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Ever Wonder how they're made?...Impressive!

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1Ever Wonder how they're made?...Impressive! Empty Ever Wonder how they're made?...Impressive! on Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:04 am

Wonder how our drums are basically manufactured? I thought this video inside a DW factory was very impressive to say the least. So much of it is human labor intensive, having the technology to compliment the artistry. Very intriguing indeed.
You may want to see the other videos involving drum-shell construction/design, especially the 'Solid CNC router process (computer controlled) cutting...incredible stuff! So, in other words, the drums that we play are not just wood/metal and stuff, but years of progressive technology coupled with the genius of engineering and some pretty talented programers that are probably 'not' drummers...but make it happen for you and I.

Hope you enjoy and develop a different aspect of appreciation for what we sit and play on. And I would risk saying that this type of technology/engineering has become standard industry production of 21st century drum manufacturing. check it out.



Last edited by Racman on Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:20 am; edited 8 times in total

View user profile http://www.glennracoma.com
Not hard to see why such instruments cost so much.

Making my own drums for 20 years I can only drool over such machinery when a hand drill and table router have been my only companions. But the thing is, after people hear drums made by all the DIYers out there and say they sound every bit as good as any manufactured drums out there, you begin to wonder about all the hype. I don't wonder any more.

DW and other companies obviously excel at finish work. I remember seeing an article about Sonor where they flood their finish rooms with 1/2" of water first to make sure no dust exists in that room. That was a long time ago, too. The factories, and major custom shops can do some incredible finishes most DIYers cannot do. Not without a whole lot of intense hand labor. Unless you talk about wraps. Then it's the same.

The DIYers were putting exotic veneers on their drums ten years before the manufacturers started that.

Be interesting to see other plant videos from the other companies. When did DW begin making their own shells? I thought they used Keller like most everyone else, but Ludwig. I think Ludwig still makes theirs down in South Carolina. Ludwig has been making some really nice sounding drums in their exotic line.

I don't know. I push the DIY movement simply because you save lots of money and you get something that sounds as good as anything on the market. If you want to wrap, they look as good, and if you want to take the time to finish to a mirror consistency, they look as good too. You can even use the Hayman lugs and get the DW look, if you want. Or almost any other company, for that matter, if you buy their lugs ($$$) or close overseas lookalikes ($). Or something totally different. If I had the shop I used to have I would make my own wooden lugs like I have done. Too much work, though, but they look cool.

I enjoyed that video. Thanks for posting it.

View user profile http://drumsinhisheart.weebly.com
Personally, I'll never buy a "high end" drum kit again
as I've come across way too many mid-line kits that
look and sound just as good if not better.

What I do notice about the higher end equipment is
the hardware holds up much better in most cases but
not in all. I have a couple of mid-line ddrum kits and a
Tama kit where the hardware is among the best I've
ever come across and the drums are also among the
best looking and sounding... This is why I'll never buy
a DW kit (unless used and selling at a great price).

Admittedly they make really nice drums, they're simply
priced over the top in comparison to other equally great
looking and sounding brands you can get for a LOT less

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D, you own Pacifics, right? I have a hard time believing they sound less impressive than a regular DW set. So, in the end, yes, I believe you are right on. Hardware, not the actual drums, become a larger situation, especially for players setting up and tearing down a lot. Mid line sets from any company offer fewer choices of sizes and color options, but sound? I believe they all can sound good with the right heads and mounting. What would make more sense, buy a new DW set or buying something less expensive and just getting isolation mounts of some kind if the less expensive set doesn't already have them? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

But, yeah, hardware becomes a consideration, set to set. I guess you can just get shell packs. Most companies sell those in most lines now, no?

View user profile http://drumsinhisheart.weebly.com
Yes, Asaph I do own a set of PDP's and I love them, they sound really good.
But in all truthfulness I like my ddrums and my Tama kits noticeably better
when it comes to sound and feel.

Wheather this is in the wood type, bearing edges, heads or a combination
of the three I can't say. But I definitely enjoy the response I get from those
more than what I get from the Pacifics and the Pacifics sound darn good!

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the DIY movement

I'm thinking that stands for 'Do It Yourselfer' as in constructing your very own custom drums...correct? Wow! Did you really make your own drums Asaph? That must be difficult especially around the bearing edges where it meets the head, as I'm told. But I know nothing what so ever about making my own drums. Wish I did but I just don't have the time to invest into it. I respect that you did because I see it as an artform....simply wonderful Asaph! Would you have pictures you could share of the drums you made? Thanks for your response here.


Hi D,

I know what you mean on how DW are a bit pricey and even if I had the money I still go either Tama or Gretsch. You know I still am on to Tamas, been playing them for the past 8 years and I love them.

I'm also about to purchase a Ludwig birtch snare (7"x14 birtch) I just got back from a drum store (my friend Leo of Drummers Warehouse, Honolulu). I don't like spending a ton on drums but this Ludwig snare is a beauty in looks and in sound! It only cost me $250 american greens compared to a DW snare, basically same size dropping in at a whopping $750! But overall, the Ludwig projects like a thousand dollar snare at less the cost. I layed some green down for a deposit and will go back to pay the balance. Reason is, he already sold a few of them to drummers that are professionals that have the same mindset as me as far as spilling money around. It will gel well with my Tama birtch Starclassic Performer, being that it is made from the same wood.

Funny though that Ludwig measures the snare at 7" deep but actually looks more like a 6". I ask my friend Leo, who's the owner the shop and said the Ludwig factory list it at that. But anyway, it's a great sounding snare, very open with minimum ring which can be muted easily with a dash of MoonGell. It has the traditional throw-off that works great and comes with that $30. gold-like strainer (PureSound?) on it's bottom. I really love it for the sound and the ..........price Smile cheers cheers cheers cheers Somebody scored here and I need to go see my accountant, the wife Wink But hey, I've been a good little boy (husband) so I see no problem here.

I'll try posting a picture of it as soon as I lay my paws on'em.


View user profile http://www.glennracoma.com
Racman, some sets that I have made can be found here:


I have made my own snare shells, stave design. Not being a wood player I have just stayed with metal, my fav being a 3/16" aluminum shell a friend made for me, 7x13. Recently I had a segmented Ipe (Ironwood) shell made for me by Addictive Drums, in Minn. 6.5x13. I found him on ebay. Really nice guy who does absolutely stunning work. His facebook page is outrageous. I cut different bearing edges for top and bottom, and very shallow snare bed. Put the maple hoops Stellar made on it and I just love this drum. I never thought wood could take the place of metal for me, but this one did. I wanted the hardest wood I could find. Ipe was it. The maple hoops have the nicest rim clicks. Even for my lighter birch sticks.

Making a drum from component parts is not really difficult. If you can use a drill you can make a drum. You can have shell merchants cut bearing edges if you have to. Otherwise it is not difficult to cut edges with a router table, even a homemade type. Just takes a little practice on some scrap wood, and you are good to go. If a person doesn't have any experience with tools at all, and has no real desire to get into it, then best they buy manufactured drums.

Drum Foundry sells a cool layout mat which shows every possible pattern for laying out lugs and snare parts, spurs, etc. When I got that it made things much easier. But you can still do it the old fashioned ways, too. The Guerilla Drum making DVD has some good info on it. Plus many different DIY sites which offer step by step instructions.

Here's a link to a great links page for just about everything someone would need:


PD's site has tons of great info.

View user profile http://drumsinhisheart.weebly.com
Thanks Asaph. This is interesting that one could construct their very own drums if the desire is there, and normal use of some basic tools resides. I've always thought that doing this was discouraged but it's all in how we think especially in the day we live, having incredible amounts of information easily attained by the invention of the internet.

Although I'll never be able to do at this time but maybe during my retirement age where I would have that kind of time. That's how busy I am where time is the element here.

But I do thank you for such an interesting response and I will surely check out those sites given here.

Thank you for your valued input here,


View user profile http://www.glennracoma.com
I really liked your website Asaph and thought others may too. This was a clipped image from you website and hope it was okay to doing this. If this was inappropriate on my part, my apology and I will remove it. However, I did site your website address just below your article.

I think this is a great perspective on the origins of the material it takes prior to even considering constructing a drum. We believe that it was out of nothing that God created and things came into being. This is the infinite wisdom and ingenuity of God intelligence. In comparison, as human, the raw material (trees, organic alloys, etc., etc.) is needed prior in order that we may obtain substance to create or be productive in anything. This is my opinion here and some will differ, as you well know by now. But I thought your response is not just a good one but a powerful one and relevant to my topic in the production of drums, or we can keep in saying,...'Ever-Wonder of how they're made?'

Thank you for your valued input here.

Ever Wonder how they're made?...Impressive! Univer13

Credited source:

View user profile http://www.glennracoma.com
I am humbled that you would find my thoughts meaningful enough to place here. Thank you.

I do believe the above came from the 'Influences" page on my site, though.

The 'Pictures' page does have another such thought in it, but not the one placed above.

This is the correct link for the statement above:


View user profile http://drumsinhisheart.weebly.com

11Ever Wonder how they're made?...Impressive! Empty Re: Ever Wonder how they're made?...Impressive! on Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:33 pm

Wow Asaph, when you said you built drums i didn't know you BUILT DRUMS!
that rainbow set is the coolest drumset i've ever seen!

View user profile http://www.balkanmusic.org
Thank you so much, Kenny. I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't have just left the zillions of cracks that showed up in the finish and just kept things that way, but I love the tone of half-toms, and I'm enjoying the renovation of them into the current set-up. I added a couple more toms, too. But the multi-colors of the rainbow set was pretty cool to look at when I sat there and played. I noticed the rainbow guitar Al DiMeola uses on the RTF video and I think maybe I will try again someday, but just stay away from lacquer and use oil instead.

One thing I have wanted to do which I haven't done, because of cost, is a multi-veneered set up. Basically a rainbow of wood from very light, like Fiddled Sycamore, to very dark, like Ebony. I would love to do that some day. But right now I like my leather.

View user profile http://drumsinhisheart.weebly.com
Is there a particular system of how you determine what wood(s) produce/characterizes a particular sound and if so, how, would you fit that into your equation in the construction of drums.

Thank you,

View user profile http://www.glennracoma.com

14Ever Wonder how they're made?...Impressive! Empty Re: Ever Wonder how they're made?...Impressive! on Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:37 am

Oh my, that is a loaded question which caused ... some interesting discussion last I was visiting the forum. I believe I will stay clear of that question this time around. In due respect to the question I will just say a drum is a chamber. The chamber can be made of all kinds of materials - solid hardwoods or softwoods, plywoods, plastics, fiberglass, composites, metal ... all having different densities which create a chamber for sound waves to move around when the batter head is struck. Air moves down and vibrates the resonant head (if there is one) and that is what creates the sound and tone more than anything else - the heads. Certain densities favor certain frequencies in minor ways (highs, mid-range, and lows), as testing has shown. Some ears claim to hear those nuances, others cannot. Density also contributes to overall volume. The harder the shell, the more the natural volume is enhanced.

I frown on the whole John Goode shell thump to really mean anything because once you affix metal lugs, generally a cast white metal, or heavier solid metals, and then compress two membranes on the bearing edges with metal hoops (or wood), you can thump a drum all day long and the naked tone you hear before is not going to be there after the drum is dressed. That is one of the reasons I favor thicker shells. Put all the hardware on a thin shell with reinforcement hoops and it just gives you a softer density for sound to move around, and pass through more quickly with plywood. You get more 'dum' and not as much 'doooom.' But even there, nuances. Differences that, from 15' away dissipate to human ears very quickly. Especially depending on head choices and tension.

Ludwig senior (and others, like the Ford Drum company, and myself included), believe the inner ply is what contributes most to the shell sound pertaining to shell density. Once sound waves hit the glue it all becomes moot on just about any spectrograph you test it all on. There is an overall density to the shell and the harder the density of the inner chamber the more sound waves are kept inside bouncing around, generally contributing to sustain. That is assuming the shell is mounted to enhance, not detract from free vibration.

Radio Kings, being solid wood, were so nice, even with old fashioned mounting, because it made quite a sound chamber for calf skin heads. Craviotto drums carry on the same tradition, though I must honestly say the Craviotto drums I have heard have either not been tuned well, or recorded well because I cannot say they produce sounds I find pleasing to my ears or any more special than plywood drums.

Drum companies hype all their configuration of plies, ply thicknesses, number of plies, woods, etc., etc. In my set I happen to have mixed-ply woods - maple, maple/ birch, and maple /poplar I believe. One of my drums I just made, gluing two sections of shell rings I had lying around together with gorilla glue. I started recording with this set last week. I would defy anyone to listen to playback and tell me which drums are which. They all sound good, in tune with each other, and same timbre. Why? Edges, heads and tuning. And remember they are covered in leather and they have plenty of sustain. They are ten ply, 1/4" thick, no vent holes. Drums may be covered in dead plastic wraps. They still sound just fine. The inner ply is the most important factor.

Maple is a little harder than birch, softer than most oaks. That would render birch to have frequencies enhanced in low and mid range and produce a slightly drier chamber which renders the ears to hear more of what is called 'attack.' Oak might favor higher frequency ranges, etc. The actual degree to which human ears can hear this varies from person to person, and certainly microphone to microphone.

Shell density, depth, heads and mounting are really the greatest factors in aural character according to testing I have read results of and what 20+ years of making drums has shown me.

ANY drum, I do not care what it is, can be made to sound good with proper bearing edges, head choices, and correct mounting.

Well, this may have been a foolish response. Not trying to cause any range wars.

Sound is in the ear of the beholder. alien

View user profile http://drumsinhisheart.weebly.com
Thank you Asaph, I never knew any of these technical descriptions on drum shells and hardware mounts. What I found most interesting is what you stated regarding the most inner shell being either a soft or harder wood pretty much dictates the projected sound. Of course along with other factors mentioned like bearing edges, heads, hardware and thickness of shells etc.c etc. all contribute to projecting sounds and even that can be on the person on the receiving end. That's why I personally like birtch shells because of it's density but enough to allow for a rounder sound (my description here). I notice though these birtch drums of mine when miked sounds incredibly awesome...a characteristic sound not heard without miking almost as if a different drum set! Interesting.

Thank you very much for such an elaborate yet informative response and it did clear some of my thoughts on my question posed...thank you

Below is my Tama Starclassic Perfomer Japan Birtch kit on the gig


Ever Wonder how they're made?...Impressive! My_kit14

View user profile http://www.glennracoma.com
You're very welcome.

Nice color and finish on your Gretsch set. Do they still coat the inside of their shells with the silver spray paint?

I did a whole lot of research before getting overhead mics for my set, and yes, mics are the same as drum shells, apparently. Some take in varying frequency ranges differently, though often, at basic comparative price points, they are nuance differences according to the tester/reviewers. I know the difference between the Rode NT5's we were using, and the Earthworks TC30s we are using now, with a Jecklin disk I made, is quite dramatic, but the price point is not comparative. I expected the Earthworks to be superior and man, are they. It sounds like sitting behind the kit when listening to playback, especially low end punch.

View user profile http://drumsinhisheart.weebly.com

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