Premier Genista Maple and Genista Birch Drum Kits £1336

Premier Genista Maple and Genista Birch Drum Kits
The birch kit - shells come in five finishes including this Blaze Sparkle Lacquer.

Back in 1987, Premier merged with Yamaha who introduced much-needed capital and modernised the shell-making process.

Premier shells previously had reinforcing rings, but in 1994 the Genista was launched, still with thin shells of Premier's traditional Finnish birch but for the first time unsupported.

There was also a bold new separate lug design and triple-flanged hoops. Genista catapulted Premier into the contemporary drum world and became a favourite of many drummers.

During the noughties, Premier's radical Series drums took over the top spot, which they still occupy, but now Genista is back as a more affordable alternative for pro and semi-pro drummers alike.

"In truth the difference in timbre between maple and birch is barely discernible. We wouldn't be able to tell in a blindfold test."

This time around, the Genista is offered with two shell types, American maple or American birch. The choice of American - not European Finnish - birch is down to supply.

Since the drums are no longer made in Leicester but in Taiwan it's easier to source American lumber. Whichever you choose, the shell dimensions are the same - 5.6mm and 7-ply. This is impressively thin and very close to the original Genistas which were 5.5mm, 7-ply (with 7-ply, 7mm bass drums).

What is different are the diameters. Original Genista toms were 6mm undersized while these new ones are 3mm undersized, the same as Premier's top notch Series shells.

The under-sized concept is borrowed from Premier's vast experience with orchestral timpani design and the idea is to make for "easier, more positive tuning and clearer sound quality".

Externally there is a choice of five finishes: Blue Sparkle Lacquer, Cherry Red Fade Lacquer, Burnt Orange Sparkle Lacquer, plus our two review kits which are Blaze Sparkle Lacquer and Chrome Wrap. The former is a dark green-black sparkle with a band of red.

We've got used to Premier's splendid lacquers on its Series drums and the Genista looks just as good, especially with the loud-and-proud big red 'P' badges. The shells are lacquered internally also, and both maple and birch look gorgeous with healthy grain patterns.

Bearing edges are a twin 45° and carefully cut. Our only complaint is with the chrome wrap which has sharp edges on the bass drum hoops that could do with smoothing over somehow.

Premier is supplying both birch and maple kits in a series of five shell-packs. These are Stage 20 and 22, Studio 22, Modern Rock and Heavy Rock 22.

We have the Maple Heavy Rock 22, which is 22x18-inch bass, 12x9-inch mounted tom, with 14x14-inch and 16x16-inch floor toms. And the Birch Stage 20: 20x18-inch, 10x8-inch and 12x9-inch mounted toms and 14x14-inch floor tom. Both kits have 14x6-inch snares, the only Genista snare currently offered.

Aside from these shell-packs there is an impressive range of add-ons, much broader than the original Genistas. There are Quick, Standard and fashionable Short Stack toms, plus four bass drums.

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