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Location: Portland, Oregon
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The XP8 / XP10 Big R Beauties: History, Observations & Opinions


The XP8 and XP10 Era

Introduced in 1979, the Rogers XP8 drums were made from 8 ply "prime New England rock maple" with no reinforcement rings. The seams were staggered for strength. Inner and outer plies were matched finish layers. The bearing edges were cut to 45 degrees, so they were built more like today's drums. The sound is a more modern boomy, though "warm & woody," sound that finds itself at home on any stage today.

They are reputed to be the best shells that Rogers ever made (according to the Rogers Book and other sources), and they had a price that reflected it, as memory serves me. Over the short production run, the costs were just too great and the Japanese were flooding the market with popular plastic shells at cheap prices with excellent copycat Memriloc-style hardware. Rogers hadn't protected their patent, so they were now competing against both the Japanese prices and their own engineering. Thus began the decline of the company.

The XP8s can be differentiated from the earlier 5 ply "Big R" models in a few ways: (1) The XP8s had a clear lacquer finish on the interior, and they had no reinforcement rings. Note that the wood finish "Big R" 5 plies also had a clear interior finish, but they had reinforcement rings. (2) The XP8 drums have the Big R badge (and thus the vent) placed opposite the Memriloc mount. The 5 ply Big R drums have the badge/vent placed either to the left or right of the Memriloc mount. The effect is that the XP8 badges face away from the audience while the 5 ply Big R will either face toward or away, depending upon whether a drum is positioned left or right. (3) The term "XP8" was placed underneath the Rogers logo on the bass drum head. (4) Some XP8s did not have serial numbers. This fact can be traced to at least one kit that was bought in the short time that the factory had moved to Monrovia from Fullerton, so one theory is that it was the Monrovia shells that did not have serial numbers.

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Wood Dynasonics were not available from 1973 until they were again advertised in 1982 and 1983 in the last Rogers catalog. Longroll offers that these could be special-ordered, so there may be some out there, but they would be 5 ply and have reinforcement rings--a very rare find. The wood Dynas were called "XP10s" because they were made from 10 ply prime New England rock maple, without reinforcement rings. They had a unique thumbwheel lock mechanism on each tension rod on the player's side to keep the tensioners from loosening.

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The XP10 Dynas had a serial number on the Big R logo. They were available in natural maple finish only. Again, some of the experts on the site say that you could special order anything you wanted, so there may be some obscenely rare XP10 Dynas out there in some flashy wrap. Also, in 1982 green felt lug isolators were installed on the XP10s. In 1983, the color was changed to black, and the felt isolators were added to the wood finish XP8 drums.

It can be argued that because of the short production run of the XP8 series, and higher sales of far east kits (including Rogers' own inexpensive imports), there weren't many XP8s built. These models may be the most rare of Rogers drums, with the possible exception of products from the early days through the 40s or 50s. Some day, collectors might notice this overlooked fact. However, today, the Big R logo just doesn't reflect the understated elegance that the script badge emanates, so this may be an albatross for the XP8s until perceptions change, which I predict they will.

One thing that can't be argued: Rogers made very, very few of the XP10 maple thumbwheel Dynasonics, as they were built for only two years, and the COB models were still the most popular at the time. They offered 5", 6.5" and 8" versions, of which, according to Ploughman, the 5" is the most rare. Note: Rogers also built wood Super-Ten snares and a brass Dynasonic in this brief time period of 1982 - 1983.

The XP8 kits are still considered strong and reliable enough for touring today--and they arguably sound superior to drums of current manufacture. Craig Krampf, who appears on the cover of the 1980 XP8 catalog, claims that his XP8's are still his favorite drums. The hardware is bulletproof and still intact after 20 plus years of touring. You can see him playing with Kim Carnes' band performing "Bette Davis Eyes" on his Rogers set, circa 1983; it's on the internet on You Tube.

John Cermenaro, the last R&D Manager and later Production Manager of the Rogers Drum Company still plays his XP8s and XP10 snares today. He has a band called Jam-Bone in New Jersey.

Note his elaborate cymbal and tom setup using the trusty Memriloc hardware:

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To conclude: the XP8s were the last and best of the American made Rogers drums, according to sources. They were built at the pinnacle of the company's engineering success and reputation. There were very few manufactured, and even less of the XP10 maple Dynasonic snares.

CREDITS: Some of the information here is excerpted from the Rogers Book, although the author, Rob Cook, tends to concentrate on the earlier drums like many of us on the forum. There is hardly a mention of the late 10 ply Dynas. I got that information from the 1982/83 American and Japanese catalogs, and a discussion with Ploughman on the auction thread about "Thumbwheel Dynas." Other information is from Longroll, and I ask that both of these experts correct me if some facts are mistaken or have been eliminated. Additional information on XP8s and XP10s was gained through internet searches and a visit to the factory in 1980, at which time I met with the production manager, Gil Madrid, and hand picked the shells for a new kit. As a final note, in the Rogers Book there are some interesting anecdotes on William Schultz, the CBS executive who appears to have intentionally sabotaged Rogers so that he could sell the company at fire sale prices in 1985 to a consortium consisting [sign in to see URL]! This was after he robbed the company of assets in the finest tradition of the "Corporate Raider" mentality that was popular at the end of that decade.

Last edited by tommykat1, 3/3/2008, 9:37 pm
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Re: The XP8 / XP10 Big R Beauties: History, Observations & Opinions


In a different thread, toyz2sell wrote:

quote:

toyz2sell wrote:

 ...A DW kit that I had was firewood compared to my XP-8s.



I responded:

quote:

tommykat1 wrote:

Toys2sell, your comment about DW intrigues me. We here at this site are obviously very slanted toward Rogers. So the question is, are the new mass produced drums really that bad overall? Is the only way to get a good drum kit to go to a boutique maker and/or find a vintage set?

I'd heard that DW makes good drums. Do they have anything that compares at all to the various Rogers USA series?

About XP8s: I have a Dayton Headliner kit, which is great for jazz, but my XP8 Londoner 7 in tobacco sunburst just gives me joy to look at, let alone play.






Last edited by tommykat1, 12/12/2007, 10:50 am
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Re: The XP8 / XP10 Big R Beauties: History, Observations & Opinions


Additional comments by toyz2sell:

quote:

toyz2sell wrote:

Well, I had a black XP-8 kit for about 23 years and played thousands of gigs, had the drums in and out of cars and trailers and the black finish was about the same when I sold them as when I got them. I don't know how they used to wrap the XP8s but they stand the test of time. Those maple shells sounded great from the start with pinstripes and only got better with age. The only reason I sold them was that the Memri-loc tom mounts were wearing out and the bearing edges were rounded. I ceratinly could have had them re-done but wanted to try a few other kits. A friend of mine has the series before XP8 with the smae hardware but gray interiors. They sound awesome too!

In '97 I bought into the advertising and bought a $3k set of DWs with a marine pearl wrap. I gotta be honest, they sounded great (after trying 3 different types of heads). But if you're a working drummer - in the clubs as long as you're playing a professional kit, you can't tell that much of a difference and in the studio all they want to do is have you kill the ring. So, what's all the hype about the suspended mounting? There is so much un-necessary over engineering done on drums today for people to buy into.

The DW kit was just not road worthy. The L-rod tom mounts kept stripping out and the finish started splitting after 2 years. DW customer service was very helpful. They replaced the drums that were split and the mounting problems, but with they sent me the wrong color white pearl. I was horrified. I sold them and bought a '71 Ludwig stainless steel kit that was cool but NOWHERE near the quality of Rogers.

I have played on a lot of different house kits DW, Pacific, new Sonor and there are a lot of decent affordable sets, but, none compare to my XP8s. They were just built so well and were so sturdy. Once these companies started mass producing it was over. You can get all kinds of cheap maple and birch shell packs now but none can touch the quality of a used Rogers XP8 that you'll find for a fraction of the cost.

To answer your question... There are some really good new drums out there but you have to really do your homework and make sure of what you're getting. What you save up front on going with cheaper hardware and lighter rims quickly comes back to haunt you on gigs. I, personally, would stick with vintage drums and have a boutique re-work them if necessary. You just can't get your investment back from boutique drums. For a rock gig, I would definitely look for a used XP8 kit again. They were like a best kept secret back in the 80s when TAMA and Pearl were getting so big.

One last [sign in to see URL] saw that the Rogers name is back in the drum shops as YAMAHA bought the rights to the name and started putting out a really inferior cheap drum set with the Rogers USA logo. What a sin!





Last edited by tommykat1, 12/12/2007, 10:50 am
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Re: The XP8 / XP10 Big R Beauties: History, Observations & Opinions


Great story, Toyz. I am so pleased to hear of an expert who has been using XP8s for years and prefers them over the other drums out there. I feel the same about mine and agree that these STILL seem to be a best kept secret.

By the way there's a natural maple Londoner 7 XP8 available on eBay right now. Looks very good.
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ThePloughman Profile
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Re: The XP8 / XP10 Big R Beauties: History, Observations & Opinions


If you can grab one of these XP10 Dynasonics or Supertens for a great price, do it. Hang onto it. In time it will appreciate immensely. They are rare. Especially those 5x14s.
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JohnC 1984 Profile
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The XP8 / XP10 Big R Beauties: History, Observations


quote:

tommykat1 wrote:

The XP8 and XP10 Era

The XP10 Dynas had a serial number on the Big R logo. They were available in natural maple finish only. Again, some of the experts on the site say that you could special order anything you wanted, so there may be some obscenely rare XP10 Dynas out there in some flashy wrap.


From 1981 to 1984, the only wood snare drums the factory produced were natural maple. We did not put pearl covering on snare drums. Rogers did not have a "custom shop" to produce one-off's for customers like Fender does today with guitars.

However, there were some custom one-of-a-kind drums made in R&D's "Model Shop." Some were experimental designs, some were to test different finishes or colors, and some were for Rogers endorsers. Tommykat has one we made for Gina Schock of the Go-Go's. These instruments are out there somewhere, and they are bound to turn up.

[Note that we did not call the covering a "wrap." Regardless of the color, it was called "pearl." No idea why, that's what they were calling it when I got there in 1980.]

- John Cermenaro
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Re: The XP8 / XP10 Big R Beauties: History, Observations & Opinions


JohnC, I love it! I never called it a wrap either until I started frequenting all the drum forums.

Some other recollections:

USED TO BE [sign in to see URL] REFERRED TO AS...
Drum [sign in to see URL] Kit
Bass [sign in to see URL] Drum
Color (as in "my color is
blue sparkle!)...........................Wrap
Blue [sign in to see URL] Glass Glitter

Last edited by tommykat1, 3/3/2008, 9:41 pm
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Re: The XP8 / XP10 Big R Beauties: History, Observations & Opinions


John, you bring up an intriguing point. Do you recall any of the endorsement drums you built, like the Gina Schock snare? Anything that we should keep our eyes on for future auctions?
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Re: The XP8 / XP10 Big R Beauties: History, Observations & Opinions


I had a huge black XP-8 set back in the 80s and 90s. It was the best thing I had, hands down. Sold it late in the 90s, but found a set of Midnight Mist XP-8s about a year ago off of Craig's List. After a year of playing these, I have to agree with all of the comments made above-there really is not a better set of drums out there. They look, sound and play like a dream. Everyone else who plays them agrees.

I also found a set of black 1977ish Londer 5s with the 5" Dyna. They are nice, but can't compare much to the XP-8s.

Best part is that my 10 14 15 16 24 XP-8s cost me $400 total! Peanuts for such great drums that have stood the test of time and continue to deliver such a wallop. They have not been taken down as the practice kit yet. As soon as I find a set of affordable cases, they are gonna tour with me.

---
1981ish Midnight Mist XP-8: 10 12 13 14 Rack Toms 15, 16 & 18 Floor Toms 22 & 24 Bass Drums 14x7.5" Snare Drum
1977ish 14x5" COB Dynasonic
1980ish 14x6.5" COS SuperTen
1981ish Silver Metallic XP-8 22x14" horizontal bass drum
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Re: The XP8 / XP10 Big R Beauties: History, Observations & Opinions


Way cool, Bigtone. I never get tired of these great Rogers stories.
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