The First Fiberglass Shells

A.F. Blaemire-drums

Blaemire is a name that drummers active in the L.A. music scene during the 1960s through the ’80s, and today’s vintage drum enthusiasts, will recognize quickly. Allen F. Blaemire (1927 – 2009) was an industrious visionary who worked on anti-submarine missile technologies as an engineer the Naval Undersea Center after WWII. Allen was also an accomplished drummer who had a passion for the engineering and sound characteristics of drum shells. Dissatisfied with the shell technology of the day, Allen applied his knowledge of composite torpedo tubes toward creating an entirely new concept in drum shells. Allen’s unique fiberglass shells, molded in a glass winding process, yielded a sound that was often described as deeper, more powerful, more resonant, clearer and more melodic than other drums. Blaemire shells became highly sought after by professionals and amateurs alike, and largely defined the studio recording sound of the era.

Hal Blaine and the Wrecking Crew…

The sound of Blaemire shells has been forever immortalized by Hal Blaine, the drummer and leader of the famed Wrecking Crew. His famous “Monster Kit” with Blaemire concert toms was featured on several thousand recorded hits during the 1960s and into the mid 70s. Hal’s famous kit now resides in the Musician’s Hall of Fame and is considered to be the most recorded drum kit of all time.

Read more about the Wrecking Crew here.

And from the Wall Street Journal here.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should….

There were a few companies in the 70s and 80s that tried to recreate the success of Blaemire shells. Unfortunately, they didn’t understand the very specific construction that gave Blaemire shells their distinctive sound. Much to the contrary, all of these imitators were focused on cheaper construction methods or, due to the infinite molding possibilities of fiberglass, fairly radical designs. Among the imitators were some very big names in the drum world. The high profile failures of these lesser (and often questionable) designs left a negative perception of composites drums on the market. This perception lingers even today, but that is quickly changing.


The first fiberglass shells.

Allan F. Blaemire
Read more about Allan.

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