How much does hardware affect the sound of your shells?

lxh039

Member
Someday I intend to build my own custom kit. I'm chronically strapped for cash, however, so for the time being I have to make due with the trashy OSP kit I purchased about a month or so ago. Since I'll eventually be building my own, I've decided to go ahead and purchase all of the hardware that I'll eventually be putting on my custom kit (everything except the shells) and put it on my current kit. I'm wondering how much this would really affect the sound of the current kit, though. The hardware it has on it currently is all bottom-of-the-barrel cost cutting stuff, and it was all 7 years old when I purchased it, having been abused by its original owner who got the kit when he was 12 years old.

I'm certain that at least some of the hoops are out-of-round, so I intend to replace them all with well-made steel hoops (or wood hoops, though I don't know if that would be worth it on a poplar/basswood kit). I also intend to replace all the lugs, mounting screws, and tension rods with high quality stuff. I'll also be checking the bearing edges and having them sanded down or re-cut if needed. The snare throw-off is really cheap and unstable, so I'll be replacing that. I'm also, of course, replacing all the heads with Evans. I'll be putting an EC Reversed Dot, a Hazy 300, and a Puresound Blaster on the snare. The toms will all get EC2 SST's on the batter sides and G1's on the resonant sides. I'll be putting an EMAD2 and an EMAD Resonant on the bass drum. I've toyed with the idea of having reinforcement rings installed in all of the shells in case they're out-of-round.

Not really sure where to go from there. I'm very new to drum building/maintenance, so I'm not sure what sort of hardware I should buy or how much of a difference it will make. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Edit: The toms are mounted on the bass drum. Should I consider getting new mounting hardware?
 

mandrew

Gold Member
This is hard to answer because you are all over the place with your question . . . shells, hardware, heads, all have an effect. The short answer is that hardware mass DOES affect the sound of drums. A minimum of hardware mass allows the shell to react optimally. For example, some of the best snare builders use no more than 8 lugs, and those lugs have low mass, such as tube lugs, or lighter. It is not only the weight, but footprint on the shell. Bearing edges, heads, and the rest play a part, but if your set really has issues in every catagory of building, it's time to start saving and look for a set that is better desighned from the ground up.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
This is hard to answer because you are all over the place with your question . . . shells, hardware, heads, all have an effect. The short answer is that hardware mass DOES affect the sound of drums. A minimum of hardware mass allows the shell to react optimally. For example, some of the best snare builders use no more than 8 lugs, and those lugs have low mass, such as tube lugs, or lighter. It is not only the weight, but footprint on the shell. Bearing edges, heads, and the rest play a part, but if your set really has issues in every catagory of building, it's time to start saving and look for a set that is better desighned from the ground up.
I completely agree with this, probably cheaper too.

BTW, don't bother installing rerings on ply rums designed to work without them. You're wasting your money, & it's not that easy to do.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Other than replacing worn-out heads, I would not spend any money on your OSP kit now unless something is actually broken. Buy all the stuff for your custom kit at once when it comes time.
 

lxh039

Member
I know my OP was pretty rambling. Thanks for taking the time to read through it and respond. Not really the responses I was hoping for, though. :-/ It's going be a loooong time before I can save up the money to build my custom kit. Using pre-cut Keller maple shells purchased through Drum Factory Direct, the shells alone will cost $900. Factoring in the cost of hardware and tools, I'd be looking at a matter of years before I could build it. Playing on a trashy poplar kit for that long sounds...less than ideal. Haha. I was hoping that a simple and economical hardware upgrade would have an appreciable effect on this kit's sound, and make it at least suitable for small gigs, but I guess that was a naive idea. No matter how I dress up a poplar kit, it's still going to sound like poplar. :p
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
This raises an interesting question that I wonder if anyone has ever thought about. How would you know what the shell would sound like without hardware when you need the hardware for the drum to be able to produce a sound?

The hardware affects the sound, but the only way of knowing how it affects it, is if you like it or don't like it. You can't really get around to not having any hardware on the drum at all.

Personally, if you're playing what could be bad abused drums now, building your own, while a noble venture, may not give you what you're looking for, nor save you that much money compared to finding a good used pro kit, or a new intermediate kit. Look at the amount of time and trial and error you're setting yourself up for and I say leave the building to the experts and go find something you like - I mean, are you a player, or a builder?

I can geek-out with the best of them on drum construction and techniques, but my time is best spent playing the instrument. Good luck with whatever direction you choose!
 

Michaelocalypse

Senior Member
Heads (and replacing bent hoops) will get you more of a sound difference than anything else. Given the price you listed for just the shells, I'd just save up that money for a new intermediate kit or a used higher level one. That'll get you the sound you're looking for, with a warranty if new, and no work on your part.

If you're really wanting to mess around with your current drums, then I'd suggest tung oiling the insides. I've done it with a couple beginner kits (basswood) and a nice snare (maple). It brought out some wood grain and lowered the tone a bit. That'll also give you a chance to clean and lube all the hardware (since you should take it all off) and replace anything that's mangled (try to find cheaper used parts that are in decent shape to save money). From there, you can switch the heads around. I think going this route will be cheaper and allow you to learn more about the intricacies of how drums are made. You'd be better off tinkering with a kit before building one.

If it's a case of nobody makes exactly what you want, like me, then maybe clean up your kit and start collecting parts as you want. For hardware, less mass is usually better for resonance and such. Most people more than negate the benefits of low mass hardware with their head choices and bass drum muffling, so I'd suggest just finding hardware that you like the looks of. The downside of putting "better" hardware on your current kit is that you need to match the measurements of what it currently has. So if your kit has two holes per lug, you'll have to drill more holes into your better shells when you get them. More holes in a drum shell is usually frowned upon. Don't limit your custom kit to what your beginner kit is.
 

porter

Platinum Member
I'll cast my hat into the "buy an intermediate kit in the meantime" category. Plenty of great used ones on Craigslist and CL. Check out a Stage Custom or Sonor Bop.
 

lsits

Gold Member
I would also advise you to purchase a used intermediate-level kit. For one think you will have a lot more fun playing it than the kit you have now. I'm not familiar with the OSP brand. My guess it's in the same category as Groove Percussion or Starcaster. You said that you are inexperienced in drum maintenance and building. You also said that you're not sure about what kind of hardware to get. Buying a used Intermediate-level will give you the time to save your cash so that you can get exactly what you want when the time comes.
 
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