Heartbeat: Moving Forward 2015 – 2018. Heartbeat founder Noel Walker remembers a lot of the business training (“Both the good and the bad,” he says) and “words of wisdom” that his automobile dealership owner grandfather shared with him. “When you are through changing… you are through,” Noel’s Granddad used to say. Through the first fifteen years, Heartbeat has continued to change and evolve. Granddad would be pleased (“Well… maybe!” says Walker). Continued product development, continued global acceptance of Heartbeat Percussion and expansion of new products has been the focus over this period.
2015 saw the introduction of Heartbeat Percussion drums. Heartbeat’s aim was to follow its historical success with cymbals. Designing the sets at Heartbeat (woods, hardware, sizes, features, finishes, etc.), Heartbeat sought out manufacturers that could manufacture the products to Heartbeat’s specifications. Working with a high quality Asian manufacturer, Heartbeat ordered two prototype kits (one with high quality Vintage wrap finish and one with custom stain finish) to get things in motion.
Drums were constructed of 6 ply maple and featured die cast hoops on toms and snares, special tom mount system, suspension floor tom feet and other special features.
After extensive testing, obtaining customer input and making some changes to suit Heartbeat’s client requests, the first shipment of Heartbeat Percussion drums arrived.
“We want to produce limited production custom drums in limited sizes and finishes, but have them readily available for immediate delivery to our customers,” Walker states. “It is not our intention to compete with the custom drum companies who build one of a kind sets for their customers. Nor is it our intention to compete with the mass produced drum sets that you see in stores everywhere.” Quality, price, availability and back up are the major components that drive Heartbeat Percussion drums.
Heartbeat’s Chad Bjorgan and Walker decided to go with four or five piece sets and have additional drums in the same finishes available to add to the sets. So along with the sets, Heartbeat started to stock individual bass drums, floor toms and tom toms in the same finishes.
Cymbal design and development continued. Heartbeat continually works on improving its products according to the Heartbeat family input. For example, the entire Studio series of crash cymbals were reduced at least 10% in weight. Customers wanted a series suited for lively rooms that had a more muted presence, so the Custom Dry series was introduced. In 2016, the Jazz series was launched, initially only available in a 22″ Ride. The series was expanded through the year to include hats, crashes and other ride sizes, including a beautiful gigantic 26″!
Late in 2016, the exciting Heartbeat Worship web site was launched. What stands out with this site is the clean design, the online store (featuring products in US dollars and shipping included) and the unique Heartbeat family section which includes maps with clickable icons directing the visitor to either artist or ministry pages. There you can see where and who is using Heartbeat products all over the world. That year also saw Nicholas McLachlan join the team at the Heartbeat office and Chad Bjorgan relocating to Redding, California. Chad continues to be an integral part of Heartbeat.
In 2017, Heartbeat launched the exciting Anthem series. Featuring a blend of their Custom, Classic and Studio series, the Anthem is only available in a set comprised of 15″ hats, 18″ and 20″ crashes and 22″ ride. Included is a free cymbal bag. “This set was created to provide the high quality and great sounding cymbals that Heartbeat is known for, but at a lower price to enable more folks to enjoy Heartbeat cymbals,” Noel said. While other manufacturers still try to sell existing products bundled together (often in sets of 14″ hats, 16″ and 18″ crashes and 20″ rides), Heartbeat knows what the worship community wants, and it is bigger, darker, thinner cymbals. The Anthem set delivers!
Also in 2017, the logos for the Raw and Holey series were updated, and the overall size of the Heartbeat logos reduced on all cymbals. Then, in 2018, the introduction of the new Armor cymbal series suprised many folks. This series is available in two distinct and different finishes. One has an unlathed top with brilliantly lathed edges and a fully lathed bottom, while the other (the Armor Brilliant series) features a fully lathed and polished finish. In addition to the usual rides, crashes and hi-hats, the Armor series features some unique effects cymbals including stacks, holey crashes, warped trash crashes and splashes.
The Heartbeat family has grown considerably over the past few years. Heartbeat cymbals can be seen and heard in countries such as: New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Great Britain, Faroe Islands, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Costa Rica, Germany, Switzerland, Romania, Russia, Holland, Norway, Slovakia, Mexico as well as the United States and Heartbeat’s home in Canada.
Heartbeat also is looking to expand its visability with a prototype partnership with some Heartbeat fans in Norway to have cymbals available from inventory in that country. In the USA, Heartbeat is experimenting with “listening stations” and partnerships with some Heartbeat artists in North Carolina and Tennessee.
Heartbeat also launched it’s new corporate Heartbeat Percussion website, again, challenging the usual way of doing business in the industry by making available all the Heartbeat Percussion brand products for sale directly on the website. www.heartbeatpercussion.com
In the near future, the company is expecting to have its updated and expanded drum stick line available, as well as some limited expansions of the Heartbeat drum products. In the mean time, Heartbeat still focuses on its relationship with its artists, meeting them personally when ever possible!
Artists recently joining the Heartbeat family include Brendan Tan of Hillsong Young and Free Brendan Tan – Heartbeat Percussion, Antwane McMullin with David Crowder Antwane McMullin – Heartbeat Percussion, Robby Shaffer with Mercy Me Robby Shaffer – Heartbeat Percussion, and Sean McDonald with Matthew West Sean McDonald – Heartbeat Percussion to name a few. The family continues to grow. Fifteen years! The start up in 2003 seems to be just moments ago, but so much has happened along the way. This exciting journey is far from over.