Originally Posted by uniongoon
I want the look of exotic but the sound of simple, if that makes sense.
Makes a lot of sense to me :) I even advise on our website that just because it's exotic or expensive, doesn't mean it necessarily makes for a good drum. For example, we build our classic range from English ash. In woody terms, a fairly humble species, but it has exactly the characteristics we seek for that range. Same with padauk. Ok, a slightly more "exotic" wood, but still not "right up there" in terms of price. Again, padauk delivers precisely the characteristics we're looking for. In both cases, the wood species also works well aligned to the particular shell construction method.
There are exotics that really work however. Woods that deliver a very useable "certain something" beyond their status & aesthetic. I'd put some rosewoods, cocobolo, ebony, purpleheart, satinwood, ovangkol, & a fair few others on that list. If you're going the veneer route however, it's really only aesthetic, availability, & stability that matter, & that opens up a whole world of choice, + economical too. By comparison to the equivalent in solid board, veneers are very cheap, even for the really expensive exotics.
I've lost count of the number of "exotic" drums (almost always snares) that sound like crap. Either because the builder has made little reference to the wood's qualities when deciding on construction, or the wood itself is just not a great tonewood. I've seen a lot of so called "purewood
" ply drums that have utilised "exotics" too, & that's just plain wasting money right there. Bragging rights has a lot to answer for in the world of drum building crimes ;) ;) ;)
My real wish is that purpleheart wasn't purple. Stupid wish, I know, but it's colour really limits it's appeal. If you love maple, you"ll luuurrv purpleheart. Sonically, it sounds like maple, but on steroids, then throws a "I'm more maple than you" party just to push the point even further! Absolute bastard to steam bend though :)