My industry RANT!

Posted by Frank Kincel on

The need to vent.....this has been stewing for a while.

Seems there's a certain "New" drumstick company that also makes cymbals that has come on the scene touting a "new" process for quality control along with "new" drumstick models. They had an "AH-HA" moment. Yeah, sure ya did! I shall leave said company's name out of mention since it will make no real difference at all. They don't care and neither does the person that supposedly developed these ideas. 

You see, several years ago, shortly after starting La BackBeat, I participated in a couple of "cymbal days" for this company at my local drum shop. This was before this cymbal company made any sticks at all. I brought my sticks and set up my little table in the front of the shop. I talked with many of the local drummers that I had come to know from working at that shop for 13 years prior. At the end of the day, I had a nice visit with the two reps from this company about LaBB sticks and the attributes to how they are made. Seeing as how they were a cymbal company, I had no real concern about sharing some of the processes that I have developed and expanded on in the shop. I should have known there was a possible ulterior motive.

A few years went by... this company releases a drumstick line. Low and behold, who is the lead product designer? One of the same reps that I had discussions with at those cymbals days at my local shop. One of their innovative ideas.... to weigh their dowels before drumstick manufacture. Hmmm..... I wonder where they got that brilliant idea from? LaBB -La BackBeat- has been doing this process of weight sorting dowels since very early on. I discovered this "concept" early on when milling blanks from specific boards only to discover that even blanks milled from a single board can yield a very wide range of blank weights. Thus began the presort process. This is also something I shared in a youtube video that is still viewable on my channel.

This "new" stick company also "came up with a concept" of creating stick models based on the weight of the blank. Yet again, I wonder where they came up with that brilliant idea? LaBB -La BackBeat- developed this process because the weight range in the industry for a standard stick was/is very broad and needed a makeover. After playing drums roughly 30 years at that point, I felt the need to narrow the range and split the standard range into two. This was MY "ah-ha" moment. Each one of these ranges became signified in the LaBB nomenclature. LaBB even created a "Heavy" stick that this "new" stick company has created a line out of the concept.

More on this rant comes in their anatomy of a drumstick. I had a conversation with the rep about an elaborate description of the anatomy of a stick. The explanation in the industry was very vague up until this point. I know because I did research on it. I described in detail what was the tip, neck, taper, shoulder, shaft, and butt. More from this company are the extreme similarities to LaBB -La BackBeat- in tip and taper design.

I suppose what I'm getting at with all this is that they are not really innovative at all. They are just following and nearly copying concepts and drumsticks already created by a smaller lesser known company... La BackBeat..... Or maybe it's the German lineage and thinking we share that makes us think the same.

I am flattered that I have been able to influence the industry in new ways with drumsticks created at LaBB. I never thought that would be the case when I started this endeavor several years ago. I suppose I would have one thing to say to this company... "Come up with some original ideas and stop calling other peoples innovations your own!"

One lesson this has taught me... don't share your trade secrets. In the past, I have shared certain ideas freely and they have come back to sting me. I shared one of my concepts of tip creation to a "friend" in the boutique drumstick industry and now, for some odd reason, that friend no longer speaks to me on a regular basis as he once did. He also shared this concept after giving me his word that he would not. A man's word, it seems, means nothing anymore.

Another story for another day would be a conversation about wood hardening I had with a guy at a trade show, only to have a major stick company release a hardened stick with a process utilizing the process discussed. Gosh Darn it!! Lesson learned. Don't freely share knowledge.

There have been countless drummers that want me to show how I make tips, how the LaBB sander works, and how the sticks are made so durable. Well.... the world may never know.


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