I just realize something: I’ve been playing the same kit for almost 40 years. I am talking about the red one I brought from France. Anybody that has taken lessons with me knows what I’m talking about. I love that drum set, it has been a faithful companion for many a gig and recording. It has the patience of a stone for the students but can become lightning fast for experts hands.

I could have chosen a lesser instrument, take something at intermediate level. It would still be with me just the same. Instruments are solid, very solid. I’ll prove it. Right now.

The classical world cherishes sounds that haunts the box of violins which have been amoung us for 500 years. There is a trend right now where orchestras play the music of Bach, for example, on period instruments, meaning they dig up venerable trumpets, oboes, timpani’s of yesteryears to recreate the exact sounds Bach himself would have heard. I’ve listened to those orchestras, I will confess that usually the tone is a bit darker and less powerful than our modern orchestras. I’ll confess further that these are my favorite recordings nowadays. Give me a somber, subdued tone, a smaller range of dynamics and some wooden flutes, and I am in heaven.

Back to my collection of instruments (I don’t have a lot of them, I ain’t no collector). I’ve got a bass, it’s one of them fairly cheap bass. I’ve had it for 20 years. Barely has any scratches. Same for my guitar. Same age I mean. It’s in great shape, sings like it just came out of the store, maybe even better because time helps the tone.

Oh, that’s true, I forgot to tell you: almost all instruments get better with age. I talked about the violins, but I could have talked about  the organ, the piano, the flute, the oboe. Even the modern instruments gets better: bass guitars and acoustic guitars age well. For drummers, not only the kits improve in tone and power, but also the cymbals. I’ve heard of some famous drummer (was it Steve Gadd?) that has an old ride cymbal he carries to every gig.

Musical instruments stay with us for a long time, sometimes our whole life. So, as Christmas approaches and people think of rewarding themselves or a musician they know with an instrument, I tell them this: buy something of quality (it doesn’t mean expensive) because that musician might be stuck with the sound of his instrument for ever. Maybe on another blog I’ll talk about how to choose an instrument.