DW styles itself "the drummer's choice," and with the patronage of drummers like Dave Grohl, Neil Pearl, Nick Mason and Scott Travis, it's an easy claim to believe. The initials stand for Drum Workshop, a name that emphasizes their humble beginnings in 1972 as a teaching studio founded by Don Lombardi. In order to keep the studio in the black, Lombardi and his student John Good started up a modest sales operation. That venture led to the creation of the first-ever DW product, which, interestingly enough, wasn't even a drum. It was a height-adjustable trap seat, and it became so wildly popular that it catalyzed DW to shift from a studio to a full-on drum hardware manufacturer. Drums were, naturally, the next products to roll off of DW's new assembly line, followed shortly by the 5000 series bass drum pedal, then a double bass pedal and a series of stands. DW continued to grow quietly, until a chance meeting with Mtley Crue's Tommy Lee wound up impressing him so much that he became the company's first endorser, putting them instantly into the spotlight.
Today, Drum Workshop produces a number of different lineups to cater to musicians at every level. If you're a beginner, the Design Series could be the perfect place to start. Made from North American maple, these shells use an "HVLT" (horizontal outer ply, vertical low timbre) manufacturing method that gives them a thick and deep sound at an affordable price point. For a vintage sound, you'll want to direct your attention to the poplar and mahogany Classic Series. These have a beautifully retro look and sound, with maple reinforcement hoops. Environmentally conscious drummers will appreciate the renewable bamboo and birch construction and the naturally handsome water-based finishes in the Eco-X Project drums, while master drummers who play a wide variety of genres should find plenty to like about the live and studio-oriented Performance Series. Finally, if you're looking for the best of the best shell packs, look no further than the Collector's Series, DW's flagship line with shells made from maple, birch or cherry in a variety of stage-enhancing finishes.
All of DW's major series drums are available in shell packs, and most of them can also be had individually, which is perfect if you're building a mixed-and-matched custom set. As with most drum makers, DW also has a wide array of snare drums available on an individual basis, from their various signature series as well as unique versions like their exotic woods, several metals and even a concrete-shell model. Some of DW's most unique drums are their deep steel piccolo toms, developed in conjunction with Terry Bozzio, which can make a unique addition to your kit.
All great drummers are notoriously picky about their drums - and they should be. It's up to the workshops and manufacturers to deliver cans that meet those high standards, and Drum Workshop comes through in spades. With DW skins, you'll dominate the stage.