The Family @ Flint Percussion

We met the marvellous Merseyside manufacturing family responsible for the ground-breaking innovation behind Flint Percussion, and it's proprietary suspended shell system.  Flint have produced some outstanding snare drums and arguably the best piccolo reggae crack that we have ever heard. From a background in pipe band and parade drums, to acclaimed modern kit drums used by high profile artists, we wanted to hear a bit more about the Holding family and what makes them 'tick' (or 'tap', as the case may be).

My first faux-pas was from an early chat with the Flint head honcho, when I unwittingly called the system a 'basket' (as per various halfway solutions proffered by large brands over the years), to which the retort came... ''kittens come in baskets, Fraser, tigers come in cages!''  Once I saw and heard these drums in action, then got to know the physics of the revolutionary cage system, its benefits and game-changing possibilities, it became very apparent that we were not looking at your average cat.....


Whats your name, and where do you come from (in our best Cilla accent)?

Julie Holding from Merseyside, UK


Whats your 'thing' and how did it come about?

Our daughters aged 10 and 12 wanted to play the high tension marching snare drum in a local pipe band. Although they were decent drummers, the weight of drums available at that time made it impossible for them to carry. Their Dad, being from an engineering background set about looking at how these drums may be redesigned to make them lighter. After some trials, it was found that the drum skin tensioning system needed to alter if any weight was going to be reduced. This led to the development of the 'Suspended Shell' system of tensioning whereby only the drum skins are in contact with the drum shell, as this would lead to the elimination of the very heavy Suspension Hoop from high tension drums.  Although it was commented at the time that such a system would never work because the shell would collapse under extreme high tension, we set about strengthening the cyclinder (drumshell) in such a way that high tension could be achieved via the shell without problem. From these designs and developments the Flint Super XTS high tension pipe band snare drum was born.


Do you get to play much yourselves?

As a family, we have been involved with music for many years including many different styles and instruments but our daughters have both been able to play in pipe bands since the development of the Super XTS.


What do you love most about drums?

It is the sizzle and crack of the high tension pipe band snare drums that runs through our bones. We attend parades and competitons whenever time allows.


What sort of challenges have you faced with this idea, and how did it find itself behind a drum kit?

As a development from marching drums, we decided to look at producing a snare drum for use in drum kit. Once again we were advised by many not to do this as the custom kit drum market was swamped already. However, we found that the reaction of some kit drummers to our unique design was that of excitement and anticipation so we continued down this line. Some did comment that a kit snare drum with equal tension heads would never work, but we were at pains to explain that equal tension did not mean equal pitch. Pitch is a function of not just tension but also of drum head material characteristic. For example a thicker stronger head will not achieve the same pitch as a thinner head for the same tension setting.

However, once a drummer of some standing decided that he liked our system of the Suspended Shell, we didn’t receive as many negative comments. We are delighted to say that the Jimmy Brown, the drummer of UB40 plays our snare and believes it to be the best snare he has ever played.

Check out his review and a sound clip here...

Thanks guys, we can't wait to hear what's next for Flint!


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