Wednesday, February 25, 2009

For the Love of the Music

For the Love of the Music
D’Addario is fortunate to have a large number of associates in various jobs throughout our company that still play their instruments professionally or for personal enjoyment. Starting with CEO Jim D’Addario (guitar), President Rick Drumm (drums), Fretted/Planet Waves product manager Brian Vance (guitar), Evans product manager Mike Robinson (drums), Rico product manager Robert Polan (oboe), Custom Install manager Robert D’Addario (drums), Rob Cunningham (guitar), VP Sales & Marketing David Via (drums) are but a few of the musicians we have. They have very full time positions and responsibilities that encompass the design, manufacture, marketing and sales of D’Addario strings, Evans drumheads, Rico reeds and Planet Wave accessories yet they still play. First and foremost, they play for the love of the music. Also, because we are still active musically, we keep a deep connection to those performing and teaching the music as well as their equipment needs. We not only have the inner passion to play music, we have the desire to make better products for everyone that shares our passion.

This past year I had the opportunity to play with jazz saxophonist Frank Catalano on a number of occasions. I have attached a YouTube link to a gig we did at the Hollywood Highland Center this past June. I also had the opportunity to play the Peaks Jazz Festival with a tremendously talented group of high school musicians in the Crescent Super Band. Here is the links to a couple of the tunes we performed. It was great to see the level of commitment and the love these kids have for the music.

Whether you play professionally, semi-professionally or just for your own enjoyment, know that we understand your desire and passion. The musicians at D’Addario are committed to continually creating new and better products that help you realize your musical dreams.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In the EARS of the Beholder

I've been visiting the popular drum forums lately and doing my best to answer questions and give some insight behind the design and function of Evans products. It's always interesting to read about the various experiences people have with products and the perceptions that develop as a result...both the good and bad.

One example that I found really intriguing had to do with our frosted (see through) coating that we use on the coated EC1, EC2, G Plus products, and our EQ1, EQ3, and EQ4 bass heads. Some players find that this coating allows the head to resonate more...that it's thinner than out white coating and therefor damps the head less. Conversely, other reports (specifically those on the drum forums) said that the frosted coating makes the heads sound more focused...that it damps the head more than the white coating does. How could people have such opposite experiences?

The truth of it is that the two coatings are nearly identical. The only difference is that the white version contains Titanium Dioxide...which gives it the "white" appearance. This difference has almost no effect on the sound of the'd need a dog's ears to hear it. The reason we have the two different coatings is for a visual difference. The frost coating on the EC1 and EC2 allow the ring to show through. We received SO MANY positive comments on the look of this coating (nobody else has anything similar) that we decided to apply it to the new G Plus heads.

The irony of this phenomenon is that while many players swear by one coating vs the other...we don't actually offer two identically built products (one with the frosted and one with the white) to make that apples to apples comparison possible. Players are making the comparisons between G1 and G Plus, and G2 and EC2. It's more likely the film thickness difference of the G Plus (12mil vs 10mil) or the addition of an 'Edge Control' ring on the EC2 that causes the difference in sound. Additionally, there are numerous other variables that can affect the sound and feel...not just head selection and coatings. Subtle differences in tuning (i.e. bottom higher or lower than the top) can drastically affect a players perception of sound and feel. See Bob Gatzen's video "Sound and Feel" (below) for more on this.

In the we perceive a product (see, hear, and feel it) is as crucial as how it's designed...if not more important. They can make or break the success of products in the market. Sometimes those perceptions are predictable...and sometimes not. It's understanding these perceptions that makes designing product for musicians so interesting. You can apply as much science to the process as possible (and we do try), but in the end it always comes down to a very personal experience.

See more artist lessons and performance at The Stage!