Noble & Cooley
Noble & Cooley is a drum manufacturing company based out of Granville, Massachusetts, mainly known for its snare drums.
The company has been in operation since 1854, when Silas Noble and James Cooley starting building marching snare drums for the Union Army. The company also made toy drum sets for children through most of the 1900s. In the early 1980s, company vice-president Jay Jones (Great-great-great grandson of James Cooley) decided to enter the professional drum arena. He worked closely with designer Bob Gatzen and pulled out of retirement a steam bending machine that was old enough to have survived a fire in 1889. Noble & Cooley first offered its SS Classic solid shell snare drums in 1983. Since then, the company has created many other professional wood and metal snare drums and complete drum sets.
In 1989, and again in 2003, Noble & Cooley teamed up with Zildjian to create snare drums made out of cymbal alloy. These drums were made in very limited quantities and are some of the most collectible drums on the market today.
- CD Maples - These are a set of custom designed drums (hence the CD) made to order. Drums in this series are made to individual requirements and the customer has some input in deciding what sizes of drums and hoops are to be used.
- SS Classic Snares - Still being produced as of 2013, this solid-shelled snare was the first N&C drum model released for professional use in 1983.
- Alloy Classic Snares - Has an aluminum shell that is cast and machined rather than cold-rolled.
- CD Snares - Meant to complement the CD Maple kits.
- SE Snares - The SE in the name stands for "Special Edition". These snare drums borrow innovations from some of the other drums in Noble & Cooley's line.
- Studio Classic Series - The Studio Classics series (kits and snares) were built with the idea of offering a high quality kit at a more affordable price. The kits were made from exactly the same shells as CD Maples but offered in a limited assortment of colors and sizes to reduce costs. The kits also used a different, less expensive, tube style lug that saved of the overall cost.
- Horizon Series - Horizon Series drums were designed to have similar sonic qualities to their discontinued Star Series drums which were solid shells. The Horizons had 6 plies of maple and one interior ply of mahogony to darken the tone. All but 2 plies (for stability) of the 7 plies of wood had horizontal wood grain orientation (hence the name "Horizon"), similar to solid shells as well. They had node mounted tube lugs and diecast hoops.
- Star Series - These drums went into production briefly around 1987. They were solid shell drums (made from one solid piece of maple, stem bent into a circle). These had node mount retaining hoops (required for solid shell drums), node mounted tube lugs and diecast hoops. The most outwardly noticeable characteristic of these drums is their shallow depths, half the depth of most drums made in the 1980s, a necessity since they were bent in the same machine that produced their solid shell snare drums. Sizes were 6x10, 6x12, 6x13, 7x14, 8x16. Bass drums were normal depths since they were not made of solid shells, but were instead 6 ply maple.
The company has a list of endorsers on its website, including Bill Stevenson (Descendents), Dave Joyal (Silent Drive), Bob Mahoney (Bane), and Mike Pedicone (The Bled). Herman Rarebell (Scorpions), Alex Van Halen (Van Halen), and Steve White (Session Legend) have used Noble & Cooley snare drums in their setup, even though the rest of their kit is from a different manufacturer. Phil Collins has played the 3 7/8x14" SS Classic Piccolo since its introduction, and Tre Cool of Green Day calls the 7x14 SS Classic his most prized and "still go-to" snare which he purchased for $600 before recording Dookie in 1993. John Fishman of Phish also uses a set made up of almost entirely Noble and Cooley drums, with the exception of his bass drum.