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  #1  
Old 08-12-2011, 11:56 PM
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Default A slightly different approach to a new set

As an alternative to getting a new drum set, or having a new custom set built by a builder, I would think it would make a lot of sense to but old, quality shells.... recut them, rewrap or refinish them, and drill them to outfit them with whatever hardware you prefer.

For instance I was thinking of building my own set out of old round badge shells, have the drum edged and trued, drilled for the lugs I want, and do it to my specs...

The reason for this is the age of the wood. Andy's Guru set may not sound as good if the staves he used were brand new. I don't like Gretsch 5 lug tuning, so to hell with resale value, I'd get it drilled for 6 lugs and use filler. This would be MY set not me trying to restore a set of round badges. Outfit it with a suspension mounting system of my choice and I bet the results would sound better than a new boutique set, solely because of the age of the wood. Thoughts?
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:13 AM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

That is one great idea! Go for it. Peace and goodwill.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:21 AM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

I see no problem doing things that way. My bop set was made from old shells, just not good shells and better lugs, etc. If you know someone who can cut the bearing edges you have half of the battle won. If you decide be sure to keep a build-by-build thread going.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:25 AM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

Start hacking away at your DW's and let us hear what you come up with.
Just kidding!
Finding shells to experiment with is no problem.
eBay is full of them.
This is not rocket science. You can do whatever you want to with a shell.

I bought an old Ludwig shell for $30 and I made this snare.
I love it!
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:57 AM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
it would make a lot of sense to but old, quality shells....
Larry, you forgot the other "t" in butt

not sure it's wise
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Old 08-13-2011, 01:34 AM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

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Larry, you forgot the other "t" in butt

not sure it's wise
Ha ha got me there Pol. My bad.
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Old 08-13-2011, 03:01 AM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

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Ha ha got me there Pol. My bad.
Ha, it's easy for me to tease - the most advanced handywork I've done with drums has been changing heads and throwing piles of laundry in the kick drum. I think I once cleaned my snare drum lugs.

No matter what Bob says, to me the stuff in this thread IS rocket science ... be interesting to know how it goes using old wood, though. I've gathered that the technology behind new drums was supposed to be better - not just stands and fittings but the way the shells are constructed? Seems like there's some debate about that, though. It might depend on the style since for blues I gather a more traditional sound would be best ...
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Old 08-13-2011, 05:56 AM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

It seems to me that the bearing edge is the greatest factor in vintage sound.
That is what I meant by Rocket Science.
Its just a matter of selecting a shell with the characteristics that you like.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:25 AM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

Well the point is the old, dried out wood where the lignons (sp?) have hardened for better resonance. With newly cut, perfect bearing edges.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:50 AM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

I have a round edge kit from the mid 70s
The 12 inch tom is a 5 lugger. I have no probs with tuning it.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:56 AM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

Go for it .... and take and post pictures ....
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Old 08-13-2011, 07:00 AM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

I had 2 sets of Renowns. Great shells, finish, edges. Hardware is average. I just like lugs that are across from one other. I thought the space between lugs was too far on my 12" tom and I couldn't get a pure enough tone to my ear. Yea give me an even amount of lugs. The floor tom and the kick were fine, they had an even # of lugs. The racks were my only gripe. I didn't like the overtones, they seemed all out of whack. I would have kept them if the racks had an even amount of lugs.
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  #13  
Old 08-13-2011, 03:26 PM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
The reason for this is the age of the wood. Andy's Guru set may not sound as good if the staves he used were brand new.
True, but that has to be taken in context. Only if the shell build is exemplary do those finer points show their hand.

The truth is, some older shells were made of good wood, but badly constructed. Even worse, some older shells were made of poor quality wood, & badly constructed. Occasionally, some older shells were made of good wood & well constructed. If you're interested in getting a superb sound, those are the ones to seek out & snag. If you're just interested in getting an acceptable sound, then any shell that's round stands a good chance of doing the job for you.

Fresh cut edges are a good idea, but only if the old edges are in poor order. Sometimes, exposing new timber on old wood forms releases stresses in the construction that can negate your efforts.

There's no doubt that modern ply shell construction methods are superior to a few decades ago. The main advantage is shell accuracy & stability, rather than any inherent sonic improvement outside of those areas. If I was to take a punt on the very best modern ply shell construction method, it would be the external pressure method employed by Sonor.

My gut feeling Larry, & it is only a gut feeling: If you want to create something with a very specific sound, as good as it's possible to get, & very personal to you, I'd steer you away from reworking a vintage shell. Possibly for no reason other than the crap shoot that is buying & reworking old shells. However, if you want a good sounding drum using a shell with a character that you already understand, the reworking of an old shell is a great way to go. So much cheaper, & ultimately, recycling is a good thing to do.
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  #14  
Old 08-13-2011, 04:09 PM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

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Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
True, but that has to be taken in context. Only if the shell build ... etc etc
Andy, I know diddly about gear yet your post makes good sense to me. My understanding is a fair bit of science has been put into modern drums. Larry said the old shells dry and become more resonant ... so if he gets the edges right then they should sound good, yes? And if it doesn't work out, he can report back here with his research results for the betterment of drummerkind :)
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:14 PM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

I argee with using older(vintage) shells that are orphans(different finishes,from different sets.extra holes),and replacing the old hardware with new,more functional stuff,recutting the bearing edges, and finishing the whole thing off with a rewrap.

Having said that,I can't see taking a vintage kit,hot rodding it(some call it upgrading,I call it desicration).If you have a vintage matching kit,from say the 60" in good condition ,but you want that lets say,"great Gretsch sound,in a set you can play out....then sell the vintage set.>Todays resale market for vintage Gretsch, especially round badge drum sets is at an all time high.You'll get top dollar for it ,and then you can buy orphan drums with extra holes,non original hardware cheaply,and do what you want to them.They are no longer collectable so altering them is no big deal.

By altering a set that was born together,you are altering a piece of history.Sell it to a collector.

So...having said that....I also have to say this ....they are your drums,you paid for them,and you do whatever you want with them.I am merely suggesting a win win situation.Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

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  #16  
Old 08-13-2011, 06:59 PM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

I would be a bit weary of too much drilling and plugging, but other than, it's a great idea.

Re-use old shells makes way more sense than buying new.

Many pros have done similar.

Neil Peart's purple Ludwig kit was his pink-ish/white kit re-finished.

There was a thread around here of how Eric Singer (of Kiss) had one his big 80's kits cut down and re-finished for a more recent Kiss tour.

I know there are some other examples.

A few months ago I spotted some old, very beat up Ludwig shells. I was going to buy them for a similar project, but apparently several other people had the same idea, because the bidding got out of control.
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Old 08-13-2011, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

Well the whole idea is to not get a matching kit (to save money). I would look for a 22" kick, 16" floor, 12" rack and if Gretsch round badge drums come in a 10" tom, that's what I would go for. (Harry, do GRB's come in the 10" size?) All mismatched single items. You see them all the time, a tom here, a kick there, orphans. I want to start a round badge orphanage lol. And even if there's extra holes, that brings the price down and I don't think a few extra holes is going to impact the sound noticeably. Fill em up and wrap the drum in silver or champagne sparkle. The main thing is that the drums are round and the wood is 60 years old or so. The edges will be redone, I don't think I would let the concerns that Andy stated stop me from redoing the edges. As far as creating something with a specific sound, I'm not, I can't. I wouldn't know how to do that. I'm mainly doing this to make a "new" set using already aged, vintage shells. If the drum is round and true with flawless edges, whatever sound that results I'm sure will be satisfactory and most likely way beyond that.

I really need to know if Gretsch RB's came in the 10" size because I need that size drum.
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Old 08-13-2011, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

Harry is certainly going to give you a better answer on the 10", but I have noticed you almost never see a vintage (pre-1969) 10" drum from any brand.

I imagine concert toms were made in 10" for orchestral use, but that's just a guess.
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Old 08-13-2011, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

I don't think that I have ever seen a 10 inch dia Round Badge tom.
I remember 12 inches being the small drum when I was a wee lad!
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Old 08-13-2011, 07:32 PM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

Yea I'm on the prowl for a 10" straight shelled drum from the 50's or 60's.

I don't necessarily HAVE to have Gretsch shells, just a well built old shell. I would like the constructions to be the same though, either all rering or all straight.

If I can't find a GRB in 10" size, what manufacturers made 10" 2 headed drums in the 50's 60's..Anybody?
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:23 PM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

I was just in a pawn shop in Hamilton Ontario. Real dismal place, he had about 12 butchered Gretsch shells that had been cut down, only one untouched was an 8", asking $30 for most of them.

I tend to agree with Andy on this. I have re done many old drums, Radioking snares are best example. Although they are old and revered, some sounded good and some just did not have the guts to be any good.

I am with you on the aged wood though, I just bought this old bed for $30, it is mahogany and i dated it to roughly 1910-20. Shots from when I unloaded my car, and 20 minutes later, all planed.




This wood hopefully will make some warm sounding toms.
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  #22  
Old 08-14-2011, 02:52 AM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

Nice score on the old mahogany Union... Are you going to make them:

1 ply Steambent
Stave
Segment
Ply

In your experience, which method makes for the most satisfying tone?
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  #23  
Old 08-14-2011, 03:47 AM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Harry, do GRB's come in the 10" size?
Not that I've ever see.
however ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
I really need to know if Gretsch RB's came in the 10" size because I need that size drum.
What I would do is look here .....
http://www.vintagedrumguide.com/gret..._complete.html
The big black Gretsch Flyer ... has a 10" concert tom .... so .... getting a Gretsch shell is do-able .... but in what time-frame ????
So what I would do, is get any 10" quality shell, work it into your kit .... and keep your eye out .... eventually you'll find that Gretsch shell .... but it may take a year, or two.
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Old 08-14-2011, 03:57 AM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

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I imagine concert toms were made in 10" for orchestral use, but that's just a guess.
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Originally Posted by harryconway View Post

The big black Gretsch Flyer ... has a 10" concert tom ....
Whoo hoo! I was right, if you find a 10", it's going to be a concert tom.

Sorry Larry! But if you're going to re-do the edges and drill it, then it really doesn't matter if it was originally a concert tom or not.
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Old 08-14-2011, 04:05 AM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

Great. Cool. Thanks Harry, and DED is spot on baby! Right now this kit is a dream, just like my Vaughncraft set. This economy is really cutting my lifestyle to the bone.
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  #26  
Old 08-14-2011, 04:35 AM
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Default Re: A slightly different approach to a new set

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This economy is really cutting my lifestyle to the bone.
^ This x100

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