Check out this incredible tutorial for how to build a ply shell mold!
Archives For Drum Building Tutorials
Download Drum Layout Mat
Download the Makedrums.com Layout Mat .pdf file for $2.99. (Instant File Download)
Print the file at a local copy/fax/print store.
I took my file to Fedex. I had the option to print the file in color for $7.75/sqft or I could print it in black and white for .75/sqft. The files dimensions are about 28×28, so you’ll save lots of money by printing it in black and white. My total print cost was $4.06. Tell your printer to print the actual file size
Glue the drum hardware layout mat to a flat surface.
2013 is upon us and it’s time for me to start listening to what you want! First of all thank you for reading this blog and for venturing into the world of custom drum building! This website is meant to be a resource for custom drum builders all over the world. My goal is to create and give you the best drumming and drum building related content the web has to offer. In order for me to do that I need to understand who I am talking to and crafting this content for. Please take 1 minute of your time today to fill out this survey so that I can better understand your wants and needs! Check back to this blog frequently as I try to address the comments you leave in the survey!
Kenny Sharretts has worked as a drum tech for Melissa Etheridge, Kelly Clarkson, Peter Frampton, Joss Stone, The American Idols Live, 30 Seconds to Mars, and Smashmouth. He is the current drum tech for Stevie Wonder and Rihanna. As a drummer he has worked for several Texas legends including Monte Montgomery, Kevin Fowler, Joe King Carrassco, Rusty Wier, George Devore, and Custard Pie. He is also an active member of the band So Called Underground.
Kenny sent me a total of 6 tips that will be released once a week for the next 6 weeks! If you enjoy the tips please leave Kenny a comment or question by clicking here!
Kenny’s Pro Drum Tip: Center Your Bass Drum Hole
Holes in bass drum heads are like colonoscopy. A necessary evil in a live setting. Most sound men at a club level do not have the luxury of being able to isolate the kick drum sound, and maximize click AND thump without a hole. Since the big dogs usually use 2 microphones for the kick (usually a SM91 inside the drum, and an SM 52/ D112/etc. in the hole), the hole becomes mandatory unless you mount the microphones inside the kick. So where to put the hole? How big should it be? As far as size goes, 5-7 inches across is all you need. Any more, and the tone of the head significantly suffers. More head, more tone. Any smaller, and you can’t position the BD mic very easily. As far as where to put the hole, a lot of cats put the hole in the lower left or right hand corners of the drum. This is a useful technique if you want a lot of overtones in your kick sound (i.e. sounds like an old school un-ported marching bass drum). My preference, however, is to have a tight, punchy kick with controlled, but voluminous bottom-end. This is achieved by cutting the hole DEAD CENTER of the bass drum head. Think about it like dropping a pebble in a pond. The circles of sound go outward from the center of the head. By cutting the hole dead center, you maintain the continuity of the circular sound waves. A hole in the side, just breaks them up, thereby creating more unnecessary overtones. I began using the “center hole” technique with Kenny Aronoff on a Melissa Etheridge tour. The FOH (front of house) mixer said the difference was night and day in terms of punch, bottom end, and control.
BTW, two products I recommend for cutting the hole, are the Aquarian port holes or the Remo Dynamo hole templates, and “The Hole Cutter“. The template is a must. Not only does it give you an easy, almost fool-proof guide for cutting a clean hole (please use an exacto knife or “The Hole Cutter”), but it protects the hole from tearing, AND acts as a gentle mute for the front head. This greatly reduces the amount of muffling needed (so you get a bigger sound), and you can avoid the tone robbing felt strip many people use. “The Hole Cutter” is an outstanding tool for the hole cutting procedure. (Hence the name, duh! LOL!) Strangely enough, it doesn’t fit perfectly within the Aquarian/Remo templates, but you can make it work.
Finally, use a protective disc where your beater hits the BD head. I know some people complain about how it affects the tone, but they really do protect the head from breaking due to friction. They can also add a little attack to your kick sound. Remo Falam slams are great for rock and funk drumming, but are a little heavy for some cats. Evans and Aquarian both make thinner less intrusive kick pads. Drum on brothers and sisters.
Got a comment or question for Kenny? Leave a comment and start a conversation!
This is a guest post by Jon Lee of MNI Drumworks in Austin, TX.
In the fall of 1993 my parents gave in. The past 18 years had been a torturous, ear bleeding ordeal for both my Father and beautiful Mother. I had slapped, hit, tapped, knocked, kicked, and played EVERYTHING in every house that we had ever lived in, or vehicle we had owned. From banging on pots, pans, lamp shades (great cymbals), to foot pedal trash cans (great hi-hats) and seat cushions…I was born to play drums.
The only drum kit I have ever owned is as a 5 piece Mapex Mars kit (later 6 piece) that I bought from Phil Fisher at the Drum Connection on North Lamar in the summer of 1993. The kit is obsolete by today’s standards, but there weren’t a lot of technological advances in drum design for beginner kits in the early 90s. When Pearl and Tama introduced suspension mounting systems for drum kits under the $1,000 price range, it was a revolution. A concept that just about every drum company foreign or domestic soon adhered too, including Mapex in the late 90s. For me, I got to hit stuff really hard, and could hit stuff really hard without breaking my parent’s . If anything the first few weeks playing would have been like watching an Animal impersonator screaming WOMAN WOMAN while banging away in the garage.
I just got this email from a friend in Hungary and wanted to share his experience with you! Bart’s first drum set is a beauty:
Bart did an incredible job on building his very first custom drum set. Great job Bart!
Below is an email conversation/interview that I had with Bart. He has lots of great drum building tips so make sure to read all of it! Continue Reading....
Don’t Miss a Learning Opportunity
Every time I build a new custom drum or custom drum kit I learn something that can usually help me improve upon a similar drum set the next time around. Each new drum I build gets better and better and I find more efficient ways to do some of the drum building tasks. Most recently I completed this drum set:
The drum building tip I picked up from building this drum set has to do with the order of the steps that I apply the inlay strip and finishing process. For this drum set I:
- Cut the inlay groove
- Applied about 4 coats of black stain
- Installed the inlay strip
- Sealed and gave a high gloss finish
Now, from looking at pictures of the drums and even looking at the drums up close you would never be able to tell what I did wrong. (not really wrong…but I will do this differently on the next drum kit that has an inlay that I build)
What I Would Do Different
Here is what the aged pearl wrap looks like up close:
Look great right? Well I used some very nice tung oil for the high gloss finish for this kit and tung oil (along with other finishing products such as lacquer) tends to yellow or “amber out” over time.
Lacquer “Amber Out”
Since I installed the inlay strip before I finished the drum, the inlay with also be included in the “ambering out” that is already starting to happen to this kit. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact this amber color is often desired by many custom finishers. If you’ve ever seen a vintage guitar that has discolored over time you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about!
In conclusion the main lesson I learned from building this drum set was this: If you like the original color of whatever inlay strip you decide to use, you should mask the area where your inlay strip will go, finish the entire drum, and install the inlay once your finish is complete to prevent your strip from “ambering out”!
I hope this helps some of you builders venturing into the world of inlay! If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below. I would love to hear what you have to say!
The follow section is taken right from the pages of “How to Make Custom Drums”. Like what you see? You might want to consider buying the full version to learn everything you need to know to be able to build your very own custom drum or drum set!
Making an Inlay Jig for your Router Table
Inlay’s can make your drums look pro and classy. This design is extremely easy to make and to use. Just cut a piece of laminated MDF to the size (width or length) of your existing router table then cut a 2×4 to the same size and screw the 2 together. (see picture) Make sure to counter sink your screws so they don’t get in the way. All you need now are 2 clamps.
Cutting Inlay Grooves
2. You need to take the length of the shell, divide by 2, and measure that distance away from the center line marked on your table. This picture is marked for a 1.5” bass drum hoop. Use clamps the secure the jig in place.
Routing The Inlay Groove
4. Use heavy leather gloves for this part; you don’t want to cut your finger off! First you’ll need to adjust the router so that your first pass doesn’t take away much wood. You’ll need to cut the inlay in very small increments and test fit your inlay after each pass. The idea is to make it as flush as possible. Using the jig as a fence, keep the bottom of the fence always hard against the hoop/shell as you CAREFULLY spin it around, always keeping pressure going towards the fence and towards the bit. The slightest movement in any other direction can yield poor results. (also, you don’t need your fence to be as tall as the one in the picture. It only matters that you keep the hoop against the bottom part of the fence.)
Cut Your Inlay Strips
Measure Your Inlay Strips
1. To actually cut your inlay strip you need to measure the actual cut that you made in your shell, and then mark those measurements on the shell. Use a straight edge to transfer the mark down the wrap so you have you a straight line to cut.
Use Scissors to Cut The Inlay
2. Cut the inlay out using a very sharp pair of scissors. This cut has to be very precise, so go slowly and cut exactly on the line. Once it’s cut out, test fit it all the way around the shell. If there are any spots where the strip is too large, mark it and use your scissors to ever so slightly trim it down until it fits.
3. When you’re ready to install the strip, use painters tape to mask off areas of the hoop you don’t want covered in glue. Use contact cement on both the hoop and the stip. Allow it to dry for the manufacturer’s suggested dry time, then firmly stick them together.
Installing Smaller Inlay Strips
I use the “scrapbook adhesives” brand of super high tack photo tape (I usually find it at hobby lobby) for installing smaller inlays. It has a very strong bond and is easy to work with. Apply it to the back of your inlay strip, peel off the strip of dividing wax paper and then install it in your inlay groove.
Scrapbook Paper for Inlay Strips
This drum’s inlay is actually strips of scrap booking paper. There are some really interesting designs that you might find if you’re looking for alternate inlay designs. You might also consider using wallpaper to wrap a drum…
Inlay Strips from Woodcraft
This drum’s inlay came from my local woodcraft store. They offer many different designs and sizes of wooden inlay strips that are also installed using the double sided tape method.