let me know so that I can adjust the invoice upwards to cover the PayPal fees that I am charged as well as fluctuations in the exchange rate – PayPal somehow always manage to skim off an extra few pennies in their favour on every transaction because of variations in the exchange rate just like every other financial institution!

      Paul

      Reply

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