There is a saying, "No es la flecha, es el Indio..." What this basically means is that it doesn't matter what kind of arrow you are using, because if you are skillfull enough you are going to get the job done. Same goes for instruments in most cases, as I am sure that Giovanni Hidalgo could get more sounds out of a wooden stool than most could out of some Juniors. That said, I believe a good drum goes a long way, and ever the discerning percussionist I would like to add a little info if I may.
Matthew Smith out of the Philly area has been making drums for many a year now, and his drums have been played by a wide variety of people. Pablo Batista and Jerry Gonzalez are two that readily come to mind. Matt is working on an oak tres golpe for me, and I am pretty excited since he is going to be using his new style crown hardware on my drum (and all future drums for that matter).
What I like about Matt is that not only is he confident in his work, he is also pretty low key. Up until recently the only way to get in contact with Matt was strictly through word of mouth, and I am sure Matt would like it to remain that way if possible. For those interesed check out his website and drop him a line. He makes conga, bongo, bata, timbal, bells, cajones, and supplies skins as well. And let me not forget to mention that he does extensive repair work on drums as well. And for the record he was never an "apprentice" of Jay Bereck.
Ok, lets move on shall we? I got an email this morning from artisan,tambolero completo and apkwon, Ezequiel Torres out of Miami, responding to an inquiry about his chekere pricing.
As far as his chekeres are concerned you can get a set for $600 (3), and as you can tell his chekeres are a work of art. He makes bata, cajon, iyesa drums, and congas I believe. You can check out his website and shoot him an email, but it would probably be better to call and even better if you know a lil' Spanish.