At one time drums were used to sound warnings and send messages. Then they were added to marching bands and rock ‘n’ roll. Drums were also used in ancient civilizations’ religious rituals.
For Nestor Praniuk, creating music with drums has a personal message — to praise God.
Praniuk, an Argentinian who recently moved to Cleveland with his wife and two children, said making custom-made drums for musicians has become a ministry he loves.
The 36-year-old drummer said, “Drums have long been a part of worship and I strongly believe God operates through drums and other musical instruments. I don’t have holy hands. God didn’t wake me up and say, ‘You’re going to make drums because they are going to change the world,’ but it’s knowing that if you allow God to use you through the gift He placed in you, you can really touch lives.”
Praniuk, who moved from Argentina to California in 1996, before coming to Cleveland, was raised in a family of musicians.
“My grandfather plays the violin,” he said. “My mom is a piano player and all of my uncles play some sort of instrument. At the age of 12, I started playing the drums in my church. At that time my father had a recording studio in our home. I’d often sneak in after hours and play on the sets that different musicians would leave behind.”
Later he took lessons and was able to create a worship experience with the drums, even creating and tuning his own.
“My grandfather used to build pianos and acoustic guitars,” Praniuk said. “As a kid I used to watch him build and fix all the local musicians’ instruments. He taught me all the tricks about wood finishes and sounds — how to pick them and work with them. I still love the smell, tones and the natural sound of wood.”
After moving to California in 1996, Praniuk continued playing the drums in church. He came to the realization that building drums and placing them in the hands of drummers who would use them to “defeat the enemy and praise God” was his a mission.
“I started doing lots of research on how and where to obtain the best-quality products,” he said. I decided to build my own snare (drum), and after receiving several compliments on that first drum, I decide to build a full kit. Before I knew it, friends and friends of friends began to ask me if I could build them a kit as well.”
In October 2009, AJP Custom Drums became that rare company that created custom drums for its customers.
“We work directly with you to create the sound you are looking for and a look that is truly your own,” Praniuk said.
“We are not only building a great quality snare drum, but we also make it more personal, adding your own signature, Bible Scripture or anything that you may want — allowing you to have a piece that will sound amazing and reflect who you are. We are the only custom drum builders in this area and benefit greatly from all of the musicians who are here.”
Praniuk said a youth pastor in California helped him come up with the name AJP, which stands for All Jesus’ People.
Most of his customers dedicate a lot of their time playing in churches and inspirational bands, according to Praniuk. They include Terry Baker from Kirk Franklin’s band, Martin Alcedo of No Bragging Rights, independent drummers Jacob D-Vera and Paul Martinez and several others.
According to Praniuk, turnaround time for his high quality, standard five-piece drum kit is 45 to 90 days at an affordable price.
“As CEO, I enjoy taking the time to talk to each of our clients,” said Praniuk, who is a carpenter as well as a musician. “We build one kit at a time. This is our way of maintaining high quality. We enjoy making an original for each customer and we’d like to try and stay away from line production at this time.”
In addition to making a high quality, custom-made product, Praniuk is giving 10 percent of all his proceeds to charity, particularly to Vision PTM, a nonprofit organization that is currently supporting orphanages in South America and Africa.
“PTM is trying to open an orphanage in Argentina. The poverty is bad there,” Praniuk explained. Our goal is to give to organizations such as PTM to see young lives changed. We are privileged to do this and as the company grows we look forward to supporting them on a greater level.”
Praniuk added that plans are under way to provide drums, drumsticks, drum heads, tuning, repairs and parts for churches interested in adding, upgrading or updating their drum supplies.
For further information contact Nestor Praniuk at ajpdrums.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.