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A Joint Venture In Value

by Rick Van Horn

 

 

KEY NOTES

  • Pro 3 bags feature excellent design and construction quality
  • All bags offer outstanding affordability
  • Pro 3 hardware bags need internal stiffening
  • Pro 4 bags have limited applications

 

Fred Beato's name has been synonymous with high-quality, innovative  drum bags for many years. Tom Shelley's Universal Percussion is equally  well known for the design and distribution of quality products that are  manufactured offshore for exceptional affordability, such as Wuhan  cymbals, Attack drumheads, and Cannon hardware.

 

Not long ago, Fred and Tom got together in a joint venture. Fred  would design a line of drum bags that would meet the needs of  contemporary drummers. Tom would arrange to have Fred's designs  manufactured in China, where low material and labor costs could help  make the resulting bags more affordable in the US market.

 

BeatoPro\_4\_Bag\_Set.jpg

 

The bags resulting from this joint venture have been dubbed the Beato  Pro 3 and Pro 4 series. Between them, the two lines offer a wide range  of sizes and features.

 

Pro 4 Series

Although it's out of numerical sequence to do so, I want to start  with the Pro 4 series. These are economy bags designed to provide  minimal protection at minimal prices. They're made of a strong,  water-repellant nylon material, using extra-heavy thread. The insides  feature a soft, scratch-resistant surface, but no padding. Each bag  features heavy plastic piping at the edges, as well as a heavy-duty  zipper. For what they are, they're well designed and well constructed.

 

However, the only way I'd recommend these bags for serious gigging  purposes is if you handled your drums yourself, and then only if you  loaded them in and out of a car from the trunk and seats. I wouldn't  feel comfortable loading them into a van or pickup truck, where the  loaded bags would likely slide on the metal floor of the vehicle and  bump into one another. I don't think the fabric would wear well against  such sliding, and the drums would not be protected from any impact.

 

On the other hand, if you tend to leave your drums in a storage area  or a rehearsal space, the Pro 4 bags would make excellent "dust cover"  containers. This might make them especially appealing to student  drummers who keep their drums at home. The bags are also inexpensive  enough to be used as "case liners" within ATA-style road cases, making  the drums easy to pull out of the road boxes.

 

Pro 4 bags are available in five-piece Standard and Fusion sets, for  drums only. No cymbal or hardware bags are offered in this series.

 

Pro 3 Series

The Pro 3 series is, in a word, impressive. These heavy-duty Cordura  bags are well padded to protect their contents. Each drum bag comes with  a shoulder strap, heavy-duty zippers, and a separate circular  compartment for accessories (perfect for spare heads). In a nice design  touch, two side handles and a third handle perpendicular to the others  provide carrying options. Heavy-duty webbing is used to reinforce the  bags where the handles are attached. Drum bags are sold individually or  in Standard and Fusion drumkit sets.

 

Pro 3 hardware bags are extremely well designed. I particularly liked  the way the zippers open around the top perimeter of the bag, allowing  the top flap to be pulled back out of the way, exposing the bag's  contents in a "trunk-like" manner. Top carrying straps have a padded  grip; a handle at one end is covered with rubber for comfort.

 

At the other end of each hardware bag is a set of built-in wheels,  making transport very easy. My only complaint with the bags is that the  bottoms, though stiffened, are not rigid. So if you put a load in the  bag and start to wheel it away, the bag sags in the middle. This problem  can be reduced somewhat by keeping the hardware within the bag extended  enough to run from top to bottom, providing internal support. A solid  bottom would be even better, but that might increase the cost factor  beyond the "affordable" range that the bags now enjoy.

 

Pro 3 cymbal bags come in two versions. The basic model is a  no-frills padded bag with one interior compartment, one smaller  compartment, strong web handles, and a shoulder strap. The Deluxe model  offers five internally divided spaces, one outside cymbal compartment,  and a large outside pouch that also contains four drumstick sleeves and a  zippered accessories compartment. The bottom of the bag is reinforced  with a wide base and plastic feet. This is a really nice cymbal bag!

 

Pro 3 stick bags are available as one- and two-pair marching stick  quivers, and also as six-, six-plus-, and twelve-pair traditional bags.  Each is made in the same manner as the drum, hardware, and cymbal bags,  with excellent construction and a reasonable amount of padding.

 

A Word About Value

For as long as I've been writing columns and reviews for MD, I've  preached that an investment in drum equipment should be protected by an  investment in cases or bags. The problem comes when the first investment  exhausts the drummer's budget, eliminating the possibility of the  second investment—at least right away. The new Beato bags should help  solve that problem.

 

Now, I don't believe that anything is a value simply because it's  inexpensive. It must also have the quality and functionality required to  do the job it's designed to do. By that definition, the Beato Pro 4  bags would be valuable as dust covers or extremely light-duty carrying  bags for drums. But they would not serve well for serious gigging  drummers.

 

On the other hand, the Pro 3 series offers drum, cymbal, hardware,  and stick bags that should more than meet the needs of any drummer  playing out locally. And when that functionality is combined with the  bags' impressively low prices, now we're talkin' value.

 

THE NUMBERS

  • Pro 4 Series Bags
  • Pro 4 five-piece Fusion set $48.95
  • Pro 4 five-piece Standard set $49.95
  • Pro 3 Series Bags
  • 9x10 drum bag $31.95
  • 11x12 drum bag $33.95
  • 12x13 drum bag $35.95
  • 5x14 drum bag $33.95
  • 6x14 drum bag $34.95
  • 12x14 drum bag $44.95
  • 16x16 drum bag $47.95
  • 16x22 drum bag $71.95
  • 18x22 drum bag $73.95
  • Five-piece Fusion set $179.95
  • Five-piece Standard set $185.00
  • Cymbal bag $28.95
  • Deluxe cymbal bag $54.95
  • Marching Stick Quiver (one pair) $9.00
  • Marching Stick Quiver (two pairs) $12.95
  • Stick bag (6 pairs) $9.00
  • Stick bag (6+ pairs) $10.50
  • Stick bag (12 pairs) $12.00
  • 25" hardware bag with wheels $65.25
  • 36" hardware bag with wheels $72.25
  • 47" hardware bag with wheels $79.75

 

(800) 282-0110, www.universalpercussion.com

© 2006 MODERN DRUMMER  Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction without the  permission of the publisher is prohibited.
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