Undersized Drums

RobertM

Platinum Member
Does anyone know which drum sets feature undersized shells? I've heard that Sonor (German-made) shells are 12mm undersized, and Ludwig Classic Maples are 6mm undersized. I also think I heard that the old high-end Premier shells were undersized.
 

CYP47

Member
Does anyone know which drum sets feature undersized shells? I've heard that Sonor (German-made) shells are 12mm undersized, and Ludwig Classic Maples are 6mm undersized. I also think I heard that the old high-end Premier shells were undersized.
Premier are for sure, not sure on the others.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Hey fool, that means a 12" shell is like 11.9" in diameter. (Numbers not representative of real life drumshells, they are just for illustration purposes).
If that’s the case I thought all of them were undersized so the heads would fit. I think there are way more that are undersized than not.
 

sacco

Senior Member
I've heard that Sonor (German-made) shells are 12mm undersized, and Ludwig Classic Maples are 6mm undersized. I also think I heard that the old high-end Premier shells were undersized.
12 mm undersized? 1.2 cm? In diameter? This would mean that the head would be more than half cm larger than the shell all around the shell itself. Looks a little too much to me ...
 
I have/had two Sonor sets (international size Teardrop and a Champion) and didn't have a problem with heads and tuning but maybe there are some other models that cause more problems.

While we're at it: Which drums are oversized? A friend has a Pearl Fiberglass set and I gave him some old Remo heads to make it playable. The heads just barely fit and are pretty hard to tune.
 

rebonn

Senior Member
I noticed my Signia's were smaller before I actually found out for sure they were intentionally made that way. I guess the thinking was to let the head stretch over the edge where the collar is further away. I think they stopped this later. I don't know if this has anything to do with the sound or not, but they still sound pretty good.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
Premier Signia and Genista were 6 mm undersized. On toms only, the Snare and the bass were pretty tight on the contrary.
Gretsch shells are known to be bang on and therefore can be problematic if there's a wrap.
 

CYP47

Member
This is my 10" rack tom. this shows you just how undersized the Signia shells were. This was done so the head would ride on the drum better and it made for easier tuning.
 

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roncadillac

Member
Canopus actually bows their shells inward so the edges are a slightly tighter/smaller diameter then the middle of the shell.

I've owned many Tama kits so I can use them as a benchmark for comparison: my old SPL unity shells pretty much matched all my Tamas, my Ludwig Breakbeats shells were noticably oversized vs my Tamas to the point that heads were really tight and I even had to buy aftermarket rims to still have no success, my current pearl midtown shells are noticably undersized vs all my Tamas and when placing a head on the shell with no rim it has a significant amount of play on all sides HOWEVER this pearl midtown kit has the most resonant Tom's and bass drum I've ever owned.
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
All Sonor German made shells are undersized. Dunno about the asian stuff. Gavin Harrison explains it here near the beginning of the video.

 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Premier Signia and Genista were 6 mm undersized. On toms only, the Snare and the bass were pretty tight on the contrary.
Gretsch shells are known to be bang on and therefore can be problematic if there's a wrap.
Easy there.

I’ve had no issues with Brooklyns and USA Customs — and both kits are wrapped. But my 60s round badges were so bad I cut away some of the wrap near the seam (where the wrap was doubled up) to accommodate modern heads. A simple fix, and can’t be seen with the heads and rims on.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
I think there may be a misconception.
Sonor Signature shells were 12mm thick. Their shell diameters are 1/8inch less than standard shells. If a 12" drum has a standard diamter of 11-7/8, a Sonor 12" drum is 11-3/4".
Ludwig Classic Maple shells are 6mm thick. that's the misconception.

Premier and Sonor were slightly undersized, but Sonor are still the same diameter as they've ever been. they use the same molds. Only the rims are different. Sonor now uses rims made elsewhere. they once made their rims at the factory by spinning them seamlessly like a drum shell. Sonor's rims were slightly smaller too.
Gretsch were, or are oversized, but not by much. The heads didn't spin or wobble on the shell. Same with Ludwig snares. Famously tight on the drum.
 
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