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  #1  
Old 11-13-2012, 02:01 AM
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wsabol wsabol is offline
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Default My Dream Kit Build - WIP

First off, some back story.

I've been playing, gigging, and recording with a Percussion Plus kit nearly ten years now. I modified it a year or so ago, and it doesn't sound bad by any means, but it definitely time to upgrade.

I wanted my new kit to be one that I'll have forever, and hopefully the only one I'll need. In college I was really turned on by Yamaha, and had my heart set on that. But Yamaha doesn't even offer the dimensions I wanted even in their highest end "custom" line. I love that Great Gretsch sound, but that would cost me an arm and a leg. So I decided to think about making my own kit. I went around in circles a million times over and over on spec a long, long, long time but I finally settled on these.

12x8 - 6 lug - 6 ply Keller
14x14 - 8 lug - 6 ply Keller
16x15 - 8 lug - 6 ply Keller
20x14 - 8 lug - 8 ply Keller
14x5.75 - 10 lug - 8 ply Keller

My idea behind this kit is to try to replicate what I hear when I think of vintage drums. That means: short sustain, dry, but very resonant shell characteristics. I don't use any muffling on my kit, but I want these to sound almost like they did have internal mufflers like the old drums. Using that and some personally preferences, I can develop some building specs. I'm using maple Keller shells, so I cant do anything about the shell construction, but rounded edges, straight shell, Ludwig snare bed and snare hardware, diecast hoops on the toms, with no gaskets of any kind anywhere, and coated Ambs everywhere should do the trick :)

I just finished the snare last night. The matching snare was something I decided to do last minute, but man its sexy, and more importantly it sounds the way I would expect: warm, fat, punchy, and really sensitive. The rimshot has quite a bit of bit to it, but the normal tone is really round with not a lot of highs. The shell I got from Keller has some figuring and birds eye markings, which is freaking awesome.. it more striking in person that in the pics.. and yea, the stain doesn't help, but whatever I like my cherry stain.

This is the first time I've used the P86 strainer. WOW. I don't think the P85 is that bad, but the P86 is WAAAY better.

Other notable specs are:
-Triple flanged hoops I got off a dead 1976 Supra
-Puresoud Blasters snare wires
-Coated Ambassador over Hazy Ambassador
-Finished with tung oil and then polyurethane top coat. Inside I sanded to 320 and 2 coated of Shellac.

I'm almost done finishing the rest of the shells, the 12" and the 14" will be next ones completed. I don't have badges yet, but I working on it. Let me know what you think (and no, I won't throw hissy fit if you don't like it).

-Will
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Last edited by wsabol; 11-15-2012 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:06 AM
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BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
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Default Re: My Dream Kit Build - WIP

Loving the Gretsch-style beavertail lugs there. A real touch of class.

Are you considering a die-cast hoops on the snare? That would strike me as going for the 'full Gretsch'.
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:30 AM
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Default Re: My Dream Kit Build - WIP

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Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
Loving the Gretsch-style beavertail lugs there. A real touch of class.

Are you considering a die-cast hoops on the snare? That would strike me as going for the 'full Gretsch'.
Thanks BFY. I'm glad you like them

Yea I actually have some 10 lug die casts right now, and I'll try them out sometime, but I prefer triple fanged hoops on snares. And my intent here isn't to make a Gretsch copy kit (although i did think about doing that at one point). I just like the look of lugs, and the sound of die casts on toms.. its just the way it turned out.
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:57 AM
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Default Re: My Dream Kit Build - WIP

Looking very nice, & the way you've thought out the build is impressive. I like Keller shells, always have done :)
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:34 PM
Retrovertigo Retrovertigo is offline
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Default Re: My Dream Kit Build - WIP

how odd. im doing the exact same thing right now. 12,14,20 keller shells with rounded edges and diecast hoops. a recent discussion here convinced me to go without gasgets too. and my stain is even a similar color. so weird! your snare looks great. really digging the snare throw too.
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: My Dream Kit Build - WIP

@Retrovertigo: Wow. That is odd. I'll definitely keep posting my progress. Let me know if you have any questions, and shot some your way if I have any for you.


@KIS: I appreciate the kind words. I'm glad you like it.
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: My Dream Kit Build - WIP

Is that your first attempt at building any drum? Great job, nice color and you seem to know a little about wood finishing. My only thought....my brother in-law built a keller kit, no snare, and they sustain forever. you said you wanted short sustain. I am almost positive he used the same 6ply shells. Sound amazing, just loud and a lot of sustain. Have you ever heard a keller kit with those shells? Maybe the drum builders here know if more plys mean less sustain??
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:32 PM
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Default Re: My Dream Kit Build - WIP

Total class. Love the finish. I am in constant admiration of anyone with the talent and patience to build or restore their own drums. Keep the updates and photos coming.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:05 PM
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Default Re: My Dream Kit Build - WIP

Really nice finish on that snare. I love the "understated" look. Clean. Classic. Keller made the XP8 shell for Rogers, which was the first all maple shell (if my info. is correct).
Chasing the "vintage" sound. Then the immortal question. Which vintage sound? Cool, that you went with a rounded bearing edge. Between that, and the heads you put on those tubs, bam, vintage sound.
Gretsch was the oldest producer (big American brand) of a straight shell. The Round Badge 3 ply, and later, the 6 ply. Maple and gum. I have a set of 6 ply. Rogers, Slingerland, and Ludwig used thin shells with re-inforcement rings. That all changed 1976 (and later) when they all went to the straight, stadium shell. I have a Ludwig 6 ply kit (retired), and you can get a vintage sound out of it, with the right heads. I also "had" a Rogers XP8 kit, and again, with the right heads ... old school sound.
That great Gretsch sound ..... yeah. Got one of those, too.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:19 PM
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Default Re: My Dream Kit Build - WIP

Thanks Hyde. No, this isn't my first go at drum building or woodworking, but trust, I still consider myself a novice. My dad is a professional engineer and makes hardwood furniture on the side, so I my experience working with him, but that about it.

I resized, refinished, reedged, and re-hardware-ed my PP kit as an experiment to see what doing a whole kit from scratch would entail. I also convert the 13x11 tom to a 13x6.5 snare. The work done on the kit was a VAST improvement: 12x10(5 lugs) to 12x8(6 lugs).. 16x16(5 lugs) to 16x14(8 lugs), plus new edges on those and the kick.

The 13x6.5 snare is a different story, lets call it a learning experience, haha. In short I was too ambitious, and spent too much money on things that really didn't matter (ie adding plys to the shell, Rosewood veneer, actual Yamaha vintage wood hoops rather than the generic for 25% the price, etc). It also rolled off my wood bench a few times, haha, yea.. that was a lesson learned.

As for your sustain question, only time will tell I suppose. Hopefully the rounded edges, coated batter and reso heads, and diecast hoops will give a strong attack with a quick decay. but we shall see. A lot of Keller kits are made with standard 45 degree edges that will contribute to longer sustain, but we'll see.



@ Harry. That finish stuns me every time I see it. Those drums are miraculous. I debated going pure blonde for a while, but it didn't suit me. I love the tone of gretsch toms. Tony Williams' kit on Seven Steps to Heaven has my favorite tom sound ever.
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Last edited by wsabol; 11-15-2012 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: My Dream Kit Build - WIP

Good luck and cant wait to see the whole kit!
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:51 PM
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Default Re: My Dream Kit Build - WIP

Quote:
Originally Posted by wsabol View Post

As for your sustain question, only time will tell I suppose. Hopefully the rounded edges, coated batter and reso heads, and diecast hoops will give a strong attack with a quick decay. but we shall see.
Coated heads are a must, I think. At least on batter. On my round badge kit, I have coated Ambassadors batter, coated Diplomats reso.
On my 3 ply Luddies, right now I'm running coated Emperors batter, and clear Ambassadors reso.
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:39 PM
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Default Re: My Dream Kit Build - WIP

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Originally Posted by harryconway View Post
Chasing the "vintage" sound. Then the immortal question.
Yea I hear you on this. I see a lot of people try to do fancy things to try and get a vintage sound out of modern equipment using modern techniques. As far as I'm concerned thats kind of backwards. I'm trying to get a vintage sound using the techniques and supplies they had back then: thin ply shells, unmuffled/coated heads, standard hardware (no gaskets), drilled shells, steel hoops, gloss finish or wrap, etc.

Good call on the coated Dip resos by the way. I may have to try those.
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