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September 16, 1994|By ROBERT McCABE Business Writer

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Butch Trucks doesn’t assume to be a guy who would charge addition boom set.

Since 1969, he’s been one of two drummers for The Allman Brothers Band, creators of such ’70s hits as Ramblin’ Man and arguably the best acclaimed bedrock bandage to accept roots in Florida.

“I’ve approved best of them,” Trucks said afresh from his Jupiter home, apropos to drums fabricated by some of the bigger names in the business, companies such as Ludwig, Gretsch and Tama.

So aback Dick Filkins, admiral of Stingray Percussion, a small, fiberglass boom aggregation in West Palm Beach, fabricated a algid alarm at Trucks’ advanced aperture one black aftermost year, agreeable him to bead by his boutique to blast on a few tom-toms, Trucks didn’t get too excited.

“He said, `You got to get actuality and comedy these drums,’ and I said, `Right, fiberglass drums,” Trucks recalled.

But that was afore he approved them.

“I was absolute away. These are absolutely acceptable drums,” said Trucks, 47, who began arena with the Gregg and Duane Allman in Jacksonville 25 years ago and who confused into Filkins’ Jupiter adjacency aftermost year.

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Trucks admired the fiberglass drums so abundant he bought one set – they advertise for anywhere from $2,600 to about $6,000 – and adopted addition he acclimated to almanac The Allman Brothers’ latest anthology and to comedy at such gigs as Woodstock ’94 and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

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“You can’t buy that advertising,” Filkins said afresh in his West Palm Beach office, pointing to a Tonight Show photograph in which the name “Stingray” is acutely arresting on Trucks’ bass drum.

Stingray, which Filkins and a adolescence acquaintance from Philadelphia, Bill Kaufmann, started in 1988, is a little angle in the almost little pond that is the $165 million-a-year boom business in the United States.

Drums, cymbals, sticks and added bang instruments annual for alone a atom of the nation’s $4.6 billion a year agreeable instruments business, a business that appears to be growing beyond the board, said Jerry Derloshon of the California-based National Association of Music Merchants.

But with the advice of bodies like Trucks, Filkins and Kaufmann are acquisitive to win aback a allotment of the U.S. boom bazaar from Japanese firms such as Yamaha, Tama and Pearl, which accept bedeviled it for the accomplished 15 years.

“We’re aggressive adjoin multimillion-dollar corporations,” Kaufmann said. “Yahama – let’s face it. They’re into every-thing…. For a baby aggregation to compete, it’s tough, but we’re accomplishing it,” he said.

Brian Majeski, editor of The Music Trades, the N.J.-based barter cardboard of the music industry, says it’s a boxy business for anybody to be in.

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For years, the best drums in the apple were fabricated in the midwestern United States by companies such as Ludwig, Slingerland and Rogers.

Craftsmen acclimated copse such as maple and besom to actualize drums with sounds so balmy and affluent they were approved by drummers worldwide.

In the backward 1960s and aboriginal ’70s, however, U.S. firms’ lock on the bazaar began to accord way, for a array of reasons.

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Japanese firms again fabricated their moves.

“In a nutshell, the guys at Pearl and Tama absolutely came in on the base of cost,” Majeski said.

Because of lower activity costs and beneath acrimonious ecology adjustment of drum-production processes such as metal plating, the Japanese were able to accomplish accessories as acceptable or bigger than their American counterparts, and to advertise it at prices 20 percent to 30 percent less, Majeski said.

“It’s the aforementioned affair that happened to every added business in the United States,” Kaufmann said.

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Lifelong drummers and accompany back brand school, Filkins and Kaufmann, who are both 56, lamented the abatement of handmade drums.

In the mid-1980s, they began to anticipate of starting a aggregation that would accomplish fiberglass drums – a artefact beneath accessible than copse to acclimate changes and warping.

Filkins, who endemic a acknowledged burglarand fire-alarm close in West Palm Beach, and Kaufmann, who endemic his own electronics aggregation in Philadelphia, anon abutting up in Palm Beach County and with $20,000 began Stingray.

In 1989, the company’s aboriginal abounding year, Stingray had sales of about $100,000. By aftermost year, the aggregation had sales of $780,000 – best of it in boot drums awash to aerial schools civic and universities such as Florida, Pittsburgh and Duke.

Today, Stingray is acquisitive to body on its success in the boot bandage business by accretion into boom set sales – a $46 actor a year bazaar nationwide.

Money, though, isn’t aggregate to Filkins and Kaufmann, who say that, in their own way, they are aggravating to bottle a dying craft.

“A lot of the history of drums isn’t about any more,” said Kaufmann. “They had drums continued afore they had bugles. It was a agency of communication. Hannibal, bridge the Alps, had drums.”

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“We apperceive what we want,” Filkins said.

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