Yamaha's Steven Fisher plays a kit for attendees.

Yamaha Drums Celebrates 50 Years

When celebrating an anniversary as big as 50, you would expect Yamaha Drums to come out with a big bang. And that's exactly what the company did during its 50th anniversary event on Sept. 30. Some 400 dealers, artists and consumers alike ascended upon the Musician's Institute in Hollywood, California, to test drive drum sets, rock out to artist performances and view legendary Yamaha drum kits.

"Fifty years of drum making is a real milestone for us," said Steven Fisher, manager of Yamaha's acoustic and electronic drum division. "This anniversary shows our dedication toward the instrument itself. A lot of companies go in and out depending on what instruments come into 'style,' but Yamaha is relentless, knows the path and keeps innovating, and 50 years of drumming really highlights that."

To celebrate, Yamaha set up nearly every single kit it currently offers — both acoustic and electronic — to give attendees an emersive experience to try out any drum set.

"We wanted to open up this event to everybody with a focus on the consumer," Fisher said. "Part of the focus of this event is not just celebrating the landmark of 50 years but really giving the public the opportunity to play all of our offerings. We get calls all the time for people wanting to try our top-of-the-line Phoenix kit, and there's just not really a chance to do that. So we wanted to give consumers the opportunity to see the breadth of what we have and hear the Yamaha story from Yamaha employees. We wanted to talk directly to our customers and give them the opportunities they usually don't have to play and compare kits."

After test driving kits, Yamaha artists Larnell Lewis (Snarky Puppy), Tommy Aldridge (Ozzy Osbourne) and Dave Weckl (solo artist) took the stage for an evening of performances.

"I've been fortunate enough to have spent the majority of my professional career behind Yamaha drums," said Aldridge who has been a Yamaha artist since 1980. "To say I depend on them would be a huge understatement. The sound and beauty of a Yamaha kit are unmistakable and matched only by bullet-proof quality. Though I cherish each and every one of my Yamaha kits, I also subject them to some serious abuse. Even so, day in and day out, city after city, they're still there."

Fisher said the future of Yamaha Drums is continued innovation.

"I look forward to the next 50 years," Fisher said. "Yamaha has a lot of vast and deep resources in the innovations that it creates in a lot of different categories, including acoustic drums, electronic drums, the hardware, audio processing and our DSP technology. Because of all of those things, Yamaha is uniquely positioned to take drumming to that next level. We are not only focused on high-quality handcrafted instruments but we want to make exceptional solutions for musicians." MI

— By Katie Kailus