Welcome back to another deep dive into some of the most amazing drums from around the world. Before we start I would like to thanks Damien Rabillon, ASBA’s America’s Account executive, for reaching out and giving me the opportunity to demo this snare drum. This was a great honor and I had a lot of fun checking this snare drum out. Now, let’s not waste any more time and get into the history and review of ASBA drums.
Maison ASBA, but I just like saying ASBA, was founded by Alfred Boudard, a musician and inventor, in 1927 in Limeil Brévannes (near Paris).
ASBA is the acronym that stand for “Alfred and Simone Boudard Accessories” which was their original name before shortening it to ASBA. They where primarily known for a lot of their major inventions including some of the very first instrument stands. Additionally, the workshop also manufactured mouthpieces for trumpets and sound effects instruments for theatrical performances.
Their manufacturing of drums and percussion instruments would begin right after WWII in 1947, at a time when Jazz and be-bop take over Europe.
A year later in 1948 the first ASBA snare drum, called the Revolution made of stainless steel marked as part of the history of drums in France and around the world. It was the predecessor of the later Super Revelation with its famous adjustable strainer on both sides.
The drums they developed were made of wood, acrylic (“Altuglas”), steel, polyester and a wood-composite material they called “Fibrecel”. The drums featured flick-type (“baseball bat” style) dampers on snares and smaller toms and adjustable felt-strip dampers on floor toms and bass drums. These dampers were fixed to the shell at one end and stretched with an elastic-band-controlled mechanism at the other. Definitely a unique and interesting way to dampen toms. ( exert from jedistar.com )
During this time, new crucial innovations emerge with their first ALL metal drum kit, the “Gigogne” drum set, the Hi-Hat tilter, the cymbal boom stand and the respected “Caroline” bass drum pedal, which is the most modernized drum pedal of it’s era, dating post WWII to around the early 80’s.
Additionally, some of the biggest names in jazz, pop, rock etc have chosen Maison ASBA for their live and studio needs: The Beatles (Abbey Road), Elvin Jones, Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix), Tom Jones, Status Quo, John Robinson (Quincy Jones, John Fogerty , Michael Jackson), Claude François, Magma, Daniel Humair, Christian Garros, the Martin Circus, and many more.
The Death and Rebirth of ASBA
Unfortunately, the company closed its doors in 1983. Although it disappeared long before the emergence of social media, the brand continued to live in the hearts of loyal fans and enthusiastic collectors all over the world even to today. This helped and drove the rebirth of the company that started in 2016.
Why do you mention all of this Nate?
I mention all of this before I start talking about the snare to say that ASBA has made its rounds throughout the drumming and drum history community. Then in full force, 2016 started ASBA’s Rebirth process and debuted officially to everyone’s eyeballs in the America at this past 2020 NAMM show.
They really hit the ground running by offering four new and classic models of drums kits and snares that consist of 2 premium (Rive Gauche & Revelation), 1 mid-range (Simone) and 1 unique (ASBADABOOM) that are all stunning in their own right.
I had the pleasure to review the Revelation snare drum which is part of their Premium models.
A reference to the classic sounds of the 50’s, the Mahogany/ Poplar /Mahogany configuration is handcrafted in their workshop in Lyon, France and made forbatom of how ASBA used to make their drums.
You will definitely mistake this depth for deeper then it is because of the body and tone this snare delivers. Additionally, I will say that the sensitivity is quite pronounced in quieter and softer musical settings, while it really opens up when you start to play into the drummer a little more, which I normally do. This snare can get really loud!
The one thing I really had to explore with this drum is having a very, very, very shallow snare bed. The wires where slightly controlled but could resonate after a hit for what seems like forever but boy could you get some phat tones out of this one.
Some things I did to counter a shallow snare bed is playing around with various tuning’s, changing out batter side heads and experimenting with dampening. This really pushed me to think outside the box with creating different sounds with this snare drum.
The drum over all was well built with fantastic bearing edges, beautifully designed fitted wrap and beautiful construction over all.
The quality of the build, made fully in France, added in helping with the ease of tuning and controlling the snare wires paired with the knowledge on how to do so really made it easy to help this drum sing!!
A cool little feature I forgot to mention is that the air hole also doubles as a drum key holder. Just thought that was a cool feature that more drums don’t have customized to their drums.
I am again so honored and really enjoyed checking out this snare drum. You can check out all the details of this snare below and the full demo can be found exclusively here in the video above.
REVELATION 5.5×14 3-ply Mahogany/ Poplar /Mahogany
- Shells: “Vintage” manufacturing 3-ply Mahogany/Poplar/Mahogany
according to exclusive ASBA technical specifications, faithful to the
previous models. Beechwood reinforcement ring 45° w/roundover.
- Handcrafted in our workshop in Lyon, France
- Dimensions: 5.5×14
- Hardware: High quality chrome, exclusive ASBA design from the 60’s
- Hoops: Chrome on die cast
- Snare wires: brass, 20 wires, dual end plate with “ASBA” engraving
- Strainer: high precision, 100% chromed metal, NickelWorks – Fixing ribbon
matching the snare finish
- Finish: Rhodoïd premium Alice Copper wrap, Wax coating inside the shells, Label certifying the date of manufacturing of the instrument
- ASBA plate: chrome
Thank you guys for checking this blog post out and I’ll talk to you in the next one.