What Will My Custom Drums Sound Like?

In Drum Building 101, Drum Building Resources, Drums, General Updates by Philip11 Comments

Custom Drum Set Sound Quality

I have received a couple of emails from people that are skeptical about the sound quality of a drum set that they build. I know that this is only my opinion, but I believe that if you follow my steps laid out in the book, (especially when it comes to outsourcing woodwork) you can build the best sounding kit you have ever played on! The moment I played on Kevin’s custom drum set (see orange drum set pictured below) I knew I had to have that sound. Having your drums sound good also has much to do with the drum head selection and how you tune your drums.

Drum Heads On My Custom Drums:

Kick Drum – Evans Emad on batter side, with an Evans Emad for the Resonant side
Toms – Clear Remo Emperor on batters, clear Remo Ambassador on resonant
Snare – Remo Coated Ambassador on batter, Remo Hazy Ambassador on the snare side.

As for tuning your drums I’ll be posting more about that later, but make sure you check out this blog post.

Now for the part you really care about. Below are some recordings of the 2nd drum set I ever built. When I built this set, I still knew very little about drum building, but I still had some amazing results:

Custom drums built for Steven

Mp3’s of Custom Drums

I recorded this drum set on the Home Hiccolm & the Rocketboy’s (now they are just called the Rocketboys) “Sing, Bird, Sing” EP. For the record we cut a port hole in the front bass drum head. This kit is (length X diameter) 8×10, 14×14, and 18×20 and sounds incredible. Don’t just take my word, listen to it yourself. Here are some selections from the album recorded at The Glass Jar Studio:

Do I wake or Sleep? By the Rocketboys

Do I Wake or Sleep? By the Rocketboys

Secrets and Numbers By the Rocketboys

Secrets & Numbers By the Rocketboyskevin's custom drum set

Another artist that recorded at the Glass Jar is Tyler Dodds. I played drums on his record This Is Not Our Home. Here are some songs off of that record using this drum set (which is Kevin’s 1st drum set he ever built)–>


These recordings use multiple snare drums – none were custom built.


We Need to Hear By Tyler Dodds

We Need to Hear by Tyler Dodds

Take Us Home By Tyler Dodds

Take Us Home By Tyler Dodds


  1. Hey Make Drums
    Great post and good advise!
    I like to use a coated Ambassador on my snares too!

  2. Ya, the ambassador seems to be the standard for snare drum heads. Unless your playing really heavy metal and need a thicker head. Another great thing about them is that they are usually one of the cheaper drum heads.

  3. man, im so happy i found this site. i’ve been thinking about making my own drum set for a couple months now and hopefully with this book my ideas will come to life. just gotta save up some money now. lol. I already cant wait to get started.

  4. hello phillip, when purchasing your book, witch im very interested in buying and actually build my own kit,
    where would you go and get the supplies you need ???
    is that in your book ??
    and thanks for making this book

  5. Author

    I talk extensively about different suppliers that I use and I even have a master list of drum building suppliers in the book…so you’ll definitely be able to find what you need from reading the book!

  6. Thanks for all the advice i am thinking of setting up a company of my own and i am curious about how much it cost and how long it took to build the orange kit since it sounds absolutely amazing

  7. Author

    You can find that information on the FAQ page! Good luck building!

  8. Why would someone share their secrets in business like this…The more "custom" drum companies there are the more one's capital would get smaller. Don't you think? Now, I understand by selling this book you are making money but in the end wouldn't it actually hurt your business? I just curious how you feel on the subject.
    Ps. I'm going to buy your e-book regardless…just wondering.

  9. Author

    I see what you mean, and I think you are correct in your theory. However instead of getting less custom drum business, I’ve sold more drums in the past year than I have in the last 5 years of building custom drums. I’m not exactly sure why this is the case. I think part of it has to do with moving to Austin and hiring my first employee for P.Ellis Drums. I also think it might have to do with having a more authoritative voice in the custom drum building community since writing a book about drum building…either way, both businesses have been a challenge at times, but continue to allow me to do what I love – build drums.

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