Have YOU got wood?
I must admit, it can be quite confusing for us drummers sometimes when choosing a new drum or drum kit, especially with the vast array of different materials that drum companies now use to make their drums.
Everything that goes into making a drum can effect the way it will sound. For example if we look at wooden drums, the thickness of the shell will make a big difference to its sound & volume. Generally speaking, the thicker the drum shell the more the drum will project & be very punchy & loud. Thinner drum shells tend to have greater resonance with a more open sound.
There are many different woods that drums are made from, ranging from cheaper wood to exotic ancient wood that will certainly make a huge difference if not only the sound but the price tag!
Although it's difficult to describe a sound in words, I've made a list of some of the more common wood's used in drum making today along with a few words about the tones that you'd expect to get out of certain wooden drum... (Without it reading to much like the back of a wine bottle label or the way they describe what aftershaves & perfumes smell like in those magazines in aeroplanes!!)
Maple: A great all-round wood shell, featuring an even amount of highs and mids with slightly warm lows which blend nicely.
Walnut: Perfect for versatile playing due to the equal amount of highs, mids, and lows. Walnut offers a big sound with warm tones.
Beech: Beech drums are often described as sensitive and deliver accurate highs and mids. The low-end of a beech drum bring a good punch.
Birch: Birch brings you high frequencies with a good low-end punch which is powerful and cutting, great for louder volume playing.
Poplar: Poplar drums tend to be used on beginner drum kits but still bring lovely soft highs and mids with a warm feel to the low-end. Poplar wood shells are even sounding, making them good for many musical situations.
Cherry: Lovely bright sounds as produced by cherry drums. This sensitive wood brings you strong highs and a punchy midrange.
Oak: Ideal for many musical styles with a range of soft highs and slightly warm lows. Oak wood gives a fairly quick decay.
Mahogany: Mahogany drums have a warm/rich low end with muted highs and a smooth midrange. Mahogany is often described as vibrant and resonant.
Bubinga: Similar to Cherry wood, Bubinga has a sensitive feel. An even amount of highs and mids with a rich low end and an overall punchy sound.
Ash: Ash drum shells are known for their pronounced, warm sound and are often described as throaty.
The best thing to do when you're thinking about getting new drums would be to try out all the weird & wonderful sounds these woods have to offer!