optimising shell materials

fyffe

Member
hi guys, happy new year!
i wanted to start a discussion about shell materials, i currently own a birch and walnut hybrid shell drum, and was wondering what would be its ideal tuning range or its optimal sound range would be? appreciate it!
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
There's really no right answer. You could have 2 different companies using the same exact wood combinations, using 2 different techniques, and likely have different strengths and weaknesses in regard to their optimal tuning range. There are so many variables like wood used, the quality of said wood, the glue used and the shell construction methods, the attached hardware, etc...

There are some wood types that might favor higher or lower tunings. But a Birch Walnut hybrid, I'm not sure. If you're talking about the Tama Starclassic Birch/Walnut series, they sound fantastic at the lower to medium end. Probably not as good at a high tuning (at least not from a traditional bop jazz tuning sense) But I have yet to hear them tuned high with Coated Ambassadors, so who knows.
 
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ToneT

Well-known member
The drum companies have done their homework and research and development as far as shell design is concerned.
There is plenty of information out there already about the characteristics of woods, metals, fibers, etc.
Nothing beats your time spent experimenting on your own drums to find out what they can or can't do.
Get a Tune Bot, keyboard, pitch pipe, whatever!
And do lots of listening to music, other drummers, etc.
Developing ones listening skills is an important, ongoing process.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
i currently own a birch and walnut hybrid shell drum ....
But a Birch Walnut hybrid, I'm not sure. If you're talking about the Tama Starclassic Birch/Walnut series, they sound fantastic at the lower to medium end.
+1. The other birch/walnut shell that comes to my mind, is the Mapex Armory.
So .... what you have going on, is ..... (from Modern Drummer)

Birch: Boosted high frequencies, slightly reduced midrange, good low-end punch. Loud and cutting.
Walnut: Equal amount of highs, mids, and lows. Big and warm.

So .... judging by that info. ...... these are probably not built "primarily" for the jazz/bop player in mind. It is, after all, up to the player to choose what, how, and where he deploys his drum set. Experiment with your tuning range. Some drums sound great at JAW (just above wrinkle), others, not so much. They need a little more tension on the head, before they start to sing. On the high end .... trying pitch a 12" drum into 10" territory ..... probably not a good idea. At best, the drum will start to choke. At worst, you'll start breaking stuff.

Now, I have had it demonstrated to me, why jazz drummers loved the 3 ply Gretsch shell over the 6 ply shell (shades of DW's John Good). But that requires that you have, on hand, two similar sized shells stripped of their hardware. And you "thunk" on both of them with your finger. The 3 ply shell has a higher fundamental than the 6 ply. So it takes to higher jazz/bop tuning better.

Tama is making 16x12 and 18x14 bass drums, so they do envision some sort of bop/drum'n'bass sort of action for these kits. And small kits are all the rage. But, they're using smaller sized drums to get to the higher tunings. Mapex, so far, no.
 
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Bozozoid

Well-known member
There's this guy on YouTube that claims there is no difference at all and gives evidence of it. The drum builders from the Ford drum company at namm have 8 shells set up with various woods...acrylic shell etc all tuned to the same pitch same heads proving there is no difference as well. It made me think I've been wrong my entire life!.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
There's this guy on YouTube that claims there is no difference at all and gives evidence of it. The drum builders from the Ford drum company at namm have 8 shells set up with various woods...acrylic shell etc all tuned to the same pitch same heads proving there is no difference as well. It made me think I've been wrong my entire life!.
Sit in a quiet room with those same drums and play them yourself. You’ll hear a difference. Granted, shell thickness, bearing edges, heads, tuning, and hardware make a bigger difference. I still really enjoy the sound of walnut and maple, and not so much birch.

The density and grain of the specific tree makes a difference too. You can see really big ranges of density/hardness within most wood species.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Woods have different characteristics, but there are so many other variables do do more in regadrs to what you're talking about.

In regards to optimal tuning and sound 100% personal taste.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
It's all in the head-so you could make them out of paper mache and fiberglass coating and it would be the same as any drum apparently. It's paper so a wood product. Then buy a badge with Pearl, Tama, Yamaha, SONOR, and slap it on and NOONE would notice the difference. Snicker, snicker, snicker.
 
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