Yamaha has made a multi-million pound investment in new manufacturing for its high-end drum line-up.
The first wave of high-end acoustic drum production at the purpose-built plant in Hangzhou China, is now well under way and with even higher-spec ranges to come in the very near future.
The new manufacturing set-up replaces Japanese firm Sakae, which has been making drums for Yamaha since 1974. Sakae will now be marketing and distributing its own drum range, which has been picked up in the UK by Soar Valley Music.
Yamaha says the new strategy is about investment rather than cutting costs and points to its record of drum technology development including Air Seal shell technology, staggered diagonal seam shell construction, UV drying, lacquer finishing techniques, and hybrid shell construction (PHX).
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Originally established in 1997, the Hangzhou facility has been producing the full range of the company’s marching drums, brass and woodwind instruments for well over a decade. The factory conforms to ISO9000 regulations and boasts one of the most advanced waste water recycling systems in the world – with a recycle rate of over 90 per cent.
Yamaha has already increased the quality and consistency of shell making by improving its high pressure air bag for shell forming. Additionally, the company has been able to introduce improved laser measurement technology and a far more advanced procedure for UV drying, which will increase the longevity of colour finishes and improve durability.
Xiaoshan Yamaha’s first release is the Live Custom, launched this year at the Winter NAMM show. Future products will see an even higher specification that will be released at higher price points as the line-up expands.
Darren Power, Yamaha’s European Marketing Manager commented: “Make no mistake, Yamaha is set to raise the bar again when it comes to high-end acoustic drums. Our new facility will improve consistency of quality, flexibility and, importantly, allow us to invest with confidence. This really is a very exciting time for Yamaha Drums!”
Yamaha’s flagship Drum Lab workshop in Japan will continue to make PHX and, along with its in-house Materials division, has been working closely with the staff at the new factory. Both facilities will be developed side-by-side.
“The goal is to build better drums,” said drum product manager, Gavin Thomas. “No-one is spending this amount of money developing high-end drums, so it is a serious investment for us. We want to increase the consistency level of the product and the range and the flexibility of it so that we can react quicker to market trends and opportunities for expansion.”