What are fiberglass drums like?

williamsbclontz

Silver Member
I just recently saw a couple of videos online showcasing some fiberglass snare drums and the sound was so nice, but now that I think about it I've never seen one in person. I know buddy rich used fibes snares and Hal Blaine used fiberglass toms, but who else used this stuff? And what does fiberglass sound the most like? Is it close to a type of metal drum, or is it closer to acrylic?

What especially caught my eye is a piccolo snare used by earl palmer made out of fiberglass. It sounded so perfect, how can I replicate that out of my own piccolo? Or do I just have to invest in a fiberglass shell... thoughts?
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Fiberglass toms are incredibly resonant, especially on the low end. It’s almost too much resonance, that’s why a lot of people just use concert toms instead. I’m actually about to get a set of Jenkins-Martin concert toms, 10, 13, and 16, all 22” deep. I’m going to put calf heads on them and shake my entire house. LOL The main reason I haven’t put calf heads on my current kit is because it’s too much hassle to constantly tune the bottom heads. I still want the full resonance, though, to really bring out the sound of the calf. Therefore, I have to go with really deep concert toms.

The snares and toms all sound larger than their actual size. I don’t own a snare, though. I tend to prefer copper/brass for snares. Just my preference.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
Fiberglass drums are louder and unlike wood drums ,have a pretty good consistency from like drum to like drum(ever notice that DW has a note stamped inside their drums).
So a wood 9x12 tone will vary from piece to piece
Fiberglass for the most part never had that issue and they sound the same as they did 40 years after you bought them.
They tend to have higher overtones than most wood drums ,so if you're looking for a fat warm tone ,not gonna happen.

As for snares ,the holy grail is the Fibes fiberglass ,a hybrid somewhere between metal and wood.
Incredible sensitivity combined with the ability to be heard in a nightclub in the cheap seats without having to be mic'ed.
If you got snare chops,there ain't a better axe to display them on.

Ones in good shape vary widely in terms of price.
Figure $400 as a starting point.
 

moxman

Silver Member
One of favorite snares - the Tempus fiberglass 13 x6 1/4. I t just sounds awesome everytime.. wide tuning range. Has that woody sound combined with the crack of a metal snare. Great for recording or gigging. Can put out a lot of volume if you need it. For example I was using a Mapex maple custom pro -same dimensions - which sounds awesome, but was reaching a volume limit when the band got too loud. I brought in my Tempus and no limit... ( I later told the band to turn it DOWN as my ears have a limit too!)
PS - never had an issue with overtones. I use a coated Evans G1 on top and Evans Hazy 300 reso with prosound snare wires and a 1/2 piece of moongel. The HD dry is cool also... or the reverse dot with no moongel.
 
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williamsbclontz

Silver Member
From what I've heard the fiberglass snares sound very rich. Not warm but not harsh or dry like some non wood drums. But I've only ever heard recordings. I might go check some out, I know fibes are a name brand, and tempus and Jenkins-Martin was already mentioned. Who else makes fiberglass shells worth looking in to?
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
From what I've heard the fiberglass snares sound very rich. Not warm but not harsh or dry like some non wood drums. But I've only ever heard recordings. I might go check some out, I know fibes are a name brand, and tempus and Jenkins-Martin was already mentioned. Who else makes fiberglass shells worth looking in to?
Pearl still does wood fiberglass.
Yamaha made some fiberglass snares not too long ago.
Tama had fiberstar:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMYtI5Ur6EA
 
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williamsbclontz

Silver Member
Earl Palmer's little snare is a Blaemire Shell.
(see pic 1)
His is wrapped.
They look like this (second pic) when naked.
I have a few Blaemire Snares.
That piccolo is the exact one that turned me on to fiberglass in the first place, it sounds so good...

It was in the steve maxwell shop and he said it was 13x3, but I think he was wrong because it looks even skinnier than that. Maybe 2.5 or 2 even? I wish I had that thing, the sound is so perfect
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
I bet a certain Mendozart will chime in soon singing the praises of fiberglass drums :)

Ive heard only good things about the sound and durability.
 

Mendozart

Platinum Member
You should be able to custom order a Blaemire piccolo in those exact specs.

Contact Jenkins-Martin: http://www.jenkinsmartindrums.com
We've had a few drummers inquire about building a piccolo like Earl Palmer's snare. The problem is, we don't have lugs that will allow us to build a drum that shallow. This comes back to people wanting us to use hardware that is not ours, which we are not doing. I think the shallowest snare we can build is 3.25" deep. (Pictured)

On another note, our shells are made of spun-fiberglass, a very different animal than chopped fiberglass poured or laid up into a mold. Anyone wanting further info on Jenkins-Martin drums, drop me a pm, I love to talk about our very unique drums!
 

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williamsbclontz

Silver Member
We've had a few drummers inquire about building a piccolo like Earl Palmer's snare. The problem is, we don't have lugs that will allow us to build a drum that shallow. This comes back to people wanting us to use hardware that is not ours, which we are not doing. I think the shallowest snare we can build is 3.25" deep. (Pictured)

On another note, our shells are made of spun-fiberglass, a very different animal than chopped fiberglass poured or laid up into a mold. Anyone wanting further info on Jenkins-Martin drums, drop me a pm, I love to talk about our very unique drums!
I might have to buy a snare after I save up the funds for a couple of weeks. A 13x5 or something close to that sounds like a good size to add to my arsenal
 

Mendozart

Platinum Member
Nice Piccolo Greg,
Is that a 13 in the pic?
I'm pretty sure that is a 14" diameter, Scott.

I might have to buy a snare after I save up the funds for a couple of weeks. A 13x5 or something close to that sounds like a good size to add to my arsenal
Looking forward to hearing from you, don't hesitate to pm me with any questions. I personally own J-M snares in six different sizes, both 13" and 14" diameters, so I can give you insight on the different characteristics they exhibit. I am also a regularly gigging drummer, so I have experience with them in a performance setting.
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
I have a Tempus FG snare that I bought on a whim. I would describe the sound somewhat like a very dry wood snare. It has a nice attack and overall is a great snare but I have found that I just prefer lively metal snares.
 
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