OPINION: Maple, Birch, Ash or other?

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sticks4drums

Guest
I personally don't subscribe to the mixed timber benefit position. It's popular with standard construction multiple ply builders, on the premise that it's the inside ply that contributes most to the resultant sound. Another view I don't subscribe to.
Well I certainly do. I have the proof in my basement. :)
 
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Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Well I certainly do. I have the proof in my basement. :)
I know you do Sticks, & I thought as much when penning that post. I'm not saying that putting an inner ply of a different timber doesn't make a difference, it does. What I am saying is that putting a different timber on the inside of a shell doesn't make a disproportionally bigger difference than putting it elsewhere in the sandwich. The shell responds as a total mass, so any change to that mass will make a difference. Any difference becomes more apparent with thinner shells. Thicker shells won't change much just because there's a lining of a different timber, just as they don't change much with a wrap added, but a thinner shell will.

Oh, & P.S. I'm not interested in what goes on in your dungeon, sorry, basement :) :)
 

tard

Gold Member
Im gonna have to say maple as I seem to like maple snares the best no matter how they are constructed. I also love the sound of my maple toms but its possible that it is the super thin shells and the absence of hardware that gives them the sound I like more than the actual wood. Its too bad they had not been available with different types of wood shells to compare.
 

kc5tng

Junior Member
Ive played mahogony, maple and birch and each had its own sound and with proper tuning and head choices that complimented each wood and drum configuration, Ive come to the conclusion that my Yamaha Oak Customs give me the best all around sound Ive ever had.
Oak has a unique tone, the volume is louder than the other woods, the wood grain really looks good and they tune easily for rock, country or jazz. Tune them high or low or in between and they sound marvelous. I prefer the Aquarian Focus-X coated heads on the toms and so far the reso heads that it came with do the trick...Remo 2 ply clear ambassadors ( I think )...as I havent changed them since I bought them a year ago.
Of course, it goes without saying...each to his own. The one thing thats clear about this thread is that we all have our own preferences and best of all...we all love drums.
Drummers are just the coolest people you will meet and we have the best job in the band.
 
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sticks4drums

Guest
I know you do Sticks, & I thought as much when penning that post. I'm not saying that putting an inner ply of a different timber doesn't make a difference, it does. What I am saying is that putting a different timber on the inside of a shell doesn't make a disproportionally bigger difference than putting it elsewhere in the sandwich. The shell responds as a total mass, so any change to that mass will make a difference. Any difference becomes more apparent with thinner shells. Thicker shells won't change much just because there's a lining of a different timber, just as they don't change much with a wrap added, but a thinner shell will.

Oh, & P.S. I'm not interested in what goes on in your dungeon, sorry, basement :) :)
You should see the things I have chained up down there. Those two foot thick stone walls have an amazing affect on the sound down there. :)
 

wsabol

Gold Member
I like dark and warm woods. Maple and Walnut primarily

the Gretsch formula is pretty awesome too.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
The density of the wood and the finish on the inside of the shell matter. A kit made of cheap, lightweight, porous wood will have a specific sound, and a kit made with a dense hardwood sanded smooth will have a completely different sound. If you spread a polyurethane on the inside of a kit made of lauan, it sounds a lot more like a kit made of a harder wood. Different densities of wood will sound different, because they each absorb certain frequencies. But, if you sand the interior to be rough, or coat it with an oil, or paint the inside, it will disrupt the soundwaves bouncing around inside in different ways, and you'll get a unique sound each way you do it. Now, the differences of sound between woods/interior finishes may not be apples and oranges, but they certainly are Gala vs. Golden Delicious vs. Granny Smith. Oh, and heads/bearing edges/rims/tuning/mounting systems have more of an impact on sound than hardwood selection. Poplar/basswood/lauan have a completely different sound than maple/birch/ash/bubinga/etc., that's for sure, but when it comes to the difference between maple and birch and beech and ash and African mahogany, the difference is much more negligible.

My preference? Cherry. I dunno why. I have just ALWAYS been impressed by how they sound so......I dunno.....great. Someday I want to own a steambent cherry kit. When I do, I'll explore just why it is that they sound so good and get back to you guys...
 

Andrewski

Member
I personally prefer Birch in smaller configurations, I have a $200 ddrum kit made of birch that is a 20-10-14 config that has an incredibly tight and punchy sound to it, even after a few months of play on the heads.

I prefer maple in larger sizes, my Pork Pie kit (22-10-12-16) has a wonderful, warm, boomy sound to it that I like. Depending on the utilization / where I'm playing, depends on what I use what kit for.
Normally I use the Porkies in the studio, and use the ddrums live.
 

MusiQmaN

Platinum Member
1 Oak (best of all imo, it made me use an 18'' with the balls of a big sized kick, the toms sing and the wood in overall has such a fundamental low en rich tone)
2 Jatoba/Kapur/Maple combi (only wood that sounded pre- eq'ed out of the box)
3 Birch (toms)
 

kettles

Gold Member
Has anyone ever made a maple + birch shell?

And does anyone know where we could find well a recorded and conducted comparison of birch vs maple drums side by side? Don't think I've ever seen one...
 

scorch whammin

Gold Member
Has anyone ever made a maple + birch shell?

And does anyone know where we could find well a recorded and conducted comparison of birch vs maple drums side by side? Don't think I've ever seen one...
Premier makes a kit that is a combo of maple and birch...I believe they are called Gen-X...in the series elite line...
 
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audiotech

Guest
Has anyone ever made a maple + birch shell?
The only two drums I can think of are the 8" and 10" rack toms of the Pearl Reference series. The other drums are more or less a hodge podge of maple, birch and mahogany in different combinations and plies.

Dennis
 

B-squared

Silver Member
I recently saw an episode of "Bath Crashers" or "Kitchen Crashers" on DIY network (I don't remember exactly). If you haven't seen shows like this, they are basically about some professional builders who find someone in the hardware store and offer to refurbish their bathroom, kitchen, etc. for free. It's all filmed and put on the show presumably to give the viewers some knowledge and ideas.

On one show, the host and his victim (the one having whatever room redone) were in the lumber section picking out the wood for a counter top.. The host picked up a maple 2x8 and dropped it on its end onto the concrete floor from a height of about 4 inches. The maple 2x8 produced a beautiful tone when it was dropped. It's no wonder maple is so popular if a 2x8 can sound good. I love most of the wood used in drum shells, but maple is still my favorite. (Plus I am a structural engineer by day, so I found the whole episode to be pretty cool).
 

braincramp

Gold Member
My pick for bass and toms would be Bubinga...to quote Portney "the richest sounding drums I have ever played".. I hope to make it my next set too....
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
My pick for bass and toms would be Bubinga...to quote Portney "the richest sounding drums I have ever played".. I hope to make it my next set too....
If you really want to bring out the best in your wood choice, be sure to consider all the other elements that help feature the timber species (shell construction, thickness, bearing edges, sizes, etc).
 
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