by: Kenneth Hiner
I started learning Scottish drumming in 1999 learning from my Pipe Majors daughter. What began as spending time with family, my oldest brother and father being in the snare section, turned into so much more. Through out the years of continual learning I am happy to see how far mallets have come, especially tenor. I have several memories of bashing my nose learning the pinwheel with a super long, hard as a rock off brand band of tenor mallets. Since 1999 I have had the pleasure to try many different brands and am quite pleased with the newest model from TyFry: TyFry Ultimates.
Pulling my first personal pair out of the package several months ago the first thing that stood out to me was the new shafts. While being lighter weight they seemed stronger than ever. The re-designed mallet head is also a huge improvement, though took some getting used to after years of using the bulkier Classic and Platinum versions. After setting my new cords that came with the mallets, a lot stouter than the previous cords which you can get in flat or round styles, I decided to give them a test run and I was really impressed! Every flourish and transition seemed so much smoother and more balanced, giving a beautiful tone from the drum. I have yet to notice any wear in this first pair that I purchased and they continue to work great.
After several members of our band’s drum section gave them and try and liking both the look and feel of the Ultimates we decided to out fit the entire midsection. We have been working with the Utlimate Practice, Tenor, and Bass mallets for two weeks now and can already tell a difference in tone and flourishing. The practice mallets are a huge plus for all of our work at the chanter table with the pipers. They are balanced just right to where you can perform flourishing and the rubber heads allow for clear sound off of the table with out having to misshape your regular mallets after repeated use.
Last I would like to discuss the brand new TyFry Ultimate Bass Mallets. Having played bass for several years I have used brands from Twisted Thistle to M&G and my biggest concern taking the new Ultimate brand out of the box was how light they were and the shape of the head being more like the tenor mallets than your typical bass. The head of the mallet is a larger version of the new tenor and instead of an injection molded shaft this model is wood. My first run on our bands larger Pipe Band Edition Pearl took a little work to find the sweet spot with the new mallets but by the end of practice they were starting to get comfortable with the exception of needing to add some grip tape to help with the smoothness of the sticks. On my second run trying them out I decided to give them a go on our 26” Premier Professional bass and man did the drum sing! Anyone interested in the bass mallets would need to spend some time getting used to lightweight and smaller design than most others on the market and also tweak the tuning on their bass to maximize the tone.
Overall I would definitely recommend the new TyFry Ultimate mallet range to any mid section or solo tenor/bass drummer. The tenor mallets are by far some of, if not the best, I have ever used and the bass mallets are a great first run! Here is a shot of the bass mallets in action from the St. Thomas Alumni Pipe Band in August!
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