Valje Drums

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Valje Drums

Postby mangorockfish » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:31 pm

Which series of Valje drums are probably the best and most sought after? Are the new ones as good as the ones LP did? Also, where would be a good place to get them? I really love their shape and know they have to have great tone. Thanks, Mango'
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Re: Valje Drums

Postby bongosnotbombs » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:38 pm

LP Valjes are Valjes in name only, they are made from Cherry wood. Nice drums though. Original Valjes are great drums. I have two. They are tall drums at 31". It can be difficult to track down a matching set, and frequently expensive. Original Valjes were made for many years, mainly by Tom Flores in LA, but for a couple of years were produced by Akbar in SF. Currently Ralph Flores is making Reolution drums and has also acquired the Valje name and design back from LP. Supposedly he is also making Valjes as well as the Resolutions. I have a set of Resolutions as well and they are great drums.

http://www.resolutiondrums.com/

There is an incredible amount of information on these drums in past posts and on the web. A little searching and research will give you even more information
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Re: Valje Drums

Postby Mike » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:41 pm

Knowing that it is not that much sought after,
I would still take my single 1990s LP siam oak Valje conga onto a lonely island.
Really amazing sound and pure pleasure to play with
a cow skin from Jay Bereck.
Peace & drum
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Re: Valje Drums

Postby bongosnotbombs » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:04 pm

Mike wrote:Knowing that it is not that much sought after,
I would still take my single 1990s LP siam oak Valje conga onto a lonely island.
Really amazing sound and pure pleasure to play with
a cow skin from Jay Bereck.


That's right, I forgot the LP Valjes were also made in siam oak, the LP Armando Peraza Valjes are in Cherry.
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Re: Valje Drums

Postby JohnnyConga » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:13 pm

Here are the New "Sunset Model" Volcano Valje....made by Tom Alexander of Hawaii...

Volcano Valje.jpg
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Re: Valje Drums

Postby mangorockfish » Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:15 pm

OK, I'm getting confused here. According to a previous post, Valjes were made by Tom Flores, then LP started putting their name on them, i.e. LP Valje. It was stated that Tom Flores who has Resolution Drums got the name back from LP and is now making them again. Now JC says that they are being made by Tom Alexander of Valcano Drums. Who is actually making them and are they good, bad, or indifferent in quality. Also is an LP Valje conga worth $400 in mint condition?
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Re: Valje Drums

Postby JohnnyConga » Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:01 pm

Yes Tom Flores(who I knew personally and frequented his shop down on Sunset in L.A.) created and hand made them and called them Valje..Now Tom is no longer around. LP came out with their version of the Armando Peraza Valje Model in the early 1990's...now what Tom has done is make a model after the Valje shape...he calls them the "Sunset Model", after Toms place on Sunset.
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Re: Valje Drums

Postby pcastag » Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:11 pm

The Valje name

!. Original Valjes made in LA
2. SF valjes.
3. LP valjes, three different types, the original Siam Oak, the Armando Peraza Cherry, then later the Armando Peraza in Beech.
4. Resolution drums made by the son of the original owner, newly aquired Valje name back from LP
5. The Tom Alexander Sunset model based on the original valje design in exotic hawaiian woods.

I think that about sums it up.
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Re: Valje Drums

Postby bongosnotbombs » Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:20 pm

It is Ralph Flores that makes Resolution drums. Tom Alexander makes Volcanoes and apparently Johnny posted a Volcano Percussion model with a "Valje like" shape. Tom Alexander is not affiliated with Resolution, Valje or LP, but he does make a heck of a drum.

Tom Flores - Founder of Valje, based in Los Angeles.

Akbar Moghagan / Haight Ashbury Music - Purchase Valje name from Tom Flores and produce San Francisco Valjes. Akbar had worked directly under Tom Flores.

LP - Purchases Valje from Haight Ashbury Music - Produce their own versions of Valje drums. No direct continuity with the original Valje.

Tom Flores - Founds Resolution Drums. Resolution are very similar to Valje, but are required to be slightly different for legal reasons.

Ralph Flores - Tom's son, continues Resolution drums and acquires rights to Valje name and design. Supposedly has begun production of Valje once more.

Tom Alexander - Founder of Volcano Percussion - Produces a drum with a similar shape to Valje, dubbed the "Sunset Model", I assume because Valjes were originally produced in a shop on Sunset Boulevard. (This last bit is from JC's info)
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Re: Valje Drums

Postby bongosnotbombs » Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:31 pm

and some copy/paste

The Gon Bops story begins in early 1950's California. According to legend, it was here that Mariano Bobadilla and Tom Flores began working together building the finest drums available at the time. The two went on to become the most highly regarded conga builders in the percussion industry. Tom founded ValjeÆ Drums and crafted the most sought after Afro-Cuban instruments made in the US, while Mariano founded Gon Bopsô, one of the oldest and most respected manufacturers of Latin instruments in the world.

While Flores' drums concentrated on small, handcrafted wooden stave selection, he moved his design away from the original Cuban shape of the instrument. His innovation lay in the air drying of the staves and scoring the interior to prevent cracking and allow flexibility. He was at the forefront of the industry and his drums were quickly in demand by the best players in the world.

Mariano's designs remained true to the classic Cuban shape, and his innovation lay in the development of the drum hardware. He also designed the first teardrop crown with rounded counter hoop to protect the player's hands. Other innovations included Taroles or wooden timbales, the first pre-mounted replacement heads for congas, chromatic tuned cowbells and numerous stands, adapters and other hardware innovations. Mariano was an inventor who listened to artists and drew much of his inspiration from the instruments themselves.

In the early 1980's Flores sold the Valje name and shop to Haight Ashbury Music of San Francisco, a large retailer of his drums. Akbar Moghaddam, a drum repairman at Haight Ashbury Music, moved to LA to learn how to make the drums directly from Tom. Within a year the entire operation was moved to San Francisco, where the second generation of Valje drums went into production. The drums were still built from Red Oak, the scoring of the staves continued, and the hardware remained the same.

Unfortunately, 2 years later a nearby fireworks company exploded, and the massive fire destroyed the Valje shop and its entire inventory of drums. Consequently, Akbar moved on to launch his own Sol Percussion line and continued building his fantastic drums in San Francisco. The Valje name was purchased by a competitor, and production was moved to Thailand.

Without a doubt, Gon Bops was and had been the undisputed leader in Latin instruments from the 1950's into the early 80's. Even in later years when competitors began making instruments overseas because of cheap labor rates, Mariano insisted on making everything in California. Unfortunately, like many other great American companies, Gon Bops struggled to remain competitive and was finally forced to close its doors.

In 2001 Don Lombardi of DW Drums bought the Gon Bops name. Don had met Mariano in 1978, and often went to the Gon Bops founder for advice when creating his DW brass snare drums. As a tribute to Mariano, DW made it their mission to build the best instruments for percussionists worldwide.

Akbar, now a respected and highly regarded master drum builder with a passion for building instruments, had loomed large on Lombardi's radar for some time. So it was only fitting that Don brought Akbar from Sol Percussion to start building Gon Bops drums, and thus, the Gon Bops legend and tradition were reborn.

And this is where our story comes full circle. Having worked together in the early 1950's, Tom Flores and Mariano Bobadilla became the two most storied builders of drums in the US. Akbar Moghaddam, who learned the craft of building drums from Flores and went on to build the second generation of Valje Drums ñ Flores' revered company ñ is now the master drum builder at Gon Bops, Mariano's legendary percussion company.

Like the master builders before him, Akbar's overriding passion is the quality of the sound, and it is the sound of his drums that continues Mariano's excellent reputation. It is a sound steeped in tradition, the result of all-wood construction of his congas and bongos and a no-compromise approach to raw materials and craftsmanship.
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Re: Valje Drums

Postby Omelenko1 » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:00 pm

LA Tom Flores Valje drums were 31" tall. San Francisco made Valje and LP Valje were 30" tall. That's how you can tell an LA made Valje from the rest.

Dario
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Re: Valje Drums

Postby Hawker » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:05 pm

Could I get an opinion on the LPArmando Peraza edition in cherry? Good drum, great drum? How would the same drum in Oak compare? Found a pair locally but he is asking $800 for the pair. I'm not sure of the year. Seems a bit high unless there is a general concensus that this is a superior conga?

Thanks.
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Re: Valje Drums

Postby Lonz » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:04 am

Any Valje refurbishing specialists in the Northeast?
Also, keeping an eye out for a Tumba.
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