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Custom Drum Directory

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1 Custom Drum Directory on Sun Oct 27, 2013 12:51 pm


For those interested this guy has compiled the largest list of "custom' drum makers I have yet seen. 351 on the list. While many have not survived for various reasons (market saturation the most probable), many yet are still at it. But you can see why I haven't pulled the trigger myself. Many of these artisans are doing phenomenal work.

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2 Re: Custom Drum Directory on Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:41 am

These are absolutely incredible! I especially gravitated to the Art Custom Drums...simply gorgeous. Wonder what they sound like and if I could read what's being said, that would have helped.

thanks the postings,

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3 Re: Custom Drum Directory on Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:52 am

In going over the list link by link it's tough so many have gone under. But it's a very tough market, too. The reason is simple - it is not difficult to make drums from component parts. Once people see how easy it is (if you have some skills with tools) they begin to think they can do it as a business.

Trust me when I say that anyone who buys Keller (maple) or Eames (birch) or composite shells like acrylic or whatever and puts nice bearing edges on them, and mounts lugs straight, will make a good sounding drum. The way the user mounts it makes the biggest difference.

Depending on the maker's environment (shop tools) finishes can vary. Some will use exotic veneers and finish them. Many like semi-gloss or softer patinas because they are easier to do than mirror-like finishes. Anyone can adhere wraps. There are so many now it's endless.

Some are big enough to have their own lug designs (metals or wood), and even hardware, but most use market parts available and hardware from Gibraltar, or just let customers get their own. Shell packs are what most custom makers offer, and just mount market bass drum spurs, and snare parts.

Tube lugs are "in" right now, so many use them. I never particularly cared for them. There are Hayman lugs, which look very much like DW (enough that DW filed a lawsuit which they lost to 'grandfather' issues), and Slingerland, Yamaha, and other look-alikes. Some market lugs are unique looking. I have Legend lugs on my big set, which I love the look of, and they are now collector's items. Legend made nice drums, but they went under some years ago.

Anyway, drums made by makers that are still in business, especially those that have been around awhile, make excellent instruments. Some cost more than the big names (Pearl, Tama, Yamaha, etc.), some less.

People looking into getting a new set might do well to spend some time looking into these custom makers and finding they can get things the big names do not offer, and get it for the same or less money, too.

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4 Re: Custom Drum Directory on Fri Nov 01, 2013 2:58 am

You mentioned "Legends" drums...are those the same drums that Lenny White uses? If it is, they cost an arm, leg and the head.
I was not aware of these out-of-mainstream drums before and can see why they don't last in business. It's such a large amount of investment to manufacture stuff these days especially now that just about everything is produced in foreign countries. That dwindles the profit gain for small American companies, effected by screwy economics...more so a drum manufacture.

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5 Re: Custom Drum Directory on Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:45 am

If more people knew about 'custom' makers (I'm not certain custom is the right word unless you actually do have something custom to your drums which market parts drum makers do not), I believe many could make modest livings at it. Many do it more for hobby and some spending money.

As far as investment the majority of makers already have wood working tools and experience with them. They either play drums as well, or know people who do and they get into making their own drums and then making them for others. Some are now solid companies like GMS, Spaun, Allegra, and others. They have "name" players using their instruments.

There are guys like this, on ebay and elsewhere, who just make shells for DIYers to make into drums:


This might give a good idea as to what compares to what. The snare drum Olympics. Both major companies and small companies vie for the title. As you will hear, while Tama won the 2012 contest in total scores, even the little guys can make drums just as sweet, and they have won the contest in previous years:

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6 Re: Custom Drum Directory on Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:20 am

Oh, Legend drums. Offered by Kaman (huge musical instrument distributor - CB, and now Gretsch, LP, etc), no longer available new. Harvey Mason was a user. I don't know if Lenny used them. Lenny does play a custom company set now. I forget the name. Innovation Drums. USA.

I never owned Legend drums. When they went out of business I found a stock supply of their lugs at Drummaker.com years ago. Very cool looking lugs.

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7 Re: Custom Drum Directory on Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:43 pm

Some profiles of builders by pics of what they do. Most just love making drums whether they sell or not.


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8 Re: Custom Drum Directory on Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:58 am

More up to date list:


Here is the guys list of Major companies, but I would say quite a number should be on the custom list, and he admits that, but has them on the majors list by virtue of their popularity, which, in many cases, is very true. They don't outsell the majors, but they certainly could. It's interesting that many of the major companies are also companies making other types of instruments, or have a broad spectrum of percussion products. They control the market by virtue of wealth and marketing prowess to stay on top, not necessarily because their drums are any better than anyone elses.


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