Purple Heartbeat

We just sent out this beauty of a drum.  Its a purple heart 3×14 segmented snare.  I had one board of the purple heart left.  Just a short while before this order I gave this board to my Dad for his bowl turning.  When I took this board down from the shelf, I felt like I was taking it away from him even though he has been gone for months now.  This drum went to Gonzalo to play with his band Smoking Priests.  Check them out.  Hopefully, you will be able to pick out our drum on the next album. Smoking Priests

Quote from Gonzalo: ” Wow! Its amazing and sounds even better.  Thanks mate, definitely the right choice!!!!!!!”


This was a fun day with my dad cutting logs. Wish he was here!

dads last log2This was a fun day with my dad cutting logs. I miss that old man. Here is the video of the last log we cut as a team! The pain is still here. This old saw mill was a place Dad and I loved. It was our time together that made it so special. We would always get so excited to see the logs turn into boards. It was the anticipation of the next cut. He would look for the perfect grain pattern for his bowls as I was looking for the perfect cut for drums. Often, we would fight to see who would get that perfect board. I would get so aggravated when I would go out to the shop and see my perfect cut of wood claimed by my Dad for his bowls. He would just look me in the eye and pull rank as my Dad and take what he wanted. You can’t say no to your Dad! However, I did have a secret hiding spot in the rafters that I knew he would never think to look in for those awesome cuts of wood. Wonder what he would say if he knew that I hid the best wood? I bet he would get a good laugh. I would give anything to hear that laugh right now.

Dwight Yoakams Drummer

This is how we came across the amazing drummer Mitch Marine.

“I came across Outlaw Drums accidentally while browsing thru the Reverb website (sometimes ya just gotta have fun looking at new drums).  Anyway, I was very intrigued at the look of the drums and decided to explore their website to learn more about their drums.  I was very excited to learn that they were using repurposed wood from barns, bleachers, etc. because I love seeing people re using perfectly good items instead of filling up landfills with more stuff.  I was also very impressed with the artistry that was applied to making these drums.  How exciting to see beautiful drums with a great story and history attached to these one of a kind drums.  I showed my girlfriend the website (yes, I have a girlfriend who can geek out on drums) and we had a blast just checking out the drums and the stories behind how they found these different woods.

Fast forward to a Dwight Yoakam show in Tipton, Ga. in Nov. 2017, when I received a call from Derrick (Outlaw Drums marketing) who said that he would like to come down with Michael (Outlaw Drums builder) to show me some of their drums.  I jumped at the opportunity to actually play these drums, because it’s one thing to make beautiful, interesting drums…but if they don’t sound good, then what’s the point?  Well I’m happy to report that they sound as great or even better than they look.  I took the chance to tune them up in the dressing room and then take them out to the stage to hear what they sounded like in a real world environment.  Man do they sound great and can they cut through.  I really had a blast going from snare drum to snare drum listening to the unique differences of each drum.

Long story short, Outlaw Drums are great sounding, high quality drums from a great builder (Michael Outlaw), made from one of a kind, repurposed wood with a story and history to go along with the beauty of each drum.  If you’re looking for a great sounding snare drum, don’t hesitate to check them out against any snare drum!

Mitch Marine

The best gift a drummer can receive

We have been getting tons of emails about people just like you wanting to stand out and have a one of a kind drum built from something crazy. We have built drums from old pig fences, old flooring, dog houses, from fallen down trees that carried that childhood tire swing in them, old dressers, pianos, tables and old houses. The only limit to what we can build a drum from is your imagination.

If you want to build a once in a lifetime drum that you can’t buy anywhere else, here are the requirements.**
– Size of wood** Minimum 7/8 inch thick, minimum of 3 inches wide. For example, on a 14×7 drum, we use up to 25 pieces of wood cut to 2.5 inches wide, by 8 inches long, and 7/8 inch thick
-Size up the wood to ship**. Example.. (if your boards are 8 ft long cut them into four two foot sections to box up.
-Tell me what you want**. Size, Finish, and hardware color and type.
-The Minimum price** is around $1000.00. Giving me your wood only reduces the price a small amount. The cost in a drum is in the hardware and production time.
-You will be getting a custom drum from your sentimental wood that will last a lifetime, there is a waiting list so please be patient with me.

Drums of war!

On the Ropes with Brian Hill talks about Charles W Bonner,civil war drummer, and William S. Tompkins, drum maker. Brian is an expert in drum history. He is full of interesting anecdotes and facts on historical drums. Watch the video.18623483_1527183853979456_7929581504974054854_o.jpg18595535_1527184953979346_1006522875160842791_o.jpg

If you love history, you need to check this video out. Brian Hill explains why he is so passionate about the drums he brings to the Museum Series On The Ropes.

Thank You So Much,
Michael Outlaw

Best Snare Wood by Genre

One question that we get asked a lot is what snare drum is best for a particular genre of music.  This is sometimes difficult to answer for several reasons.  First, music and sound is a matter of personal taste so pinpointing one drum for an entire genre is impossible.  Second, we make unique one of a kind drums out of woods that no one else in the industry is using so the sounds made from these woods are unique and not always found in a particular genre. Many things go into making the sound you get from your drum such as drum heads among other things.  We are concentrating on the wood that the snare is built out of because wood drums it what we do. That being said we are still going to try to answer!

Country music: Country music is interesting because drums were not an original part of country music culture.  In fact bands that incorporated drums were considered “impure”. Drums were introduced to country around the 1960s. Country drummers like a full bodied “fat” sound for ballads in older country songs.  The newer style of country music plays a lot like rock.  The 14×7 maple or birch/maple is a good pick for country. Heart pine is also a good pick. It carries close to the same characteristics and tones because of the tight growth rings in the lumber.  This vintage lumber was some of the virgin trees grown in Georgia in the days of our founding fathers.

Rock music: Rock music drumming is a broad area that incorporates lots of different styles like punk, classic, and heavy metal. Drums have been the backbone of rock music since the beginning of the genre providing a solid beat and rhythm to the music.  These days with the advancement of drum sets they provide tonal, melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic shading.  Black walnut provides a bright, high pitched that is great for this genre with the loud speakers and amp heads.  Cherry works well for this genre as well.  The harder the wood on the janka scale the better sound you will achieve for rock in our opinion.

Jazz music: Jazz drumming is a mixture of different cultures and their influences over time to Jazz music most notably the African influence.  This influence was mostly about improvisation.  Oak works nicely for jazz sounds because of the sensitivity of the snare sound you get with oak.  You want a wood that will reflect the ghost notes in this genre.  Oak is porous and works well for these sounds.

These are a few genres and the drums that we feel do well in those genres.  This is by no means an all-inclusive list and as every musician knows bearing edges, shell thickness, drum head type, and size plays a role.  The musicians and listeners personal preference also plays a big role.  Leave a comment, Tell us your favorite drum for your genre and why.

Wood Bass Drum Beater.


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 Outlaw Drums is proud to present a Revolutionary new design in kick drum beaters that will get you noticed!  Using End grain boards much like chopping blocks, gives a harder, deeper sound. Each comes with a Polished Stainless Steel rod, Plus a replaceable felt pad. The wood is born of the same first generation heart pine wood; The wood that has become the signature of the company, these Hammers provide a larger kick presence than ordinary felt beaters. The Hammers incorporate two different angled impact sides that provide two different impact results.  One side remains round while the other is angled on a perfect 9 Degrees to meet the kick drum head straight on.  Meeting the kick head “straight on” provides maximum coverage and contact with the head, increasing the effect on the strike-zone.  Utilizing an angled beater also extends the life of the drum head. Buy it once, play it forever with Lifetime Warranty!! To buy click HERE

Just being around this old lumber feels like it’s telling you a story of where it’s been. Even when the saw blade starts to cut the wood, the fragrance of the wood fills the air, and you can’t help but wonder about the lives touched by this lumber. Every piece is different in its own way. Some with old bolt and nail holes with the square holes left from the old cut nails. Others still have the original saw kerfs. These unique boards are one-of-a-kind and when they are gone they are gone. It takes about 80 years for the wood to gain that reddish color. It’s getting harder and harder to find. Old tobacco barns, plantation homes, mills or bridges, built before the 1900’s, are about the only places you can find it.

The process of reclaiming this wood can be painstaking. The collection of these boards has to be carefully executed and every board has to be checked with a metal detector to ensure that no nails are hit with the planer knives. Because of the slow growth rate, Long leaf pines were not replanted. Lumber cut today is referred to as new heart pine. 


What does pine wood sound like?

The sound that pine makes!

We were sent two Outlaw snares to review with Modern Drummer, an eight-lug 6×13 in “chestnut glaze” finish, built from the Wilder timber, and a ten-lug 5×14 in “reborn blueberry,” reclaimed from a nineteenth century home that was torn down in 2013.  Both drums feature chrome tube lugs, triple-flange chromed steel hoops, a Dunnett three-position roto-style throw-off, an Evans G1 Coated batter and Snare Side 300 bottom, and PureSound snare wires (twenty strands on the 13″ drums and sixteen strands on the 14″). The stave-style shells of these drums are thick and cut with sharp bearing edges. The exteriors of the shells are painstakingly finished to maintain a rustic look and textured feel that hearken back to the buildings from which the drums are built.
    The 6×13 has one of the original nails in the shell, and the vent is actually a 1″ bolt hold. The 5×14 drum has a cool-looking blue/chestnut finish on the inside and outside of the shell that was applied meticulously by hand to match the weathered look of the building from which it was build. Outlaw’s .125″-thick “forest guard” metal badges are modeled after the shield worn by the U.S. Forest Service, which was established by Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 to preserve the country’s natural wonders. All of these features combine to give Outlaw snare drums a world-class appearance with a lot of history and vibe.
    Sonically, both drums were bright and snappy with strong articulation and nice snare response. The 13″ turned out to be the more versatile of the two. It sounded very lively and popping tuned very tight, while a medium tuning brought out an open, all-purpose voice. Lower tunings produced a fat and punchy sound with a nice pitch bend in the sustain. The 5×14 had a similar overall tone, but it performed  best at medium and lower tunings, where the natural brightness of the thick pine shell was counter-balanced by the depth and punch created when the heads were at a lower pitch. Even detuned all the way, this drum still had a strong, sizzling presence. No muffling was required on either snare during our testing.
    Outlaw also uses smaller pieces of reclaimed timber to make wooden bass drum beaters, and custom snare racks are available. Drum collectors, take note!
Michael Dawson