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  #1  
Old 12-10-2014, 03:07 PM
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Default Dan Briechle: Rethinking the Art of Drum Making

Denver Westword Blogs
Denver's Dan Briechle Makes Some of the World's Most Unique Drums
By Isa Jones Mon., Dec. 8 2014 at 6:07 AM


A travel kit Briechle designed

Dan Briechle's first drum set is small and old. His father made him take it a part and clean it every month.... [S]omething...inspired him, and by the time he was fourteen, he was buying old sets.., restoring them and selling them to collectors....

When he was out of his teen years, he started...building drum shells....

He developed a building technique called directional lamination, ...basically...angling the inner pieces of the shells to create a wider range of tuning and allow snares and toms to be better tuned to each other. It naturally changes the pitch of the drum.

He's been restoring for years now, working with two employees..... He only makes about three full sets and half a dozen snares a year.

He builds anything from travel sets to custom drums for audiophiles and recording studios. [H]is showroom on 13th Ave...will soon open as a shop.... The snares sell for up to four-thousand dollars, and the sets are twenty-five hundred, minimum.

[A]t Red Rocks Community College...he's taught a class on drum making for the past three years. [M]aking drum shells is Briechle's true passion.

Video of Dan Briechle playing one of his drumsets

Full Story

Scott K Fish Blog: Life Beyond the Cymbals
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  #2  
Old 12-10-2014, 04:46 PM
mpthomson mpthomson is offline
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Default Re: Dan Briechle: Rethinking the Art of Drum Making

Isn't 'directional lamination' just another term to describe what Sonor have been doing since Job was a lad in a slightly different form and DW started doing more recently (among many others)?

ie vertical or angled plies to improve response time or alter tuning characteristics (allegedly)?

Can't fault the quality of what he builds from the pics, but the technique above isn't exactly new or ground-breaking.
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:07 PM
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Default Re: Dan Briechle: Rethinking the Art of Drum Making

I posted this hoping a Drummerworld Forum member would have first-hand knowledge of these drums. I don't.

Best,
skf
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Old 12-10-2014, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: Dan Briechle: Rethinking the Art of Drum Making

No disrespect to Dan, John, etc, but augmenting ply layup in terms of grain direction so as to influence fundamental pitch has been around in the drum building community for decades. Same principals apply to grain direction in solid shells. Further augmentation is possible via tensioning too, so there's many possibilities before you even get to wood species, & all are fairly well known.
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Old 12-10-2014, 09:15 PM
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Scott K Fish Scott K Fish is offline
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Default Re: Dan Briechle: Rethinking the Art of Drum Making

I've been around drum manufacturers, big and small, for a long time. Even so, I'm not sure I can explain, in layman's terms, what "augmenting ply layup in terms of grain direction" means.

My kingdom to the first person who can!

And I thank you in advance.

Best,
skf
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Old 12-10-2014, 09:35 PM
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Default Re: Dan Briechle: Rethinking the Art of Drum Making

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Originally Posted by Scott K Fish View Post
I've been around drum manufacturers, big and small, for a long time. Even so, I'm not sure I can explain, in layman's terms, what "augmenting ply layup in terms of grain direction" means.

My kingdom to the first person who can!

And I thank you in advance.

Best,
skf
It just means deciding which combination of vertical, horizontal, & angled grain direction you want to use, & in what order, when laying up the plies in the mould.
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Old 12-10-2014, 09:51 PM
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Default Re: Dan Briechle: Rethinking the Art of Drum Making

Thank you. Aren't some drums made from a single piece of wood? If memory serves, the Gladstone snares were made from a single piece of maple.

If so, is a single piece of fine wood preferable to layers of wood glued together?

Best,
skf
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Old 12-11-2014, 12:26 AM
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Default Re: Dan Briechle: Rethinking the Art of Drum Making

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Originally Posted by Scott K Fish View Post
is a single piece of fine wood preferable to layers of wood glued together?

Best,
skf
If well crafted, in my opinion, & in most cases, yes.

There are many different constructions of ply wood shells. Many different solid forms too (steam bent single ply, stave, segmented, hollow log) Each has their own advantages/benefits/features. Multiple layer ply shells are fast/cheap to produce & offer great dimensional stability if constructed correctly. Solid shells can offer many sonic advantages, but are more time consuming/expensive to produce, & are generally less stable/robust than multiple layer ply shells.

These are very broad generalisations, & there's certainly no all encompassing "better" to be applied.
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  #9  
Old 12-30-2014, 12:49 AM
Briechlecustomdrums Briechlecustomdrums is offline
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Default Re: Dan Briechle: Rethinking the Art of Drum Making

Hi all, I figured I speak up for myself before I got snuffed out by the flames of speculation :)

So what I do... I build drums incorporating many very old and very new techniques. I am a one person company I only build 3 kits and about a dozen snares a year. Relatively speaking DW puts out 5200 a year and C&C puts out about 600 a year.

All of my shells are built in house by me. I also source all of the materials (only enough to make a kit or one snare at a time) Because of the extremely small production size I am able to use some of the most phenomenal woods in existence. For example I produced a symphonic snare last year out of 600 year old growth Honduran Mahogany this was a 2 Ply shell with 1/8" mahogany plys glass impregnated carbon fiber and solid cherry re rings. The mahogany was cut from a piece of Spanish colonial furniture (a headboard that I found in New Mexico that dates to the 1600s)

I use angled directional lamination in order to tension my cross grain plys via my horizontal plys. this creates a shell that has no vertical grain and an actual tonic which means you can now tune your resonant head to the dominant, sub dominate etc and no longer the tonic. This takes drumshell from the nonharmonic to the harmonic spectrum (something I believe to be new as far as the modern trap set goes)
The angle of direction is calculated by voicing (a process of twisting and tapping) each ply out of the mold until it comes into the same relative sonic spectrum of the horizontal laminates. Then when glued together the horizontal ply tensions the angled one and they resonate in harmony while also producing a low cut. This process mimics post production eq and compression techniques. Vertical grain is incapable of being tensioned in this way but the dissonance is only heard when ply thickness exceeds 1/32"

I also specialize in hybrid laminates, using carbon fiber, fiberglass, kevlar as well as things like metal or nomex cores. These techniques enable me to manipulate shell tension without affecting shell density (by much)

I also use a special type of crystal resin that has scores twice as hard as silicon bead impregnated urea (the current industry standard and the reason behind kellers VSS patent, yes VSS is a glue patent)

I do also have a patent pending on mold forming single ply shells. None of my single plyed shells are lathed they're press under 4 tons of pressure after their steam bent and then they are kiln dried for maximum stability.

As for the pretty stuff I can do any thing that you can dream up. Inlays, laminates, lacquers, engraving, filligree, wood burning, wood carving, laser c&c work, mother of pearl and stone, you name it.

I also can put piezo electric mesh in your shell, build custom fsr triggers, incorporate soft pots, proximity sensors or any combination of the above if your interested in controlling your DAW or light show, via a drum or any other midi implementation.


I approach drum building in the following way. I start with the sound that you want and we figure out the best way to get there then we make it pretty :) I can make a drum out of any material you can dream up and I get excited working with clients that like to think outside the box. I also guarantee craftsmanship for as long as I'm alive period no disclaimers no fine print.

I do not believe there is one end all type of drum shell for any music. I also do not think picking out the trim package, color and engine specs on your BMW constitutes custom even if its a BMW. I understand what I do often exceeds the needs of the average professional player. I also understand that most of you will probably write off most of my techniques and I'm fine with all that.
Just wanted to say my part. I don't have time to blog that frequently but I always have time to talk one on one in person or over the phone (720) 413-3274 . Hearing is believing and my shop opens on Jan 2nd if your in or traveling to the denver area come give em a wack.

Also if your a working musician or educator any you qualify and participate in any governmental assistance program WIC, EBT etc I will sell my drums to you at dead cost plus half off labor.

Dan Briechle
720-413-3274
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Old 12-30-2014, 02:46 AM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Dan Briechle: Rethinking the Art of Drum Making

I love boutique instruments. They're a good way to achieve a quality one-of-a-kind sound. They're usually beautiful and fun to talk about in a social setting. They're pretty much works of art in their own right.

The thing that usually stops everyone from owning one is the price. When I tried to obtain a "Trainwreck" guitar amplifier in 1998, I was told that I needed to put down a $20,000 advance and wait 5 years.

Dan, do you have any audio of one of your more contemporary works for us to drool over?
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  #11  
Old 12-30-2014, 08:03 AM
Briechlecustomdrums Briechlecustomdrums is offline
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Default Re: Dan Briechle: Rethinking the Art of Drum Making

I share your pain with the boutique pricing luckily I make my money playing drums and I hear 70K a year is where people are the happiest :) As for lead time 6 months is typical on a kit but depending on my touring schedule things can change. Basic kits like the one pictured above start at 3K and go up from there, basic snares start at about 950$ Anyway to the audio...

This is off my latest EP just released 2 weeks ago. I used my personal kit, the kit that was pictured at the top of this thread. 10x7, 14x11, 18x13 & 12x4.5 sn

Remo Emperor Coated Batter and Ambassador clear resonant. Ambassador top and bottom on the snare. PS4 on the kick with a Emperor Coated batter. And No muffling on any drums except a felt strip on the kit.

The kit is a horizontal 1/16' ply of Khaya African Mahogany Flat Cut, with 1/16" flat cut maple sourced from the Mitten (they have a little more rainfall than Canada) Its a diagonal ply, the degree direction was voiced proportional to each shell (sort of like a focusing EQ) The maple ply was then glass impregnated and supported by unidirectional 12K carbon fiber. All drums have Bolivian rosewood rerings. And I used slingerland hardware, My first kit was a 64' silver sparkle and all my personal drums usually have slingy hardware old habits die hard i suppose.

The snare, 12x4.5, is a double directional 1/16" maple (same as above) shell, glass impregnated then a ply of carbon fiber with flamed maple face veneer and solid cherry rerings.

These recordings were done a Crucible studios in Eldorado Canyon Colorado.
They were recorded using a single vintage Neuman u47 room mic and a beta 52 kick. There were additionally 2 414s placed as overheads but for the most part they were not used when we did final mic selection. Please note no other mics were used.
The whole thing was run through a few Distressor compressors mixed on an SSL console with final mastering being a glass master done by Jim Wilson.

I also used a 23.5 istanbul k light ride and a pair of 50's Zildjian 15" paperthin hats.

I know my musics not for everyone but at least you'll get a good representation of the drums. It took a total of 20 minutes for the engineers to place mics and get a sound that everyone was happy with which is rather unheard of.

Anyway I think if I did this right you should be able to see the song some where as an attachment. Or you can check it out on

http://gladys.bandcamp.com/album/algorhythm

Dan
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  #12  
Old 12-30-2014, 02:14 PM
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Scott K Fish Scott K Fish is offline
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Default Re: Dan Briechle: Rethinking the Art of Drum Making

Dear Mr. Briechle:

Thank you for weighing in on this thread. Your insight is quite helpful.

Best,
Scott K Fish
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  #13  
Old 12-31-2014, 04:47 AM
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Les Ismore Les Ismore is offline
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Default Re: Dan Briechle: Rethinking the Art of Drum Making

Quote:
Originally Posted by KamaK View Post
I love boutique instruments. When I tried to obtain a "Trainwreck" guitar amplifier in 1998, I was told that I needed to put down a $20,000 advance and wait 5 years.
Well in hindsight, these days any TRAINWRECK amp has more than doubled.





Quote:
Hearing is believing and my shop opens on Jan 2nd if your in or traveling to the denver area come give em a wack.


Cool! Definitely somewhere to check out when Im in Denver.
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Old 12-31-2014, 11:19 AM
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Default Re: Dan Briechle: Rethinking the Art of Drum Making

Quote:
Originally Posted by Briechlecustomdrums View Post
I also understand that most of you will probably write off most of my techniques and I'm fine with all that.
Hi Dan, thank you for your excellent post, with additional construction detail that makes a big difference. I certainly don't write off your techniques, in fact, there's much more that binds us together than sets us apart, especially your overall approach.

Happy to talk & share anytime.

Andy.
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Old 12-31-2014, 01:35 PM
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Jeff Almeyda Jeff Almeyda is offline
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Default Re: Dan Briechle: Rethinking the Art of Drum Making

Quote:
Originally Posted by Briechlecustomdrums View Post


I approach drum building in the following way. I start with the sound that you want and we figure out the best way to get there then we make it pretty :) I can make a drum out of any material you can dream up and I get excited working with clients that like to think outside the box. I also guarantee craftsmanship for as long as I'm alive period no disclaimers no fine print.

I do not believe there is one end all type of drum shell for any music. I also do not think picking out the trim package, color and engine specs on your BMW constitutes custom even if its a BMW. I understand what I do often exceeds the needs of the average professional player. I also understand that most of you will probably write off most of my techniques and I'm fine with all that.
Just wanted to say my part. I don't have time to blog that frequently but I always have time to talk one on one in person or over the phone (720) 413-3274 . Hearing is believing and my shop opens on Jan 2nd if your in or traveling to the denver area come give em a wack.

Also if your a working musician or educator any you qualify and participate in any governmental assistance program WIC, EBT etc I will sell my drums to you at dead cost plus half off labor.

Dan Briechle
I already own an absolutely top notch boutique set but I have to say that I respect what you're doing.
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