Player Date Drumset
by Michael Dawson
One of the more impressive offerings we heard at this year’s winter NAMM show was the Player Date drumset from C&C, which is based in Gladstone, Missouri. These unassuming drums feature a classic single-lug design with long tension rods, and they’re finished in a subtle yet gorgeous honey lacquer. The bass drum has dark-finish wood hoops with white marine pearl inlays. Player Date shells are made with seven plies of luan mahogany and feature rounded vintage-style bearing edges.
The four-piece shell pack we received is the Big Beat configuration, which consists of a 14×22 eight-lug bass drum, a 9×13 six-lug rack tom (with no mounting hardware), a 16×16 eight-lug floor tom, and a 6 1/2×14 matching eight-lug snare. (A smaller Be-Bop configuration is also available.) The Big Beat setup, in a lacquer finish, retails for $1,745 with the matching snare or $1,337 without the snare.
The decision to use luan mahogany, a soft wood that gets a bad rap in drum manufacturing because cheap versions of it are often found in low-quality import kits, stems back to conversations between C&C’s Jake and Bill Cardwell and the top touring/studio drummer Joey Waronker. Waronker, who’s a genius at getting amazingly fat tones and is also a rabid collector of vintage drums, has long been an advocate of luan. He convinced C&C to make him a luan kit, and the surprising results led to the development of the Player Date series. “We went the extra mile to get the highest-quality luan we could find,” Jake Cardwell says. “We’re in the midst of changing the connotation that luan is just meant for cheap drums. It’s one of the most musical woods we’ve worked with.”
The first thing we noticed when we pulled the rack tom out of the box and gave it a quick hit was how amazingly mellow and warm it sounded. The attack on these drums, especially the rack tom, was very round, while the sustain was fat and the decay quick. The combined tone was very meaty and pre-compressed sounding. The floor tom was more reverberant, and it reminded me a bit of a timpani—especially when played at higher tunings.