Pearl exports with real mahogany


Silver Member
A friend of mine has some Pearl exports that are used for open mics. They had the original heads (Pearl no-tones) that were on there for years, so needless to say they were extremely dented. I offered to change the heads to some better ones since I had some spares laying around. So, I take off the first head and realize that inside of the shell is actually good dark (probably Honduran, not the reddish African) mahogany. I put on some Aquarian performance II on all the toms, and got a great deep, resonant tone out of those things that rivaled anything I've heard, and that's with the original through the shell pole mounts- no iso mounts here.

So, what's the story on these? I've heard of exports being made out of different woods over the years, but not real mahogany. I've been looking at some kits/drums on ebay, and most of them have similar lighter colored woods- probably poplar and luan. Here's some similar looking drums from the same era:

The kit looks just like these toms, but the wood is the typical lighter color.


Holy crap man! It's been over 11 years as I don't quite remember the hardware on the toms but my first and only kit was a forest green Export! Wow pictures of these bring back memories, great find and thanks! I saved the picture with them stacked on each other. As for mine I believe mine were poplar or basswood, I'm pretty sure I remember the light wood color while looking down into the drums. Never did find out what they were made out of though.


Platinum Member
cheaper drums source woods from allover, and I suspect even the poplar or luan varies in quality and source on these and many other drums over the years. maybe the year your drums were made indeed used real mahogany for that particular ply you're seeing.
have heard good things about exports, likely the best dollar per drum sound/quality ever.
i am also guessing having new heads greatly improved the sound to your ears.


Silver Member
I doubt the exports had african or honduran Mahog,and if they did I am sure Pearl would have trumpeted it from the rooftops.

That being said,there are different grades of Luan Mahogany,C and C is currently offering a luan Mahog shelled kit made in the U.S.,and the shells are a natural finish and attractive,and I have seen a few Japanese made 60's 70's stencil kits (in person and on these forums) with an inner ply of Luan that looked very good,well finished and with an attractive grain.

Good chance Pearl was able to source some better quality Luan from time to time at a price that they could use for the Exports.


Silver Member
yeah, you're probably right eamesuser, but this wood isn't that cheap luan stuff you see on all the stencil kits, and fake "mahogany" kits you see these days. Actually, the wood is probably closer to a walnut color,(quite dark brown) but I know it's not walnut. It's likely just some mystery "hardwood" they had laying around at the time. It is only on the inner ply, with the other plies being the typical lighter wood you would expect. Either way, I've never seen wood like this on any other cheaper kit, so I thought it was interesting that wood like this would show up on a lower end series. I have seen this wood on an American vintage drum on ebay before, but I can't remember which brand it was. I think it was 50's era, probably Slingerland.