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Old 02-19-2013, 09:33 PM
rob42771 rob42771 is offline
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Default Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

If you were to buy a drum set that would nee to be versatile for playing anything from jazz to rock...funk to metal, which wood would be best at allowing for this? And I am not expecting that the particular wood would satisfy every genre...but which would cover off many well?

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Old 02-19-2013, 09:48 PM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

I'd say maple. But that being said, I think my Oak Customs can handle anything w/the right tuning and heads...
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

All of 'em.

Type of tree cut down isn't what make a drum kit versatile.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:55 PM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

Depends on playing context. For example, across a wide spectrum of genres in an acoustic gig environment, mahogany would probably be the least versatile, but as a recording kit, probably the most versatile.

Versatility is about so much more than the wood species. Of course, the usual head choice, tuning, playing are the biggest variables, but if we're talking things you can't adjust, then shell construction & bearing edge forms are at the top of the list.
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:16 AM
mandrew mandrew is offline
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

If I only had one kit, it would be maple. but, heads and drums size contribute much to the overall experience.
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:33 AM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

Maple being the middle ground.
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:54 AM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

Drums aren't versatile, drummers are. There's no Jazz trumpet or Big Band trumpet or Blues trumpet, they're just trumpets. The trumpet player is the one who makes it versatile. One drum set, I don't care what wood it's made from, will work for any style of music out there. Assuming the drummer knows how to get the proper tone for the genre of music being played.

Plus the snare and kick are used substantially more than the toms. A bass drum is a low note, there's not a whole lot you can do with it. Not a big diff in a mahogany kick or a maple kick, it's all low notes. Players use different snares for different songs. That leaves all the versatility up to the toms. Not a huge deal IMO. Between heads and tuning, any tom can take on multiple personalities. Instead of asking the wood to be versatile, it really comes down to knowing what tuning and head combos compliment the different genres. So get what you like.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:02 AM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

Great analogy Larry my girlfriend and musical cohort is a horn player. I'm amazed at how radically different tone can be between players. I'll bet Louie Armstrong would have still sounded like pore gold on a cheapie $90 import horn.

For a versatile kit I'd go with a 20-24" kick ,maybe closer to 20" if you're playig a lot of Jazz, with standard sized toms. As everyone has said, the versitality will more be your playing and tuning skills.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:37 PM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Drums aren't versatile, drummers are. There's no Jazz trumpet or Big Band trumpet or Blues trumpet, they're just trumpets. The trumpet player is the one who makes it versatile. One drum set, I don't care what wood it's made from, will work for any style of music out there. Assuming the drummer knows how to get the proper tone for the genre of music being played.

Plus the snare and kick are used substantially more than the toms. A bass drum is a low note, there's not a whole lot you can do with it. Not a big diff in a mahogany kick or a maple kick, it's all low notes. Players use different snares for different songs. That leaves all the versatility up to the toms. Not a huge deal IMO. Between heads and tuning, any tom can take on multiple personalities. Instead of asking the wood to be versatile, it really comes down to knowing what tuning and head combos compliment the different genres. So get what you like.
Great post. It's not the wood of the drums that defines the drummer, it's the drummer who defines the drummer.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:44 PM
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  #10  
Old 02-20-2013, 08:33 PM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

ref the trumpet players...the trumpet players mouthpiece makes a huge difference. Many
carry several depending on the type of tune being played.
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:19 PM
rob42771 rob42771 is offline
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Drums aren't versatile, drummers are. There's no Jazz trumpet or Big Band trumpet or Blues trumpet, they're just trumpets. The trumpet player is the one who makes it versatile. One drum set, I don't care what wood it's made from, will work for any style of music out there. Assuming the drummer knows how to get the proper tone for the genre of music being played.

Plus the snare and kick are used substantially more than the toms. A bass drum is a low note, there's not a whole lot you can do with it. Not a big diff in a mahogany kick or a maple kick, it's all low notes. Players use different snares for different songs. That leaves all the versatility up to the toms. Not a huge deal IMO. Between heads and tuning, any tom can take on multiple personalities. Instead of asking the wood to be versatile, it really comes down to knowing what tuning and head combos compliment the different genres. So get what you like.
So in your opening sentence, you state that 'Drums aren't versatile, drummers are'. However you go on to say that players use different snares for different songs...depending on what heads are being used could take on multiple personalities. So although you say that the wood isn't being versatile (which I disagree), you are relying on equipment still for different tones...snares, heads...not the drummer's versatility.

Wouldn't everyone just buy the same wood for shells if there was no versatility in them and just rely on tuning and heads?
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:24 PM
tamadrm tamadrm is offline
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

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Originally Posted by rob42771 View Post
So in your opening sentence, you state that 'Drums aren't versatile, drummers are'. However you go on to say that players use different snares for different songs...depending on what heads are being used could take on multiple personalities. So although you say that the wood isn't being versatile (which I disagree), you are relying on equipment still for different tones...snares, heads...not the drummer's versatility.

Wouldn't everyone just buy the same wood for shells if there was no versatility in them and just rely on tuning and heads?
I have to agree with Larry here.The top 5 American drum makers from the 50's to the mid 70's used little variation in drum construction.

Ludwig and Slingerland uses a 3ply mahogany/poplar/mahogany shell,sometime the outer ply was maple,which was used for finishing purposes ONLY.Yet these two brands were used by jazz,rock,pop,soul,funk,prog rock,country, metal,big band and just about any other genre you care to name.

Gretsch changed to thin 6 ply of maple/gumwood and they were also used by drummers of all styles of music.The same with Rogers 3,then 5 ply maple,and Camco.All three of these companies had shells made by Jasper or Keller.Only Slingerland and Ludwig made their own shells at the time.

So you can see that drummers played what they liked reguardless of shell composition,and they went by how their drums sounded.Each brand varied in sound slightly,but could be used in any style of music.

Listen to John Bonhams 3 ply Ludwigs,or Ginger Baker,Ringo,Cozy Powell,Alan White,Roy Hanes or even Joe Morellos drums.All of them were 3 ply Ludwig.It's the tuning,heads and most of all,the skill level of the drummer that creates the versitility in sound.You can use one kit for everything.They all did.

Steve B
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:29 PM
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  #13  
Old 02-21-2013, 11:36 PM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

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Originally Posted by rob42771 View Post
Wouldn't everyone just buy the same wood for shells if there was no versatility in them and just rely on tuning and heads?
I reckon you are confusing tonality with versatility here. They are two different things. Different woods certainly offer different tones, but that doesn't necessarily make one wood any more versatile than the other. Larry's point is that a good player can make a maple, birch or bubbinga kit work for whatever situation he's using it in.

That's not to say that you're not gonna have a preference for one over another either. It's more to highlight that all the common woods used en masse by the major manufacturers, have been tried and tested over the years as being "versatile".......hence why they sell thousands of the things to be used in recording studios and live stages all over the world. You're safe to pick the one you like best as far as versatility is concerned.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:40 PM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

If you took Max Roach's round badge kit, tuned the way Max tunes them....and put John Bonham on them and had him play "Rock and Roll" ...they're going to sound like rock drums. It's the drummer that imparts the style to the drums, not the other way around. The reason I mentioned different snares is because they are easily switched out. You are right in implying that certain snare tones work better for certain music. For instance I wouldn't want a deep and loose rock snare tone to play reggae with. I could however tune my deep rock snare really high and tight, and throw the snares off and get a passable reggae sound. So it's tuning skills matched to properly playing the song style, which is all the versatility of the drummer. It's just easier to switch snares since they are so easily switched. Toms aren't as easy to switch out and basically you're stuck with them. So you tune them to the genre of music you are playing, high and tight for jazz and reggae, deeper and looser for rock, etc.

Any drum will work for any style of music if the drummer tunes for the genre and plays the style authentically. The wood type doesn't dictate squat, the drummer does.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:45 PM
Anthony Amodeo
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

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If you took Max Roach's round badge kit, tuned the way Max tunes them....and put John Bonham on them and had him play "Rock and Roll" ...they're going to sound like rock drums.
I cannot agree with this at all

sorry Lar

it's going to sound like John Bonham playing a kit tuned for bebop
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  #16  
Old 02-21-2013, 11:48 PM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

But the style will be rock no matter how they're tuned.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:50 PM
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:53 PM
Anthony Amodeo
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

come to think of it.....these sound pretty close to Bonham tunings actually

I take back what I said uncle

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AunZY0fcxRs
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:05 AM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

I would buy maple but not ply. It would be steam bent.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:06 AM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

When these types of topics come up, I always think if the famous drum trio performance of Weckl, Vinnie and Steve Gadd.

All three are playing Yamaha Recording Customs.

Weckl and Vinnie both have the exact same snare drum and exact same drum configuration. Gadd's set up is only slightly different in sizes.

Yet all three kits sound very different due to different heads and different turnings.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ln6b_nBM-V8
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:34 AM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

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Originally Posted by Anthony Amodeo View Post
come to think of it.....these sound pretty close to Bonham tunings actually

I take back what I said uncle

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AunZY0fcxRs
Hey thanks for posting that. Reminded me so much of how those licks and hi tunings show up in this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XnQ5kKmOro

Bonham practically cops the same Roach licks at about 2:00 to 3;00
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:47 AM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

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Hey thanks for posting that. Reminded me so much of how those licks and hi tunings show up in this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XnQ5kKmOro

Bonham practically cops the same Roach licks at about 2:00 to 3;00
absolutely

so much of what John Bonham played in solos was Max Roach, Joe Morello, and Budy Rich .......and he wasn't trying to hide it

there is footage of him opening a Moby Dick solo blatantly playing Maxs' The Drum Also Waltzes ...paying homage to one of his heroes

Last edited by Anthony Amodeo; 02-22-2013 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:52 AM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

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I would buy maple but not ply. It would be steam bent.
I have to resist saying that, but secretly, I agree :) or maybe ash, or purpleheart.
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:20 AM
tamadrm tamadrm is offline
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

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Originally Posted by Anthony Amodeo View Post
come to think of it.....these sound pretty close to Bonham tunings actually

I take back what I said uncle

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AunZY0fcxRs
That is one of the quintisential Max Roach musical solo's I've seen.Just Max being Max.If you close your eyes,you hear Bonham.....but Max did it first.

Steve B
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:50 AM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

Seems to me that selecting sizes is the biggest factor in determining what your drum sound will be. I have tom pitches and attacks in my head, so if I'm playing 10/12/14 toms, they're going to be tuned lower than if I'm playing a 13/15/18 tom setup (which will be cranked up). The reason that's important is because there will be a lot more pitch bend on a smaller drum tuned low. Larger drums tuned tight will feel harder and maintain a less bending tone.

Head choice and bearing edge cuts would be next in order of importance, with sharper edges giving a snappier attack and rounded edges yielding mellower rounder response.

Only after those decisions have been made would I consider wood species (and assuming ply construction). I'd probably default to maple, but I've played oak, birch, bubinga, and mahogany and they all have their charms.
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:56 AM
rob42771 rob42771 is offline
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

Thanks so much for the information...I certainly appreciate you all sharing your knowledge.
I now have a better understanding.
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Old 02-22-2013, 04:00 AM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

I play classic rock and hard rock. 6 ply maple or 6 ply birch have always been my best friends
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:10 AM
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Default Re: Most versatile wood...Maple, Birch, Mahogany, Oak?

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Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
I have to resist saying that, but secretly, I agree :) or maybe ash, or purpleheart.
How is purpleheart? I've had a hankering for awhile to build a solid shell purpleheart snare. I made a bass body out of it once and other that weighing a ton, it was incredible. Somehow it seems like it would make a great snare.
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