A True Grand Slam
by: Kenneth Hiner
In today's world of piping and drumming, where it seems to be overflowing with new products every day, I was pleasantly surprised with the price and quality of the all new tenor mallet line from acoustIQ. Designed in the United Kingdom by eleven-time World Drum Corps Championship winner Scott Currie I never expected anything less.
Right out of the box my first impression before getting hands on with the new Grand Slams all I could think about was how similar is design they appeared to the TyFry Ultimates. Being that Scott and Tyler work as closely as they do it doesn't surprise me that they would be similar. I must start out by discussing logo and branding. I love how how simple yet sharp acousticIQ's packaging is. Even better, and not that I'm against brands throwing their mark on their products as well as packaging, is that the mallet shafts are completely free from branding giving a smooth finish and sleeker look. Although a minor change from the Ultimates I can't help but think this may add just a bit better balancing to the Grand Slams.
The Grand Slam measures in right about 8.5 inches with a black, injection-molded Acetyl shaft that is a single solid piece from bead to head. I personally like this style of of stick composition having had beads and heads separate in the past while playing other brands. The mallet's foam construction is extremely lightweight and formed tightly around the molded end of the stick. The fur cover for the mallet seems like it may be the weakest aspect of the design. While it has held up well in the time I have been testing them out it they appear on the thin side which with heavy use will lead to faster deterioration. To me this can be easily overlooked being that the Grand Slams are currently one of, if not the lowest priced modern mallet on the market coming in at £24.16 or around $32 US. The Grand Slams also come in 5 basic colors, White, Black, Royal Blue, Emerald Green and Red each with a set of standard black flourishing cords.
As soon I as slipped the Grand Slams on for a couple of quick flourishes I could quickly tell how well balanced they were. From basic swings to the most difficult these mallets felt great handling each flourish with ease. Although lightweight, the mallet's head design offered a nice warm tone from my tenor drum without having to putting any extra strength behind my beatings. In my time testing the Grand Slams I found that this allowed for much cleaner rhythmic expression being able to be more relaxed while playing. I have been using these mallets for about four months now and am happy to see how well they have held up to regular use. While the fur cover has worn out a bit, the foam form has held up nicely still delivering a consistent feel while flourishing and tone while performing rhythm.
Cost combined with quality I really feel that the Grand Slams are a choice that is hard to beat right now. I look forward to spending more time testing them out in both solos and band environments and will gladly update this review as time goes on. If the Grand Slam mallets are any indication of where is acoustIQ is heading with future products I will eagerly await seeing what else they come out with!
For more information on acoustIQ products please visit their site: