Me and my keys

When Rob Cook prepared his article about drum-tuning hardware for DRUM!Magazine, he contacted me to ask if I could participate on it. He sent me some questions and asked me to write something about me and my collection. So I did it and he created a nice sketch which was the part of his article in DRUM!Magazine. With kind permisson of Rob I use this article to tell something about me.

THE KEYMASTER

No doubt, if Svatopluk "Arno" Dresler lived in the USA, he would be another Gary Asher, Mike Curotto, or Bun E. Carlos - one of those top-tier collectors with hundreds of snare drums and dozens of kits. Arno has the same passion for drum history and collecting, but this-59-year-old textiles salesman and ´60s-rock drummer lives in a small town in Northern Moravia, in a northeastern section of the Czech Republic, half a world (and a fortune in shipping charges) from the USA-centric collector´s market. He plays a vintage Gretsch kit, an Arbiter Flats kit and an AMATI drum kit of Czech origin, but what he has the most of, more than perhaps any other private collector in the world, is drum keys.
About three years ago, as Arno sat at his Gretsch kit and blanced down at the three tuning keys he had laid out, a light bulb went on. It struck him that drum-tuning keys are often somewhat exclusive to particular drums or outfits. Arno explains that while drum kits have multiple drums of different sizes, lots of cymbals, lots of hardware - in most cases there is only one drum key. The quest began immediately. No longer would shipping expense and storage space limit his collecting ambitions! Arno has since collected more than 316 keys (which should number more like 325by the time you read this) and in the process has learned a great deal about drums, drum companies and, of course, drum-tuning keys.
When I asked Arno if he has an all-time favorite key, he gave the consummate collector answer: "My favorite key is always the newest one i just bought and am awaiting delivery of!" For Arno, collecting is about the thrill of the hunt.
Are there specific keys Arno would like to add to his collection? Of course. The keymaster would especially like to add an Armen Sta-Set (predecessor of the Ludwig Sta-Set), a Billy Gladstone 3-way key and the early Zildjian key (not the big black Z, but the one that resembles Sabians´s current key). Arno, who speaks Czech, German, Polish, Serbian, Russian and a bit of French, credits drum key collecting and the related research with improving his English skills, his drum history expertise and general music knowledge. (He has also made a lot of good friends in the process.)
If anyone out there has a unique key that you do not see represented at Arno´s Web site, drumkeys.eu, please drop him a line at info@drumkeys.eu. (Even if the key is not for sale, Arno would like to document as many keys as possible and would very much appreciate a photo!)

-R.C.
Drum! September 2010















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