Grover Studio Pro Tambourine
By Dendy Jarrett |
Grover Pro Percussion Studio Pro Tambourine
When you need the best jingle jangle jingle
by Dendy Jarrett
"You’re reviewing a tambourine? Have you lost it, man?" Yeah, that’s what I was dealing with around the office while wailing away on this tambourine.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I was a Percussion Performance Major in college and was schooled in the proper techniques of tambourine playing. Later in life, I was fortunate enough to play drums alongside the great percussionist Tom Roady, who passed away a few years ago. Tom could make a tambourine sing like no one I have ever heard or watched. When he picked up a tambourine, it was as if it became a living being. And during my years playing with him, I picked up a thing or two about the art of the tambourine.
When Grover asked if I’d review their new Studio Pro™ Tambourine with German Silver jingles, I was excited to accept the challenge.
The Back Story
Grover is known as the gold standard in orchestral and symphonic music. Their concert snares, mallets, wood blocks, temple blocks, and tambourines are found in grand symphony halls around the world. If you are a serious percussionist, it's likely you’ll own something Grover. When Neil Grover found that L.A. and Nashville studio percussionists like Rich Redmond, Eric Darken and Craig Krampf were buying his orchestral tambourines to use for the studio, but were cutting out his calf skin heads so that the tambourines would be headless, he was taken aback. As a result, he worked to develop the Studio Pro Headless Tambourine.
Phosphor Bronze/German Silver Mix
Neil Grover just said, "Hey, can we send you a tambourine to review?" And he did. When I first opened it without knowing the backstory, I was a little disappointed it didn’t have a head on it. But I soon got over that disappointment. (Now, if you aren’t a drummer and you’re reading this, it may seem a little unusual to be reading about a drummer getting giddy over a tambourine, but stick with me here.) This tambourine even comes with its own case! Yes, that’s right … the tambourine comes nestled in a ballistic nylon carrying case.
However, this isn’t a twenty-dollar tambourine either. In Grover’s research, they found that the same wood shell of their fine symphonic and concert tambourines worked well for a headless model. The solid hardwood shell is stained a classy satin black. The playing edge features a rubber edging that allows for the tambourine to be played without severe impact on your hand. Also, the rubber edge makes for perfect tambourine thumb rolls (something I thought I’d miss due to the lack of the head). Grover also sells an aluminum clamp for the tambourine, which, when mounted on a clamp and attached to a cymbal stand, allows it to be played with sticks on the rubber comfort edge surface. The jingles are mounted in a staggered formation and the tambourine has 17 dual sets of hand-hammered Projection Plus™ German Silver jingles. The tambourine is also available with all Phosphor Bronze jingles (provides a darker, warmer sound), or a mix of the Silver and Bronze jingles.
The features include:
- 10” diameter durable hardwood shell
- Soft rubber comfort edging – protects hands and the shell
- Dual-width staggered jingle slots
- Hand-hammered German Silver alloy Projection Plus Jingles
- Grover Pro guarantee of quality
Performance is a prime example of why spending money on a quality instrument yields quality results. The dynamic range of this tambourine and its accuracy are incomparable. The clarity of the notes from this tambourine would allow you to tap out the staccato snare part of Bolero on it. But if you're a studio musician who’s ever played tambourine, you know that this instrument can become overbearing in the mix. To control the tambourine in the mix, players are usally sent to the confines of a sound isolation booth. With this tambourine, you can control that volume with a wide dynamic range. The Studio Pro tambourine is sufficiently loud enough (and I mean it can get loud!) to play in a live setting, or add to your drum setup with the optional clamp. The jingles are bright and articulate, and, if played properly, never become mush in the mix. I believe this to be a primary reason why the Studio Pro is headless; there is no overtone or sympathetic tone that the head would have created. The other benefit to this tambourine is its balance. It isn’t too heavy and the weight is equally distributed, thus avoiding player fatigue.
As I mentioned above, this isn’t a cheap tambourine – MSRP $152 with a street price of $105.70, but you get what you pay for. Serious percussionists are aware of Grover, but studio owners and music makers everywhere should become fans as well. Whether you are laying down a serious track in a million-dollar studio or recording on an iPhone with friends, your music deserves quality sound from quality instruments. The Grover Studio Pro delivers, and I found no complaints whatsoever with the unit. With a tambourine of this caliber, you can become Bob Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man and "in the jingle jangle mornin’ they’ll come followin’ you."
Grover Pro Percussion Official Website
Studio Pro™ Tambourine - German Silver - Buy Direct
Optional Tambourine Mounting - Buy Direct
Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Executive Director of Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.