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Old 04-25-2014, 08:44 PM
BamBam BamBam is offline
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Default Types of Wood for Types of Sound

Mellow greetings one and all -

As I have received conflicting information regarding the thread topic title I thought to ask the forum so I can receive even more!

Jokes aside please tell me what you think regarding what kind of wood shells produce what kind of sound.

I realize now that there are shells using a mixture of woods to fine-tune tonal quality. Please leave such technical discussions out of your responses. Please also don't include discussion about exotic woods from lands I'll probably never visit or whose names I can't pronounce without a dictionary. I'm interested in hearing about the "mainstay" types of wood, such as: Birch, Maple, Mahogany, Ash, Oak, Walnut, Cherry, Poplar, Elm, Hickory. In fact, in your responses, if you want to make mention of a type not in this list, feel free to do so and then explain why.

What I'd enjoy hearing is specifically what types produce tonal quality from "deep" to "bright" or "thick" to "thin."

One person I quizzed said Birch was what I'd want for my toms and kick to have a deeper tone; another suggested Maple. Another offered Mahogany.

Once people started talking about shells composed of multiple types of wood ply (maple-mahogany-maple or whatever) my ears started getting fuzzy and my brain started fading.

I just want to hear about the main types of wood and the sound they can be expected to produce from deep and dark to bright and light. Some help with terminology would be helpful as well. What's "sing," mean, for example?

If you are so inclined you can also express what type(s) you prefer and why for construction of the kick and toms; whether you prefer a wood shell for a snare or metal (and why!) and whether you think a kit composed all of one type of wood or one made with a combination (layered) is better for certain types of music (rock-metal-jazz-pop).

I'm making this inquiry because I'm considering what kind of sound I'd like to achieve when I upgrade to a better kit in about a year and want to have this information handy in my head when I finally go shopping.

Many thanks for reading/responding.
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Old 04-25-2014, 09:05 PM
Bretton Bretton is offline
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Default Re: Types of Wood for Types of Sound

here's pearl's comparison of maple vs birch vs mahogany:

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Old 04-26-2014, 08:19 AM
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keep it simple keep it simple is offline
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Default Re: Types of Wood for Types of Sound

Welcome to the forum :)

To fully answer your questions on the selection of wood species you've highlighted, would take me days. There are some basic & fairly prescriptive resources out there that describe basic wood species properties, usually in a defined context. They're a useful guide, but only a guide.

Ultimately, wood species is only one element of drum design that contributes to the resultant sound, & is more noticeable/important on some constructions than in others. Shell thickness & construction can completely change/negate/enhance the base properties of the wood species, as can quality of the wood itself, so don't get too hung up on only one aspect of a drum's specification.

Just to help you on your way, here's some bass line features of the three species you've been advised to use for a "deeper tone". Deeper tone, in itself, being highly subjective.

Assuming standard ply construction 1/4" (6mm) thick straight shells, usual double 45 degree edges or variations thereof:

1/ Birch - depending on harvesting location - boost at the low end & high end with a scoop in the middle. Produces a good broad low end, subdued midrange, & fairly bright high end. Good volume cut & definition with enough body to offer a slightly pre EQ'd sound.

2/ Maple - again, depending on quality - a balanced low end, dominant midrange, & balanced highs. Often referred to as "warm". A full, distinctive, & satisfying tone. Not as much overall low end as birch, but a better midrange response for melodic tom work.

3/ Mahogany - assuming it is mahogany, & not one of many species incorrectly carrying the name - rich low end, balanced midrange, subdued highs. Offers a low end focussed & slightly dry response with a shorter note than either birch or maple.

3 very different woods. The above info is smothered with caveats/variables.

Hope this helps,

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Old 04-29-2014, 06:38 AM
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MileHighDrummer MileHighDrummer is offline
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Default Re: Types of Wood for Types of Sound

This comes up all too regularly. Do a search and read everything already written and you will probably find dozens of answers to this questions.
"When I can match Buddy Rich, lick for lick, I will get a rack."
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Old 04-29-2014, 01:27 PM
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uniongoon uniongoon is offline
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Default Re: Types of Wood for Types of Sound

Originally Posted by MileHighDrummer View Post
This comes up all too regularly. Do a search and read everything already written and you will probably find dozens of answers to this questions.
As well as "what snare should I buy?" Yet these threads carry on for pages.

One very helpful resource to understand woods is to search and study the Janka hardness scale. Seeing the hardness of different woods can often give you insight as to how one wood may relate to another sound wise.
See my Signia's
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