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.


DRUM DAMPENERS – Which One Is Best For You?

Over time drummers are getting more and more options for getting rid of the overtones on drums and dampening them.  When I first started drumming moon gels were the main dampener of choice, and to a large extent they still are.  However, with all the new dampening systems coming into the market, it’s become worth exploring which one works the best for your purposes.  In this article I will discuss a handful of dampening options and what their particular strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to dampening the sound of your drums.


Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 8.21.26 PMAs seen in the picture above, these are very different than the stick on circular dampeners that are becoming popular with drummers.  These are plastic, laminated rings made to fit the inside diameter of your drums so you just throw it on their and let it do its thing.  Many different companies make these but the REMO version pictured seem to be the most popular.

You don’t have to stick anything and it comes off as easily as it’s thrown on.  It can also look cool on your drums, especially the white rings.  They are also very cheap and come in packs so you can use them on all your drums.   These are great for beginners who just want to get rid of the overtones and not necessarily get too technical about it with gels and other dampeners.  The issue with these are that they can look tacky at a gig and don’t do the best job getting rid of overtones.  Plus, unlike the gels you don’t have too many options with how much ring to take out and leave.


Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 8.24.40 PMTo be honest I haven’t personally used these myself, but I’ve listened to a lot of drummers that use these as dampeners and I love the way their drums sound.  They come in packs of four for $10.95.  From appearance, they look like an upgraded version of the traditional moon gels, at a slightly higher cost.  Since they are clear they won’t leave colored splotches on your drumheads when you remove them.  I can’t say too much more on these because I haven’t used them but if you guys have feel free to email me and let me know how you like them! (


Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 8.26.17 PMAll Right! These babies are one of the most commonly used methods of dampeners.  Although they feel and look like sticky boogers, they were a major innovation in dampening when they first came out many years ago and really allowed drummers to customize the amount of dampening they want.  Just like the drum dots and other gels, you can place these in different places on the drumhead (batter side), and experiment with different levels of dampening.  You get 6 pads for $7.39, so definitely more bang for your buck.  BUT! Be warned.  These can get really gross as they get older.  They are really sticky and hair, dust, and wood chips get stuck to them over time making them gross and un-reusable.  They will also leave behind a little color on your drumhead, it bothers me but it might not be an issue for you.  If you’re new to the dampening these are a good starting point.


Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 8.28.06 PMWith a creative name that fits its purpose, next up is Vater’s Buzz Kills. A pack of 4 will run you $13.46.  I actually have tried these and anticipate them to be similar to the drum dots, although I could be wrong.  These are a little larger than I expected, but only slightly.  I really wasn’t expecting to like these but I was pleasantly surprised!  I like my drums really damp and one of these buzz kills goes a long way.  I usually use Drumtacs (see below), and I found myself needing to use less buzz kills than I do drumtacs because they dampen more.  I haven’t had them for a long time so I don’t know if they will stick onto the dust, wood chips and other debris, but they seem a lot cleaner than moon gels and have a denser feel than other dampeners. You can also try to cut them in half for less dampness but I think that would get messy and these are best used as they are.  I highly recommend you try these if you like a really dry sound!


Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 8.30.30 PMThese are slowly becoming the new industry standard in drum dampeners.  They are foam based so they don’t stick onto dirt and debris like the gel based dampeners, and they are easy to cut, customize and re-use.  These also stand out because they are more versatile than other dampeners.  For example, you can put them on the resonant side of your drum, on top or  bottom of your cymbals, and virtually anywhere else you want to try!  You can cut them with a pair of scissors with no mess, and if you want to reuse them all you have to do it use alcohol on the adhesive side of the drumtac and it will re-ignite the stickiness.  They are more expensive though – a pack of 4 is $19.99, over double the price of moongels.  They are worth it in some ways because they do last a while if you take care of them.  However, I noticed that I need to use a lot of these to get the level of dampening I want on my drums.  They definitely look cleaner and nicer than gel dampeners; it’s all a matter of preference.  Regardless, if you are looking for a serious dampening tool these are a must try!

Forest Fire Limited Edition Drum Sets!

Forest Fire Limited Edition Drum Sets!

Wonderful news everyone! Outlaw Drums is now offering limited segmented solid wood edition Forest Fire drum sets! Only 10 of these drum sets are going to be built a year so contact Outlaw DSC_6958Drums quickly if you are interested because once they are sold out, no more will ever be built! Each is signed and dated.

You may have seen the Outlaw Drums Forest Fire Snare drum at your local Guitar Center, but until now, Outlaw Drums has never made an entire drum set with the gorgeous Forest Fire finish! The Forest Fire drum is one of Outlaw Drums’ most popular models, and for good reason.  Not only does the drum have a classic wood look that Outlaw Drums is known for, but the Forest Fire finish has a sharp, charred, rustic look that makes it stand out among other drums in its class. The Forest Fire drums are built from select Yellow  pine wood that makes the drum sound as classic as it looks. With the Forest Fire kit, Drummers have many options with tuning and can tune it high for a nice “crack” or “pop”, or low for the deeper “thud” sound.  The  Beautiful wood gives each drum a unique voice that is loud and will cut through any venue and sounds beautiful when recorded or played live.  All in all, the Forest Fire kit is a work of art that is built for the drummer that is looking for a sound and look that is different and unique; and the Forest Fire kit delivers on all those grounds and more!

Visit Outlaw Drums web site at  to make further sales inquiries.  Hurry while you still have a chance to get your very own one of a kind Forest Fire Outlaw Drums limited edition Forest Fire Drum.

What is Chinaberry?.. See what’s wrong with this bird!

What is Chinaberry?…

Although the scientific name of this tree is Melia Azedarach, it is commonly known by a few names such as White cedar, Bead-tree, Cape lilac, Persian lilac, and Chinaberry. There are also many other names used for this type of tree and it is within the Mahogany family.DSC_6267

This type of tree is mostly referred to as a nuisance or weed tree and has been categorized as invasive. While it’s roots are native to Asia, it has been introduced to a wide population of North America and the islands that surround it. This wood is not commonly used in wood-working, and therefor is not commercially available as lumber.

How this wood sounds in relation to common wood drums…

Although Chinaberry is within the Mahogany family, but the design of the wood somewhat combines a mixture of Oak and Cherry in a sense that the grain patterns are more of an Oak style, while the color of the wood tends to resemble Cherry. The porous nature of the Chinaberry wood gives the overall sound more of a low-end “punch” similar to that of Red Oak.DSC_6269

The standard wood used in the drum building industry is Maple and Birch, also a common alternative is Mahogany and Beech. These are great for mass production because these types of wood are common to find and easy to work with. In the drum building industry, Chinaberry on the other hand is more rare to find…

While researching different drum manufacturers I found virtually nothing on a drum created from Chinaberry wood. It seems as though a drum of this type has either never been produced, or was never thought to be mentioned on the internet.

The tree that this snare drum was derived from was actually growing right outside of the Outlaw Drums assembly room. These trees tend to grow fast and even after it was cut down the stump is still growing more trees from it. When it was decided that the tree had to go, an idea transpired that begged the question “What would that tree sound like as a snare drum?” Check the video below to hear this drum being played, as well as a bit of the process turning it from a tree to a snare drum.

The drum in the pictures below is the first Chinaberry Snare to be created by Outlaw Drums (and to our knowledge anyone else). The shell thickness is 1/2″ and the diameter is 7×14. While this type of wood is rare in the manufacturing of drums (and any other wood related products for that matter) it has it’s own unique characteristics that make it a great addition to the Outlaw Drums family, finding one of these may be difficult but with this wood having great sound properties, odd’s are it’s here to stay.

Check out our store to see if this type of drum is available.

Once again I want to thank You the reader for taking the time to check out this blog post, if you have any questions or comments, or may have even found any inconsistencies in this blog post be sure to let us know. All feedback is encouraged and we will try to respond as quickly as possible…

Also on a side note,I figured it’s worth a mention that the fruit of the Chinaberry tree can be toxic to humans if eaten in a certain quantity, so please don’t eat from that tree.Birds tend to eat often from the tree and can gorge to the point of a “drunken state” which is kind of funny…