The Cymbomute Story...
The short version of Hugh's Cymbomute journey from kitchen table to micro-multinational.
It started in 1997. Hugh Lawrence was learning how to play Jazz Ride patterns and his drum teacher gave him a homemade cymbal mute, simply a band to stretch around the rim of the ride. The idea of a 'stretch it around the rim' cymbal mute is a simple tried and tested concept. BBC engineers when filming 'Top of the Pops' used to do the same thing as far back as the 1960's, and a few people (like his teacher) had either made their own or sold homemade versions via local drum shops.
As the years went on Hugh continued to make his 'cymbal belts' for himself, and his drum students - even passing some on to other drum teachers around the NorthWest of England. Many people commented that he could "sell these things" as they were such an effective and simple item. During the Christmas break of 2012, Hugh coined the name 'Cymbomute' and started to think about how to market them and produce them to a good quality. In Spring 2013 cymbomute.com opened for business.
Initially Hugh was making up Cymbomute orders himself with his late mother's sewing machine on the kitchen table. Sales were a trickle, but it was enough to see that Cymbomute was worth persuing. Before long, the unique material used for cymbomutes was commissioned, packaging was designed, the logo label added, and a professional seamstress was employed to keep up with demand. in 2014 Cymbomute GOLD was offered as an alternative colour. In 2015, the Cymbomute WIDE RIDE was launched for larger cymbals.
Nominated for 'Best Drum Innovation 2014' by Music Radar, Cymbomute has recieved great press from: Mike Dolbear, Rhythm Magazine, Drummer Magazine, Modern Drummer, Drum! and Drumhead magazine - all running features and reviews.
By late 2015, Cymbomutes are being made to exacting standards by computer controlled cutting and sewing machines in a UK factory, the material remains a custom weave of top quality, and they are shipped to dozens of countries. Retail giant Amazon came onboard and they hold cymbomute stock across Europe, the USA and Canada.
Now as we head towards 2017, Hugh is always seeking ways to improve Cymbomute, find new sales avenues, and get his cymbomutes into the hands of more drummers who value (as he does) the feel of practicing on REAL cymbals but at lower volume. - No need to tolerate a "not what you use on stage" practice set-up!
As well as running Cymbomute Ltd, Hugh continues to hold a position as head of Percussion at Cheadle Hulme School, and keeps a busy diary of professional playing engagements around the NorthWest of England. He is proud of the fact the Cymbomute is 100% UK made, and it has become a serious enterprise to help him support his family.