Experience with Sakae Drums

Rod
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Experience with Sakae Drums

Postby Rod » Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:48 pm

Hello HOD~

Rod Esteban here - I am a drummer based in Honolulu, Hawaii and have been a HOD member since around '05 or so on the old board.

I've been a Yamaha player since the mid 80's and I've been lucky enough to almost always have Yamaha sets provided as backline whenever I travel. One of the groups I play with in Hawaii is a contemporary pop/Hawaiian group who gigs at least once a year in Japan. We've been playing the Billboard Live clubs in Osaka and Tokyo every summer for the past 5 years. From 2009 I've been using what seems to be a Yamaha Maple Custom (with the square gold lugs) house set that Yamaha seems to have made especially for the Billboard Live clubs (see pic 1).

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Back during 2010's show at Billboard, I was given the option to try a relatively new, at the time, mahogany snare by a company called Sakae. I used that snare with the Yamaha set and found it to be pretty expressive at a medium to medium-tight tuning range. For the next 2 years they gave me that snare to use along with Billboard Yamaha set and always found it easy to tune and get a sound right away.

Now, with all the commotion of Yamaha's restructuring from earlier in the year, as well as Sakae's growing presence at NAMM, I was more curious about the Sakae brand. About a month before we were supposed to leave for Japan this year I decided to contact the Billboard Live tech crew on a whim to see if I might be able to get a set of Sakae drums to use for this year's shows back in the end of August - just because they let me use a snare the past few years. I got an email back from their production manager saying that they didn't have access to a Sakae set and that Sakae was still relatively not as widespread in Japan as I would think. So I thought there goes my best chance to ever try out Sakae drums in the very country they're produced.

Then about a week before we were to fly to Japan I get an email from the production manager saying that they were now able to secure Sakae sets for me at both the Osaka and Tokyo clubs. Of course I was excited - this news came right after Rodge's announcement here that he went over to Sakae so I was even more anxious to experience the drums on a gig.

I ended up getting a 5 piece set in The Almighty series which are 6 ply maple. The sizes for both sets were 7x10 and 7.5x12 (I believe) rack toms, 14x14 floor, 16x20 bass drum, and a 5.5x14 snare. In Osaka they also gave me a 6.5x14 snare to try. The second pic (brown fade finish) is the set in Osaka and the 3rd pic is the set they provided in Tokyo.

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Sorry I don't have any video but I can say that the drums were really a joy to play. I guess these were rental sets and the set in Osaka had Sakae branded clear Remo Emperors on the toms, while the black Tokyo set had Pinstripes. Even with these heads the drums tuned up easily and surprisingly sang even with the Pinstripes! Now, of course, they sounded and felt reminiscent of Yamaha Maple Custom Absolutes, but I think with some time spent with them I probably would find their own unique voice offering.

In all, I thoroughly enjoyed playing these sets for 4 nights of shows in Japan. The experience with them really made me seriously consider Sakae for a new set. I'd probably have to sell off one of my Yamahas to do so though - their retail prices are up there with other comparable brands/lines. In their Japan price list a 5.5x14 maple snare is listed at about $798.

Rodge (and Harland, Hutchinson,etc.) made a good choice with Sakae. (By the way, that was some very nice playing in that clip with Ritenour, Rodge!)

Sorry for the long post - I thought maybe some of you might be interested in hearing about Sakae since they're still not as readily available in the US. Looking forward to hearing Rodge and the others on them!
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willyz
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Re: Experience with Sakae Drums

Postby willyz » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:39 am

Good stuff mate! Thanks for sharing.

I put a couple requests for quotes in on the website a couple weeks ago. Still haven't heard anything yet...
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Paul Marangoni
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Re: Experience with Sakae Drums

Postby Paul Marangoni » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:46 am

Sakae make really nice instruments, that is for sure.

For me to get really excited, I want to see someone change the number of lugs on toms. I want a 14" tom with 7 lugs instead of 8. Actually, even 6 would be fine. I like that Gretsch makes their 8, 10 and 12 inch toms with 5 lugs. I just wish they took that thinking a bit further (even though their inspiration was probably just based on costs).

It would also be nice if tension rods had a tighter (finer) pitch to allow for more gradual/precise tensioning.
Rene
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Re: Experience with Sakae Drums

Postby Rene » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:17 pm

:)

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Paul Marangoni
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Re: Experience with Sakae Drums

Postby Paul Marangoni » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:35 pm

bstocky
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Re: Experience with Sakae Drums

Postby bstocky » Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:04 pm

Hate to be Debbie Downer but that might be the ugliest tom arm/mount I've ever seen.
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Paul Marangoni
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Re: Experience with Sakae Drums

Postby Paul Marangoni » Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:57 pm

There are a lot of tom mounts out there that I don't like looking at. I'm not particularly fond of Sakae's mount either, but I can't think of any tom mount that I really do like. Yamaha's PHX mount with that big slab of wood isn't exactly pretty either.

Maybe I just prefer drilling right into the shell.
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langmick
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Re: Experience with Sakae Drums

Postby langmick » Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:11 am

Image
Julián Fernández
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Re: Experience with Sakae Drums

Postby Julián Fernández » Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:03 pm

2800 bucks...
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janne jansson
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Re: Experience with Sakae Drums

Postby janne jansson » Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:42 am

Raelly great old school sounding drums!
Yea, and a little bit upside downside tom mount.. ;)

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