Guru Drumworks prototype kit, THE VIDEO!

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
It's a whole new level of tone. I love the sound of those drums. They totally have the tone l have been chasing my whole life, or at least since I tuned my first tom.

I think it is a hell of an accomplishment to prove that a better tom sound is possible. Who has done that before? No one. Andy and Dean Did though. That's huge. HUGE!

The implications are pretty awesome. A better tone can be had. It sounds like a "can't lose, no way, no how" marketing angle.

I realize the challenges you guys face to translate that tone into a set that makes sense economically.

If you ever need a marketing director here in the US, I'm throwing my hat in the ring, dead serious. I friggin love the tone of those drums.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Well, I have finally managed to get a set of phones to listen to this through.

What can I say? Andy, they hit the mark in so many ways. You and Dean should take a bow. You've created something truely special. Unique is every way.

If I ever get to the UK, can I play 'em?....can I?.....can I? ;-)
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Well, I have finally managed to get a set of phones to listen to this through.

What can I say? Andy, they hit the mark in so many ways. You and Dean should take a bow. You've created something truely special. Unique is every way.

If I ever get to the UK, can I play 'em?....can I?.....can I? ;-)
Thanks PFG, I really appreciate your comments & taking the time to listen. Of course you can play them mate, they'd be honored with your presence.

It's a whole new level of tone. I love the sound of those drums. They totally have the tone l have been chasing my whole life, or at least since I tuned my first tom.

I think it is a hell of an accomplishment to prove that a better tom sound is possible. Who has done that before? No one. Andy and Dean Did though. That's huge. HUGE!

The implications are pretty awesome. A better tone can be had. It sounds like a "can't lose, no way, no how" marketing angle.

I realize the challenges you guys face to translate that tone into a set that makes sense economically.

If you ever need a marketing director here in the US, I'm throwing my hat in the ring, dead serious. I friggin love the tone of those drums.
Thanks again for your peerless enthusiasm and expert appraisal Larry. The journey to bring these into production will be interesting. Those chassis cages will have to go for standard models due to the silly cost levels. Key to the sound are those lovely 3mm stave shells. They will be centre stage in the production design. Hat received Larry, you just never know how this will pan out, but I suspect we'll be operating at the niche level as far out as I dare look.

Certainly some hill to climb though. Here's the latest comment copied form Youtube: you play with MAD SWAG for an old dude! that kit sounds so nice, i think it would retail atleast $2000 , In these sizes, Brady = circa $11,000, DW = circa $8,000. Value is certainly in the eye of the beholder, lol!

Well done! Those sounded great!
Thanks Rhett, I appreciate the compliment, especially as I know that you know just how difficult it is to pull off 3mm thick stave shells.

+1 on the tom grooves, as I think that's the selling point of this kit and should be accordingly showcased. It's very interesting that several people mentioned the particular sound, and it is particular/unique (it makes me think of a woodblock), and it's not a bad sound, so regardless if it fits anyone's personal style, I think you were quite successful already.
Those are great cymbals, I very much like dark sounds and prefer dirty cymbals that've been played for years; they fit very well sound and look wise with the drums.
Also, I think it's important to point out that you carried this project in a very professional manner, and the presentation of your product is top notch; it does not only have a distinctive look, but it also seems to be very solid and well engineered.


Fox.
Cheers Fox, I appreciate the time you took to listen. We've got a long way to go on this, but the initial results are very promising. Glad you liked the cymbals too. I chose them specifically to work with this kit. If I used clear heads though, I'd probably put Tigris & Galata series cymbals on to match the increase in attack & cut.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE!!!!!

Those tubs sound outstanding! They have the warmth of Allegra drums with the clarity of Spauns. That's the best of both worlds right there!

Jealous...
 

Chaos_Inferno

Silver Member
Less attack you say on the bass drum? I like the sound of that actually. I like punch, not attack if that makes any sense. Low end, not a click or a "TI-" opening to the sound... more of s softer, "this is moving air in the drum" "P-" beginning if that makes any sense. The feel it in your gut punch... and since you seem to be able to take smaller drums and give them a sound that's much lower and with more body and fullness than many larger drums, these sound like the absolute perfect match for the ideal drum sound in my head.

If I wanted attack, I could add attack with clear heads and patches and plastic beaters and such... but it's much more difficult to take it away from a drum where one of its defining characteristics is a lot of attack, even with a felt bass drum beater in some cases. I like the whole prospect of this. I'd love to be kept up to date on where else you guys take this design in terms of making it a production item, because the sound is absolutely the IDEAL way I'd like drums to sound. I like the body of bigger drums, but the brightness and response of smaller ones... and this prototype kit seems to embody that.

Color me jealous as all hell that you will forever be the sole owner of these drums, because I can't imagine you ever selling these babies to anyone haha. Is it bad I'm dreaming what my ideal sizes for a big kit of these I could use in multiple configurations would sound like? Because I'm mentally drooling at the thought of it...
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
So Andy, what's YOUR take on the Gurus compared to the Spauns?

If you had them side by side, is there as much a difference as it seems from the video?

You sir own the worlds best sounding drums IMO.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE!!!!!

Those tubs sound outstanding! They have the warmth of Allegra drums with the clarity of Spauns. That's the best of both worlds right there!

Jealous...
Thanks Caddy! I'm very happy with the balance of abilities this kit has, but I think it can be improved upon. After all, it's a prototype, & it's job in life is to be a platform for what is to come.

Less attack you say on the bass drum? I like the sound of that actually. I like punch, not attack if that makes any sense. Low end, not a click or a "TI-" opening to the sound... more of s softer, "this is moving air in the drum" "P-" beginning if that makes any sense. The feel it in your gut punch... and since you seem to be able to take smaller drums and give them a sound that's much lower and with more body and fullness than many larger drums, these sound like the absolute perfect match for the ideal drum sound in my head.

If I wanted attack, I could add attack with clear heads and patches and plastic beaters and such... but it's much more difficult to take it away from a drum where one of its defining characteristics is a lot of attack, even with a felt bass drum beater in some cases. I like the whole prospect of this. I'd love to be kept up to date on where else you guys take this design in terms of making it a production item, because the sound is absolutely the IDEAL way I'd like drums to sound. I like the body of bigger drums, but the brightness and response of smaller ones... and this prototype kit seems to embody that.

Color me jealous as all hell that you will forever be the sole owner of these drums, because I can't imagine you ever selling these babies to anyone haha. Is it bad I'm dreaming what my ideal sizes for a big kit of these I could use in multiple configurations would sound like? Because I'm mentally drooling at the thought of it...
Nice post Chaos, & thanks for taking the time to think things through. When designing this prototype, of course, we didn't know how it would turn out. In fact, one key aspect of the design ended up being a total failure. Nevertheless, I started the process by stripping down the sonic landscape of a drum & aligning that to physical features. We really did start with a blank canvas. It's so easy to be steered by what has gone before you. Not that you can dismiss that, but it shouldn't contain your creative juices either.

We deliberately went away from trying to build in sonic traits that are easy to get by means of tuning, head selection, beater type, etc, Why design a drum to do something every other drum can already do very well? Muffling & attack are two such traits. The overall focus was to bring the shell tone to the fore of the sound. In most drums, the shell tone is way back in the mix of sounds that make up the total output. In fact, there's drum builders out there who design some of their range towards, & claim that the shell makes little or no difference. That's not a bad thing, & such designs have much merit, it's back to personal choice again. By doing everything possible to feature the fundamental shell tone, you automatically reduce attack & overtones in the total sound mix. Attack & overtones are a good thing, but in this design, we didn't want them to dominate.

There are downsides to this way of thinking though. These drums have a much more defined sweet spot than most other drums. That's not to say they sound bad at different tunings, just that they sound obviously better at the one tuning that works in sympathy with the shell. In some ways, that makes this design a little less flexible than standard constructions. If you think about it, it's an obvious trade off as a result of featuring the shell. & that's another thing we have to think carefully about when putting the production specification together. The drums may even need a warning, "great care must be taken in the selection of wood species, as this really will define the sound of your drums".

Back on your tough question later Larry! Needs further thought.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
So Andy, what's YOUR take on the Gurus compared to the Spauns?

If you had them side by side, is there as much a difference as it seems from the video?

You sir own the worlds best sounding drums IMO.
Interesting question Larry, & I needed to think about that for a while.

They're such different drums, that comparison isn't easy. Although the diameters are the same, the depths are different. The design of the Guru kit allows for the creation of deeper drums without the usual associated overtones issue. I think if the Spauns were the same depth as the Gurus, they wouldn't sound quite as good as they do. I'm also comparing maple to mahogany, & ply to stave, so a tough call this one.

At least I'm comparing a thin stave shell to a relatively thin ply shell. There's no doubt in my mind that the stave shell is superior in every way. Really, a different level of shell tone altogether. The free floating vs. drilled shell with lugs comparison's an easy one too. The free floating design allows much greater shell involvement in the overall sound, so a big win there too.

I think the Spaun is probably the more adaptable of the two kits, as it has multiple tuning sweet spots, whereas the Guru kit has a defined sweet spot. The Spaun is slightly louder too, but the difference is very small. As for dynamic ability, especially with softer playing, the Guru is a clear winner.

I have a real affection for the Spaun kit. IMHO, it's one of the very best ply kits out there. It's easier to tune up than the guru, &, unmiked in a loud rock setting, every bit as good. As soon as the kit's in an environment where the tones can be exploited & appreciated, the Guru is king, by some considerable margin.
 

uniongoon

Gold Member
I normally post on my wife's laptop, so it took a couple weeks to actually check your video out. Too short, but to the point as well, so mission accomplished. Don't worry about your mistakes, most times when you play as long as we have, you hear them but no one else does. The live video you saw of me, I posted it without even listening to it, I just picked a track and threw it up, later I realized I almost train wrecked, just lost focus for a minute, but it was really so minor, what the hell, we are human.
 

Chaos_Inferno

Silver Member
Interesting... I've always been under the impression that mahogany is a dark wood, so if I chose a brighter wood with more cut, like birch for example, I can imagine a lot of the same tonal qualities of the stave construction and just the way you've designed these drums would come through, but even if the drums still sounded larger I would imagine that we'd hear a lot more top end and brightness out of the drums compared to the mahogany, especially in comparison to if you were trying to define the differences between a mahogany ply kit and a birch ply kit... I'd want a brighter wood at the very least for toms...

Too bad I'm only going to be in my second year of mechanical engineering (hopefully making a 5 year program a 4 year one) and am probably going to be in debt from school for quite a while, because I plan on opening a custom drum fund along with a retirement fund once I get out of school and have a comfortable job... haha.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for your comments Al, Chaos, & Uni. Much appreciated, as are your kind words on Youtube.

Larry, did you catch my reply on the Spaun comparison?
 

Kenny Howard

Senior Member
Hey AC...I enjoyed the video very much...what a killer drum kit!! Great sound and a very unique look...love the Dervish display as well...the cymbals matched the kit nicely and the player was amazing...nice job AC
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Hmm. One one hand it sounds like the Guru's (as expected) is the clear winner, and on the other hand, the Spauns still sound like they have qualities the Guru's don't.... which surprises me. The Spauns are a good example of a well built plywood drum and yes it's not an apples to apples comparison, but that's the point. I wanted to hear details on the differences in the qualities of the tones. For instance:

Length of resonance
Timbre: (Deep, middy, bright, warm, dripping with tone, dry, wet, or a million others)
Rimshot qualities
Pureness of fundamental. (assuming great tuning)
Description of the overtones (high, middy, lack of, abundance of, ringy, muted, dry, woody, metallic, warm, etc)
Anything else that strikes you

Did you ever set both kits up side by side in the same room and compare? Just wondering. Still perplexed about the lack of versatility with the Gurus. You would think...with a non fixed shell... that it would open up tuning possibilities not shut them down....Hmm.. When you first got your Spauns, didn't it take you a while to figure out how they respond and tune best? When I first got my DW's I thought they were finicky as hell. But it was a learning curve, now I know the drums and can tune them relatively easily. Any chance that's what's happening here? If not, what do they do, choke out when they're tuned outside their sweet spot? More info there would be helpful.
I think you should ship them to me immediately to get a non biased opinion lol.

I realize you have bigger fish to fry but I can't help but be fascinated with your drums compared to regular drums Andy. Can I rent them for a month? Have you even shown pictures of the insides of the shells without the heads? I'm not even sure of what's going on inside there. What I REALLY need to do is fly out there so I can see them up close and personal.... I'll never be fully satisfied until I can get a chance to meet you, and live with you for a month so I can play with them and hear them with my own ears lol. I'll roadie and do security for you lol.

Sorry for all the fanboy questions.

Interesting question Larry, & I needed to think about that for a while.

They're such different drums, that comparison isn't easy. Although the diameters are the same, the depths are different. The design of the Guru kit allows for the creation of deeper drums without the usual associated overtones issue. I think if the Spauns were the same depth as the Gurus, they wouldn't sound quite as good as they do. I'm also comparing maple to mahogany, & ply to stave, so a tough call this one.

At least I'm comparing a thin stave shell to a relatively thin ply shell. There's no doubt in my mind that the stave shell is superior in every way. Really, a different level of shell tone altogether. The free floating vs. drilled shell with lugs comparison's an easy one too. The free floating design allows much greater shell involvement in the overall sound, so a big win there too.

I think the Spaun is probably the more adaptable of the two kits, as it has multiple tuning sweet spots, whereas the Guru kit has a defined sweet spot. The Spaun is slightly louder too, but the difference is very small. As for dynamic ability, especially with softer playing, the Guru is a clear winner.

I have a real affection for the Spaun kit. IMHO, it's one of the very best ply kits out there. It's easier to tune up than the guru, &, unmiked in a loud rock setting, every bit as good. As soon as the kit's in an environment where the tones can be exploited & appreciated, the Guru is king, by some considerable margin.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Did you ever set both kits up side by side in the same room and compare?
Yes I did Larry, & what a superb well thought out set of questions. I'll answer them all, & in detail, just got to run right now, so watch out for my reply later.

Would be delighted if you came over. Thanks as always, Andy.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I realize you have bigger fish to fry.
No way Larry, your insight is super valuable to me, & very much appreciated. I'll take a stab at some more detail:

Length of resonance (as distinct from head resonance);
The Guru shell resonance lasts much longer than the Spaun. The shells are more easily excited.

Head sustain;
Both Spaun & Guru are similar, although the greater shell resonance of the Guru tends to keep the heads excited for a bit longer.

Timbre:
I'd describe the Spaun as being on the bright side of warm, & the Guru on the bright side of deep.

Rimshot qualities:
In terms of dum design, about the same, but with the obvious differences you'd expect between triple flange & full wood hoops.

Pureness of fundamental:
This is where the Guru pulls away from the Spaun big time, & is linked very much to overtone management. The Guru was specifically designed to let the fundamental dominate. That's partially to do with it's stave construction, partially to do with it's shell thickness, & partially to do with the free floating design. I'd sum up by saying the Spaun has the flavour of maple, whereas the Guru screams mahogany.

Overtones;
The Spaun produces a fairly full range of overtones. I'm of the opinion that many of the higher overtones are generated by the metal parts. I'm certain that every component of a drum construction that's in intimate contact with the head & shell contributes to the sound palate. The Guru has overtones that are focussed around the mahogany shell. This is partly because the hoops are of the same material as the shell, & partially because the shell fundamental dominates, therefore the overtones are lower in the mix.


I've had both kits side by side on many occasions, so I have a reasonable understanding of the key differences. Your observation about learning to work with your kit's tuning range is a very good one. I completely subscribe to that, & I'm sure I have many more discoveries to make with the Guru kit. It's not that the Guru (with my present relationship with the kit) only sounds good at one tuning point. It's more a case of it sounds good across a wide range of tuning, but has an uber sweetspot that stands out above all others. That's no surprise to me. The whole construction focusses on that shell fundamental. Maybe we have got to a point where a better sound is only possible with specialisation. That makes sense to me, as it mirrors other products that we're more familiar with, such as specialist vehicles vs. general purpose vehicles.

Hope this helps Larry, Andy.


@Lickety Britches, thanks for the comment. I'm glad you liked the sound.
 

Chaos_Inferno

Silver Member
So I know you're planning on building another experimental kit based off of the successes and "failures" (in concept)... I hate saying that because they're still the best sounding drums I've ever heard... But do you have another wood species in mind? 200 year old mahogany from old church pews probably isn't going to be an option the next time around I imagine... I'm just curious as to what another good stave choice would be.

I always hear bubinga and stave together, but I know that's generally very high attack, low end focus if I'm not mistaken. And if you combine that with a similar type of construction that you have here... my god, I think you may hit a resonance frequency that could actually destroy things with that sort of sub-bass. I personally like a brighter sound and I'm wondering what sort of wood choices you'd have in mind for a brighter sound, I'd imagine something a bit more exotic than the standard birch response.
 
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