Vaughncraft shells, opinions

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I've been seeing these Vaughncraft solid steam bent shells all over Ebay and was wondering if anyone has built one. They are piquing my interest to say the least.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
I've played on a solid African Mahogany kit and a solid Walnut kit that somebody crafted from Vaughncraft shells--they sound great! In the future, if I were to build a kit for myself, I would go with either them or somebody that makes true solid shells. They have a different sound than keller shells, for sure.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Caddy,
Different than Kellers in what respect(s)?
Would it be fair to say that, in your highly regarded opinion, the Vaughncrafts sounded better than Keller?
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I have a Vaughncraft snare that is steambent maple. I use it as my main snare. I think they sound different than Keller but maybe not better. The piccolo snare I built is made for a Keller shell. It is 4 x 14 and not 7 x 14 so that can't really be compared. But both are great shells. There are also two schools of thought on the term "solid." some call anything that is not ply, solid, and some only refer to a shell that is turned from a solid piece of wood, and has not seam at all solid. Some do not consider Steambent solid since two ends of the same piece of wood are joined together.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Yea a more accurate description would be 1 ply. The only truly solid shell drum I know of that is commercially available is the Canopus Zelkova snare, which is hollowed out from a solid block of Japanese Zelkova wood, zero glue. I have one, I wish it was made from maple though. You think I would use that as my main snare but I don't. There's something about maple that I always return to.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Caddy,
Different than Kellers in what respect(s)?
Would it be fair to say that, in your highly regarded opinion, the Vaughncrafts sounded better than Keller?
I hesitated to say they sounded "better" because we're talking apples and oranges;

ply vs steam-bent
AND
maple vs other woods

...plus, the bearing edges on the mahogany kit were rounded, and the edges on the walnut were sharper (don't remember the angle cut). Once you get to the high level of drum kits, I don't usually think of them as better or worse than other ones, just different. I can tell you that the steam-bent walnut snare sounded very much like the keller steam-bent maple snare I had at the time. The mahogany kit was very (excuse the over-used term here...) warm and full, while the walnut was very cutting and bright. Could be the wood or the edges, or probably both.

I can tell you that they sounded GREAT, but I'd still choose my vintage Ludwig kit or my DW Collector's over them. I'd really like to hear a true solid kit sometime...
 
T

trkdrmr

Guest
Pick up a copy of vol 8 issue 4 "classic drummer." There is a 3-page story on vaughcraft. It should be the latest issue with Pete best on the cover.
 

Unix

Silver Member
There are also two schools of thought on the term "solid." some call anything that is not ply, solid, and some only refer to a shell that is turned from a solid piece of wood, and has not seam at all solid. Some do not consider Steambent solid since two ends of the same piece of wood are joined together.
The use of solid wood term in woodworking is use in application of non plywood item.
Segment, stave, steam and one piece lug drum are all solid wood drum. Now they're all different form of solid wood shell, but at the very based, they are all made of solid piece of wood.

Solid do not determine the method of construction but the material base.
 
When speaking of the drum as opposed to the material it's made of, it can be misleading to use the word "solid" to mean several forms of a shell, which is why the term "true solid" came about. A steam-bent 1-ply drum is made from one solid piece of wood, but isn't a continuous ring, therefore, IMO, should not be called a "solid drum".

There's another thread regarding solid (true solid) drum makers. There are others besides Canopus - two in Australia (that I know of), at least one in Canada, and possibly a few others that are currently making drums.

I'm also interested in hearing from more Vancraft owners. The shells look really beautiful. Are the bearing edges as nice as Craviotto's?

ddd
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The beauty of it is, you can get the edges re done to your liking....I suppose you could do this with any drum but the fact that it's unfinished and hardwareless makes it easier. I'd like to find out more about them, is it one guy, what machines do they use to form the shells etc.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
So the Ghostnote owner makes the Vaughncraft shells? OK there's a start, thank you Mr. Mandelbaum sir.
 

bilkay

Senior Member
So the Ghostnote owner makes the Vaughncraft shells? OK there's a start, thank you Mr. Mandelbaum sir.
No, the GhostNote owner does not own Vaughncraft. The owner of Vaughncraft is an active member of GhostNote. Vaughncraft shells make great drums.
 

gwbaker

Senior Member
The builders in Australia are Brady...they do alot of stave construction, Sleisham does stave and Spirit...I think they do true solid (carved) shells. These companies use woods indigenous to Australia: Jarrah, Ironwood (or Ironbark), etc. Sleisham also builds a very cool double bass pedal. If I were going to have a drum built I would not hesitate to use a Vaughncraft shell.
 

MarkH62

Junior Member
Hey guys... I'm new here, but I gotta jump in on this. I recently built a snare out of a Vaugncraft 5 x 14 Birdseye Maple shell. It absolutely roars. I put dual 45 edges on it, and a very shallow snare bed. It is one seriously sensitive, resonant, yet thunderous drum.



Just yesterday my son (17 months old) and I visited the Vaughncraft shop to pick up a 6 1/2 x 14 Curly Hickory shell. John and his people are TOTALLY awesome to deal with. They gave us a tour of the shop, showed us the basics of their construction process, and even gave my kid a little Vaugncraft shaker. Totally cool folks. I almost dropped when we walked in their showroom. Some AMAZING shells in there.

Then, tonight, John calls me on the phone to ask if I was happy with my shell. What? I am not a pro drummer, endorser, or drum builder. I'm a pastor who has a serious drum habit and a few private students. And the owner of the company calls to ask if I like my shell.

So yes, their shells are amazing. They are not a boutique company-- the list of major companies they've built shells for is long and distinguished (and includes name like "Slingerland.") And they are A+ people.

Blessings all,
Mark
 
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