Why aren't free-floating drum designs (like Guru or Sleishman) more popular?

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Low interest from buying public is relative to the entire market, not an upper-tier niche of the market. If you look at entire market as the denominator, then the numerator in this case becomes Guru+additional demand for free floating system. That's a tiny tiny negligible percent of the market. Across the entire market there isn't a large demand for free-floating. Guru wasn't the market and you can't measure market demand on Guru's two years of backorders or query volume.

No help needed. Bo does a great job of defeating his own arguments. He regularly doesn't like what he doesn't have, but ends up buying it anyhow. y'know, just to try it. Once he's got it, he likes it, until he sees something else he doesn't like - slams that for a while, then repeat ;)

While I'm in soap box mode, I've never had to repair or replace a lug made of quality material on a drum treated with a modest amount of respect. If you buy drums with cheap alloy lugs, or throw your uncased drums down a flight of stairs, then expect issues. I've never understood the mentality that dictates drums are somehow a lesser instrument not deserving of reasonable care. When was the last time you saw a guitarist hauling their gigging guitar in the back of a truck without a case?

For the record, non of the production Gurus were ever "free floating", just low mass. As for "low interest from the buying public", I closed Guru with a near 2 year order book. We were limited by capacity, not interest, and even 1 year after announcing closure, we still got 10+ enquiries / week until I pulled the website.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
The only free floating I have played were Pearl snare : 14x6,5 brass, 14x6,5 steel and piccolo brass. I didn’t like neither of them. I won’t judge the technical stuff. It was just that they did sound worse than their “normal” counterparts.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
The only free floating I have played were Pearl snare : 14x6,5 brass, 14x6,5 steel and piccolo brass. I didn’t like neither of them. I won’t judge the technical stuff. It was just that they did sound worse than their “normal” counterparts.
We have a CB700 brass in storage which I 'think' is the same as a Pearl. My one line review would be:

All of the sonic drawbacks of a roto-tom, coupled with all of the typical drawbacks of a conventional drum, coupled with additional logistical drawbacks.

I usually make an effort to list the benefits of something I'm reviewing, but I honestly can't think of anything despite challenging myself to do so.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Low interest from buying public is relative to the entire market, not an upper-tier niche of the market. If you look at entire market as the denominator, then the numerator in this case becomes Guru+additional demand for free floating system. That's a tiny tiny negligible percent of the market. Across the entire market there isn't a large demand for free-floating. Guru wasn't the market and you can't measure market demand on Guru's two years of backorders or query volume.
I agree 100%, and wasn't offering as such. The interest level was high, but in relation to the wider market, the number of players seeing sufficient value to press the button, or having the means to do so, was minuscule.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
We have a CB700 brass in storage which I 'think' is the same as a Pearl. My one line review would be:

All of the sonic drawbacks of a roto-tom, coupled with all of the typical drawbacks of a conventional drum, coupled with additional logistical drawbacks.

I usually make an effort to list the benefits of something I'm reviewing, but I honestly can't think of anything despite challenging myself to do so.
I agree here too, but the Pearl FF was never constructed to take advantage of the potential benefits of unencumbered shell resonance. The associated hardware mass (both directly & indirectly connected to the shell) was counter productive. The best bit about the Pearl FFs was the 16" wire assembly.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I agree here too, but the Pearl FF was never constructed to take advantage of the potential benefits of unencumbered shell resonance. The associated hardware mass (both directly & indirectly connected to the shell) was counter productive. The best bit about the Pearl FFs was the 16" wire assembly.
I'm quite honestly surprise that (outside of your efforts, and the rototom guy) a decent mechanical engineer has never sat down and put a weekend's worth of work coming up with something innovative that achieves the desired results. In an age where bridges exceed mile-long spans and rockets can land for reuse... This problem really doesn't seem like it would be that hard/expensive/complex to overcome.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
There was another system that seemed technically interesting : the Peavey radial sound bridge.
Ugly but the shell wasn’t covered with métal lugs.
 
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Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I'm quite honestly surprise that (outside of your efforts, and the rototom guy) a decent mechanical engineer has never sat down and put a weekend's worth of work coming up with something innovative that achieves the desired results. In an age where bridges exceed mile-long spans and rockets can land for reuse... This problem really doesn't seem like it would be that hard/expensive/complex to overcome.
Andy’s Guru free-floating system was brilliant, but it basically requires a segment/stave construction to work, I think.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Andy’s Guru free-floating system was brilliant, but it basically requires a segment/stave construction to work, I think.
Brilliant? Yes. The issue is that I don't consider it a free floating system, much like the lugs on a Ludwig Signet aren't free floating. The lugs are still coupled to the shell via tension. With Guru, you get a unconventional looking protrusion. With Ludwig, you get a bunch of holes.

When I look at the Guru, I imagine that the design objective was low mass, so you take a drum and move the reinforcement rings moved outside and leverage their inner lip as a coupling surface for the lugs, reducing the amount of alloy required, removing the need for drilling holes and filling them with screws.

I'm honestly surprised that nobody else uses Andy's method.
 

mkelley

Member
I guess the question posed why not more popular? Can't really say but there is no real reason to not consider these types of drums. in fact Slieshman drums would probably be very cost effective to import into the States given the Aussie dollar is not particularly strong. it's the same as believing 18" bass drums are floor toms, try a single ply 18" it will change your mind. A bop kit like this would probably run around 2 grand U.S. minus shipping. not that pricey really. NFI. just an example.
FYI Sleishman have a shop in Nashville. https://www.mothertone.com/
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
There was another system that seemed technically interesting : the Peavey radial sound bridge.
Ugly but the shell wasn’t covered with métal lugs.
I think Andy would concur that Peavey Radials are the very closest things to Guru Origin (Origins only) construction. Peavey was in the marketplace first, with the outside bridge, as far as I know.

Andy’s Guru free-floating system was brilliant, but it basically requires a segment/stave construction to work, I think.
To clear the waters for anyone interested...None of the 3 Guru series was a free floating system like Pearls. Free floating in the marketplace means a separate outside metal cage basically, and a raw, undrilled shell inside. Only the heads are in contact with the shell in a free floating system.

Andy's Origin construction (and Peavy's Radials) are a drumshell with an outside sound bridge. The sound bridge is an outer (not inner like most drums) re-ring, built as an integral part of the shell, that the lugs are in full contact with. An outer sound bridge could be on any shell at all...stave, segmented, steambent, ply.... you name it. Guru Origins are a solid shell with an outside sound bridge, Peavey Radials are a ply shell with an outside sound bridge. The lugs and mounting attach to the sound bridge, so no shell drilling required.

But it's not free floating as the market understands it. It's something different, I don't know if it has an agreed upon name actually. Bridge construction would make sense.

The other Guru drums (Tour Series, Intense Series) in concept are basically regular lugged but low and ultra low mass drums respectively, made with solid shell construction only..

I prefer the Guru/Peavey bridge construction. In segmented please. It makes the most sense for the transfer of vibrations, in my mind anyway.

The free floating construction dealbreaker for me...that not all of the energy I am imparting to the drum is going through that beautiful beast of a shell. Some has to bypass the shell and get sucked up in the cage which doesn't touch the shell. I had a Pearl free floater. It never really grabbed me.
 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
Ace, wouldn't it make sense to argue though that the energy sucked up by the cage is imparted at the heads anyway. this is where the choice of hardware material counts I think. Le Soprano comes to mind.
 
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Tamaefx

Silver Member
Oh you’re right !i played a sopranos! The sound was amazing! It rang for hours, low sounding. I just forgot they were free floating!
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Yeah I know but just as easy to import yourself if desired. Went to the website not much info on Slieshies at all there. as far as these types of drums.It's interesting how people know about what they haven't tried.
I’ve got a Sleishman snare with a steambent rosewood shell. It sounds great, but head changes are harder.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
There was another system that seemed technically interesting : the Peavey radial sound bridge.
Ugly but the shell wasn’t covered with métal lugs.
I wish Peavey had machined the radial bridge down so it only protruded at the lugs. This is what I was eluding to in my earlier post. I understand the purpose behind it, but it's ugliness sort of outweighs everything.
I've often wondered about this for stave drums. Since the drum is built in pieces and the lug locations are known, I don't see why "lugs" can't be wooden, part of the shell, and use threaded inserts instead of swivel nuts. We have machines that can do this.
 
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