Yamaha Live Custom (Oak) review

Ptan1101

Junior Member
Hi all,

I have a Yamaha Live Custom in fusion sizes (10/12/14 with 20" bass drum) and I just love these drums! I have found that at both high and low tunings they are full and resonant with gobs of tone. I'm using Remo Emperors/Ambassadors for the toms and they are extremely full and resonant at both high and low tunings. I did find that the 10" tom tends to "choke" slightly when the batter head becomes worn & used after 3-4 months of regular gigging, but didn't find that so much with the 12" or the 14' toms. I also think that tuning of the resonant head on these drums is crucial, and I've found they work best for me when the resonant head is precisely tuned sympathetically to the batter.

The 20" live custom bass drum took some work to get right but I am really happy with the sound I have. I used the Remo Powerstroke 3 on the batter that came with the kit for a while and really liked it's projecting, open sound, but eventually I preferred the Evans GMAD I eventually went with due to it's punchier feel. I kept the Remo PS3 resonant logo head, but added a Kickport and tuned it to JAW pitch; batter I have tuned tighter than I'm used to but that's necessary with a GMAD. I added an Evans EQ pad lightly resting on the batter. The sound I am getting is deep & punchy, very controlled but still full -- I play fusion, funk, and r&b/blues mostly and it is a perfect match for those styles. Also very easy to mic too.

I also have the Live Custom snare - great drum! I'm using an Evans Power Center Reverse Dot head on the batter and it sounds fabulous...I get a lot of compliments at gigs for the sound.
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
Hi all,

I have a Yamaha Live Custom in fusion sizes (10/12/14 with 20" bass drum) and I just love these drums! I have found that at both high and low tunings they are full and resonant with gobs of tone. I'm using Remo Emperors/Ambassadors for the toms and they are extremely full and resonant at both high and low tunings. I did find that the 10" tom tends to "choke" slightly when the batter head becomes worn & used after 3-4 months of regular gigging, but didn't find that so much with the 12" or the 14' toms. I also think that tuning of the resonant head on these drums is crucial, and I've found they work best for me when the resonant head is precisely tuned sympathetically to the batter.

The 20" live custom bass drum took some work to get right but I am really happy with the sound I have. I used the Remo Powerstroke 3 on the batter that came with the kit for a while and really liked it's projecting, open sound, but eventually I preferred the Evans GMAD I eventually went with due to it's punchier feel. I kept the Remo PS3 resonant logo head, but added a Kickport and tuned it to JAW pitch; batter I have tuned tighter than I'm used to but that's necessary with a GMAD. I added an Evans EQ pad lightly resting on the batter. The sound I am getting is deep & punchy, very controlled but still full -- I play fusion, funk, and r&b/blues mostly and it is a perfect match for those styles. Also very easy to mic too.

I also have the Live Custom snare - great drum! I'm using an Evans Power Center Reverse Dot head on the batter and it sounds fabulous...I get a lot of compliments at gigs for the sound.
Welcome to the forum and thanks for telling us some about your drums. I've had my LCs (in Black Wood) for a couple of weeks now and I'm really digging them. So far, I've put an Aquarian CC Gloss White on the batter side of the bass drum and a Fiberskyn on the resonant side with a bit of bubble wrap inside (thanks Anthony!). I haven't yet gigged these drums but I'll be porting the front head (for mic placement) when I do.

The toms came with coated ambassadors on top and clear ambassador resos. Dave Weckl played these at a clinic/performance before I got them and he switched out the batter heads. Like you, he tuned the batters and resos to the same pitch and they sound great. I usually tune toms this way when their not mic'ed but tune the reso higher when they are. When I get a chance, I'm going to try out some Aquarian Super-2 Clears on top to see if they might thicken the tone without losing too much resonance. My thinking is this might work well for close mics but that I'll probably go with Classic Clears top and bottom when the drums aren't mic'ed.

The only thing I wasn't really hip on with these was the dark silver hardware. Just an aesthetic thing for me-this is the first kit I've had where the hardware isn't chrome. And, I think it reminds me of cheaper drums I've seen with nickel-plated hardware that starts to flake after a while. But the quality of this plating is top-notch and little by little, the look is growing on me.

What finish do you have?

Peace,

Jason
 

MJBleem

Junior Member
Hi all,

I have a Yamaha Live Custom in fusion sizes (10/12/14 with 20" bass drum) and I just love these drums! I have found that at both high and low tunings they are full and resonant with gobs of tone. I'm using Remo Emperors/Ambassadors for the toms and they are extremely full and resonant at both high and low tunings. I did find that the 10" tom tends to "choke" slightly when the batter head becomes worn & used after 3-4 months of regular gigging, but didn't find that so much with the 12" or the 14' toms. I also think that tuning of the resonant head on these drums is crucial, and I've found they work best for me when the resonant head is precisely tuned sympathetically to the batter.

The 20" live custom bass drum took some work to get right but I am really happy with the sound I have. I used the Remo Powerstroke 3 on the batter that came with the kit for a while and really liked it's projecting, open sound, but eventually I preferred the Evans GMAD I eventually went with due to it's punchier feel. I kept the Remo PS3 resonant logo head, but added a Kickport and tuned it to JAW pitch; batter I have tuned tighter than I'm used to but that's necessary with a GMAD. I added an Evans EQ pad lightly resting on the batter. The sound I am getting is deep & punchy, very controlled but still full -- I play fusion, funk, and r&b/blues mostly and it is a perfect match for those styles. Also very easy to mic too.

I also have the Live Custom snare - great drum! I'm using an Evans Power Center Reverse Dot head on the batter and it sounds fabulous...I get a lot of compliments at gigs for the sound.
Hi - new member here and am looking into getting a live custom myself. Wondering how it is working out for you now. I was interested especially in hearing about your sizes. I have been playing the same kit for over 25 years (with a few variations), but the kick is a 24" tour custom from the 80s. I am thinking about going with a 20" bass drum for my kick choice this time around. I play in a r&b/60's/70's cover band and a roots/r&b/blues/rock group.
What kind of music are you playing?
thanks
 

Ptan1101

Junior Member
Thanks guys, I can tell you after several more weeks/months I am still digging these drums! I have them in the Amber Shadow and they almost look like a dark mahogany from certain angles under dim lights. I get a lot of compliments at gigs for how good they look on stage!

I'm playing blues/funk/soul mostly these days, with some prominant musicians here in the Bay Area blues scene, but I have used them on some local jazz gigs as well. They continue to sound fabulous, and lots of folks have commented on how good the drums sound, particularly the snare. Their versatility amazes me: I used them one day for a small blues festival and the next day I used them in a jazz-fusion combo and they sounded appropriate for both gigs.

I will say the bass drum takes a little work to set up correctly but overall I'm really glad I chose the 20" size. I can get it to sound incredibly punchy and huge, approximating what you'd get with a 22" but yet it's compact enough to fit into just about any venue and easy to transport. I found the Remo P3 heads it ships with were pretty decent, lots of warm tone, but I got a much bigger improvement switching to Evans, which in general lacked a little warmth but had much more punch and went deeper than the Remos. I tried lots of combos but for me, the ideal setup has been an Evans GMAD clear batter and Remo P3 logo head with kickport installed, Evans EQ pad just grazing the batter - gives a really punchy, solid bass note with lots of full attack but not so much overhang, good for R&B and blues. How you guys digging your drums these days?
 

SgtThump

Platinum Member
Thanks guys, I can tell you after several more weeks/months I am still digging these drums! I have them in the Amber Shadow and they almost look like a dark mahogany from certain angles under dim lights. I get a lot of compliments at gigs for how good they look on stage!

I'm playing blues/funk/soul mostly these days, with some prominant musicians here in the Bay Area blues scene, but I have used them on some local jazz gigs as well. They continue to sound fabulous, and lots of folks have commented on how good the drums sound, particularly the snare. Their versatility amazes me: I used them one day for a small blues festival and the next day I used them in a jazz-fusion combo and they sounded appropriate for both gigs.

I will say the bass drum takes a little work to set up correctly but overall I'm really glad I chose the 20" size. I can get it to sound incredibly punchy and huge, approximating what you'd get with a 22" but yet it's compact enough to fit into just about any venue and easy to transport. I found the Remo P3 heads it ships with were pretty decent, lots of warm tone, but I got a much bigger improvement switching to Evans, which in general lacked a little warmth but had much more punch and went deeper than the Remos. I tried lots of combos but for me, the ideal setup has been an Evans GMAD clear batter and Remo P3 logo head with kickport installed, Evans EQ pad just grazing the batter - gives a really punchy, solid bass note with lots of full attack but not so much overhang, good for R&B and blues. How you guys digging your drums these days?
What heads are you using on your toms, if you don't mind me asking? I have a set of Live Customs and have tried several different heads. Some people will snicker at this, but I just put clear Remo Pinstripes on the batter and since this is my hard rock set, they sound great.

I also have a Club Custom set with Remo coated ambassadors on the batters and they are killer for a vintage-type tone (as they're marketed.)
 

Ptan1101

Junior Member
On the toms I'm using Remo clear Emperors and clear Ambassadors on the bottom - a deeply resonant and full-bodied sound, with good sensitivity too when you need it. I have been so satisfied with the sound from this combo that I have had no desire to try anything else!
 

MusiQmaN

Platinum Member
After a dozen kits (which includes two Oaks too) im back at Oak and here to stay.

22x17, 10x7 and 14x14 and 16x16 floor toms.

My old kits included a Red Oak 20x17, 10x8, 12x9, 14x12, 16x14 and a Musashi Black 18x15, 8x7, 10x8, 12x9, 14x14 and a custom 15x14 (never made in the musashi Black finish)

For me Oak is THE sound.

You could play the 18" and hear it like a 22", yet not being overly loud (one reason my main rack tom is a 10" (and I hope I can add a 8"" again too)
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
After a dozen kits (which includes two Oaks too) im back at Oak and here to stay.

22x17, 10x7 and 14x14 and 16x16 floor toms.

My old kits included a Red Oak 20x17, 10x8, 12x9, 14x12, 16x14 and a Musashi Black 18x15, 8x7, 10x8, 12x9, 14x14 and a custom 15x14 (never made in the musashi Black finish)

For me Oak is THE sound.

You could play the 18" and hear it like a 22", yet not being overly loud (one reason my main rack tom is a 10" (and I hope I can add a 8"" again too)
What finish is your current oak kit Wes?

I would say that the more I gig my Live Custom kit, the more impressed I am with it's capabilities. I've tried out several different head combinations on the toms and each sounds great in its own way. These drums are powerful but not harsh--definitely fit the bill for all kinds of back-beat music.

Here they are in my studio:


Jason
 

MusiQmaN

Platinum Member
Actually, very much inspired by your 1st generation hex rack setup. :)
Ahh thanks man, my goal was reached, inspiring other drummers (you and a lot of other artists) and techs (Brent, Nissim) to come up with new ideas.

The Hex 1 will come back too btw, in a 2.0 form (hard to top the first one haha)
 
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