Canadian Music Trade December / January 2023 | Page 17

By Michael Raine

Supplier Spotlight

Los Cabos Drumsticks

Family-owned and operated since 1999 , the New Brunswick-based company that became Los Cabos Drumsticks , which was founded by Larry and Gillian Guay , actually began as a wood turning business called Lawrence Wood Products Ltd . They made things like furniture legs for tables and chairs until , totally by chance , a one-time contract completely altered the company ’ s trajectory . That contract , of course , was for drumsticks .

In the early 2000s , because of the changes in the wood turning market , the Guays had been looking for a new product and direction . Though they never thought of drumsticks or the music products industry until that moment , it proved to be the perfect fit . Now , since 2005 , Los Cabos has grown from a small family business into one of the best-known drumstick brands in the industry , with their sticks used by professional drummers around the world .
“ Larry and Gill have been married for over 45 years . Gill is the business person coming from a farming family in England and Larry is the dreamer from Quebec who worked for Air Canada at one time . Larry loves to work and create things from wood as a hobby , and the hobby eventually turned into a large business . He ’ s built every home they ’ ve ever owned , from framing it to producing the kitchen cabinets ,” Los Cabos ’ Director of Marketing , Ryan Barrie , tells Canadian Music Trade . “ Larry is a lover of music and can be found singing around the office at times . He owns just about every instrument and plays none . When he was 40 he bought a guitar , but never had time to learn it . Music is a passion , and his passion is wood working and investing his time and skill set into wood working . He ’ s perfected his craft in drumstick manufacturing and providing musicians with those tools .”
Los Cabos ’ strategy was not to reinvent drumsticks , but simply focus on quality and craftmanship . As well , in their early travels to Canadian MI dealers , Larry and Gill leveraged the fact that Los Cabos ’ drumstick were made in Canada as a selling feature that was in contrast to every other brand that was then in their stores .
“ Once our sticks are in the hands of educators , drum store clerks , and the pros , we let the product speak for itself . The difference is in our wood ; what makes us unique is that we offer a complete and concise drumstick line in three different types of wood : maple , white hickory , and red hickory ,” explains Barrie . “ In the early days , LCD put a number of samples through a series of tests at the Wood Science & Technology Centre of the University of New Brunswick to determine the bending and density properties associated with both the white and red hickory .”
Making sticks from red hickory was in fact a significant turning point , product-wise , for the company . As Barrie explains further , white ( or “ standard ”) hickory , which is the sapwood of the tree , has long been popular with drummers and manufacturers because of its tonal qualities , consistency , shock absorption properties , and consistent look . “ However , this philosophy renders nearly 45 % of a single tree useless for drumstick purposes .”
So , fast-forwarding past his scientific explanation of the discoveries unveiled in the UNB lab , Barrie explains , “ it ’ s been proven that red hickory is more dense than the white hickory , and with density comes higher durability for longer-lasting drumsticks . We are the only drumsticks manufacturer to carry a complete line of red hickory products .”
Now , about 17 years after Lawrence Wood Products Ltd . made its momentous shift into the music products world , Los Cabos Drumsticks are distributed to over 30 countries and can be found in every major music store in Canada .
“ Our Canadian distributor is Yorkville Sound , and we ’ ve had a long lasting , great relationship with them and their team . They have helped us grow the LCD brand in Canada by being approachable , focused , honest , and passionate for our represented products ,” says Barrie , who is a drummer himself , playing in a couple bands and with rising indie-folk artist Kylie Fox . “ We maintain long-lasting relationships with our artists by being accessible , by being able to relate to them , and by taking care of their needs . We ’ ve also been able to establish a great sense of community amongst our artist family , which is extremely important to us . Our team believes in supporting the ones who support us . Without our artists , there is no Los Cabos Drumsticks .”
Ultimately , Los Cabos Drumsticks maintains that the key to its success is maintaining attention to detail and pride in the product .
“ Every dowel is hand-inspected to ensure that the grain is straight and free of outer defects . Only then does it make it to our lathes to be turned into a Los Cabos Drumstick ,” asserts Barrie .
And being Canadian-made certainly doesn ’ t hurt their appeal .
Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Music Trade .