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In 1972, Drum Workshop (DW) started out as a small teaching studio by Don Lombardi (age 26) in Santa Monica, CA. There Don offered both private lessons and monthly workshops.
John Goodman (age 17) met Lombardi after seeing a Yellow Pages ad for Drum Workshop; he started taking drum lessons and would eventually (years later) become the company's Vice President.
Lombardi decided to expand Drum Workshop, bringing in investors, additional teachers, and began selling drumsticks, books and drums to help subsidize the studio's expenses. John Good become a part-time sales manager.
Lombardi and Good spent numerous hours brainstorming on how to improve current drum products. One of their ideas was a new design for a height-adjustable trap-case seat. They averaged about a dozen seat sales per month, so John was able to "quit his day job." When DW received a purchase order from Camco Drum Company for 100 seats, they knew they were on to something. In fact some 30 years later, DW now offers a new version of the trap-case adjustable seat, made from a lighter weight material — the 6100 Adjustable Trap-Case Seat.
In 1977, Camco Drum Co. owner Tom Beckman approached Lombardi to purchase all of Camco's machinery, dies and molds — everything it took to make Camco drums and hardware — everything except the Camco name itself. This gave Don the opportunity to expand his capacity for creating the drum seats and to expand his product line. The offer was accepted and Drum Workshop changed its direction from teaching and selling to manufacturing.
Having borrowed most of the money from his parents and some from outside investors, Lombardi purchased Camco's tooling, opening DW for business as a manufacturer on March 22, 1979.
DW reintroduced the Camco 5000 nylon strap bass drum pedal under their own name, refining the original design by improving consistency, quietness, smoothness and adjustability of its mechanical operation. As the pedal was rapidly becoming "the drummer's choice," Don continued to search for ways to further improve it.
The addition of the Chain & Sprocket drive system in 1980 not only vastly improved the DW pedal, but also helped set it apart from others on the market. Three years later, DW introduced a double bass drum pedal that incorporated a unique linkage with universal joints. DW's 5002 Double Pedal not only filled a need and solidified DW's position in the market as innovators, it ushered in a whole new era in drumming since, for the first time, single bass drum players could now use both feet to create new rhythms and increase speed. Throughout the '80s, DW created other innovative DW hardware, such as the rotating two-leg 5500T and the remote (cable) 5502LB hi-hat stands, to meet the needs of DW Pedal endorsers like Travis Barker, Abe Laboriel Jr., Vinnie Colaiuta, Gary Novak and Carter Beauford.
As Don was developing DW Pedals and Hardware, John was on the road building his expertise as a drum technician — learning the unique range where a drum sounds its best — eventually leading him to create DW's unique Timbre Matching system.
By the '80s, with endorsements by the world's top drummers, an expanding dealer network and a strong marketing campaign, DW's full line of top-quality bass drum pedals and hi-hat stands had created a unique market position for the small American company. Meanwhile, DW Drums were starting to attract attention throughout the drumming world, as well. To accommodate the increased demand for its hardware products, DW doubled its manufacturing space, moving to Newbury Park, California.