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Yamaha have been producing incredible drums since the introduction of their D20 and D30 drums in 1967 which were constructed using the revolutionary Air Seal system. By 1977 only a decade on, Yamaha launched the YD9000 recording custom, this model featured 100% birch shells and one-piece lugs. At the time Maple was the most popular material for drum shells but Yamaha had realised that birch would be an ideal material. They were also the first to apply piano finishing techniques to drums. The full force of Yamaha technology was applied to the production of this landmark product. The YD9000 has become the most recorded drum set in history. The name was later changed to "Recording Custom," a model that is still widely used and requested by todays recording drummers such as Steve Gadd. In the 80's the Tour Custom and Rock Tour Custom kits followed which were aimed at the semi pro market though due to the phenomenal tone they were selected by many of Yamaha's professional artists, Manu Katche being one example.
The 1990's saw the introduction of Yamaha's first Maple kit 'the Maple Custom' which was quickly adopted by Dave Weckl and Vinnie Coliauta. By the end of the 90's the first Absolute kits were introduced. There was no let up in the 2000's with the launch of the Beech, Birch and Oak custom kits and in 2004 Yamaha face lifted the entire Absolute series to incorporate Maple, Birch and Beech shell options with two lug choices (Nouveau and Fixed). In 2008 Yamaha launched the Phoenix (PHX) its most ambitious kit to date and in 2009 the final face lift of the Absolute series was launched with a redesigned hook lug which would become the last version of the Absolute to be made in Japan.
In 2011 the last kit to be launched from Japan came in the form of the Club Custom which was made for a very short time (2011-2013) due to its retro design and sound this has been a high in demand kit on the used market. In 2013 Yamaha unveiled its first kit from a new facility in China, this was the Live Custom and by 2014 the first Absolute appeared. The Absolute Hybrid was a totally redesigned shell featuring the same hook lug offered on the PHX and last version of the Japanese Absolute, many drummers regard the Hybrid as the finest Absolute to date and this kit proved Yamaha could build drums to equal and even better standards at the new facility. In 2016 Yamaha relaunched the Recording Custom also now made in China. This was a project that Yamaha closely worked on with Steve Gadd, work was done on the weighting of the lugs, the design of the bass drum and the profile of the shells in order to improve up on the original design.
The Yamaha Artist Roster is incredibly vast, notable players include Steve Gadd, Dave Weckl, Manu Katche, Akira Jimbo, Steve Jordan and Tommy Alderidge.
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