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Old 03-29-2017, 09:53 AM
csampang csampang is offline
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Cool My Vistalite journey (TAKE TWO)

Alright, so it's been a week since I originally posted it and unfortunately the original thread is gone due to image size issues so I'm reposting it this time using the VDF file uploader. I don't remember all the captions I made but I'll try to remember how I did this!

---

So I've been playing drums since 2000 and have been in a band as primary songwriter/drummer/pianist/bassist since 2011, my piano rock group Nino Blankenship (http://www.ninoblankenship.com & http://youtube.com/ninoblankenship are the primary links - we've done a few house gigs and have started a few recording projects at Hyde Street Studio though they still need to be completed). Though I've been aware of see-through acrylic drumsets for years, a combination of things got me into going that route:

- When I first started the group, I immediately set about upgrading my snare drum as to that point, all I had was a Percussion Plus budget drumset with a hard-to-tune steel snare and luan shells for all else. The one high-quality snare drum that spoke to me at a local Music-Go-Round in Citrus Heights was a Spaun acrylic, and I thought that was pretty "professional" compared to what I already had!

- I went to an indie rock/hipster show in a very small apartment space in San Francisco ca. 2012 and recall this power trio bringing a 4-piece blue Vistalite kit. Blown away by that kit.

- A Drummer's Tradition in San Rafael had for a while a Bonham amber Vistalite kit complete with two floor toms. Attractive!

- Guitar Center in Sacramento ca. 2004-2005 had a green Pork Pie acrylic kit that I've never forgotten about. That might have been my first exposure to it, outside of the photos here and there of classic rock artists using acrylic kits in the 70s.

FIRST SET OF PHOTOS:

- the mix of my budget drumkit (taped-on band logo created by group cofounder Joanne) and the Vistalite concert toms and Spaun snare. This is around 2012 or so. Concert tom pair of 12x10 and 13x11 clear Vistalites were altogether $120 from Craigslist in Sacramento.

- A year or so later, my "frankencrylic" kit consisting of the Spaun snare, the Vistalite concert toms, two double-headed Vistalite toms I had acquired from Guitar Center in San Francisco for about $90-100 each (14x10 and 12x10) - a purchase STRONGLY encouraged by one of the staffers at Skip's Music in Sacramento! - and a Fibes bass drum I got from a Craigslist listing in Petaluma. Decently vintage, though I ran rather dark-sounding heads on the Fibes bass, a Remo Starfire as the reso head with the batter being the Fiberskyn that used to be my reso head on the budget bass drum.

When I did home recordings ca. November 2013, I had the concert toms set up as the "floor tom" with the two double-headed toms on the rack spots. Back then, I ran Fiberskyns on everything (and Skyntone on the snare rather often) since I was really into the idea of trying calfskin-like heads on acrylic - very papery and sometimes thuddy in warmth, though something that I didn't stay in love with forever!

By 2015 I had switched the concert toms positionally with the 14x10 now serving as a floor tom (a setup I had tried earlier in 2013)
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Old 03-29-2017, 09:56 AM
csampang csampang is offline
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Default Re: My Vistalite journey (TAKE TWO)

In 2015, a month before my dad got sick, I saw a Craigslist ad for $150 for a Vistalite clear bass drum in Petaluma. Needless to say I made sure to drive out there to get it! I recall that my parents were all "What do you need a second bass drum for?!"

I actually have the two acrylic bass drums 90 degrees from each other now on the kit (though the Fibes drum currently is lacking a pedal as I sold it to a friend last October along with the old budget drumset) for when I feel like late-60s Keith Moon, LOL. I was getting closer and closer to having that full Vistalite set - albeit cobbled-together rather unconventionally!
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:03 AM
csampang csampang is offline
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Default Re: My Vistalite journey (TAKE TWO)

By 2017, I had made a few changes to the kit. I went with vintage clear Emperors for everything both for looks and to really liven up the tone - very satisfying tonal quality, that classic 1970s rock tom sound that I had loved for years.

Life had gotten in the way with my dad's recovery being paramount for much of the nearly two years to this point, but I never forgot about wanting to have an all-Vistalite setup once it was all said and done.

One of the things I had considered for some time was going for a different-colored snare to the rest of the kit, almost as a bit of a twist on the typical "Vistalite kit but different snare" setups that are super familiar (i.e. the Bonham mix of amber Vistalites + Supraphonic). A couple of weeks ago, I was intrigued by a green Vistalite snare on Reverb as green is my favorite color...

...but them this amber Vistalite snare got on CL about 10 days ago and at the price of $220 (lowered from what it could've been due to the owner factoring in a crack that he got fixed), I knew right away this was going to be the one.

After driving to Redwood City to check it out and purchase the thing, I made sure to get a clear Vintage Emperor head at Guitar Center in San Mateo to complete the look. (As it turned out, I already had a unused black dot at home...I'll save that for my next head change!)
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:11 AM
csampang csampang is offline
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Default Re: My Vistalite journey (TAKE TWO)

The full kit. I liked the fat, shell-emphasized tone of my snare when I first used it, though I have since tightened up the bottom head a bit more to bring out the snares themselves a little. It's the original head that came with that drum back in the mid-70s!

After a little over four and a half years of purchases, I have a full Vistalite set that I am very happy with. While I've thought in the past of getting a 15 or 16 inch concert tom to serve as the floor tom (given the prices of the double-headed floor toms at those sizes), I like the punchiness of the 14x10 as a floor tom and got inspired to do that full-time via some article in Modern Drummer 2-3 years ago. There was also a time early on I wanted to go all concert toms in that Phil Collins style...I kinda still do if only to be different, LOL, but I really couldn't say no to the deal for the 12 and 14 inch double-headed toms back in the day.

Really hope to take it to a gig sometime, whenever the next one might be...if so I'd probably end up say bringing just the double-headed toms (or the 14x10 + the 12/13 concert) along with the bass and snare. I just love the visual impact of the set!
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:13 AM
shortyedwards shortyedwards is offline
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Default Re: My Vistalite journey (TAKE TWO)

Chris - What a great story! Glad you reposted it. Take it from me, don't ever sell that kit. There will be times when you'll wish to upgrade or get "better" drums or whatever strikes your fancy. But, you have a great history with these and I'll bet they are spectacular sounding. If you sell these (not that you are planning to) you'll regret it and never get them back. They are a part of you.

They look very cool. Have you experimented with different heads? Vistalites were the first drums that I recall ever being totally knocked out by when I saw them in the store window when I was a kid. I remember the color as being yellow, with lights in them, but I do know that the window had a plastic protector, I guess to keep them from fading, so they may have been a different color. Anyhow, I've never played a set of Vistalites. Maybe someday. Way cool!

-Doug

ps - I hope your dad is no longer sick and is okay.

Last edited by shortyedwards; 03-29-2017 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:13 AM
shortyedwards shortyedwards is offline
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Default Re: My Vistalite journey (TAKE TWO)

Oh man, I spoke too soon, there's more to the story!
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:21 AM
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Default Re: My Vistalite journey (TAKE TWO)

Chris!

Tommyp here, and I am the mod/2nd admin of the VDF! GLAD you returned to post up again! My apologies for letting your 1st post disappear .. but .. it was indeed during converting all those embedded pics. This time though ... PERFECT!!! Nicely don, and now you have a bead on the attachment system. , and enjoy your stay at the VDF!

Tommyp

Last edited by Tommyp; 03-29-2017 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:36 AM
csampang csampang is offline
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Default Re: My Vistalite journey (TAKE TWO)

Quote:
Originally Posted by shortyedwards View Post
Chris - What a great story! Glad you reposted it. Take it from me, don't ever sell that kit. There will be times when you'll wish to upgrade or get "better" drums or whatever strikes your fancy. But, you have a great history with these and I'll bet they are spectacular sounding. If you sell these (not that you are planning to) you'll regret it and never get them back. They are a part of you.

They look very cool. Have you experimented with different heads? Vistalites were the first drums that I recall ever being totally knocked out by when I saw them in the store window when I was a kid. I remember the color as being yellow, with lights in them, but I do know that the window had a plastic protector, I guess to keep them from fading, so they may have been a different color. Anyhow, I've never played a set of Vistalites. Maybe someday. Way cool!

-Doug

ps - I hope your dad is no longer sick and is okay.
Thanks!

My dad's recovery from what was a life-threatening stroke has taken a while and he has made a lot of progress, though it is still very much a long process - he retired as a result of it and my mom followed suit in order to help out.

Honestly I didn't really touch the drums at home all that much for months (though I play weekly at my local church) and even before that...with the band cofounder currently on a two-year English teaching gig in Korea, it's only in the last month that I have been able to really play with the kit as much as I have in the past. I had a different Ludwig snare on in early March (a music store claimed it was a Vistalite but I think it's a repainted mid-1970s wood Pioneer snare) but I've been having a blast with the Vistalite snare in the week or so that I have had it!

Basically the only head combos I've really tried on the Vistas are either Fiberskyns or clear vintage Emperors. Thinking I may do clear Ambassador next on the snare, or one of the black dots, but that won't be for some months at least.
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:37 AM
csampang csampang is offline
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Default Re: My Vistalite journey (TAKE TWO)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommyp View Post
Chris!

Tommyp here, and I am the mod/2nd admin of the VDF! GLAD you returned to post up again! My apologies for letting your 1st post disappear .. but .. it was indeed during converting all those embedded pics. This time though ... PERFECT!!! Nicely don, and now you have a bead on the attachment system. , and enjoy your stay at the VDF!

Tommyp
Thanks for the warm welcome! No worries about the original thread, I figured that it was attachment issues with the original images. All good now

Here are higher res photos of the kit on Flickr for anyone interested:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/csampa...57679780272211
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Old 03-29-2017, 11:47 AM
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Default Re: My Vistalite journey (TAKE TWO)

Quote:
Originally Posted by csampang View Post
Thanks for the warm welcome! No worries about the original thread, I figured that it was attachment issues with the original images. All good now

Here are higher res photos of the kit on Flickr for anyone interested:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/csampa...57679780272211

Chris!

I wanted to mention WHY we don't encourage the "linking" to or the using of "image hosting" services. The other forums that do is bizarre actually, because: The links ALWAYS end up DEAD ... eventually. So, you have a visitor researching an older thread, and the text is usually accompanied by pics .. except .. the pics are no longer there! In place of the pics are broken links or empty gray boxes. We have all seen this! On the VDF, we use attachments as that way, WE store/host the images, thus they will ALWAYS be there for viewing and/or reference! The other issue is EMBEDDING one's pics within the text/box ... as that takes up way too much space ... the pic files are always too large ... and again, there is no way to SAVE the images for later viewing. That's the skinny on why we do what we do on the VDF. GREAT that you were able to repost!, and now with attachments, your pics will ALWAYS be available for viewing!

Tommyp

Last edited by Tommyp; 03-29-2017 at 08:59 PM.
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