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Sound Seat

The Drum Shop by Sean Mitchell // January 03 2013
Sound Seat

There is a little shop in Salisbury, North Carolina, that makes some of the best quality drum thrones in the world. The man behind the product and its incredible warranty is JR Baker, a fellow with a huge amount of talent and a big heart. If you have never heard of Sound Seat, JR won't be surprised, but once you get your butt onto one of his thrones you'll never forget the name.

JR, tell me a bit about how you got into seat-making. 

I blew out my hip and had to have it replaced. No seat on the market was comfortable, all caused pain. I went to work part-time in an upholstery shop, and from there I used my background in engineering to figure out just how to build comfort into a seat. Many prototypes later, after leaving the job, I paid a master upholsterer to work out the details as to tailoring and other things to refine the seat. After the first two years, all processes for making the seat were redone to my specs. I have my own proprietary foam formulas, seat board shapes, molds, board-making tools and specialized glue. 

Without giving away any proprietary secrets, what makes a Sound Seat so comfortable? 

The foam formulation is the best I can buy. The boards for the seat itself are nine-ply molded and ergonomically fit your shape. No flat four-ply punchouts here; I use the absolute best Italian leather that you can buy. It is number one top grain, semi-aniline on the sides, back and top. The seats have adjustability built in so the player can dial the seat in to his/her preferences. I also will work with customers with special needs to make the seat work for them. 

You have also chosen to do away with any white metal components. How are the Sound Seat bases different? 

Sound Seat seat-plates are steel. The Break Down and Retro-Fit components are my design, made of steel, and made to really take it out there in the world. 

You offer a unique business model in that you personally handle all of your own business calls. Do you have anyone else that works for you? 

My customers cannot cold order a seat. They each will be called by me, given the options in real time, so their questions are answered fully. I do not have a credit card page because it is my belief that a person who trusts me to build a chair for them deserves my full time and attention. I love talking to my customers. I have help from my wonderful wife and son, when needed.   

From the looks of the photos on the website, a customer can have a personal design embroidered on the seat. Are there any limits as to what you can offer? What has been the most complex design requested? 

By far, the most complex design was the Harvey Leach coat of arms chair pictured on my site. The embroidery was ten colors and very intricate. To keep the colors within the lines and keep the registration spot on takes a great skill. There really are no limits to what we can put on a chair, but the stitch digitization for embroidery can be quite expensive. It is time-consuming to get it right. After the digitization is purchased, the file is owned by the customer, not us. We will gladly email the file for use by the customer on other things. 

How can a potential customer get thier hands on one of these beauties?

We are direct to the customer. Please go to our site www.soundseat.com and submit an order, call me at 704-636-3560, or email me at info@soundseat.com

Where are you based, JR? And where do you ship to? 

We are in Salisbury, North Carolina, and have shipped to all parts of the globe. 

Your prices are very competitive and incredibly reasonable. What can a drummer expect to pay for a basic seat, and how long is the turnaround before it is delivered? 

Retro-Fits start at $185 + S/H. Hydraulics start at $225 + S/H and go up from there to full blown Break Down models that start at $335 + S/H. In-stock items ship hours after the order is placed. Special orders and out of stock items are usually shipped in two weeks, but can take longer in rare instances. 

Another very impressive feature about the Sound Seats is the availability of different colors of leather. How many colors do you currently offer and are customers able to mix colors? What is the cost for the colored leather? 

There is no extra charge for leather colors or two-tones. Right now, we are revamping our color page and all colors are not listed. We have approximately twenty-six selections. We will build seats in colors not offered on our site, but the customer must buy the whole hide in those cases. 

Where can we find replacement parts for Sound Seats? 

Sound Seats are guaranteed for life. I stock parts here. All a customer will ever pay for a part is the shipping charge, even for gas lifts. In the case of the gas lifts, the customer must return the old one to me and pay to ship the replacement. 

If a customers orders a Sound Seat without a back, are they able to order a back separately, should they have a change of heart? 

If your chair has a seat plate that will accept a back, just purchase and install the back—otherwise, you will need to purchase a plate with the back. The change out is not hard because I am on the phone with the customer to walk you through the procedure. Please note that backs are not available for Retro-Fit seats made for the tripod base. 

Any new developments or products for 2013? 

We are working on our own base for Sound Seats with backs that will fold up and go into our case or bag. We continue to work with Crowson Thumpers to design a thumper model. We are also working with Jenkins Martin on several projects involving our seats.



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About the Author
Sean Mitchell

Sean Mitchell has been an active participant in the drumming industry for over 20 years. He has studied under Crash Test Dummies drummer Mitch Dorge and Drumming's Global Ambassador Dom Famularo. Sean is also a songwriter and regularly performs with his wife (and singer) Jill Mitchell. Sean proudly endorses Aquarian Drumheads.

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