No new reviews for now as I’m currently on tour with a band called Decent Lovers. However, I was able to swing by the SilverFox Drumsticks and Grover Pro Percussion headquarters while playing a few shows in the Boston area. The place was awesome and the SF team was incredibly hospitable, offering me a lengthy tour of their production facilities. Big thanks to both Dave and Libor for being so generous with their time!
I’ve been really impressed SilverFox after getting acquainted with the company last year, and seeing all the work that goes into each stick just made me like them even more. I won’t gush too much, but these guys really care about product quality. I hope the pictures below can adequately convey at least some of what makes the SF/Grover team so great.
I tried to shoot a little video of the stick lathing process, but my camera died right as we were starting. Also, I didn’t give Dave any warning when I was taking pictures which is why so many of them look a little weird (sorry Dave).
First shot of the stick lathe. The machine takes solid hickory and maple dowels and turns them against a model-specific knife template to give each stick its desired shape.
Another shot of the lathe. It’s a little hard to see, but the brown, L-shaped bracket that runs down to the bottom of the photo (just left of center) is the stick cutting template for SilverFox’s new Bop Master model. Really intriguing process. Libor Hadrava, who makes almost all of the SilverFox sticks with a little help from a only a few other select craftsmen, told me that he can cut about five sticks per minute using this machine.
SilverFox is one of only two stick companies that cut their sticks like this, which increases their durability as it does not require any water cooling (most other stick companies turn their sticks against a grinding lathe which requires a constant water flow to keep the wood from burning. Wet wood = bummer).
After being cut to shape, each stick is then brought to this machine where they’re sanded smooth and made ready for the company’s exclusive coating.
Next stop: a quick coat of that sweet, super-durable coating. Then their off for the final trim.
After sanding and finishing, the sticks head over to this machine to receive their final tip and butt shape (Master sticksmith, Libor cleans up the edges on a new Bop Master).
Libor with one of his newborns.
This was one of the coolest parts of the SilverFox tour. Once the sticks have been finished, they’re separated by weight. Then, each set of weight-matched sticks is pitch matched using a sonic analyzer for accuracy. So, every pair of sticks you buy from SilverFox are hand checked for straightness, weight (down to the hundredth of an ounce) and pitch matched. That’s quality control!
After seeing the stick making process, Dave and Libor took me over to the Grover Pro Percussion facilities to show off everything that goes into their orchestral and trap set drums. In the above photos, a Grover snare shell is being edged by a computer programmed machine (capable of cutting almost any requested edge shape). The blade edges the bottom first to cut and align snare beds, then drills for lug, grommet, throw and butt plate holes. Finally, the shell is flipped to receive it’s top edge.
The whole process took a little less than ten minutes, and then the shell was just about ready for assembly (each shell is hand checked for any needed sanding touch ups to ensure proper edge and hole shape). Pretty awesome.
Dave, his bandana and a beautiful Grover Deluxe snare.
More Dave and the Grover 3-Way strainer.
I am an incredible photographer.
Grover’s awesome cable snare wires – a super fine wire wrap that allows for maximum sensitivity.
This is the device Grover uses to cut and tune (yes tune) their snare cables.
A gorgeous Grover kit with a 20×12 bass drum. Monster sound with beautiful tone.
Another beautiful drum showcasing one of Grover’s many finish options. Also, another excellent photo.
Start saving. They’re ready to go.
Grover’s heat-treated tambourine jingles. I got to see the company’s super secret proprietary heating process. Crazy fascinating, but unfortunately has to remain a secret. The heat-treated jingles have a much dryer tone.
One last shot of the shop.
Overall, my visit to the SilverFox and Grover HQ was really rewarding and only reaffirmed my admiration for this excellent company. If you haven’t already checked out their products, please take some time to do so.
One more big thank you to Dave and Libor for everything!