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Old 11-28-2011, 11:13 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Herefordshire, UK.
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Default Re: Update on Wac'd Drums

Ok, here goes, I fitted out the 12" tom shell with Gary's lugs. The shell is a stave oak, about 12mm thick, & suspended with a Gauger RIMS Alloy mount. Even though stave shells are very resonant, being quite thick, it's not the ideal shell to bring out the best shell resonance gain of a free floating design. I know this from our own extensive experimentation on shell performance, but it's what I have to hand. Over the next couple of months, we'll make a shell that will truly test the maximum difference between lugs bolted to the shell & Gary's design. Heads = Evans G2 coated over G1 clear.

So, as a background to the following information, we've already conclusively proved to ourselves that free floating designs offer substantial sonic benefits when part of an overall concept, & the results are much more profound on medium to thinner shells. Equally, the results are further enhanced when applied to solid stave, segmented & steambent shells (i.e. shells that are inherently more resonant).

According to this specific test, we found the following positives compared to the same shell with standard lugs:

1/ Increased shell resonance. As it was a thick shell, we didn't expect much gain, but it was certainly there. If I was to put a guesstimate figure on it, I'd say around 15%. The lugs certainly improved an already very good drum.

2/ Ease of tuning. Especially on the fly.

3/ Increased headroom. The drum was able to tune lower without loosing a strong fundamental, & much higher without choking.

The small downside:

We weren't able to get the bottom head tuned completely evenly. It was close, but not 100%. This is due entirely to differences between the accuracy of production of the heads. In our own tests, only one in five heads, across all makes, were consistent in their film to rim application. The differences are small, but they're there. With a lug tensioned drum, you never notice these small differences, because you can just tweak a tension screw. If you spend some time on a free floating drum, you can revolve one head, & re-tension until the head difference diminishes. I must emphasise that the affect on the sound of the drum was small, but it was there. With careful head selection, this affect can be eradicated. The affect is more pronounced at lower tensions, & gradually reduces as tension increases. On a snare drum, you're unlikely to notice anything.


When taken as a whole, Gary's lug design is nothing short of a revelation. The design offers the player an economical & high quality free floating drum facility, either by design from the ground up, or retrofit. I'm totally sold on the sonic benefits. More shell tone, greater tuning range, & incredible ease of tuning. The fast tuning is of superb benefit to those who struggle with tuning, or those who need to change tuning frequently from gig to gig. All these benefits massively outweigh any minor evenness control challenges, & quite frankly, the majority of players will never notice the affect.

Free floating drums are all about getting maximum resonance & shell tone. If that's what you want, you'll be automatically tuning batter & reso heads to the same pitch. Gary's system makes that so simple, so convenient, & delivers real sonic benefits as a big bonus. Ok, they won't appeal to every player, specifically those who like to tune their reso head to a different pitch compared to the batter head, but to those that tune evenly, this is the best system I've tried. Imagine how easy it is to build your own drum with Gary's system. Go buy a Keller shell, get the edges on it, apply the finish of your choice, fit Gary's system, & there you go, an instant high end drum sound.

As a footnote, the quality of the lugs is superb.

I'll be back with a testing update early next year, but for now, just go & buy some of these wonderful lugs, & open up a whole new user friendly way of getting a great drum sound in minutes
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