High quality drums for the working drummer.
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History & Philosophy

In 1995 John Jones, a working drummer in the San Francisco bay area, was gigging at night and managing Downtown Rehearsal (a mega sized rehearsal and recording facility in San Francisco). He was also working on weekends at DrumWorld San Francisco, doing repairs in the shop there. Being a working drummer himself for 30+ years, John had worked on his own gear throughout his playing career and had always wondered, "What makes a drum do what it does, and what's the difference between a good drum and a bad one?" Being employed at a drum store definitely had its advantages. It enabled John to purchase a high-end G.M.S kit in 1992, which hovered around $7000. John immediately took the kit home and took apart every screw and nut, thoroughly inspecting all aspects of each drum. After slowly putting the kit back together, he took it around to several recording engineers, and had them record the drums, asking them to explain the dynamics of drums' sound. He then enrolled in acoustics classes so that he himself could better understand the sound dynamics. Following this, he took a series of woodworking classes, therefore, improving his understanding of the materials he would be working with.

"It's a drum. At the end of the day all that matters is the sound. So shop with your ears." -John Jones

Thumper Custom Drums

All this time still working in the drum store, John had access to virtually every manufacturer's state of the art gear, as soon as it was available, keeping John on the cutting edge of drum technology for the next three years. Continuing to do re-wraps, bearing edges, and snare beds, John honed his skills. In mid 1995 John purchased a new wood-hoop Ayotte kit, performing the same careful analysis with this kit that he did with the G.M.S kit. His thought was to take the top two drum brands and completely critique their products. "With G.M.S. and Ayotte, I could evaluate and test the difference between straight-shell drums and drums with reinforcement rings," he said. In John's opinion those were the two best acoustic drum sounds on the market at the time. John left San Francisco Drumworld at the end of 1995, to pursue his goal of making his own drums.

Still managing at Downtown Rehearsal, John had his own room with his band. With calls continually coming in for repair services, he simply set up half of his rehearsal room to perform drum repair services. Hence, Thumper Custom Drums was born! But before you ask where we got the name, we'll tell you right now: "Thumper" was John's nickname during his rock and roll career. You see, John was never taught correctly how to play drums. He was self taught and, of course, developed some bad habits. One of those was his bass drum foot, which he used for a metronome--thus, the thump, thump, thump, through ballads, polkas and anything else that was being played. Voilà! his nickname was born.

His progression from drum repair and refurbishing to creating custom drums seemed to be the right path for John. He had always thought that drums could be made better and less expensive than those which were being produced by the major manufacturers, so he set out to make great drums at a fair price.

The company slogan would be "high-quality, low-cost drums for the working drummer." John himself was always a working drummer, so he could relate to every-day drummers who play for a living. Therefore, he intended to focus his products to drummers who are, according to John, "playing in the rock and roll trenches."

After outgrowing the facility at Downtown Rehearsal, Thumper moved to the East Bay and continued building kits. Next, he exhibited his drums at the NAMM and the Hollywood Custom and Vintage shows. As Thumper's popularity increased, John placed a few drums in Bay Area drum stores. In 1999 John submitted two drums to the Nashville Snare Drum Olympics, winning both first and second place for his two drums. In 2000 he exhibited at the NAMM show in Los Angeles, to a great response from buyers and other exhibitors.

In 2004 the company relocated again to Everett, Washington. The new facility enables John to operate extremely inexpensively. You see, we at Thumper Custom Drums are able to keep our costs down because John's shop is part of his home! He has no overhead, no parking lot, no neon signs. So when you buy our drums, you are paying only for the materials and the labor it takes to put them together: no distributors, no retailers, no middlemen. We feel we have the right combination of drum-making knowledge as well as access to top quality drum-making materials, both of which allow us to build great drums at a great price. John's philosophy has always been not to build a lot of drums, but to build good ones, and that is why John stands behind his work. In fact, every Thumper Custom Drum has a lifetime guarantee. But don't take our word for it. In the proof pages you will find testimonials from customers and endorsees. Many of these individuals have volunteered to be contacted, personally, should you have any questions or comments.

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Designed by Jeff Wilson. Maintained by John and Pamm Jones.
No part of this website may be duplicated without written consent from Jeff Wilson, John Jones or Pamm Jones.