The DW Timeline
DW drums began back in 1972 when Don Lombardi opened a small teaching studio in Santa Monica, Calif. He named the studio Drum Workshop and offered private lessons and monthly workshops. Soon after, DW began selling sticks, books and drums to help subsidize expenses.
When DW received a purchase order for 100 seats from Camco Drum Co., Don that they had an innovative product that would sell. However, when DW created the original trap case seat, they had the capacity and personnel to create only a dozen seats a month, not 100. Don was still teaching and playing a nightly gig whilst colleague John Good built the products. Shortly thereafter, Camco Drum Co. owner Tom Beckman approached Don in 1977 with an offer to sell him Camco's machinery, dies and moulds, everything it took to make Camco drums and hardware—everything except the Camco name itself. This gave Don the opportunity to expand his capacity for creating the seats and to expand his product line.
Don purchased Camco's tooling and reintroduced the Camco 5000 nylon strap bass drum pedal under the DW name. The pedal was refined to improve consistency, quietness, smoothness and adjustability of its mechanical operation. By the '80s, with endorsements by the world's top drummers, an expanding dealer network and a strong marketing campaign, DW's full line of top-quality bass drum pedals and hi-hat stands had created a unique market position for the small American company. Meanwhile, DW Drums were starting to attract attention throughout the drumming world, as well. To accommodate the increased demand for its hardware products, DW doubled its manufacturing space, moving to Newbury Park, Calif.
With Tommy joining Jim Keltner, Chad Wackerman, Larrie Londin and other high-profile players, DW produced their first serious drum catalog and went to the January 1990 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show, hoping to interest a handful of their top pedal dealers to each take one drum kit.
Since its first debut at NAMM, DW has pioneered the Delta Tri-Bearing pedal system featuring the patented Delta ball-bearing hinge, the Edge brass/maple snare drum, the concept of smaller F.A.S.T.® tom-tom sizes, the Woofer Bass Drum Tone Enhancer and the True-Pitch® Tuning System. In addition, DW has perfected a wide variety of Lacquer, Satin Oil and FinishPly™ drum finish choices. Today, drummer's drummers such as Sheila E., Terry Bozzio, Neil Peart, Marco Minnemann and Gary Novak, along with drummers of popular acts such as Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Dixie Chicks, Incubus, Mana, Missy Elliott, Avril Lavigne and so many more have chosen to play DW Drums, Pedals and Hardware exclusively.
To accommodate an increasing need for space, DW moved to its current facility in Oxnard, Calif., in 2000. That same year, DW created a new line of drums called Pacific Drums and Percussion to meet the demand for entry to mid-level players. The new line still uses some custom techniques, but primarily uses computerized machinery to cut costs and reduce steps to create high-quality drums in large quantities. DW moved most production of Pacific drums to a DW-run factory in Ensenada, Mexico, in 2002. Pacific Drums have now made DW's innovation and quality available to a larger market, while still maintaining the reputation of DW drums as high-end unique instruments.
DW's 30th anniversary also marked the release of the most technologically advanced pedal on the market. A limited number of precisely machined Titanium 9000 single and double pedals were released as testament to the custom features and patented technology that has continued to make DW pedals an industry standard. Later that year, the road- worthy production version of the 9000 series pedal was released and featured patented Floating Rotor Technology. Over the years, one thing at DW has remained constant, a ceaseless enthusiasm and the desire to keep making things better so that drummers can continue to raise the bar.