Drum Workshop

Drum Workshop (DW)
Founded 1972 (1972) in Santa Monica, California, USA
Headquarters Oxnard, California, USA
Key people
Don Lombardi, Founder
Chris Lombardi, President and CEO
John Good, COO
Products Drum kits
Cocktail drums
Snare drums
Divisions Pacific Drums and Percussion
Subsidiaries KAT Percussion
Gretsch Drums
Ovation Guitars
Latin Percussion
Toca Percussion
Gibraltar Hardware[1]
Website www.dwdrums.com
External video
Oral History, John Good talks about the start of DW Drums and the company emphasis of having fun while making the best possible instruments they can. Interview date June 30, 2015, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Oral History Library

Drum Workshop[2] (also known as DW Drums or DW) is a drum kit and hardware manufacturing company based in Oxnard, California.


Drum Workshop was founded in 1972 as a teaching studio by Don Lombardi. It originally offered private lessons and the occasional workshop. However, Lombardi, along with student (and current Senior Executive Vice President) John Good, began a small drum equipment sales operation to cover the facility's operation costs.

This operation soon created the first-ever DW product: The height-adjustable trap seat, which was envisioned by Lombardi. The demand became so great that, after accepting an offer to purchase all of Camco's manufacturing equipment, the primary focus of the DW operation became drum hardware manufacturing. DW's Camco origins can still be seen on their drums today in their unique round "turret" tuning lugs which were designed by George H. Way and originally featured on George Way Drums. Following this, the next big product introduced by DW was the 5000 series nylon strap bass drum pedal, which was essentially a Camco pedal with the DW name placed upon it. The pedal was soon joined by the double bass pedal, the rotating-base and cable remote hi-hat stands. After additional growth and expansion, the first full DW endorser was found in Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe after he tried out a prototype DW drumset when he came to the shop to get his pedals adjusted.

Expansion, acquisition and new methods

DW expanded into larger facilities in Oxnard, California, and grew to oversee a new company, Pacific Drums and Percussion,[3] a value-oriented company offering quality lower-priced drumsets for any individual.

DW pioneered the timbre-matching technique of grouping a set of drumshells together by listening to the note each shell holds before it is sanded. Each shell that comes out of the Oxnard DW factory is stamped with the note of that shell on the inside. DW offers pre-made standard sized sets as well as custom drums made to customer specification.

For a brief period, DW opened a facility in Ensenada, Mexico, to manufacture its value line of drums and at the same time DW entered the drumstick market with the "3" drumstick lineup. What made the "3" drumstick lineup unique was that they included three matched drumsticks in their offering, unlike other manufactures that sell pairs of two. When DW closed operation at Ensenada facility they ceased the drumstick line.

In 2015, Drum Workshop Inc acquired and licensed American music instrument brands Gretsch Drums, Ovation Guitars, Latin Percussion, Toca Percussion, Gibraltar Hardware and KAT Technologies.[4]


Tony Royster, Jr.

Many highly regarded drummers endorse[5] DW, including Tony Royster, Jr. (Jay Z), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Jonathan "Sugarfoot" Moffett (Michael Jackson), Aaron Spears (Usher), Gerald Heyward (Chris Brown), Thomas Pridgen (The Mars Volta), Cora Coleman-Dunham, Derek Roddy (Serpents Rise), Dave Grohl, Stephen Perkins, Dominic Howard (Muse), Luke Holland (The Word Alive), Alex González (Maná, De la Tierra), Steve Jocz (Sum 41), Brooks Wackerman (Avenged Sevenfold), Scott Travis (Judas Priest), Scott Phillips (Creed and Alter Bridge), Abe Laboriel Jr. (Paul McCartney), Sandy Gennaro, Neil Peart[6] of Rush, Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, Danny Seraphine (Chicago), Will Berman of MGMT, Zak Starkey, Nickelback and Martone drummer Daniel Adair, Thomas Lang, Terry Bozzio, the late Troy Penland, Roger Taylor, Max Weinberg, José Pasillas from Incubus (band), and Atom Willard (Angels & Airwaves).

Others include Jason Bonham (Black Country Communion, Led Zeppelin) Tommy Clufetos (Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent), Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger), Bruce Becker (David Becker Tribune), Victor Loyo (Luis Miguel and studio session drummer), Eric Moore (Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves), Rex Hardy Jr. (Mary J. Blige), Cobus Potgieter, Matt Greiner (August Burns Red) and Venzella Joy Williams (Beyoncé).

Eagles drummers Don Henley (main drummer) and Scott Crago (backup drummer) are well known users of DW and are endorsed by the company. Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac is also a DW artist, as is Marco Minnemann.

Travis Barker of Blink-182, even though is endorsed by OCDP drums, uses DW hardware.

Tico Torres of Bon Jovi switched to DW drums and hardware after using Pearl for over 25 years in April 2013 during their Because We Can tour.


Most of DW's drums can be custom-ordered to suit the customer's needs with a wide array of shell sizes (from 6" to 28" drums), finishes (Exotic, Lacquer, Satin Oil, Hard Satin, Graphics, and FinishPly wraps), and hardware color (chrome, nickel, satin chrome, 24-karat gold, and black nickel) in any of DW's Custom Shops. Unique to DW's drum kits are its True-Pitch tuning rods (tension rods with finer threads), DW's Coated/Clear drumheads made by Remo, STM tom mounts, and Specialized Shell Configuration (SSC), which allows the customer to choose between X, VLT (Vertical Low Timbre), or VLX shells for a unique sound. They also have cocktail drums, a junior drum kit, bass drum woofers, and effect toms like rata toms and gong drums available.


Design Series
Design Series

Speciality drums

DW offers a special line of drums that are very different from "standard" drums and are generally used in situations which call for a new sound.

Snare drums

DW manufactures an assortment of snare drums. Available are "made to order" snares, which can be completely customized, or mass-produced snare drums. All DW snares come standard with True-Tone snare wires, 3.0mm True-Hoops, Remo batter/resonant heads and True-Pitch Tension Rods. Introduced in 2009 was the DW "Mag Throw-off", which is a snare throw-off system that uses a three-way butt plate with three different settings, loose, medium, and tight. This system uses magnets to keep the snare throw-off in the "on" position, and makes changing the sound of the snare wires much easier. Other throw-off systems include the DW universal throw-off, which is a simple on-off design, and a swivel throw-off which can be turned 180 degrees in any direction to turn the snares on or off. Different-colored snare hardware is available for all DW Drums, and can be easily changed or upgraded.

Collector's Wood

Collector's Metal

Collector's Metal drums come in a variety of metals such as steel, stainless steel, copper, brass, bronze, and aluminum. For 2010, the Vintage Steel line is released and they come in either copper or brass finishes. Steel, copper, brass and bronze snares are only available in the polished vintage finish. The knurled type has been discontinued.

Collector's Specialty

Limited Edition Snares

Other Snares


In addition to making drums, DW has also makes high-quality drum hardware. DW hardware is frequently regarded as the best in the industry. DW is unique in that it is the only company which many professional drummers choose to replace their stock hardware with.

Most of DW's hardware feature its patented "TechLock" on their cymbal stands, which uses a drum key to lock the cymbal tilters in place, preventing slippage. Also unique to DW is the development of the DogBone system, which minimizes the use of multiple cymbal stands. They have also developed hardware for percussion instruments as well as a rack system.

Hardware lines

A set of DW pedals with the hi-hats on the left and part of a bass drum pedal on the right.


In addition to hardware, DW is also known for its extensive line of pedals. A unique feature to DW's pedals is the ball bearing hinge, which helps reduces friction during play. Another unique feature found on DW's double pedals is the single-post casting, which allows the secondary pedal to be positioned closer to the hi-hat, allowing for more fluid footwork.

See also


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