Drummers are a loyal bunch when it comes to the brands they play — the sounds, the features, and particularly the finishes. But what many drummers don’t know is that the industry’s most celebrated drum wraps have been sourced from the same company for 50 years: Delmar Products.
Tucked away in a storefront off Christian Lane in Berlin, Connecticut, Delmar is hard at work each day, handmaking its specialty plastics for floor tiles, credit cards, pickguards, and its now-iconic drum wraps. Sweetwater contacted Delmar’s Global Sales Manager, Don Mulligan, to chat about his company’s indelible mark on the worldwide music market.
“Our first customers in 1966 were Ludwig, Gretsch, Slingerland, and Rogers,” Don says. “And we’ve been supplying and servicing the OEM and aftermarket drum industry ever since.” Don isn’t kidding — look around at PASIC (Percussive Arts Society International Convention) or any other crowded music convention today, and you’re guaranteed to spot a kit whose wraps have been furnished by Delmar. These include mass-market offerings from Pearl, Tama, Yamaha, Mapex, and Sonor to boutique kits from the likes of DW, Pork Pie, C&C, and OCDP.
For half a century, drum makers have looked to Delmar for its innovative finishes. Delmar has been at the heart of every new trend since Ginger Baker broke out his Silver Sparkle Ludwigs with Cream at Royal Albert Hall in ’68 — patterns like Orange Satin Flame, Pink Champagne Sparkle, Blue Strata Pearl, and the unforgettable Black Oyster Pearl popularized by Ringo Starr.
But it’s more than a pretty face that keeps Delmar in such demand. Any drummer who has owned a cheap or mistreated kit knows the disgrace of a wrap that has aged poorly. According to Don, Delmar wraps are the highest grade on the market, made from UV-treated specialty plastics. But even these, he says, are not bulletproof. “It’s plastic, not stone,” he jokes. “Any wrap, if not properly taken care of, can yellow or fade or crack.” Best practice is to store any kit away from direct sunlight in a humidity-treated, stable environment.
Vintage players are particularly fanatical about their Delmar wraps. These drummers are interested in recapturing a look they grew up with or recognize from their heroes — and for them, only the genuine article will do. If they’re lucky enough to find it, a single 54×24″ sheet of NOS (new old stock) Delmar — enough to cover a 16″ and a 10″ tom — can run upwards of $225 on the vintage drum market. But Delmar isn’t a company to rest on its laurels, which is why it continues to pump out new finishes year after year, alongside its classic re-creations. Says Don of this push for modernity: “We are constantly introducing new wraps and wrap technology. But what remains the same is the strong demand for high-quality Delmar wraps.”
Sweetwater sends our best wishes to Delmar for their fabulous first 50 great years and our hopes for 50 more. Sweetwater has lots of beautiful drum kits with Delmar drum wraps. Contact your Sweetwater Sales Engineer to find the Delmar-wrapped kit that is right for you.
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