SKIN ON SKIN's Please comment

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Skin on Skin Percussion

Postby KING CONGA » Thu May 22, 2008 1:40 am

Skin on Skin Percussion has not gone away I am Jay Bereck's ONLY apprentice and plan to carry on the good name and high quality of Skin on Skin drums for a long time. Many sites that I visit say that Jay is retired and that is not true. My name is Joshua Scott and I have been working with the master drum maker for almost two years and things are going great. If anyone wishes to contact us we are currently accepting orders please feel free to call 607 639 2417 Mon-Fri 9am-5pm eastern standard time.
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Re: Skin on Skin Percussion

Postby Tonio » Thu May 22, 2008 3:33 am

Hola Joshua!! Good to hear from you on the best conga board :D
Good to hear Jay's work continues in your hands . My understanding is that Matthew Smith was an earlier apprentice to Jay, at least that is what I heard. Is this true, and if so, what is your opinion on his work.
I am sure inquiring minds will want to know, and sorry if it is intrusive but what is the turn around time on a normal set order? Is there any other information you could share with us about SOS, or would you prefer to have inquiries called in at the tel# you posted. I ask mainly because some folks may not be familiar w/ SOS, and thought it would be a great opportunity for you to introduce the work behind SOS and folks here to learn about the great SOS congas !! :mrgreen:

Again, glad to have you here, and hope to hear more.
Sincere successes with your endevours.

T
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Re: Skin on Skin Percussion

Postby JohnnyConga » Thu May 22, 2008 4:06 am

Hi Joshua Do u know my buddy Jason? who was Jay's apprentice before you....Jason can make those drums as well, he was with Jay for some time....Johnny Conga...PS Jason is a former student and one of my best buddies who now lives in upstate NY as well ....
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Re: Skin on Skin Percussion

Postby afrocubarico » Sat May 24, 2008 1:27 am

Hey Joshua!
Thanks for posting here on congaplace. I am not familiar with Skin on Skin drums and would like to learn more on them like what sets SOS apart from other hand made drums, construction, cost, and turnaround time. I have been saving my bucks so that I can invest in a set of hand made drums for myself and so far I've checked out JCR drums here in the Bronx and have heard so many great things about Isla drums. Can you share some information on your drums? Thanks again!

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Re: Skin on Skin Percussion

Postby Victorius » Thu Jun 05, 2008 2:58 pm

Yeah This is my request too for get some more information!
I tried use searching machine but I could't find anything concrete! I'd like to know how they are made, what wood is used, what price and what price depends on? I am not going to order them (not now) but I am just interested in this misterious case! Brothers please share some info

I found this web so some photos are already taken:)

http://congadr.blogspot.com/2008/03/mae ... berek.html

blessings!
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Re: Skin on Skin Percussion

Postby ralph » Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:15 pm

Skin on Skin congas are very well known drums in the congaworld. They have been around for a while and Jay has always made a great product. Last time I called Jay the drums were at about $750 a piece with a pretty decent turn around time. Rest assured your getting a drum that will last a good long time. I have seen some SOS drums that have cracked, but once fixed they are just as good as new...Jay had a storefront on Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn for a while but now he is in upstate NY still making great tumbadoras and bongo, and whatever else one needs....

check out this old article that came out in 99'....

MOVING TO A DIFFERENT BEAT CONGA-MAKER DRUMS UP BIZ IN B'KLYN
By ROBERTO SANTIAGO DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Tuesday, August 31th 1999, 2:11AM

Don't tell anybody, but many practitioners of Santeria, the West African religion, purchase their batas (Nigerian two-headed drums) from a Jewish artisan in Crown Heights.

"It's almost sacrilegious to reveal that, but, yes, I make the ceremonial drums," said Jay Bereck, who has been handmaking congas from scratch for some of the world's greatest Latin jazz percussionists for most of his 61 years. "And I didn't have to leave Brooklyn to do it."

Born in Williamsburg and raised in Borough Park, Bereck never imagined that his hobby would become a full-time career. Back in the '50s, he imagined he would spend the rest of his life toiling as a sheet-metal worker, manufacturing congas in his spare time, and playing his creations in his East Village mambo band.

"The only Hispanic thing about me is my wife," said Bereck, who recently celebrated 38 years of marriage to Maria Migenes, a nurse of Puerto Rican descent. "It was unusual to see a Jewish guy into Afro-Cuban rhythms, but that was the only kind of music that meant anything to me."

Bereck got into making congas because he didn't like the quality of the congas that were out there. And he learned how to make them by the book literally.

"I studied history books, examined their construction, experimented, took them apart, fixed them," he said. "Then in the '70s, while there was a lapse in the construction trade, I started to take on lots of orders to make congas, bongos, batas and before I knew it, I was doing it full-time."

Short, stocky and covered head to toe with sawdust, the chain-smoking Bereck is reminiscent of Ernest Hemingway with his white beard and love of Cuban culture.

"I'm a meticulous slob," said Bereck, pointing out his file system: a steel door with the names and phone numbers of his clients scrawled in black marker. Bereck's list ranges from Afro-Cuban legend Mongo Santamaria to lesser-known artists from Switzerland, Nigeria, Japan, Greece and Sweden.

Bereck's door is one of the many things that adds to the atmosphere of his funky workshop, Skin on Skin, which takes up the entire top floor of a warehouse at 1678 Atlantic Ave.

Everywhere you step and look are planks of ash and folds of rawhide ready to be cut, stretched, hammered, screwed, fitted, sanded and polished into congas, batas, and bongos.

"People think I'm making a fortune here. Ha! Check this out," Bereck said, jerking his thumb at a tattered price list taped to the wall: congas range from $320 to $385; batas from $295 to $335.

Sunset Park's Willie Martinez, a percussionist for the Ray Santos Orchestra, has purchased congas from Bereck for the last 20 years.

Martinez calls Bereck the Stradivarius of the conga.

"Jay's congas produce voices that you cannot get from mass-produced congas," said Martinez. "With Jay's congas, when you strike the center skin, it produces a rich bottom sound a deep bass moan that sounds just like the handmade congas made in Cuba."

Bereck said that he and his assistant, Amilcar, make at least three congas per week.

"I want to raise my prices, but conga players remember their poverty for too long," said Bereck, who said that if it wasn't for his wife's income, he would have had to close his workshop 25 years ago.

"Congeros are not violinists. They don't pay thousands of dollars for their instruments nor would they if they could," Bereck said with a laugh.
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Re: Skin on Skin Percussion

Postby windhorse » Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:43 pm

I just played some this weekend. Alejandro, who studies with Louis Romero brought his set of three. They had really nice thick cow hide, Oak, and an LP - like small bottom, and wide body, but the top doesn't come as small as LP, so the bass stands out better. Alejandro was very proud of those drums, and I could see why.
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Re: Skin on Skin Percussion

Postby KING CONGA » Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:31 am

I ordered me some SKIN ON SKIN's. Just today I put the envelope in the mail and man that alone hade me so excited :mrgreen: . I talked to Jay a couple of days ago and the legend lives on. I ordered a 11" quinto, 12" conga, and a 13" tumba, he told me that the turn around time was anywhere from 3 to 4 months. I am really looking forward to those drums, just knowing that they were hand made by one of the world’s best conga artisans gives me a great feeling, my son Daniel and I will enjoy them for many years to come :lol: . I will be sure to post some pictures after I receive them.
By the way, that's my little man in the Avitar
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SKIN ON SKIN's Please comment

Postby KING CONGA » Sat Aug 09, 2008 1:45 pm

Hi fellow congueros. Could you please comment on your experience with "SKIN ON SKIN" Congas? :shock: Does anyone out there have a recent set of these Congas? I’m just looking to get some more feed back from people that actually have experience with SOS's :) . I am familiar with the reputation of their sound quality but not too familiar with their workmanship, can someone please comment. I have no doubt that they make a great product, in fact after doing some research and considering some of the other makers I decided to ordered a set from Jay Bereck :mrgreen: , 11" Quinto, 12" Conga, and 13" Tumba , and so the main reason for my inquiring is mainly persona, though I hope others benefit from this topic. Jay told me that I should have them anywhere between three to four months, man I just can’t wait to get them. Can you also please comment on some famous people that you know of that have used and or use SOS's?
If you have some pictures of these great drums can you Please share them with us, thanks.
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Re: SKIN ON SKIN's Please comment

Postby bongosnotbombs » Sat Aug 09, 2008 4:09 pm

King Conga,
That's funny I just ordered a set the other day, 12" and 13" in cherry.
My old instructor had a set, a good friend of mine has another set, and another
player I know has a set.
I've played them all. They are very solid, the lugs are super beefy, the side plates have
great attention to detail.
All the ones I've played were oak. I went with cherry after watching Omelenko's video of
his cherry skin on skins.
If you do a search on the site there's a lot of info out there
Left is Ritmo, Right is Skin on Skin
Attachments
Mat___Jay_.JPG
Photo taken from Mark Sander's ebay site silverspurr53
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Re: SKIN ON SKIN's Please comment

Postby taikonoatama » Sat Aug 09, 2008 7:12 pm

I got a set of 11", 12" and 13" in oak/chrome directly from Jay about 3 years ago. They're flat-out awesome drums. Great projection, easy and crisps slaps, full and well-balanced open tones, beautiful skins, fine-furniture-level workmanship - just beautiful drums all-around.

A buddy of mine has a set in cherry and we've brought them all together to play several times and there's not as much difference between them as you might think. Maybe slightly less volume and cut to the sound on the cherries, but we were surprised at just how similar they sounded. The cherries are much lighter weight as well, which is nice, especially if you have to deal with stairs.

James

PS - Hey Geordie - you didn't mention that SoS order last night! You'll have to give me the details. BTW, though, that pic you posted here - the drum on the left has a Ritmo/Matt Smith badge. The profile of the one on the right looks like an SoS if these are segundos (Jay's segundo typically has a lower belly than Matt's), but it's sometimes difficult to tell Jay's and Matt's drums apart without a closeup of the hardware (at least before Matt started doing his new-style crown loops).

sos_james_x3.jpg
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Re: SKIN ON SKIN's Please comment

Postby bongosnotbombs » Sat Aug 09, 2008 7:22 pm

Ah man, I was keeping it a secret! Guess I shouldn't have posted.
I guess I just want a set of SOS's made for me by Jay Bereck while I still can.

Yeah, I know the one drum is a Ritmo, the other one is an SOS, it was just a nice big
picture and comparison shot.

What has always impressed me about SOS is the great bass tones they make, you expect
the slaps and open tones to be good, the bass notes really stand out though, especially the tumba.

Yeah, so I was talking about taiko's drums before and also my old instructor Gary Ceralde has a set
in oak and the black finish to the metal, which is a very cool look. We would play those sometimes.
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Re: SKIN ON SKIN's Please comment

Postby bongosnotbombs » Sat Aug 09, 2008 7:29 pm

KING CONGA wrote: Can you also please comment on some famous people that you know of that have used and or use SOS's?
If you have some pictures of these great drums can you Please share them with us, thanks.


This guy from Japan played for Orchestra de Luz, his video has been posted, he's got some
SOS congas and bata's. Says his drums are 20 years old. You can use a web translator.

http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~fu2a-tzk/in ... sions1.htm

Also the great Francisco Aguabella uses these drums.
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60387226.jpg
60387226.jpg (11.68 KiB) Viewed 14083 times
Francisco Aguabella.3.jpg
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Re: SKIN ON SKIN's Please comment

Postby KING CONGA » Sat Aug 09, 2008 9:50 pm

Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! are my drums going to look like that? aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawesom :mrgreen: :mrgreen: . Now I really can’t wait. I had not seen a set like the ones that I ordered until now, thank you so much. taikonoatama Can you please comment on the hardware, I would appreciate it, thanks.
bnt,Thank you also for your feed back. I felt exactly the same way about getting my drums from Jay, I knew that I would hate myself after if I would have bought anything other than SOS's
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Re: SKIN ON SKIN's Please comment

Postby Tonio » Sat Aug 09, 2008 10:35 pm

You made a good choice King Conga!!
Nice comparison pic BNB, congrats to you too.

I think I would prefer the belly shape of SOS. The side plates are in a better position too, or maybe the lugs are the correct length?

T
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