Our Legacy

Our Store

Rhythm Traders, founded in 1992, is a locally owned full-line drum shop in an 11,000 sq/ft facility, featuring a 5000 sq/ft showroom, an equal 5000 sq/ft of warehouse and repair facilities, plus an additional 1000 sq/ft in lesson studios.
We have the Northwest's most extensive selection of drum sets, cymbals, marching & symphonic percussion, electronic kits, sampling pads and triggers, djembes, congas, and world percussion. We offer lessons, repair, rentals, school packages, and have an extensive kids' drum section for the wee ones.

We're authorized dealers for Tama, Ludwig, Yamaha, Roland, Gretsch, Pearl, DW, PDP, Mapex, Rogers, Sonor, and Barton in addition to the used and vintage kits we offer. We have the region's largest cymbal vault, with Zildjian, Meinl, Sabian, Paiste, Cymbal Foundry, Cymbal & Gong, Bosphorus, Wuhan, Dream, Istanbul, and Amedia cymbals stacked floor to ceiling. And to fill in the gaps, we have the accessories you need from Tackle, Roc-n-Soc, Lowboy, Snareweight, and Offworld. 

Rhythm Traders Staff Photo 2019
We have the largest and most comprehensive World Percussion showroom in the country with LP, Gon Bops, Bossa Nova, Meinl, A Tempo, Treeworks, Tycoon, Toca, & Remo, as well as local craftsmen. We import the highest quality hand-carved djembes, dununs, bells and other African instruments ourselves from the same craftsmen in West Africa who first supplied us with master-quality instruments 30 years ago.

Stop by in person or online, and discover our low prices and huge selection of drums, percussion, cymbals and accessories. Find out what Oregonians have always known; that they can shop locally while still getting the best prices, and superior product knowledge & customer service from fellow drummers. We have FREE on-site parking, and there's NEVER sales tax in Oregon. Sticks, heads, and cymbals are 40% OFF everyday. Come see why we're The Drummer's Toy Store... 

Rhythm Traders

3904 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.,
Portland, Oregon 97212
(2 blocks North of Fremont,
at the corner of NE Failing and NE MLK)
Phone: 1- (503) 288-6950

Tuesday - Saturday: 11am - 7pm
(Pacific Standard Time)

Staff Biographies

Sean, Sales Associate


Sean is a session drummer and engineer from Denver, Colorado. Growing up, he studied percussion and jazz under Blue Knights writer and instructor Mike Nevin. After studying percussion performance at the University of Northern Colorado, Sean hit the road with his band The Heyday. Six years and 600,000 miles later Sean relocated to Nashville, TN where he toured with national artists like Matt Hires, Kaptan, Kiernan McMullan and Stealing Oceans. While in Tennessee, Sean studied audio technology and subsequently began working at The Tracking Room studio where he worked with artists such as Deep Purple, Luke Bryant, Dan Rudin, and Merle Haggard (RIP). Still recording and gigging, Sean currently resides in Portland, Oregon with his partner, their wiener dog and their two hairless cats. 

Favorite Concert: Return to Forever Reunion, 2006 at The Paramount Theater in Denver, CO. 

Favorite Pieces of Gear: Sean’s SJC custom birch drum set, Roland SPD-SX, and Maschine MKii

Favorite Drummer: Jojo Mayer

Brad, Owner


A self proclaimed "C" average drummer in all styles, Brad got his first pair of sticks at age eight and came up through the school system in Eugene, Oregon playing in symphonic and jazz bands. After discovering African percussion while attending Lewis & Clark College, Brad graduated with a degree in cultural anthropology and backpacked through West Africa for a year, eventually starting Rhythm Traders in 1992. He still loves music, travel, and culture - currently plays a lot of salsa and is the cajita specialist in Portland. 

Favorite Concert: The Clash at Mac Court in Eugene, Oregon 1984

Favorite Pieces of Gear: Eduardo Velazquez copper timbales, 12" remote Zildjian New-Beat hi-hats, Tackle Instrument Supply leather cymbal case, and Vater Karl Perazzo Drumbale sticks.

Favorite Drummer: Mamady Keita

JT (James), General Manager


The journey to drums was rather circuitous for JT. Starting off in 4th grade, James tried his hand at the clarinet and the French horn, without much luck. When he started hanging with the drum line in high school, he had secured a spot in the snare line by the end of band camp. James then focused on the marching arts, eventually earning a coveted position with the snare line of the Santa Clara Vanguard ‘87. Next, he decided to focus on drum set and Afro-Cuban percussion, which led to several trips to Cuba. He received his BFA from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York, and has played with many of Portland’s icons including Linda Hornbuckle, The African Kings, Black Angel, Pura Vida, Cubaneo and the Bobby Torres Ensemble. Above all, James is enjoying being General Manager of the best drum store on the planet. 

Favorite Concert: Body Count, Fishbone, & Primus at Melody Ballroom

Favorite Pieces of Gear: Vintage Pearl Steve Ferrone Snare, and timbale bells handmade by a cat named Beco in Havana.

Favorite Drummer(s): Eduardo Velazquez, Reinhardt Melz, Ralph Irizarry, Calixto Oviedo

Ben, Assistant Manager


Ben is our Assistant Manager, and go-to for drum tuning, electronics and recording expertise. He draws his main drum set and percussion influences from Terry Bozzio, Elvin Jones, Matt Cameron, Steve Houghton, and John McEntire. He has lived in the Portland area for almost eight years and has enjoyed performing in local bands, providing studio drum tracks, and being a mobile recording engineer.  

In his off time, Ben engineers for artists in local and outlying areas, visits the Oregon Coast, attends local shows and plays with his band New Rambis. 

Favorite Concert: Elvin Jones and the Jazz Machine – At Yoshi’s

Favorite Pieces of Gear: Sonor Vintage Series drums, ES Percussion Maple Snares, the classic Ludwig Supraphonic snare, Zildjian K Custom Dark crash cymbals, Paiste Signature Cymbals, Meinl Byzance Cymbals, Roland triggers and E-kits, Drum Workshop 5000 and 9000 series pedals and hardware. 

Favorite Drummer: Matt Cameron and Elvin Jones

Nate, Sales Associate

From St. Paul, MN, Nate Wright showed an interest in music from his first days. Persistent in his pleading for drums, his parents made a deal with him that if he could get through two years of piano lessons, he could switch to drums. At age seven, after two years of fulfilling his parents deal, he was rewarded with a drum pad and weekly lessons.
Nate attended the University of Arizona to pursue a degree in Music Education and a minor in Percussion Performance. Nate then moved to Seattle, WA, where he found himself playing with the bands Coho, The Royal Bear, The Reformation, and Mostly Dimes.
From Seattle, Nate went on a world adventure from Thailand to Bali and India, studying Gamelan, Tabla, and Raga music. From there he returned home and was immediately sought after to direct at a number of high schools for indoor winter drumline programs and percussion ensembles. He also taught at Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps and at the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps.
Most recently, Nate has been focusing his energy and time in Portland, OR, where he plays in three Portland bands: Tigers On Opium, Hound The Wolves, and A//TAR.

Favorite Concert: Bad Brains, Fugazi, Rollins Band, First Ave. Minneapolis 1996

Favorite Pieces of Gear: Nate plays Innovative Percussion sticks, Meinl Cymbals, and Pearl Drums and Hardware.

Favorite Drummers: Ronald Bruner Jr., Jon Theodore, Tony Williams

Scott, Sales Associate & Used and Vintage Specialist


Scott, of Beaverton, Oregon, is a product of School District 48 and started playing drums at the age of eight. He joined the school band in 5th grade, eventually studying privately with legendary educators Roger Allen and Jeff Cumpston. He played through high school, specializing in concert and marching band. After graduation in 1990, Scott started playing music in various rock bands and music projects in and around Portland. He currently plays in several classic country bands, periodically tours, and records as the first call drummer on the Oregon Honky Tonk scene. 

Favorite Concert: Crowded House at the Starry Night 1987

Favorite Pieces of Gear: 6.5”x14” Ludwig Supraphonic & 22” 1950’s era A Zildjian ride

Favorite Drummer: Jay Bellarose or Jim Keltner (Depends on the mood)

Bryan, World Drum Repair


Born in east St. Louis, MO, Bryan moved to Oregon in 1969 and attended Lincoln High School in Portland. His first real gig was at 18, playing guitar in a band called The Royal Knights. More recently he has focused on Afro-cuban rhythms and music. Bryan currently plays bass with salsa band Melao de Cuba and reggae singer O.B. Addy from Ghana. Influences include Bootsy Collins, Cachao, Stanley Clark, Ray Brown and Juan Formell

Sitting on the turntable currently are the Isley Brothers, Issac Delgado and Sonora Carruseles

Favorite Concert: Frankie Beverly and Maze

Favorite Pieces of Gear: Edge Q06 six string bass guitar though a Mark Black Line 250 bass amp, vintage mahogany Gon Bops congas, and Master Series djembe from Ivory Coast, West Africa that he built himself. 

Favorite Drummer: Carlton Barrett of the Wailers 

Sarge, Sales Lead & Repair


Sarge began his drumming journey in 7th Grade with the seminal garage band The Blur Sanktum, and has continued to play on the local scene ever since. Sarge signed on to manage Rhythm Traders in 2001 and helped grow the store from a small hand-drum focused drum shop, into one of the Northwest’s biggest and best drum shops. Currently playing locally with his group The Old Coots, Sarge rounds out his time repairing, restoring and drum-tech'ing in the Portland area. If Sarge can’t fix it, it ain’t broke!

Favorite Concert: Dave Matthews Band

Favorite Pieces of Gear: Zildjian Low Volume 80 Cymbals, Remo Silent Stroke Heads, VF E-Stick and Yamaha Stage Custom Drums.

Favorite Drummer: David Garibaldi

Matt, Sales Associate


 Matt started drumming on pots and pans at the tender age of seven to prove to his parents that he was dedicated enough for them to invest into an actual drum kit. On his eighth birthday they presented him with a beautiful deep blue Pearl Export Series kit that he still uses pieces from today. Immediately thereafter, he started a band with his brother and cousin playing primarily punk rock and experimental Fugazi-esque art punk. In the summer of 2010 he attended Pinnacle College in Los Angeles, CA where he studied sound engineering. Currently the lead singer/drummer/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist of the Portland indie-baroque-pop duo Family Mansion, Matt also has a midi keyboard to play bass lines while playing the drums one handed. He spends his free time hiking, snowboarding, screen printing, watching live music, creating new songs and recording new music.

Favorite Concert: Flaming Lips on Earthday 2009

Favorite Pieces of Gear: A sort of jelly bean/Frankenstein set-up consisting of a custom Maple Works kick drum and rack tom, a late 70s Yamaha snare and a good ol' Pearl Export floor tom.
Favorite Drummer: Yuko Araki 
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