Wood vs other materials

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
So then we should make marimbas and drum heads out of something else, right?
They already do! Plastic and aluminum are common materials for marimbas and vibraphones.

Many drum heads and made out of fish, snake, goat and cowhide, as well as mylar plastic in single and multiple sheets.
 

Hercules

Senior Member
Now wait a second! Have you ever heard an aluminum violin or cello? Ha! I didn't think so!*



*Our bass player has a non-Kramer aluminum neck-thru-body bass that is not as good as wood, IMO.
Not an aluminium violin but perspex or fibreglass - Ponty played one and it sounded great.

Who needs drumshells? Rototoms are due to make a big comeback ;-)
 

drumr_102

Senior Member
I recently had a great conversation with the president of Trick drums. He made some really good points as to the lack of resonance of wood. He made a good point that if you take a wood drum shell and hit the shell with a mallet that you get just a little bit of resonance but you mostly just get a thud. I must concur that this is correct.
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So then we should make marimbas and drum heads out of something else, right?
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
If you play what everyone else plays, you will sound like everyone else.
It's a rare occasion that I disagree with you old mate. But I'll say this. Bonham does/did not sound like Carmine Appice who in turn does/did not sound like Cozy Powell who does/did not sound like any other named player of the day of Ludwig 3 ply re-ringed kits. It's more than just the wood my friend. At the end of the day, it's that player that determines the tone, the texture and the musical voice of said kit. If I played your beautiful Ironwoods.....I'd bet London to a brick that no-one would ever confuse your playing to mine, purely based on the tones we can both draw from the instrument......well, either that or the simple fact that you can play and I can't. :)
 
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Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I do agree that head choice makes a huge difference in the sound of a drum no matter what it's made of.

I find myself drawn to things that are different. Whether that be Trick's shells or Remo's shells. As long as I like the sound that's what matters most to me. But at the same time I still like the traditional sound of wood. But the idea of the durability of a Trick shell is really cool to me.

On a side note, why doesn't Remo market their drum sets a lot more? From what I have read the drums sound good.
I totally understand your point of view. I, too, am drawn to things that are different - ABP, or Anything But Ply.

If you play what everyone else plays, you will sound like everyone else.
 

timmdrum

Silver Member
I'd be concerned about the propensity of Trick shells to hold heat during outdoor summer gigs where there's no tent.
 

drummingman

Gold Member
I do agree that head choice makes a huge difference in the sound of a drum no matter what it's made of.

I find myself drawn to things that are different. Whether that be Trick's shells or Remo's shells. As long as I like the sound that's what matters most to me. But at the same time I still like the traditional sound of wood. But the idea of the durability of a Trick shell is really cool to me.

On a side note, why doesn't Remo market their drum sets a lot more? From what I have read the drums sound good.
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
Nope - wasn't thinking of Brady. I have a feeling someone linked me a number of years ago to an Australian company that does or did make solid drums, I thought it was Spaun but it's entirely possible I may have got the company name confused, or the location.

Edit: Found out! It's SPIRIT drums!

http://www.spiritdrums.com/snare/beat.html
 

BassDriver

Silver Member
Remember it is not just the material of shell that is a deciding factor, a new set of heads tuned well makes a drum sound fantastic.

Not bolting a lot of hardware to the shell also tends to stuff up the sound of drum shell much less, Sleishman Drums uses this principle with its free-floating shell drums (which are also easy to tune).


...Sound is not the only factor.

A solid block wood shell resonates very fully (see DeathMetalConga's drumkit) but it is uneconomical to turn out logs to make these drums and they are also very heavy.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Umm... ok.

Fun fact: Plywood is constructed of thin sheets of WOOD glued together! Complete different from MDF or chipboard. Hence the name "ply" meaning a layer (single-ply heads, anyone?) and "wood" meaning... um... wood?

</sarcasm>

Now, if you're talking about SOLID wood drums, yes they are much rarer but generally considered a lot more difficult to make due to the difficulty in guaranteeing the quality of the wood used in their construction. Spaun are an Australian company who make solid wood drums, as well as block and plywood shells.
I'd count stave, block and steambent as being in the whole wood category; natural whole wood drums are indeed rare.

Particle board and oriented strand board are processed wood products, as is plywood. Yes, processed wood products are made mostly from wood, sometimes very high-grade wood. But there are also a lot of binders, like glue, as well as shaping and forming using heat and pressure. That's where the processing part comes in. Steambent, stave and block shells undergo much less processing and have vastly less glue compared to ply.

That's not knocking plywood at all; plywood has superior strength and workability and lower cost than whole wood construction (including steambent, stave and block), which is more prone to cracking and warping. Some of the best drums ever made are made from processed wood products like plywood and particle board.

While plywood is made with wood, it is not the same as natural whole wood, although manufacturers really want you to think plywood is wood. Wood is wood. Plywood is plywood. I am not inclined to confuse them.
 
Anyone remember when Zildjian released the Titanium cymbal?
Yeah. That sounded awful! What about brass cymbals? They all basically come from the same factory with the same sound only with Meinl, Sabian, Headliner, Paiste, Zildjian printed on them... There is no difference but the price for the same cymbal. Best of all, they all sound bad which is probably why sales of Sheet Bronze cymbals are way up (which I actually really like, I know I know). But I grew up playing on brass cymbals and B8 hi-hats (branded Peavey) and I didn't like the sound of the brass at all after a while and after 2 years of saving up I left a music store with a Cast Bronze and compared all the cymbals which were brass to it and I basically just threw one away and they next few months I have a brand new Mapex Meridian Maple aswell as more Agean casts and now my whole kit is cast cymbals and an intermediate kit. I could careless if my drum kit was made in China or America or even in my garage. Aslong as I can get the sound I want, then that's me. Which also explains all my toms everywhere in pictures (on the floor, fiddly on stands etc. etc.) because for every style of music I play I have the required sound ready with only slight tweaking to the tuning MAYBE.

Everyones like "Oh, I hate kits made in China" and "Aluminium sounds better than a wood kit". Just remember, wood kits started it all and you guys wouldn't be playing drums today if it weren't for them. You don't exactly progress with an electronic kit though, it has helped with my creativity.

But that's just my story and I think "Keep It Simples" kit sounds amazing and also looks amazing and another note I think that Stainless Steel kits sound absolutely horrible and full of attack and overtones it hurts my ears.
But everyones different and everyone has views.
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
Wood drums are very rare. Most drums are made of plywood, a wood composite material, like particle board (and there are some drums made of particle board too).

Umm... ok.

Fun fact: Plywood is constructed of thin sheets of WOOD glued together! Complete different from MDF or chipboard. Hence the name "ply" meaning a layer (single-ply heads, anyone?) and "wood" meaning... um... wood?

</sarcasm>

Now, if you're talking about SOLID wood drums, yes they are much rarer but generally considered a lot more difficult to make due to the difficulty in guaranteeing the quality of the wood used in their construction. Spaun are an Australian company who make solid wood drums, as well as block and plywood shells.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I recently had a great conversation with the president of Trick drums. He made some really good points as to the lack of resonance of wood. He made a good point that if you take a wood drum shell and hit the shell with a mallet that you get just a little bit of resonance but you mostly just get a thud. I must concur that this is correct.

This got me thinking that all these years of drum companies making drums out of wood might not have been the best idea. I'm thinking it's possibly more based off of tradition then sound physics principles.

I'm not saying that wood drums don't sound good, they do. I'm just saying that other materials, if explored fully, may very well sound better.

All this said I'm very much wanting to hear a Trick kit in person to see how the sound compairs to wood.
Wood drums are very rare. Most drums are made of plywood, a wood composite material, like particle board (and there are some drums made of particle board too).

Processed wood products like plywood are used for their appearance, durability, low cost and sound properties. Keep in mind that each grain of wood acts as a micro-resonator and, even with lots of glue sandwiched between them, they still produce warmth in a correctly tuned drum, whether it's a CB 700 or a DW (which really have very little difference between them).
 

larryz

Platinum Member
Well, it's a matter of preference. But give me the sound of baseball hitting a wood bat over an aluminum bat anyday. The ball may travel farther from the aluminum but....

You get the point. My favorite snare is a simple Luxor snare made in the 60s by Rogers. Someone once described its sound like "eating a honeycrisp apple".
 
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