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Old 11-29-2005, 07:51 PM
Pete Stoltman Pete Stoltman is offline
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Default Info on Valje Congas

Is anyone in this forum an authority on Valje congas? I own two. The conga was purchased new in I think 1970 or 71 at Franks Drum Shop in Chicago. It has one reinforcement ring on the bottom of the drum. The second is a Quinto that I purchased a number of years back and appears to be older than the conga. It has 4 reinforcing rings. I'd like to find out more about the history of Valje and also if there were different series of drums. Why would the quinto have more reinforcement than the conga? Any other info about these drums would be appreciated.
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Old 11-30-2005, 07:33 PM
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Default Re: Info on Valje Congas

Well, after seeing your question I thought I had something from that company and was looking through a stack of stuff and found an 88 catalog and price list.

It has a brief history and info about the drums plus pricing. It is four pages and I can scan it for you??

Let me know

David
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Old 12-01-2005, 12:20 AM
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Default Re: Info on Valje Congas

Here it is.

With the new browsers, when you click the thumbnail image a larger image will open in another window. Put the cursor on the image for the full size.



David
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Old 12-01-2005, 01:15 PM
Pete Stoltman Pete Stoltman is offline
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Default Re: Info on Valje Congas

Thanks David, nicely done.
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  #5  
Old 04-26-2007, 04:38 PM
Kona Kona is offline
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Default Re: Info on Valje Congas

Good Valje info.
I have pre-1988 drums (1978)

Drums: Quinto, Conga, Tumba and Supertumba (larger than a Tumbadora) and matching bongos - all nice RED oak, Quarter-sawn stave.

Do you know roughly what these would be worth?
I recently "tucked" all heads.

The attachment is me in 1978 with all my Valjes

Last edited by Kona; 06-30-2014 at 01:14 AM.
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:59 PM
congalero congalero is offline
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Default Re: Info on Valje Congas

the price list that you submitted is for the drums from LP. this was the early models that had no LP markings and were made in NJ.

Please find below a history i have put together for another site. I am a collector of the Valje drums, all makers and models.

I hope this clears up some confusion about the Valje (Val Jee) history.

I am always looking for more if anyone wishes to sell; especially the san francisco version that say 'hand crafted in san francisco'.

cheers

brian

From the time Tom Flores started to build his dums in the 1950's until today, there have been many faces to and behind the the name. What we call Val Jay (Valje), is actually pronounced Val Jee. The name is said to come from Valerie and Jean, not sure if tis was Toms wife and daughter or what. Tom worked out of two locations in Los Angeles, 3312 Sunset Blvd. and 3314 Sunset Blvd.; moving one whole address away Any drums with the 3314 address are the first that were made.
His innovation of air drying his staves and scoring the interiors of the staves to prevent cracking and allow flexibility during construction was ahead of the pack, but his drums did not take on a huge following until being used by Santana and other Latin rock and rock bands. At one point he and Mariano of Gon Bops were in business together to try and corner the market, but like many partnerships, it ended due to personal philosophy.
By the late 70's Tom was getting tired of the business and the competition by mega mass drum producers. In the early 80's he sold the name and shop to Haight Ashbury Music of San Francisco who was a large retailer of his drums. Akbar Moghaddam, then working as a drum repairman, asked his friend who owned Haight Ashbury Music, Massoud Badakhshan, if he could go to L A to learn how to make the drums from Tom; he was turned down and four others were sent. After about three months Akbar was called back to go to work with Tom because the others failed; maybe partially due to Toms tough temperment. I am not sure, but i think Octavio Ruiz was working with Tom at the time. In any event, Tom taught Akbar how to make the Valje drums. Within a year the operation was moved to San Francisco where the second generation of Valje was created by Akbar with the help of Octavio who moved north to continue the tradition. The only difference in the second generation was that the height was cut down from 31" to 30" and a decal was put on the drum with Valje of San francisco on it (one could still order the taller model but it would require an additional cost). The drums hadware was the same, still made of red oak and the scoring of the staves remained. This operation was only in existance for about two years before there was a fire that destroyed the shop and about 50 shells, thus making these drums the rarest of all hand crafted valje's. The fire was started when a fireworks company exploded on a bright sunny afternoon about 5:00 PM across the street. Akbar heard the explosion and ducked just as the heavy metal door to the shop blew open and across into his machinery. He exited and began to knock on doors and assist others in shops all around the industrial area who were injured and bleeding. He was very lucky, and we are as well, since he is still making drums for all who have them. I know first hand of the devistation of this massive fire, because this conguero was a bombero who fought that fire as a member of the SFFD. I and others pulled 8 corpses out of the mess. Well the story goes faster now. Akbar went on to open his own shop, Sol Percussion, making fantastic drums here in S F., and is now at DW, as you all know, overseeing the whole conga production from the highly demanded California series to production and quality control of the other lines made out of the country. The next generation of Valje was a drum made in Thailand from Thai oak. The first models had no LP markings (LP purchased the rights to the name and drum from Haight Ashbury Music), the hardware stayed the same other than a small Valje was inscribed on the side plates, handle and tuning rods; of course the sizes became standard and fewer and the interior scoring was eliminated. The next generation was the Armando Perazza Cherry wood series; which is a beautiful drum. It also had standard sizes but the hardware was a bit larger and mounted by three bolts instead of two - plastic/rubber trays were designed and mounted to the bottoms of the drums. There is more to the story and please feel free to add what you know, as i will add more as i learn more.
Tom Flores went on to design and build the Resolution Drums with his son Ralph. Tom died a few years back and his son continues on with the drums and repair of old L A Valje's, 31".
The Valje drums vary in size from 9.5 to 14. There can be many sizes in between since they were handcrafted by a real craftsman and artist; he had no training in precision, but was quite presice anyway. The Valje drums are known to keep their shape and rarely crack if taken care of; but we all now wood will be wood - so thanks to Ralph and his love of repairing these drums. Tom often had extra wood around which he used to complete a drum. This often resulted in the smaller bellied drums with small head sizes. He did not make a requinto, but these small drums would be the ones that look like a requinto.

Last edited by congalero; 05-24-2007 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 03-06-2008, 12:36 AM
blackflag blackflag is offline
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Default Re: Info on Valje Congas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kona
Good Valje info.
I have pre-1988 drums (1978)

Drums: Quinto, Conga, Tumba and Supertumba (large than a Tumbadora) and matching bongos - all nice blonde oak.

Do you know roughly what these would be worth? I may be selling them.

I recently "tucked" all heads.

The attachment is me in 1978 with all my Valjes

Hello, your drums are worth $3000 - $4000, depending on who you can get to pay!! Best of luck!
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Old 03-06-2008, 12:40 AM
blackflag blackflag is offline
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Default Re: Info on Valje Congas

Quote:
Originally Posted by congalero
the price list that you submitted is for the drums from LP. this was the early models that had no LP markings and were made in NJ.

Please find below a history i have put together for another site. I am a collector of the Valje drums, all makers and models.

I hope this clears up some confusion about the Valje (Val Jee) history.

I am always looking for more if anyone wishes to sell; especially the san francisco version that say 'hand crafted in san francisco'.

cheers

brian

From the time Tom Flores started to build his dums in the 1950's until today, there have been many faces to and behind the the name. What we call Val Jay (Valje), is actually pronounced Val Jee. The name is said to come from Valerie and Jean, not sure if tis was Toms wife and daughter or what. Tom worked out of two locations in Los Angeles, 3312 Sunset Blvd. and 3314 Sunset Blvd.; moving one whole address away Any drums with the 3314 address are the first that were made.
His innovation of air drying his staves and scoring the interiors of the staves to prevent cracking and allow flexibility during construction was ahead of the pack, but his drums did not take on a huge following until being used by Santana and other Latin rock and rock bands. At one point he and Mariano of Gon Bops were in business together to try and corner the market, but like many partnerships, it ended due to personal philosophy.
By the late 70's Tom was getting tired of the business and the competition by mega mass drum producers. In the early 80's he sold the name and shop to Haight Ashbury Music of San Francisco who was a large retailer of his drums. Akbar Moghaddam, then working as a drum repairman, asked his friend who owned Haight Ashbury Music, Massoud Badakhshan, if he could go to L A to learn how to make the drums from Tom; he was turned down and four others were sent. After about three months Akbar was called back to go to work with Tom because the others failed; maybe partially due to Toms tough temperment. I am not sure, but i think Octavio Ruiz was working with Tom at the time. In any event, Tom taught Akbar how to make the Valje drums. Within a year the operation was moved to San Francisco where the second generation of Valje was created by Akbar with the help of Octavio who moved north to continue the tradition. The only difference in the second generation was that the height was cut down from 31" to 30" and a decal was put on the drum with Valje of San francisco on it (one could still order the taller model but it would require an additional cost). The drums hadware was the same, still made of red oak and the scoring of the staves remained. This operation was only in existance for about two years before there was a fire that destroyed the shop and about 50 shells, thus making these drums the rarest of all hand crafted valje's. The fire was started when a fireworks company exploded on a bright sunny afternoon about 5:00 PM across the street. Akbar heard the explosion and ducked just as the heavy metal door to the shop blew open and across into his machinery. He exited and began to knock on doors and assist others in shops all around the industrial area who were injured and bleeding. He was very lucky, and we are as well, since he is still making drums for all who have them. I know first hand of the devistation of this massive fire, because this conguero was a bombero who fought that fire as a member of the SFFD. I and others pulled 8 corpses out of the mess. Well the story goes faster now. Akbar went on to open his own shop, Sol Percussion, making fantastic drums here in S F., and is now at DW, as you all know, overseeing the whole conga production from the highly demanded California series to production and quality control of the other lines made out of the country. The next generation of Valje was a drum made in Thailand from Thai oak. The first models had no LP markings (LP purchased the rights to the name and drum from Haight Ashbury Music), the hardware stayed the same other than a small Valje was inscribed on the side plates, handle and tuning rods; of course the sizes became standard and fewer and the interior scoring was eliminated. The next generation was the Armando Perazza Cherry wood series; which is a beautiful drum. It also had standard sizes but the hardware was a bit larger and mounted by three bolts instead of two - plastic/rubber trays were designed and mounted to the bottoms of the drums. There is more to the story and please feel free to add what you know, as i will add more as i learn more.
Tom Flores went on to design and build the Resolution Drums with his son Ralph. Tom died a few years back and his son continues on with the drums and repair of old L A Valje's, 31".
The Valje drums vary in size from 9.5 to 14. There can be many sizes in between since they were handcrafted by a real craftsman and artist; he had no training in precision, but was quite presice anyway. The Valje drums are known to keep their shape and rarely crack if taken care of; but we all now wood will be wood - so thanks to Ralph and his love of repairing these drums. Tom often had extra wood around which he used to complete a drum. This often resulted in the smaller bellied drums with small head sizes. He did not make a requinto, but these small drums would be the ones that look like a requinto.


Thought someone might like to know:

Tom Flores didn't name his drums after anyone named either Valerie or Jean. His wifes name was "Armida" and Tom had no daughters named "Valerie" or "Jean".
Truth be told, Tom realized obviously that he had to name his growing drum business something and for his unknown personal reasons wasn't comfortable using his own name so he decided to name the company after mans best friend; his loyal dog, a black standard poodle which he had named "Valje". The name was completely made up by Tom and means absolutely nothing except perhaps by us; "legendary".

That being said;

Realistically speaking, there is only one person alive who is qualified to make Valje drums as Tom Flores intended. Certainly not LP, or respectfully, even Akbar. Obviously that person is the man who worked under Tom Flores starting in the mid 1960's. That of course is Toms son and one time protege, Ralph Flores of Resolution drums.. Can anyone disagree with me?


ARE YOU READY FOR THIS??? STOP THE PRESSES (kidding)!!!

It's official as of now. The name Valje has been reclaimed by it's rightful heir, Toms son Ralph Flores. Ralph told me he plans on making his Valje drums EXACTLY as his father did. Of course out of red oak, tooled exactly the same way, 31" tall, and right down the the families secret glue recipe. They will be made one at a time, by hand as intended by his dad, right here in Southern California where they began.

Ralph started working in his fathers shop at the original Sunset Blvd address in the mid 1960's and has been making drums ever since. Having trained under his legendary father, he's a master drum maker in his own right and I am fortunate enough to have a pair of his "Resolution" drums (hope he doesn't sell the name to LP or DW... still kidding).. I have already placed my order for the first Flores made VALJE bongos in 25 years!!!

Ralph is currently getting tooled up and ready to start taking orders. The waiting list may be a while and I don't think he's quite ready to commit to dates just yet but you may want to get your orders in sooner rather than later just to be on the list.


GOOD LUCK RALPH, THANKS FOR DOING THIS!!!

Last edited by blackflag; 03-06-2008 at 10:57 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-15-2010, 02:13 PM
cuquito717 cuquito717 is offline
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Default Re: Info on Valje Congas

Quote:
Originally Posted by congalero View Post
the price list that you submitted is for the drums from LP. this was the early models that had no LP markings and were made in NJ.

Please find below a history i have put together for another site. I am a collector of the Valje drums, all makers and models.

I hope this clears up some confusion about the Valje (Val Jee) history.

I am always looking for more if anyone wishes to sell; especially the san francisco version that say 'hand crafted in san francisco'.

cheers

brian

From the time Tom Flores started to build his dums in the 1950's until today, there have been many faces to and behind the the name. What we call Val Jay (Valje), is actually pronounced Val Jee. The name is said to come from Valerie and Jean, not sure if tis was Toms wife and daughter or what. Tom worked out of two locations in Los Angeles, 3312 Sunset Blvd. and 3314 Sunset Blvd.; moving one whole address away Any drums with the 3314 address are the first that were made.
His innovation of air drying his staves and scoring the interiors of the staves to prevent cracking and allow flexibility during construction was ahead of the pack, but his drums did not take on a huge following until being used by Santana and other Latin rock and rock bands. At one point he and Mariano of Gon Bops were in business together to try and corner the market, but like many partnerships, it ended due to personal philosophy.
By the late 70's Tom was getting tired of the business and the competition by mega mass drum producers. In the early 80's he sold the name and shop to Haight Ashbury Music of San Francisco who was a large retailer of his drums. Akbar Moghaddam, then working as a drum repairman, asked his friend who owned Haight Ashbury Music, Massoud Badakhshan, if he could go to L A to learn how to make the drums from Tom; he was turned down and four others were sent. After about three months Akbar was called back to go to work with Tom because the others failed; maybe partially due to Toms tough temperment. I am not sure, but i think Octavio Ruiz was working with Tom at the time. In any event, Tom taught Akbar how to make the Valje drums. Within a year the operation was moved to San Francisco where the second generation of Valje was created by Akbar with the help of Octavio who moved north to continue the tradition. The only difference in the second generation was that the height was cut down from 31" to 30" and a decal was put on the drum with Valje of San francisco on it (one could still order the taller model but it would require an additional cost). The drums hadware was the same, still made of red oak and the scoring of the staves remained. This operation was only in existance for about two years before there was a fire that destroyed the shop and about 50 shells, thus making these drums the rarest of all hand crafted valje's. The fire was started when a fireworks company exploded on a bright sunny afternoon about 5:00 PM across the street. Akbar heard the explosion and ducked just as the heavy metal door to the shop blew open and across into his machinery. He exited and began to knock on doors and assist others in shops all around the industrial area who were injured and bleeding. He was very lucky, and we are as well, since he is still making drums for all who have them. I know first hand of the devistation of this massive fire, because this conguero was a bombero who fought that fire as a member of the SFFD. I and others pulled 8 corpses out of the mess. Well the story goes faster now. Akbar went on to open his own shop, Sol Percussion, making fantastic drums here in S F., and is now at DW, as you all know, overseeing the whole conga production from the highly demanded California series to production and quality control of the other lines made out of the country. The next generation of Valje was a drum made in Thailand from Thai oak. The first models had no LP markings (LP purchased the rights to the name and drum from Haight Ashbury Music), the hardware stayed the same other than a small Valje was inscribed on the side plates, handle and tuning rods; of course the sizes became standard and fewer and the interior scoring was eliminated. The next generation was the Armando Perazza Cherry wood series; which is a beautiful drum. It also had standard sizes but the hardware was a bit larger and mounted by three bolts instead of two - plastic/rubber trays were designed and mounted to the bottoms of the drums. There is more to the story and please feel free to add what you know, as i will add more as i learn more.
Tom Flores went on to design and build the Resolution Drums with his son Ralph. Tom died a few years back and his son continues on with the drums and repair of old L A Valje's, 31".
The Valje drums vary in size from 9.5 to 14. There can be many sizes in between since they were handcrafted by a real craftsman and artist; he had no training in precision, but was quite presice anyway. The Valje drums are known to keep their shape and rarely crack if taken care of; but we all now wood will be wood - so thanks to Ralph and his love of repairing these drums. Tom often had extra wood around which he used to complete a drum. This often resulted in the smaller bellied drums with small head sizes. He did not make a requinto, but these small drums would be the ones that look like a requinto.


Brian
vaije was a dog Tom Flores owned.
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  #10  
Old 05-27-2010, 11:58 PM
blackflag blackflag is offline
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Default Re: Info on Valje Congas

Wow, I havn't been in here in forever.. Wasn't it called something else before?? Changed a lot (I hope)..

If you still have questions about your drums, anything else you'd like to know about them, feel free to PM me and I'll send you my email address. I'll tell you whatever you want to know.. Brians quotes of mine are all true and accurate, some others quotes are outdated speculation, but partly true. I think I may be one of your "Valje authorities" you asked about but mostly as a historian.

All the best, Chris

Last edited by blackflag; 05-28-2010 at 12:00 AM.
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