View Full Version : Question About Plys?
02-16-2012, 05:00 AM
Hey drummerworld I have been looking into a new drumset and am wondering about how different quantities of wood plys have an affect on the overall sound of the drum. If anyone has any knowledge on this at all that would be amazing!
02-16-2012, 05:06 AM
It's not so much the number of plies, but the total thickness of the drum. This information is often hard to find and you may have to contact the company to get the answer. Thicker shells will be brighter, louder, and punchier. Thinner shells will be softer, warmer, and darker.
Of course there are many alternatives to ply construction, such as solid or stave shells. Drums with these builds are generally harder to find and more expensive, but will give you a better sound with much more resonance and tone. If you're interested in that, a member on here, keep it simple, has all the information you could ever want.
02-16-2012, 05:22 AM
If all things were otherwise equal:
Fewer plies makes a drum more resonant.
More plies gives a drum more projection.
That said, it is rare all things are otherwise equal.
Different makers might have different thickness of individual plies.
And there are numerous other factors that can affect the sound of a drum more than just plies.
02-16-2012, 05:35 AM
More plies = more glue and more glue = less "wood" in the sound. Also, cross-lamination reduces resonance.
02-16-2012, 06:37 AM
So what would be the average number of plys a drum would have...right now I have a gretsch catalina birch and I am just wondering what I should scale that to when I look to purchase my new set. Thanks for the replies by the way!
keep it simple
02-16-2012, 07:19 AM
So what would be the average number of plys a drum would have...right now I have a gretsch catalina birch and I am just wondering what I should scale that to when I look to purchase my new set. Thanks for the replies by the way!Aiden, don't get hung up on the number of plies, it's the shell thickness that matters to some extent. As others have already answered here, you can find a 1/4" thick shell with 3 plies, or 7 plies (by way of example), they're both 1/4" thick, & all other things being equal, will sound similar. Thickness aside, quality of shell construction, bearing edges, wood species, hoops, & a host of other things will contribute or detract from the overall sound. The number of plies is way down the list of things that matter.
P.S. thanks Dare ;)
02-16-2012, 02:31 PM
It's pretty much irrelevant unless your using 1 ply (eg stave of SS stuff) or the old school 3 ply vintage stuff. Especially with the mad different woods around now.
Keller, for example, generally supply 6, 8, or 10 ply shells. Less plus = more resonance, and a thinner shell will give a lower fundamental pitch (using the same ply thickness).
Overall thickness is key here. Hit a store, test some drums and enquire about thickness as you go. It's a subtle difference more often than not between manufacturers, but definitely there!
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