Edinburgh: A Vault of Premier Gear

This marks round two of updates from my backpacking web designer, this time coming from Edinburgh, Scotland. Enjoy!

Edinburgh, Scotland, although generally known more for folk than rock n' roll, has its share of worthwhile music shops. Most tend to fall into a classical, stringed-instrument luthier category, but the city definitely has a niche for every musician. For drumming this niche is the Drum Vault on Candlemaker Row, a small two room shop located just down the street from the iconic Greyfriar's Bobby statue. Launched in 2012 by owner and drummer Jamie Corstorphine as "the first dedicated second hand drum shop in Edinburgh" the Drum Vault has been doing restorations, repair service and custom artwork with a focus on vintage Premier drums.

When I happened by the store and gaped at a collection of perfectly polished snares sitting in the window I knew I had to go in and check out the rest of the gear. Jamie was sitting on a drum throne grinding away at the lacquer of a wooden hoop using his favorite tool, a broken shard of glass. When he saw us he immediately began chatting us up about the gear in the shop. Within a few sentences it was clear that this wasn't primarily a money making endeavor but a labor of love as he directed our attention to vintage Premier kits that looked showcase ready with newly painted silver wooden hoops and gleaming lacquer finishes.

Jamie knows his stuff; he began the store as a way of selling some of his massive made in the UK Premier collection of drum kits he'd accumulated over his years of playing. He's quick to point out the quality of the Premier brand by noting that in their heyday the massive factory was putting out about 30 kits a day, a modest amount due to the handmade attention each kit received. Even the wood was hand selected from different woods as a way to keep quality high when mixing birch and basswood. This quality filtered down to Premier's Olympic brand as well only substituting slightly cheaper hardware for the lower price. Jamie showed us a particularly nice example of Olympics in a totally restored red sparkle wrap that he'd uncovered after someone misguidedly wrapped it in black adhesive that took upwards of a week to remove from the bass drum. Jamie went on to tell us about the relative ease of positioning rack toms mounted on Premier kicks versus Pearl mounts (which he hates).

 Jamie's unique and laborious technique for stripping bass hoops with broken shards of glass.

Jamie's unique and laborious technique for stripping bass hoops with broken shards of glass.

 An excellently restored four piece red sparkle Olympic kit.

An excellently restored four piece red sparkle Olympic kit.

Jamie's done extensive work to restore some of his kits (you can see some of the photos on his Facebook page) including rebuilding a bass drum that some schoolkids had caved in from standing on top of it, a fact you'd never know from the prices or the restored kit, which looks almost new. If you get the chance to stop in or need a kit in the UK, you definitely can't go wrong here. The Drum Vault even has a good stock of awesome cymbals including custom Paistes, Zildjian K's and the legendary Constantinople. Overall an awesome shop!

Posted on February 11, 2014 .