'Modern' mahogany drum shells.... Where are they?!

Status
Not open for further replies.

AJ3000

Silver Member
Ok as I'm sure most of you are aware, I'm currently touring a set of Yamaha Rock Tour drums (12,14,16,22) and while I love the sound of the mahogany shells, which are deliciously punchy and 'rock' the kit isn't without it's faults. I would attribute this to the fact it is a 'mid level' kit, and as such does not seem designed to cope with the rigours of a 150 show a year touring schedule. a few problems I am having are:

The floor Tom leg holders are just not beefy enough for a rock player. I play reasonably hard, and the single screw that holds the relatively thin leg in place just cannot maintain a good grip throughout a gig, usually resulting in a Tom falling over. This has happened maybe 6 times in 5 months and it is something I have never worried about before. The holders on my mapex push the entire unit together and it is fine, but this single screw design is a bit weak.

The satin finish hardware is paint, not powder coat. This, combined with the matte lacquer finish makes a 5 month old kit look like I have been touring it for years. The paint on the hoops is so flimsy that between my floor toms has all but disappeared already.

But I digress.....

Are there any other manufacturers producing mahogany drums of a high calibre geared towards rock players? I have seed the DW classics, but they're too vintage. And I saw a pearl kit in mahogany, but they all seem to look like my grandma's furniture! If anyone is aware of anything production and cool, please let me know !!
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
If you like the hardware (minus the legs) on your kit, you could check out Precision Drum Company. They make a Keller shell Mahogany kit, or a maple Mahogany--not sure exactly what the shell is, but Precision does a really top notch, professional job at a a reasonable price.

Otherwise, DW is coming out (or has) a Maple Mahogany kit that sounds great. That kit I don't think is in the "Classic" line, so you should be able to get any finish.
There's also Mapex Saturn, and those drums are a great sounding kit too. Big and fat sounding with nice cut.
Reasonable priced as well, fittings all work great, but I think they are a only in a lacquer finish.

Gretsch Catalina's are a nice kit, and tune up pretty easily. I have a friend who uses them a lot and likes them. He's never said they were flimsy or anything (like your leg problem).

Good luck!
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
With regard to the floor tom mounts or other weak hardware, you can simply switch those out. It's a LOT less expensive than buying a new kit!

But the finish is another matter... how did it get so weathered so fast? Is there a lot of haze onstage that settles on it? Outdoor sunny gigs perhaps? You may want to seek a wrap, which will be more resistant to the elements, scratching, etc.

As mentioned, Keller has a mahogany vintage shell, and I think DW's may be from Keller anyway. DW didn't cut them off completely when they started making shells in the '90s.

Good luck,

Bermuda
 

AJ3000

Silver Member
With regard to the floor tom mounts or other weak hardware, you can simply switch those out. It's a LOT less expensive than buying a new kit!

But the finish is another matter... how did it get so weathered so fast? Is there a lot of haze onstage that settles on it? Outdoor sunny gigs perhaps? You may want to seek a wrap, which will be more resistant to the elements, scratching, etc.

As mentioned, Keller has a mahogany vintage shell, and I think DW's may be from Keller anyway. DW didn't cut them off completely when they started making shells in the '90s.

Good luck,

Bermuda
The drums themselves are not too bad - just the battle scars you would expect with a touring kit with a matte finish lacquer. It's the hardware. The satin paint on the hardware is just not durable at all.

Changing all the hardware out and keeping the shells is an option. I have some experience in the art of 'buggering about a bit' with drums, so I might look into that route.

I assume lugs attach to shells in a reasonably standard measurement? I might strip one and check so I'm not drilling a million more holes......
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
Memory locks are cheap,and will solve your collapsing floor tom problem.The only lugs that are mostly standard in hole spacing are tube lugs.Lug casings vary in their mounting hole spacing,as well as diameter of the stantion,that goes into the hole in the shell.Spaceing is measured center to center,but the easy way to measure your lugs is from the top of the stantion to the top of the bottom stantion.That will give you a center to center measurement.

Steve B
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I assume lugs attach to shells in a reasonably standard measurement? I might strip one and check so I'm not drilling a million more holes......
Some lugs conform to one of two or three common spacings, but it's hit & miss, depends on what you want to use. Buying hardware on an individual basis get's quite expensive too. For a 3 piece shell set, you'd likely need 48 lugs, & at a retail of around £4:00 each for anything half reasonable, the price is already stacking up.

You say you're touring, so you need touring grade gear, especially if your gear gets a hard ride.

As for mahogany, as in any wood species, there's a variety of qualities out there. Very few offer what is generally regarded as true mahogany. We make mahogany stave or steam bent drums, but they're at a quality, & subsequently, a price point that's above the rock tour drums you already have. For rock kits, we generally use Yamaha 9000 series tom holders, spurs, legs, etc. They're pretty much bomb proof.

If you really like the sound of mahogany, but relish a more attractive grain structure, you might want to consider sepele. It has an almost identical sound palate to mahogany, but with slightly deeper lows, & slightly more cut. I emphasise slightly. Married to a stave shell construction, then you have the rock kit from heaven, but of course, you get what you pay for, mostly. I'm guessing you run a fairly big kit, but to give you some idea, a 5 piece sepele stave shell set, say 22", 16", 14", 12", 10" x any depth you like, would run you a touch over £2,500 + RIMS mounts if required. Sorry for the plug :)

P.S. You want rock? We do bass drums to 32" :):):):):)
 

AJ3000

Silver Member
I have looked at C&C drums before, but everything I have seen (except Andy Hurley's kit) seems to have a real vintage vibe about it. I may shoot them an email if I can't come across something more suitable....
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
The very first thing that popped to my mind when you specified what you were looking for was the Pearl mahogany offerings. I played one of their mahogany kits at a NAMM show a few years ago and was simply floored at great they sounded - loud, low, lovely. Yes, they looked like fine furniture, but it's not impossible to exercise some care in handling your drums, even while on tour.

Problem will be in finding a Pearl mahogany kit to audition. I've never seen one on display or in stock at any of our local stores. You might find one at one of the big drum specialty shops. Good luck with your search.

http://pearldrum.com/products/limited-edition/le-mahogany-drumset/

GeeDeeEmm
 

goodcat1337

Senior Member
Sorry for the necropost, but I didn't want to start a brand new thread if I didn't have to. I have a question for some of you guys more in the know than I am. I currently have a set of Rock Tours, and a guy offered me a trade for his set of Catalina Club Jazz drums. Are the "mahogany" shells the same wood material? Cause from what I've seen and read, the Gretschs are the asian/philipene mahogany, while the Yamahas say they are big leaf mahogany. Just not sure if big leaf means they are legit african mahogany, or if they are roughly the same as the Catalina shells.
 

sage32

Senior Member
Sorry for the necropost, but I didn't want to start a brand new thread if I didn't have to. I have a question for some of you guys more in the know than I am. I currently have a set of Rock Tours, and a guy offered me a trade for his set of Catalina Club Jazz drums. Are the "mahogany" shells the same wood material? Cause from what I've seen and read, the Gretschs are the asian/philipene mahogany, while the Yamahas say they are big leaf mahogany. Just not sure if big leaf means they are legit african mahogany, or if they are roughly the same as the Catalina shells.
I also have a set of Rock Tours. Rock Tour is Big Leaf mahogany which is South American mahogany that's been grown in Indonesia. Philippine "mahogany" is also known as luan and it is not true mahogany. Luan is only ever used in cheap entry level drums. It does not have the same level of sound quality as true mahogany.

Bottom line is the Catalina Club is an entry level kit and your Rock Tour is an intermediate level kit. Unless his is in pristine condition and yours is not, you would not be getting a fair trade.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Ludwig brought out the new mahogany kit at this year's NAMM - those are awesome. I'd definitely get a set of those if you're looking for road-worthiness and a great finish.
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
I have looked at C&C drums before, but everything I have seen (except Andy Hurley's kit) seems to have a real vintage vibe about it. I may shoot them an email if I can't come across something more suitable....
Unless you're just referring to cosmetic finishes the first thing I think of when I hear mahogany is "vintage."

You might check out RBH Drums: http://rbhdrumsusa.com

Their Monarch line has a mahogany/poplar/mahogany option.
They may be able to build you an all mahogany shell.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
I had a look at your video and would agree that a stave kit would really suit this style of music. I own a stave maple kit fitted with heavy duty hardware for touring and it is simply put more powerful and punchy than any ply kit whether made of mahogany or not. There are lots of bespoke makers out there but I would seriously consider Guru drums ideas. The danger here is that in your situation it's hard to keep any control on what the crew do during set-up tear down etc. I doubt any kit will hold up 100 % to 150 shows a year over a couple of years, so the other option is to buy mid level and then replace everything. But you then don't have the sound quality.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
However, what I didn't know, and still don't is how big leaf relates to african mahogany.
The mahogany mess gets complicated. For example, the characteristics of big leaf mahogany differ massively depending on it's origin. Plantation grown stock is grown at a much faster rate than native big leaf stock from the inner forrest. Avoid any native big leaf sources anyhow on ethical grounds as well as CITES listings.

This excellent article may help you http://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/mahogany-mixups-the-lowdown/

In drum making terms, even plantation grown big leaf mahogany will have arguably more desirable characteristics than Asian mahogany. The Asian stuff tends to be dull in it's response, just like lauan & other "softening" species used in cheap ply production. African mahogany (+the true originals from Cuba, Honduras, & Mexico) deliver much more low end tone & clarity than any of the modern easily available offerings, but it's almost impossible to come by, especially in an affordable ply shell form.

To be honest, any differences are fairly muted in a multiple ply shell. Only when you get into solids does the difference slap you in the face. Very few drummers have ever seen a genuine African mahogany drum, let alone played one, so their reference points are severely limited.

Sepele is still my favourite true mahogany substitute. It's better looking than most, fairly economical to buy, & has all the African mahogany characteristics in place. If African mahogany is the gold standard, then sepele would come in at 95%, plantation big leaf at 80%, Philippine at 50%, & lauan isn't even worth listing in comparison (although it does have it's uses). I have a kit crafted from African mahogany felled 300 years ago. That's my gold standard reference.
 

MusiQmaN

Platinum Member
Just get the old Rock Tour Customs or the old Tour Customs and your done. The can be bought really cheap now adayws and blows many pro kits away (including the trust worthy RC imo)

Its the same lovely sound, yet the pro and no nonsense hardware.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top