As a drummer and drum builder, Johnny Craviotto has been involved in the music business for nearly half a century. He began his professional playing career in the early 1960s and quickly progressed to touring and recording with Rock 'n'Roll pioneers, including Ry Cooder, Buffy St. Marie, Moby Grape and Neil Young.
During that period, Johnny Craviotto also became interested in the history and construction of drums. He began collecting vintage drums and studying the art of drum building. Through extensive research, experimentation and patience, he eventually developed his own formula for producing drumshells from a single piece of steam-bent hardwood. This proprietary process advanced the classic “solid shell” design by significantly improving the consistency and integrity of the shell to provide modern drummers with unprecedented, unsurpassed levels of snare drum sound and performance. By using this exclusive combination of hand-selected hardwoods and premium-grade components along with the handcrafted construction methods that he developed, Craviotto was able to transform solid planks of wood into fine musical instruments.
Johnny Craviotto's style of solid-shell drum construction also allowed a distinctive quality of sound and response to emerge from each drum due to the organic variety in the grain pattern, density and mass of each board. In fact, since every drum had its own inherent tonal and performance characteristics, not only did Craviotto drums differ from all others, each also subtly differed from one another. The natural individuality of the wood, along with the uncompromising attention to detail employed during all phases of the production process, elevated the solid-shell snare drum as an art form and single-handedly resurrected its popularity and prestige.
Although one-piece drumshells were a standard design for centuries, they had been replaced by more uniform, more stable plied drumshells for much of the 20th Century. However, while plied drumshells were easier and less expensive to produce, they characteristically lacked the depth of sensitivity and tonal quality preferred by discriminating professionals. By applying his modern materials and production methods, Craviotto’s solid-shells set a new standard and his fame quickly spread among the world’s top drummers.
By the mid 1980's, Johnny had joined with Billy Gibson (Huey Lewis and The News) to form the Select/Solid Snare Drum Company. Even though his first effort in the drum business lasted only a few years, the drums he created under the Select/Solid brand became highly collectible.
In 1990 Johnny formed his own company, Craviotto Percussion, and two years later he was introduced to Don Lombardi (founder and president of Drum Workshop, Inc.) by close-friend and legendary studio drummer, Jim Keltner. For more than a decade, the availability of custom-quality DW snare drums made from Craviotto solid Maple and exotic wood shells further expanded Johnny’s reputation as a master drum builder and the reigning authority on the subject of solid-shell drum design.
Today, with the launch of the Craviotto Drum Company, Johnny continues to both refine and redefine the art and science of solid-shell drum construction. The perfect balance of old and new, tradition and innovation, craftsmanship and performance— or as close to perfect as humanly possible— Craviotto’s Limited Edition Solid-Shell snare drums are sure to accomplish something that only a handful of truly exceptional drums have ever been able to do: simultaneously raise the bar for drum makers and drum players.