Vintage kits Trixon

23rd Sep 2012 | 13:50

Vintage kits Trixon
Trixon Luxus kit
Circa 1960

Each month Rhythm Magazine tracks-down and checks-out vintage gear in order to marvel at a bit of drum-making history. Here we have a pair of gorgeous ‘60s kits from Trixon...

“After owning five Trixon kits and collecting Trixon foot pedals, stool, drum keys, drum books/catalogues and nine snare drums I thought my collection was complete. Then I saw this stunning example, I was totally blown away by the Aquamarine Sparkle wrap and knew it was an early model.

“Fortunately for me my birthday is in September and my wife bought it as a present on eBay in August 2012. It came from Liverpool where it had been used in a theatre.” So says owner Dave Prince who paid £225 for this kit minus the Trixon snare, which he found later.

“The seller threw in a 1980s Rogers DynaSonic snare,” adds Dave, “which I recently sold for £150, so technically I got this stunning example for £105!”

Dave’s story proves there are still amazing finds to be made in the vintage market.

The kit is a Trixon Luxus 0/200, made in Hamburg in 1959 or 1960. Trixon drums were imported to the UK by Ivor Arbiter and were popular in the late-1950s/early-1960s, giving Premier and Ajax some competition.

Luxus kits were played by many top Brits including Allan Ganley, Phil Seamen, Brian Bennett and Clem Cattini.

Vintage kits Trixon
Trixon Luxus kit
The bass drum pedal Original TF2 was made between 1950 and 1956, it has twin springs and a leather strap drive

This Trixon has the tear-drop lugs which were used until around 1962. And the birch or beech 4mm-thick, 3-ply shells with 3-ply reinforcing rings, which according to Ingo Winterberg in his Trixon book were standard up till about 1960/61.

Also, until 1962/63 Trixon shells were metric sizes, so international heads won’t fit. Thus, for example, the nominally 20"x16" bass drum is slightly undersized at 50cm x 40cm. The other nominal sizes are 13"x81⁄4", 16"x16" and 14"x5" snare drum with parallel strainer mechanism.

Trixon triple-flanged hoops are bent inwards at the top in a similar manner to Slingerland’s, and the lug bolts have slot-headed screws, typical of European drums of the period.

Vintage kits Trixon
Trixon Luxus kit
Snare has parallel action throw-off and even the snare guard on the bottom hoop has the Trixon logo.

The snare’s top hoop has a wider lip-over and Dave reveals he actually bought the snare with its perfectly matching finish from Ingo Winterberg in September 2012.

Ingo says, “The [wider] top hoop was used until 1956, so it does not match exactly. This must have been changed in the late- to early-1950s as this is how I received it.”

“Aquamarine Sparkle finishes are mostly faded,” continues Dave, “but not with this kit, which is in very nice condition. I gigged it for the first time last night and got a great deal of interest from everyone. It sounded full, the rack tom with its two dampers doesn‘t ring at all and the snare drum has a great crack to it and is fabulous for rim-shots.”

Vintage kits Trixon
Trixon Telstar (Model 2000) kit
Circa 1962

The American Telstar 1 communications satellite was launched on 10 July, 1962, hotly followed by The Tornadoes’ hit instrumental ‘Telstar’ and Trixon’s cockeyed German-made drum kit which would soon adopt the same name.

It’s the kit Trixon will probably always be remembered for. The conical shells were show-stoppers, though hugely wasteful of wood and plastic wrap. Ivor Arbiter, who had successfully imported Trixon, felt the company had lost the plot with Telstar.

The following year Ringo Starr bought his first Ludwig from Ivor, after which Trixon’s popularity in the UK plummeted.

Vintage kits Trixon
Trixon Telstar (Model 2000) kit
Telstar conical bass drums required elongated 121⁄2" spurs with the type 'C' ship-form mounting bracket.

This is the second kit from Trixon collector Dave Prince, who says, “Telstars were built from 1962 ’til the early-’70s. This set is a rare one because it is the original style, produced in the first year (1962/63), with the teardrop lugs and big floor tom.”

Dave alludes to the massive 16"-deep floor tom, which has a 16" batter expanding to a 20" diameter resonant side. It is actually the same shell as the bass drum, which has a 16" front end with metal hoop and 20" batter side with wood hoop.

Evidently the floor tom proved too large though, as Dave reveals: “In 1964, Trixon changed to the 16" batter, 14" resonant (still 16"-deep) floor tom.” The small tom goes from 14" to 13" and is 81⁄4" deep. Adding to the kit’s rarity is the Blue Stripes (TX6) finish, which Dave says was typical for UK Trixons, but rarely used on Telstars.”

Vintage kits Trixon
Trixon Telstar (Model 2000) kit
Oblong-lug 14"x5" snare drum is missing its original Trixon clip-on parallel-action snare wires.

“I noticed the kit for sale in the UK and just had to contact the seller immediately,” Dave recalls. “I had an early-1960s Beverley Blue Oyster kit and it transpired that the seller had been after one for ages as he was in a 1960s tribute band. Four hours later I am driving off with this rare kit having agreed the swap for my Beverley.”

Trixon also made a conical snare with 14" batter and 13" resonant. Dave’s however is a standard 14"x5" and has the later oblong lugs.

“The 1963 snare, also in Blue Stripes, was bought from a seller in Scotland. The snare release was broken and I had to fit a spare one that I had stored previously. I have played the kit at many gigs with my two rock’n’roll bands, Sure-Can Rock and Serious Charge, and it always gets a second look due to the conical bass drum.

“I really love the full sound of the floor tom and the bass drum is perfect for those small gigs where you are at the back with not a lot of space.”

Vintage Gear continues each month in Rhythm Magazine.

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