Vintage GEAR trixon
Show-stopping German Trixon kit was designed for the great American band leader Lionel Hampton
Trixon’s 1964 catalogue featured a cheesy picture of Bill ‘Rock Around The Clock’ Haley ‘crowning’ his then drummer Dave Holly, who is sat on a throne behind a kit like this one (albeit in a different finish). Trixon collector extraordinaire Dave Prince (princedrums. com) was Googling this very picture when he noticed a similar kit for sale in the UK. Not only that, but the seller claimed the kit may have been played by Dave Holly in the 1960s.
Although the kit was not in the best condition, Dave was sufficiently intrigued to travel to Blackpool in 2015 to view it. Dave recalls, “I could see that the original (TX14 Aquamarine Sparkle) wrap had faded so that the three rack toms were different shades and they would also require new calf heads. The floor tom wrap had also faded and was torn in places. And the chrome had pitted quite badly, especially on the rack tom assembly arms.”
Nevertheless Dave bought the kit. “I couldn’t believe that I had found the rare Trixon Speedfire model 0/700-3 that I’d been searching for for years.”
Trixon offered 0/700 Speedfire sets from 1956 to 1970 in various guises, always defined by the flat-egg bass drum. As Dave explains, this set is the 0/700-3, the ‘3’ denoting three mounted concert toms. The drums have Trixon’s oblong, ribbed tension casings, which took over from the teardrop lugs (seen last month) from around 1963.
The logic behind the extraordinary bass drum (patented by Trixon in 1956) was to join together two bass drums of different diameters. There’s a simple wood partition inside and the flat bottom hoop allows for two pedals.
The three concert toms are 13"x8¼", 9¼"x7" and 8"x6½" and arranged the ‘wrong’ way around so the top hoops are level when mounted over the sloping bass drum.
Adding depth, there is the 20" diameter ‘Lionel Hampton Attraction’ floor tom. Its ‘V’ shaped legs pass through the lower cast hoop and slot into the bottom lugs, providing an extra strong base. Nimble jazz showman Lionel Hampton could safely jump onto the tom. Next is the 0/701 bass drum, which measures 26"x18¾" and is 13" deep. And completing the set is a rare 14"x3" Bop snare drum and original snare stand.
The whole set is such a magnificent rarity that Dave decided, “to get the kit re-wrapped in blue sparkle and also to re-chrome the rims and both rack tom arm assemblies in order to bring the whole set back to life and matching once again.
“I have played this drum kit live with a wild and rockin’ band called Norm and the Nightmarez and the toms sound full, the rare Bop snare has a great rim-shot to it and the 20" floor tom has a big full sound, being so large. And the drum kit is a real show-stopper on stage.”
“The toms sound full, the rare Bop snare has a great rim-shot to it, and the 20" floor tom has a bi g full sound, bei ng so large” Owner,Dave Prince