Drum building technique affecting sound

veecharlie

Senior Member
Ok this is literally eating my head since a couple of days...

I am ordering some custom made shells but I am wondering what's the sound difference that different types of building techniques gives to a ply shell?

It depends on a lot of factors... but suppose they use the same glue, same plies, same thickness, same type of wood, etc etc etc. What would make the sound change only by the building technique and process?

EDIT: Mainly looking to discover how do different plies layout affect sound, different techniques to approach this, etc. Even changing the ammount of glue.. let's just say, the "inside" of a shell. (Does this even make sense?)
 
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Stroman

Platinum Member
1) Bearing edges
2) Hoops
3) Hardware (in particular, the mass of it)

EDIT - reading big Jim's and Magnus' responses, I think I misunderstood the question. I'd say Magnus' answer is the most likely. There is certainly a difference from tree to tree, but I'd think the gluing and laying up process would minimize that. It can be hard to tell the difference between drums made from two species, much less differences in one species. I just don't hear that well! lol
 
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Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I think you are asking if all shell materials used are the same, and the builder is the same, will each drum shell sound the same when finished. I have also wondered about that. I think there would be some difference in the sound. But not a lot of difference.

Just think in a forest of birch trees, each tree looks a little bit different. So I would think each piece of veneer wood used would be a little bit different. (Andy where are you?)



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CompactDrums

Silver Member
Grain direction... ie: 2 plies horizontal, 3 plies vertical

Ok this is literally eating my head since a couple of days...

I am ordering some custom made shells but I am wondering what's the sound difference that different types of building techniques gives to a ply shell?

It depends on a lot of factors... but suppose they use the same glue, same plies, same thickness, same type of wood, etc etc etc. What would make the sound change only by the building technique and process?
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
I think you are asking if all shell materials used are the same, and the builder is the same, will each drum shell sound the same when finished. I have also wondered about that. I think there would be some difference in the sound. But not a lot of difference.

Just think in a forest of birch trees, each tree looks a little bit different. So I would think each piece of veneer wood used would be a little bit different. (Andy where are you?)



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Nope... I'll edit my original post.. I'm asking mainly if you change the orientation of plies and stuff, how does this affect the sound... maybe less controlled? more attack? (doubt it) more sustain? I don't know.. that's the question :)
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Unfortunately Jim, this is an area I can't contribute to (self imposed).
I get it Andy. No problem. (Sorry I put you on the spot.)

veecharlie: The DW shell video TommyD posted should give you some things to think about. But we really don't know where those shells came from and how many they had to build before they got the shells that would prove their point.

Here is what I think. I don’t think anyone can give you a definitive answer to your question. Drum building is not an exact science. Which is one of the things that makes it so interesting and fun. Some drum builders have reduced the hit and miss aspect down to where they can almost predict the outcome. I said “almost”.

I have played a few drum sets where one of the toms sounds a bit different than the others that were build the same way at the same time. This difference shows itself mainly during the tuning of the drums. And, you can find a drum set that sounds just wonderful. So you buy another drum set, the same kind of drum set made the same way, and it might not sound very good.



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Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
This question is as difficult to answer as what makes a Strad violin sound different. Even the species and location of the trees can make a difference. Ply orientation on a drum shell is a major component. But for 99% of drummers out there it's like who cares about those specific details. Buy a shell that is the general sound you want (lots of threads and info on maple vs birch vs mahogany etc.) and don't worry about how the shell was actually constructed glue and plys etc.

Most of the drummers on old Blue Note and other recordings just used the kit in the studio. They'd didn't worry about glue or plys. They just PLAYED!


I get it Andy. No problem. (Sorry I put you on the spot.)

veecharlie: The DW shell video TommyD posted should give you some things to think about. But we really don't know where those shells came from and how many they had to build before they got the shells that would prove their point.

Here is what I think. I don’t think anyone can give you a definitive answer to your question. Drum building is not an exact science. Which is one of the things that makes it so interesting and fun. Some drum builders have reduced the hit and miss aspect down to where they can almost predict the outcome. I said “almost”.

I have played a few drum sets where one of the toms sounds a bit different than the others that were build the same way at the same time. This difference shows itself mainly during the tuning of the drums. And, you can find a drum set that sounds just wonderful. So you buy another drum set, the same kind of drum set made the same way, and it might not sound very good.



.
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
I get it Andy. No problem. (Sorry I put you on the spot.)

veecharlie: The DW shell video TommyD posted should give you some things to think about. But we really don't know where those shells came from and how many they had to build before they got the shells that would prove their point.

Here is what I think. I don’t think anyone can give you a definitive answer to your question. Drum building is not an exact science. Which is one of the things that makes it so interesting and fun. Some drum builders have reduced the hit and miss aspect down to where they can almost predict the outcome. I said “almost”.

I have played a few drum sets where one of the toms sounds a bit different than the others that were build the same way at the same time. This difference shows itself mainly during the tuning of the drums. And, you can find a drum set that sounds just wonderful. So you buy another drum set, the same kind of drum set made the same way, and it might not sound very good.



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Yea completely agree!!! The video is very useful, I reminded I watched it around a year ago.. totally forgot about it!
I personally love physics and always want to know more about such things... sorry for the difficult question lol
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
This question is as difficult to answer as what makes a Strad violin sound different. Even the species and location of the trees can make a difference. Ply orientation on a drum shell is a major component. But for 99% of drummers out there it's like who cares about those specific details. Buy a shell that is the general sound you want (lots of threads and info on maple vs birch vs mahogany etc.) and don't worry about how the shell was actually constructed glue and plys etc.

Most of the drummers on old Blue Note and other recordings just used the kit in the studio. They'd didn't worry about glue or plys. They just PLAYED!
Have to agree too!
Well I got this question because when I was selecting my supplier turns out the same shell, same specs sounded completely different from one to another. Of course there are other factors like the wood itself like you said, but yea... I found it very interesting.
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
This question is as difficult to answer as what makes a Strad violin sound different. Even the species and location of the trees can make a difference. Ply orientation on a drum shell is a major component. But for 99% of drummers out there it's like who cares about those specific details. Buy a shell that is the general sound you want (lots of threads and info on maple vs birch vs mahogany etc.) and don't worry about how the shell was actually constructed glue and plys etc.
I'll just use a snare drum to help answer this.

Plies of wood can make a big difference in how the drum will sound. Thin glued plies or a thick solid one.
Then we can get into stave built which is a whole other thread altogether.
Start in with types of wood and we'll be here all week.

I have a poster in my drum room that says, "Your ear is the only endorsee that matters".
A good message that only your ear can determine what's for you. Add your wallet into the mix, and you've got 2 of the best advise givers there are.
 
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