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.

Combining Heart Pine and Maple for a Custom drum kit.

We have been taking some time to talk about the reality of what we go through on building a custom drum kit. We just built a fun project!  We took some time to let you go deep into the bones on how we work.  Basically, people call me and tell us what kind of drums they want. What style of music and what finish types they like. We love doing drum kits that no one has seen before, completely one of a kind, one that has history, and one that can be passed down to your kids. Here Is our first video of how it works. Rase loved maple so we took it into account, combining Heart Pine and maple. The warmth of the heart pine helps tone down the brightness of maple.

Treasure in disguise From Church Pew to Drum Set

From Church Pew to Drum Set

We would love to build a one of a kind drum kit from wood that is special to your congregation or from the pews we salvaged from an old church in Calhoun, GA.  These kits not only have a rich, spiritual history attached to them; they also sound amazing! Contact us at 229-347-2853 or email us at michael@outlawdrums.com

Outlaw Drums has distinguished itself from other drum companies through their use of recycled wood to build their classic drums. DSC_5031
Instead of cutting down trees at a time where it is critical for the world to become more eco friendly, Outlaw Drums uses old buildings, structures, or any other wood they can find that is no longer used or needed, and turns them into their classic drums.  As they say, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, and this is nothing short of the inspiration on which Outlaw Drums functions. This method of using recycled wood isn’t just environmentally friendly, rather, the aged wood allows for the grains of the wood to tighten up making for a beautiful and unique sound with each drum built.  Every piece of wood used it unique and has its own story, thus, once built into a drum, that uniqueness is carried over to the drum, giving it a one of a kind voice and story that is different from every other drum in the world.

DSC_5002            In 2015 Outlaw Drums took this concept to another level when Gillionville Baptist Church in Albany, GA was in need of a drum set for the worship services. That’s when Michael Outlaw took old church pew that came from a church in Calhoun County GA, and with a lot of hard work and some incredible skills, Mr. Outlaw turned that old pew into a gorgeous one of a kind Outlaw Drum set. That same drum set is now used at the Gillionville BaptisIMG_1261t Church and Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 9.51.08 PMallowed another opportunity to serve!  Click on the link below to see the beautiful rejuvenation and Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 9.49.51 PMtransformation of this old church pew into a gorgeous one of a kind Outlaw Drum set.  Watch Michael Outlaw as he removes 30 year old gum from the pew and create a work of art for Gillionville Baptist Church!

WATCH HERE!!

Have you ever noticed what type of shell your drums are built with?

 Outlaw Drums

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Segmented shell

Have you ever noticed what type of shell your drums are built with?  If you are like most drummers, as long as the drum sounds good, you don’t care what it’s made out of.  However, here are a few tips and some information to make you more aware of what you are buying so next time you go to the music store, you know exactly what you are getting for your money.

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Stave.

There are two main types of shells: 1) Ply Shell, and 2) Stave shell.  Ply shells are more popular than stave shells because of the more affordable pricing options mainly due to the price of the wood and speed at which they can manufacture ply shell drums.  Essentially, the way a ply shell drum is built is by taking a long sheet of wood (almost like a giant sized roll of tape except there is wood instead of tape), which is then measured and cut to fit the size of the drum to be made.  From there, the builder has to stress and steam the wood to be able to manipulate it and bend, fold, and mold the straight wood into the circular drum shape you see it when you purchase it.  A downside to this method is that all that stress on the wood impacts its sound and if not done carefully can produce a canned sound rather than letting the wood breathe and speak for itself.

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Now on to stave shells!  This is a much more time consuming process and as a result is more costly than ply shells, but the sound you get out of stave shell drums doesn’t even compare to ply shell.  Stave shell building includes taking small square pieces of wood and gluing them together piece by piece until the drum is finished (see picture above for segments in the snare drum).  There is no stressing or manipulating the wood giving you the most natural sound straight from the heart of the drum.

Outlaw Drums has been building stave shells drums from the time it started, but is proud to recently present you its new affordable ply shell drum line!  Both ply and stave shell have their pros and cons but lucky for you Outlaw Drums offer both types of drums at the highest of quality and will work with you on the price to find the drums of your dreams!

-Mahru Madjidi-

“Drumheads isn’t going to turn a junkyard drum set into a holy grail” or will it?

When it comes to our drum kits sound we all want the best, but what sounds “the best” is subjective.  What sounds perfect to one drummer could sound mediocre to another.  Nevertheless, the unsung hero that is sometimes overlooked when it comes to drum sound is none other than the drumheads we use.

Of course, drumheads aside, a beginner level kit will not offer the mature and pure tone that a top of the line drum set provides.  A drumhead isn’t going to turn a junkyard drum set into a holy grail one, but drumheads can go a long way to changing the tone of your drums to get the sound you want, or at the very least come closer to it.  The following will define the terms used to describe drum sounds, breakdown the different types of drumheads in the market, and indicate what the popular choices out there are that you can start off with if you are unsure where to begin in your drumhead quest.

When shopping around for drumheads it’s important to understand the terminology that is used in the drum world to describe sounds.  Attack/Decay: This is the amount of sound that you initially get upon striking something.  The decay refers to the sound after the initial attack sound is over.  Warm/Bright:  Tones are generally referred to as varying degrees of warmth and brightness.  A bright tone represents something that is sharper in its pitch and has a shinier sound.  A warm tone is lower in pitch, more subtle, and deeper.  Batter Head/Resonant Head: the “batter” head side is the side that you hit and is facing you, and the “resonant” head is the side that is on the bottom of the drum and that you don’t hit.

There are two main types of drumheads, clear and coated.  Clear drumheads are usually brighter and have more attack while coated drumheads are warmer with less attack.  You can see the difference as one is literally clear and you can see through it, while coated drumheads have a white or black coating and the surface is not as smooth to the touch as a clear drumhead.  There are many variations of clear and coated drumheads so note that these are general statements and there are some exceptions to these sound associations.  There are three main drumhead companies that each offer different lines of clear and coated drums, these companies are Remo, Evans, and Aquarian.  What you use is up to you, all three have excellent drumheads and it’s a matter of trial and error until you find what works for you.

CLEAR DRUMHEADS – Completely clear drumheads are a safe approach and offer a medium amount of warmth and attack.  The all clear drumheads are made with one layer of film, labeled “single ply” or “1 ply” head.  Sometimes there is a clear head with an added layer of film in the form of a big black dot in the middle of the clear drumhead.  This extra layer adds more durability and more attack.  There are also many clear drumheads that have some sort of design or circular layer around like a ring around the outside of the drumhead.  These add more dampening and often have an extra layer of film also known as “2 ply” or “double ply”.  The extra layer of film makes the sound a little warmer with slightly less attack but maintains the all around brightness of the tone.  With 2 ply heads there is more of a thuddy sound, with single ply you get a boingier sound.  Keep in mind that the added dot or layer of film also adds to the durability of the drumhead and makes it last longer.

All companies have their version of clear drumheads.  Examples of a single ply all clear head include the Remo Ambassador and Evans G1.  The added dot can be found on a Remo Controlled Sound, and the circular pattern around the edge of the clear heads can be found on Remo pinstripe, some Remo powerstroke heads, as well as Evans EC2.

COATED DRUMHEADS – Similarly, there are coated drumheads that are single ply and double ply.  Snare drums almost always use coated drum heads but sometimes they can sound good with clear drumheads too, although the sound will be a lot brighter.  Coated drumheads don’t usually have the circular design around the rim of the drumhead, rather, you see them with the added dots, or they look the same but some are thicker than others.  Coated heads can have the typical white coated finish which is very standard, but there are also black finishes that are either suede or ebony.  The black suede finish is double ply and can be found on Remo black suede emperors.  These have a very warm sound and deep tone.  Ebony heads are often used as the resonant side of the bass drum.  They recently became developed for toms and have a very punchy sound with lots of attack.  The ebony heads are an exception to the general rule that coated drumheads tend to be warm.  Ebony heads have a lot of brightness and offer a very unique sound that can work well for recording.  Remo emperors or Evans G2’s are great examples of double ply coated drumheads.

There is so much more to know and learn about the world of drumheads but hopefully this gives you a solid foundation of what to look for and what to expect from drumheads you find and purchase.  You may notice that you can’t hear any difference in sounds between drumheads but that’s because sometimes our ears don’t pick up the difference.  To hear the difference between drumheads try recording the sound of each one on your phone and playing it back.  Below I will provide some combinations of drumheads you can use on your drum set.  These are setups that I have found work really well but even I haven’t tried all the heads in the market.  Again, what I find works may not be something you like, but these combinations seem to be used very often among professional drummers and they will be a good place to start to figure out what sound you want out of your drum kit.

(Clear demo) Drumheads for Kit 1:

Batter Bass Drum:  Superkick 2 Aquarian/Evans EMAD 2/Remo Powerstroke 3

Resonant Drum: Any company Ebony Drumhead

Snare Drum:  Evans heavyweight coated

Toms:  Evans EC2’s

(Coated Demo) Drumheads for Kit 2:Resonant Bass Drum:  Any company ebony head

Snare:  Evans Hyrbid/Remo powerstroke 77

Toms: Remo Coated emperor/Evans G2 coated

Mahru Madjid