What about Birch? Who make the best birch kits?

Darth Vater

Senior Member
I'd rate Kumu as more than up there - pretty much the bar standard in Birch drums IMHO. Let's put it another way, if I wanted a birch set, I'd buy a Kumu before anything else.

BTW, when considering used / readily available options, another vote here for early Yamaha recording custom. They pretty much epitomise what a standard production birch set is & should be. I don't have sufficient direct experience to judge the latest RC offerings.
Interesting about the Kumu drums. I'm going to look into them. That was another question I had whether the use of scandi birch was the way to go. I took that into consideration when I bought my SQ1s. I'm very happy with them. Not sure what birch Yamaha is using now and the flimsy hoops were a turnoff to me. This thread was as much about who is still making birch kits as to what are the good ones.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I went to check out the Kumu site, having never really read up on them. The first photo I see and click on appears to have ply separation. Maybe it's variance in the ply's color, but to me it appears to be ply separation.
View attachment 96149
Wow, that's a very ugly bearing edge. Maybe it's just the photo, but it actually looks jagged, like it was cut on a lathe instead of a router table.

That photo is not very confidence inspiring.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I went to check out the Kumu site, having never really read up on them. The first photo I see and click on appears to have ply separation. Maybe it's variance in the ply's color, but to me it appears to be ply separation.
Agreed - that doesn't look good!

Wow, that's a very ugly bearing edge. Maybe it's just the photo, but it actually looks jagged, like it was cut on a lathe instead of a router table.

That photo is not very confidence inspiring.
I agree. The edge may be a photo issue. I can't imagine Kumu screwing up an edge, let alone using it as an example on their website.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Didn't they have a funky bearing edge like a pin stripe on a 30 degree, or something sort of like Andy's tympanic edge I seem to recollect? And had the hole in the bass drum shell for mics? Right-or is my memory complete trash-crap I can't type-I thought because I've been on my iPhone but sill on laptop I still can't type for crapola?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
That doesn't look like a Kumu lug in that ply separation pic. It looks to me like maple as well. I am probably way off. Does Kumu do maple with different lugs?
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I think they may now but I don't think they did back then when Wavelength posted his Kumu-seems I remember looking at their site.
 

drumnut87

Well-known member
if i want a birch kit, im going with a company called jalapeno drums, based in lancaster UK. love their kits, and the guy who makes them is a great fella :)
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
Wow, that's a very ugly bearing edge. Maybe it's just the photo, but it actually looks jagged, like it was cut on a lathe instead of a router table.

That photo is not very confidence inspiring.
There's some kind of photographic defect happening there - look at the distortion in the front part of the shell edge.
That is a de-lam - but the 'jagged edges' aren't what they seem, imo.
 

jasz

Junior Member
I have no clue who makes the "best" now, but it saddens me to se birch being so much out of favor for most companies, usually they put the all-birch kits into the low-end category, if at all. Seems like every now and then, some all-birch lines will show up, and will disappear in about a year or 2 (like my BCX). I suppose it's all about the demand, and it's easier to remove the birch lines if people have a general consumption that maple is the best wood for drums anyway, and they got lower and lower in price.... I like Yamaha drums in general and I know they were big on high-end birch kits, but I really think their newer ones are way too pricey for what you actually get. If you look at competitors like Tama, Pearl, and to a certain degree, Mapex, look at how much you get for the money in comparison. But that is another discussion I guess. I really like the sound of my Pearl Masters BCX though, even though there clearly are better drums out there. But I guess I am in a minority for prefering Die-Cast hoops, I just feel they are more rigid and stay in tune better, but I might be wrong. I would put Yamaha Recording Customs and Sonor SQ2 up there for best all birch kits of today.

This is truth. Birch is/has been regulated to lower end kits and or they don't push the quality of sourced birch as much as they do with "North American" Maple. There are outliers like the SQ1/SQ2 and current generation Recording Custom being purpose built "high end kits", but most of these are priced out of the gigging drummer market which makes ZERO sense to me.

Yamaha has the Stage Custom Birch for example, but its intended as a lower end intermediate kit. It doesn't sound bad.. in fact, I REALLY like this kit when mic'd properly with some nice aftermarket heads, but its not something I want out of a gigging kit if that makes sense?

Tour custom is more akin to the market I support, but its only offered in a hybird Asian/NA Maple sourced shell. Kinda like the Renowns. The hardware in terms of legs and spurs is relatively low end compared to anything above OAK hybrid custom which promotes a much nicer design.

The proof is in the pudding though. The Silverstar was a fairly decently made birch shell in an intermediate kit, but they threw lower end 1.6mm hoops hardware and what not on it. Now? discontinued in most markets except china. Even Japan doesn't carry it anymore and they held out longer than the US.

I legitimately feel like this isn't a lack of market demand but rather the issue of drum markers and marketing associating birch as a lower end product. I mean hell.. Look at the current Starclassic W/B kit (apparently sells well). It lacks features relative to the "higher end" SC maple such as hold tight washers, and head selection on the bottom half of the drum being regulated to "power craft" heads.

I've worked in a completely different industry and I can 100% attest that marketing and brand identity is more powerful than the average person would like to think. Conformity of brands regulating to the same formulas is just the course of nature and politics of selling products.

Project managers need to stop being pussies and actually think outside the box instead of following the hype train of what works with current brand identity. I've seen this WAY too much to know I'm not wrong in this thinking. I've had Project managers in different fields actually apologize to me for not going with suggestions I had made 10 years ago. Now? Entire market in my field conforms to these SAME suggestions I had made.

The drum market isn't that different.. In fact, i'd argue its easier to manipulate.
 
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Darth Vater

Senior Member
This is truth. Birch is/has been regulated to lower end kits and or they don't push the quality of sourced birch as much as they do with "North American" Maple. There are outliers like the SQ1/SQ2 and current generation Recording Custom being purpose built "high end kits", but most of these are priced out of the gigging drummer market which makes ZERO sense to me.

Yamaha has the Stage Custom Birch for example, but its intended as a lower end intermediate kit. It doesn't sound bad.. in fact, I REALLY like this kit when mic'd properly with some nice aftermarket heads, but its not something I want out of a gigging kit if that makes sense?

Tour custom is more akin to the market I support, but its only offered in a hybird Asian/NA sourced shell. Kinda like the Renowns. The hardware in terms of legs and spurs is relatively low end compared to anything above OAK hybrid custom which promotes a much nicer design.

The proof is in the pudding though. The Silverstar was a fairly decently made birch shell in an intermediate kit, but they threw lower end 1.6mm hoops hardware and what not on it. Now? discontinued in most markets except china. Even Japan doesn't carry it anymore and they held out longer than the US.

I legitimately feel like this isn't a lack of market demand but rather the issue of drum markers and marketing associating birch as a lower end product. I mean hell.. Look at the current Starclassic W/B kit (apparently sells well). It lacks features relative to the "higher end" SC maple such as hold tight washers, and head selection on the bottom half of the drum being regulated to "power craft" heads.

I've worked in a completely different industry and I can 100% attest that marketing and brand identity is more powerful than the average person would like to think. Confirmatory of brands regulating to the same formulas is just the course of nature and politics of selling products.

Project managers need to stop being pussies and actually think outside the box instead of following the hype train of what works with brand identity of certain brands. I've seen this WAY too much to know I'm not wrong in this thinking. I've had Project managers in different fields actually apologize to me for not going with suggestions I had made 10 years ago. Now? Entire market conforms to these SAME suggestions I had made.

The drum market isn't that different.. Infact, i'd argue its easier to manipulate.
Good take on it. Sonor, Kumu, and British Drum Company promote the fact that they use the Scandinavian birch. Would that make birch from US and Japan/Asia less desirable? Yamaha doesn't say where their's is sourced. I wouldn't buy Yamaha anyway but that's another story. Here's a pretty good birch comparo that DCP did.

 

jasz

Junior Member
Good take on it. Sonor, Kumu, and British Drum Company promote the fact that they use the Scandinavian birch. Would that make birch from US and Japan/Asia less desirable? Yamaha doesn't say where their's is sourced. I wouldn't buy Yamaha anyway but that's another story. Here's a pretty good birch comparo that DCP did.

According to shane from DCP, he claims the newer Recording Custom is North American Birch. The Stage custom being Chinese birch.

I don't know about less desirable, but rather different. TAMA is currently opting for "European" Birch on the outer plies of the W/B kit.

Subjectively I like the birch absolute custom the best.. :)
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Good take on it. Sonor, Kumu, and British Drum Company promote the fact that they use the Scandinavian birch. Would that make birch from US and Japan/Asia less desirable? Yamaha doesn't say where their's is sourced. I wouldn't buy Yamaha anyway but that's another story. Here's a pretty good birch comparo that DCP did.
Just as in maple, trees grown in a colder climate / shorter summer grow more slowly, & produce a more dense lumber.
 

petrez

Senior Member
This is truth. Birch is/has been regulated to lower end kits and or they don't push the quality of sourced birch as much as they do with "North American" Maple. There are outliers like the SQ1/SQ2 and current generation Recording Custom being purpose built "high end kits", but most of these are priced out of the gigging drummer market which makes ZERO sense to me.

Yamaha has the Stage Custom Birch for example, but its intended as a lower end intermediate kit. It doesn't sound bad.. in fact, I REALLY like this kit when mic'd properly with some nice aftermarket heads, but its not something I want out of a gigging kit if that makes sense?

Tour custom is more akin to the market I support, but its only offered in a hybird Asian/NA sourced shell. Kinda like the Renowns. The hardware in terms of legs and spurs is relatively low end compared to anything above OAK hybrid custom which promotes a much nicer design.

The proof is in the pudding though. The Silverstar was a fairly decently made birch shell in an intermediate kit, but they threw lower end 1.6mm hoops hardware and what not on it. Now? discontinued in most markets except china. Even Japan doesn't carry it anymore and they held out longer than the US.

I legitimately feel like this isn't a lack of market demand but rather the issue of drum markers and marketing associating birch as a lower end product. I mean hell.. Look at the current Starclassic W/B kit (apparently sells well). It lacks features relative to the "higher end" SC maple such as hold tight washers, and head selection on the bottom half of the drum being regulated to "power craft" heads.

I've worked in a completely different industry and I can 100% attest that marketing and brand identity is more powerful than the average person would like to think. Conformity of brands regulating to the same formulas is just the course of nature and politics of selling products.

Project managers need to stop being pussies and actually think outside the box instead of following the hype train of what works with current brand identity. I've seen this WAY too much to know I'm not wrong in this thinking. I've had Project managers in different fields actually apologize to me for not going with suggestions I had made 10 years ago. Now? Entire market in my field conforms to these SAME suggestions I had made.

The drum market isn't that different.. In fact, i'd argue its easier to manipulate.
Good points you are making here.... Another thing that also bugs me about drum companies of late is that almost everybody uses shallower shells on their stock kits today, but I guess trends like this have to come once in a while to shake things up...too bad I am too old and stubborn to not like it 😆. I want my toms deep and thounderous, and I don't want to custom order a kit that takes several months to get... Maybe I just have to suck up to that last part from now on. But yeah, another discussion I guess, but somewhat related, I thought.
 

iCe

Senior Member
I've always wanted a Pearl BRX, but when the time came to buy a pro line kit they had discontinued that line (along with others). Eventually i got a Pearl Masters BCX (6 ply 7.5 mm) kit and finally had the birch kit i always wanted. Been playing for a couple of years now on it and it's a kit that projects really well. Would prefer the plies to be thinner though only if that makes the kit lighter hahaha (hauling around this kit is a pain). Thinking about changing the hoops on the toms to open up the sound, think it might be a bit too focused with the current hoops.
 

jasz

Junior Member
Good points you are making here.... Another thing that also bugs me about drum companies of late is that almost everybody uses shallower shells on their stock kits today, but I guess trends like this have to come once in a while to shake things up...too bad I am too old and stubborn to not like it 😆. I want my toms deep and thounderous, and I don't want to custom order a kit that takes several months to get... Maybe I just have to suck up to that last part from now on. But yeah, another discussion I guess, but somewhat related, I thought.
Yes, It's the same kind of marketing/fad/trend, though I'd argue were heading back towards traditional sizes.. meaning Pre-80s Power toms.. which is a fad itself.. sorta.

Companies in most consumer fields tend to copy of each other trying to promote the next "big thing". In the late 90s/early 2000s this was deep 18"+ kicks and "FAST" tom configurations with hanging floor toms. DW, Mapex, Tama, Yamaha.. for example all pushed this core philosophy.

I'm actually happy TAMA for example offers a 14x22, 8x12, and 16x16 pre-configured traditional sized starclassic kit in 2020. I have a bias towards square floor toms and shorter kicks. The deep kicks and shorter floor toms arent for me.

Who knows what the next fad is.. 10, 13, 16 toms? It's a better interval than 10, 12, 16 if I'm being honest. Would make more sense too as 8x10 (Traditional 10" cut) flows better into 9x13.

Getting a tad off topic here though.. :)
 
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