By Will Yannacoulias
With 20 years experience as a local drum teacher and having played with a number of Saskatchewan and Alberta bands, Kenny Kuzniar is well known in Prince Albert music circles. Kuzniar came into the international spotlight recently when Modern Drummer magazine (which he avidly read since childhood) featured a custom kit he designed to celebrate three decades as a drummer. Kuzniar shared with NSMZ a bit about his dream kit and the experience of appearing in in the pages of Modern Drummer.
Kuzniar’s resume is impressive. “I've been a Drum Teacher and a Percussion Educator for over 20 years in Prince Albert” he shared. “I've been an SEN (Sabian Education Network) Member with Sabian Cymbals for the last 3 years in Canada & USA.” Kuzniar began drumming in 1988 and toured Canada in a number of bands such as Legacy, Rachel's Remedy, Idle Thoughts, Fresh Oil Opus, Planet B, Lemon, The Thoughts and The Flickers.
To celebrate thirty years as a drummer Kuzniar embarked on a two year project to build his absolute dream kit. The handcrafted maple kit was made by Kelvington, Saskatchewan drum manufacturer Dustin Drummond, representing Kuzniar’s style as well as his home province. Elaborating on his choice, Kuzniar explained that “Drummond has been experimenting with different shell recipes in an effort to custom build the perfect drum kit or snare to fit a specific drummer’s needs and style.”
Kuzniar excitedly shared the technical specifications on his project. “Dustin builds all of his shells using stave construction because they have a low fundamental note with a wide tuning range and a good mix of attack and sustain. The bearing edges are dual 45 but progressively more rounded over as the size increases to achieve the thunderous sound I was looking for. The drums are finished with nitrocellulose lacquer outside and oiled and waxed on the interior, then fitted with brass tube lugs and 2.3mm brass hoops. The 30th anniversary kit is handcrafted from maple and includes a 24x8 bass drum; 8x8, 10x10, and 12x6 rack toms; and 16x16 and 18x18 floor toms. The snare is a 6 1/2x14 DW Collector's Series in polished brass. Cymbals are Sabian AAX, HH, and AA series models, and the hardware is mixture of DW 5000 Series (hi-hat stand and double-bass pedal) and Yamaha (cymbal stands and tom rack). I use Vic Firth SD2 drumsticks and sit on a Pork Pie drum throne.”
Pictures of Kuzniar’s jaw-dropping drum kit circulated online, eventually reaching the desk of Michael Molenda, the New Jersey based Content Director for Modern Drummer Magazine. Kuzniar recalls that “Mike reached out to me after seeing photos of my 30 year Custom Handcrafted Saskatchewan Anniversary Kit on the internet, and told me he would like to do a write up on my custom build for Modern Drummer Magazine in May 2021. The Anniversary Kit is featured as a ‘True Colors- Kit Of The Month’ from the custom paint job on the shells, which were chosen to represent the colors of my past drum sets I toured Canada with. The interview and feature article was a very exciting experience.”
Kuzniar’s Modern Drummer feature article is available (with subscription) here: https://www.moderndrummer.com/article/true-colors/
Photo courtesy of Rosalie Kuzniar