Isn't poplar a sub-par tone wood? If so, why does Gretsch use it?


Platinum Member
I had a large Ludwig SL series kit made around 82. They were made of 4 thicker plies of Poplar. Maybe 1/8" thick. They were painted beige inside, and had classic lugs, as well as made in the Ludwig factory. In my memory the sounded, nice and deep. The bearing edge was rounded also. One of the things I noticed when I got my Yamaha Tour Customs (Birch, Mahogany, Birch) in 88 was they held their tuning better than the Ludwigs. The Ludwigs had to be tuned for every room they were in. The Yamahas seemed to sound the same where ever I took them. Yea they would get tuned sometimes, but not every time I moved them to a different gig. I thought my Poplar drums sounded great once tuned up. I just ordered a new Ludwig Clubdate shell pack, and they are Maple, Poplar, Maple with a rounded bearing edge. I'm expecting them to sound good tuned low, with less attack. At any rate I think Poplar can be a very good drum shell.


Senior Member
Poplar = inexpensive. It’s a functional tone wood that effectively lowers the production cost of the instruments built with it. That’s why it’s used in lower priced guitars and why it is/was sandwiched between plies of more expensive woods in drums. Tuns out is sounds good too. Win/win!!