I believe that the love and passion from an individual's efforts are passed through to the product they create. You can sense the human touch in anything that is created by hand and when something is designed well and made with the intention to last, I am immediately interested. In this article, I want to take an in depth look at this clutch and also hope to shed some inspiration on anyone reading this because I find the Sweet Spot story and ethic to be a good model for this industry. I feel it stands for the idea that if you are ever interested in doing something that you think you might love, then you probably should do it, even if it means more work.
I am not the kind of guy that beats around the bush much, so I'll come right out and say this....If you ever NEED to buy another Sweet Spot clutch, I would think it's because you lost yours. I really don't know how you would go about breaking this thing. You would have to get very creative because it is lathed from stainless steel and it features no moving parts, just a body, thumb screw, a hard plastic thread sleeve and a couple of anodized nuts. With that being said, I generally seek products that are made with the intention to last, so it may come as no surprise to you that Sweet Spot caught my attention. It is possible that down the road I may want to buy another clutch in a different style to switch things up but otherwise this gear suits my needs.
As far as the lathing is concerned, the owner Rob Michl, possesses the talents of a highly skilled craftsman. You see, Rob's father was a machinist from Europe and it was in his father's shop that he started making these clutches. In fact it was the castle and the screw that he first designed and created and has continued on since then due to an increase in demand for his products. All of the components are great to the touch and it is quite a nice thing to look at while you groove on your hats. The quality and precision of this gear is special; it's a beefcake of a clutch. I can imagine if you are getting ready for a show and you are sticking this gear on your hats, you are probably gonna feel good about it....which is kind of important.
Beyond the excitement of preparing your drum set with such quality steel, I have noticed that this extra weight may have some serious performance benefits to the hi hat response. Now by means of comparing, before we get into this, I have played many different clutches......many many many different clutches. So with the Sweet Spot clutch the weight actually slows down the response slightly, but in turn, it modulates the control a lot better than any other clutch I have used personally. If you have to play the hi hats slightly open consistently for 3 minutes to make the beat sound wider, I can do that with this hardware much easier. Conversely, playing the hats tight for some funk grooves, the clutch grips nice and tight with less effort also.
Up until using Sweet Spot I had only noticed the basic differences between good quality hardware and bad quality hardware. Some clutches spin loose because there is only one nut holding it all together or the thumb screw doesn't hold the clutch tight enough to the spike. As a more advanced observation, I have found with most other clutches that the "slip" adjustment is really difficult to interpret and made only small differences. With Sweet Spot we have an anodized duel nut system that are oversized and they are located below the hi hats instead of on top. It is the best way to keep some play between the clutch and the hats and it is very consistent in holding the position you lock it to, no matter how hard you play it will not come loose. So basically if you buy hardware solely on how well it works, this hardware would be the hardware you would buy.
As far as appearances go, well, Sweet Spot are on a different planet for hi hat clutches. My castle clutch has the "heat tint" finish, which features a blend of golds, blues and purples depending on how you are looking at and with what lighting. It is a stunning finish that possesses a very raw appeal. Along with the weight of it all and the over sizing of the hardware it comes across as being very bold but understated as well. As far as heat tint goes, each clutch produced is a one of a kind once completed. I find this to be very personalizing and acts almost like a signature.
For the thumb screw you have the choice of either a hex shaped screw head or the traditional wing nut. What is really nice about the hex screw is that you get an anodized wrench to tighten the hex screw properly. It is all very appealing aesthetically and for those, like myself, who enjoy taking some extra time to set up their drums and take in the experience will find the hex screw a very nice little touch to the process. It becomes a finer instrument at that point I feel. There is only one problem with that and this is very important....the wrench is something valuable to lose at a gig when you are rushed. We all know the routine by now and sometimes you might be scrambling to get gear on and off the stage and this cute little wrench, that you will cherish, will get lost one day at a show. The wing nut style works just as well but doesn't need an additional item to ensure complete tightness. Therefore, get both if you want, they are totally interchangeable. I have both and I am glad I do because I love the look of the hex screw and so in the studio or in my home, I want to be using the hex. When I am playing live, however, I will not be bringing the hex along.
While I chose the castle clutch, mostly because my favorite chess piece is the rook, there are other styles that are offered. The castle clutch is one of the two original designs, the other being the screw. There is another single clutch design that is geared towards gospel and worship drummers that is shaped as a cross and they also have a drop clutch design named the bishop. The cross is offered in gold or silver and the other clutches can either be heat tinted, which is honestly all I want personally, or the natural silver. I could nerd out on this stuff for a while if you let me, so I will spare you at this time.
Beyond the hardware, which is obviously amazing, the guy making it all happen is pretty cool too. I think it's important to look at the 'ma and pop' style businesses and help them as much we can; support the little guys. I grew up around my parents building their business Take Five Audio from the ground up and I now I myself own a small business with my wife, so I appreciate the struggle. It takes a lot of dedication and passion to put in the time necessary to make something work. It is because of this kind of work ethic that I can stay up late after working all day to write about a guy who spins up some clutches. It's inspiring I feel and it inspires my playing too. A lot of love goes into this man's work and I appreciate his time and effort so that I can play a badass clutch. There is no rating this gear really on a star rating or something like that. The gear works and it is gorgeous to look at and the guy making them cares about what he does. Good enough for me and thank you! Stay Happy, Stay Drumming.