DIFFERENT TYPES OF DRUMS… WHICH IS THE BEST?

DIFFERENT TYPES OF DRUMS… WHICH IS THE BEST?

Here at Outlaw Drums we build many different types of drums, each having their own story and history as well as their own design and sound.

When it comes to answering the question “Which is the best?” we find that it’s always left up to the individual to find their own unique answer.

We always encourage drummers to check out all the different types of drums that are available because each type can deliver a totally different sound and feel that may appeal more to them, so before you commit to buying that cool looking snare drum that is advertised all over the place let’s take a quick look at some of the different types of drums (most of which we build on site) and what goes into the manufacturing process to make them so “different”…

1. Ply Shell drums

The first drum type that we’ll look at is ply shell. It’s by far the most popular type of drum shell and for a good reason; IT’S AFFORDABLE! When it comes to needing a drum at a moments notice, this is more than likely going to be your choice because most music stores only offer this type of drum. Sure the amount of plies in the shell can differ and the type of wood can vary, but the overall sound is toned down by the surface area of the wood glue that holds the ply boards together, so while more plies (thicker) equals a higher sound, it can tend to deaden the “natural resonance” that you may have hoped to achieve, and with less plies (glue amount) you will get a lower sound that you may or may not necessarily want… Of course the difference in sound is very small (in fact most people never notice) it can tend to be “all the difference” according to a lot of drummers and music enthusiasts alike. Ply shells are good, but there’s more range in drum tones than a ply shell can offer… Which brings us to the next option…

2. Stave shell drums

The second type of drum that we’ll look at is the stave shell. A stave shell is blocks or “bars” of wood that are cut into even strips and pieced together to form a general circle which is then cut and sanded down to a smooth surface. The amount of glue that holds the bars together is a lot less than ply shells because for every ply there is an amount of glue that sandwhiches in between it and then next ply, creating a “sheet of glue” that wraps around the entire circumference multiple times. The amount of glue in a stave shell only amounts to the number of bars in the drum itself; So if you buy a 10 piece stave shell (10 bars) then you’ll have 10 spaces in between the staves to hold the glue. Way less glue equals way less deadened sound! The tuning range is most notably what makes this type of drum more bang for your buck hands down. The downside to stave shell drums is that most main stream drum company’s don’t make this type of drum and may be a bit uncommon to find, so aside from Outlaw Drums, here’s a few links to other drum companies that also carry this type:

Stave shells have a different sound than ply shells in all the right ways, while the thicker the shell creates a higher “pop” sound, the fact that the less glue amount covered gives the sound more natural resonance which is noticible to every music enthusiast’s ear, especially the drummer!

Since stave shells have a more natural resonance, which enhances the sounds, it seems that stave shells are the way to go, so where do we go from here? There is yet another type to be noted…

3. Segment Shell drums 

This type is constructed a little bit differently from a stave shell. It adds an extra ring of bars that are offset to not only add an extra amount of beauty in the details, but give the shell much more durability and strength. While the look of each unique shell is always a little different and almost guaranteed to be a one of a kind work of art, segments do not flex with ease when you apply pressure to them and that has a lot to do with the natural resonance. While a stave shell is resonant and loud, they tend to stay towards the lower end of the sound spectrum. A segment shell also has a natural resonance and stays towards the higher end of the sound spectrum. The main difference is in the pitch. From a collection of testimonies gathered it’s determined that segment shells tend to have a wider tuning range, and that alone is a “Big Plus” in the drumming community.  The range of tuning that a segment drum offers will almost guarantee that you will find the tone you want with the best “Punch” added to it. This type has quickly became the most sought after type. Yes the price is a little more than staves and plies, but with our lifetime warranty on this type, we ensure that you only have to purchase it once and enjoy it for a lifetime!  This type of drum design is more uncommon and here’s a few links to other drum companies that also carry this type:

Alternatively we also offer stave and segment shells

in a book match design. Book matching is cutting the

individual bars down the middle in a certain way so

that when opened up (like a book) the grains all line

up and add extra beauty within the details.

We at Outlaw Drums offer these different types of drum designs. We can customize them with certain types of wood and dimensions, all of which create a different feel and pitch making them unique, and ultimately geared towards “that sound” that you hope to find in a drum set.

Make sure to check out our store to find the right drum for you, and also if you want to create you own custom drum be sure to contact us.

On a side note it’s worth mentioning a few other types of drum designs that are available, here are a few links to drum companies that offer these types.

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…

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