Maple Drum Shell

What does “100% Maple” Drum Shell really mean?

Maple Drum Shells

The other day I was looking around Guitar Center for some inspiration and ideas for a new kit I’m about to start building and happened upon a drum set that advertised 100% maple shells. The thing that struck me funny is that the drum set was only $599 for a complete drum set with mounting hardware (kick drum, 3 toms, and a snare drum). I just couldn’t believe my eyes, this set looked great, and for that price I was beginning to wonder how in the world I would be able to compete with a great looking drum with “100% maple drum shells” that could be purchased for less than half of what it takes me to actually build a similar drum set…

Keller Maple Drum Shell

The Major Differences Between the Drum Shells

After I sat down and played on them I examined the shell, the hardware and the actual construction of the drum itself.  There were a couple of very noticeable differences in the drums that I make and in the drums that were in front of me.

I might talk about some of the other differences in other posts, the first thing I noticed after turning over the snare drum and looking at the bearing edge was that there was no interior finishing done to the drum or bearing edge, and honestly the inside of the shell looked like any other cheap beginner drum set shell. It definitely didn’t look like the Keller maple shells that I use and recommend for building custom drums. I know that there must have been some corners cut to make this drum set so cheap so I asked one of the sales associates how these 100% maple shell kits could sell for $599. He explained that most of the cheaper “all maple kits” only have 2-3 actual full sheet plies of maple, and they usually have a couple layers of ground up maple plies that are just kind of filler in the middle of the drum. That way they can still get away with calling it “all” or “100%” maple shells, but in reality the shell will not play, feel or resonate like a true “all maple ply shell”.  Interesting.

Educate Yourself on What You’re Really Getting In a Drum

The point of this information is not to stop anyone from buying those drums, but I think that you should be educated about what your actually buying when you opt for buying a cheaper drum set. Cheaper drum sets are great for beginners. I owned a Percussion Plus drum set for the first 6 years I was a drummer. I eventually moved up to a Yamaha Stage Custom drum set and played on that for another 4 years. Both drum sets served the purpose of helping me get better at drums, and eventually I needed a professional level drum set for the amount and quality of gigs I was playing. When that time came I was fortunate enough to have already learned a little bit about building drums and decided to take the plunge and make my 1st custom drum set…and if I keep writing I may get a little sentimental, so I leave you with a picture of the drum set that started it all…

My first custom drum set

If you want to learn more about building your own custom drum set you can get started by signing up for the free drum building tutorials sent to your email. I’m happy to share this information with you and hope that you will be inspired to build your own custom drum!

As always, please feel free to share any questions or comments you have by leaving a comment below!