Horizontal or Vertical ? or?

Donkey Boy

Active Member
In a brief conversation with a very learn ed member the subject of horizontal versus vertical grain came up. Being mostly a preference for most, how do you see the benefits or drawbacks of each lay-up be it true solid, segmented, steam bent, stave, ply etc. can of worms opened, rabbit hole ready! GO.
 

Donkey Boy

Active Member
OK! got it.. forget the external factors.. me I prefer horizontal single ply , I just like the tone from that set up..and it feels comfortable to me..no mics no soundmen and obvious patrons. overhead mics for recording songs with a point, clean underwear and no shoes..
 
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KEEF

Senior Member
I want to know if even John Good himself could hear the difference in a blind test. Different wood species maybe, in a perfect environment - but ply direction? Two drums, side by side, from the same wood ,in the same sizes, with the same heads and tuning - and horizontal or vertical grain orientation makes enough difference that you can hear it on a finished drum?
Does anyone go shopping for drums with grain orientation anywhere near the top of the criteria? You would choose drums on so many other factors first, that the grain direction is surely just incidental. You like everything else about a kit, sound, finish ,sizes, price etc but ultimately decide to reject it because the internal ply orientation does not match your preconceived notion?
It may contribute to the overall, as per all the other components, but in reality it's just a modern marketing invention to add to the list of unnecessary options to justify the cost.
 

KenDoken

Junior Member
From what I have read, energy should be transmitted more freely through vertical grain than horizontal. The xylem and phloem are laid down vertically to transport water and sugars etc between roots and canopy leaving lignin walls

My feeling is the more readily energy is transferred through the shell, the less tonal colour it will pick up on the way. Given timber variety plays a very small part in the overall sound of a drum, I like the idea of emphasising that difference

Horizontal for me
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
And preferably from about 10 ft up the tree, where the woodpeckers peck. That's where your most musical wood is.
I sell stringed instruments by day, I am definitely gonna use this.

As for the wood, if it's ply the layers are usually oriented opposite the layer below to increase stability. So the answer to vert vs horizontal is "yes".
 

BGDurham

Well-known Member
Despite some respondents poo-pooing the utility of this topic I applaud you @Donkey Boy! DW is the right spot for such nerdy questions and poo-pooers should be ashamed of themselves!

As for an answer to your actual question, I have no experience in these matters so no answer.

But I do know woodpeckers are not on trees: they are pecking my house, so that is where the musical wood is.
 

jda

Silver Member
Since what 1957-1959 the 6 ply Jasper/ Gretsch shells were (continued to the keller usac replica shells in use today) a H/V mix. I wonder if and have to guess stacking is what Gretsch means when it says formula.
 
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heartbeat

Active Member
I can hear a slight difference, but I don't really have a preference. They're just different. My VLT snare does have a low-ness to it. But my issue is, DW goes to all this trouble and then they slap on the heaviest freakin' hardware and throwoff, essentially killing off much of the resonance anyway.

Sorry, rant over. LOL
 

s1212z

Silver Member
This was brought up in the INDe thread I share recently. They insist ply thickness, grain orientation and glue type to be far more important than wood species, number of plys and bearing edges (that last one is suspect on edges but I think mostly all true); specificially for directional and circumference stiffness and shell tension for grain orientation.

You seem to get alot of shell excitation with horizontal tension but can raise the pitch higher and have very lively drum. Perhaps that is the secret sauce of what 1 plys do as well. The criticism has been, they may not want every tuning zone if you want that flex and I can attest that to the N&C Horizons kit I had that a bit. A thinner horizontal (or horizontal ratio heavy thin shell) is what I think ideal because you can alot shell excitation and a wider tuning range...but this is speculation. And if you don't have low mass lugs, the whole stiffness concept start to get thrown out the window and lose distinction on everything.

I guessing, the favored vertical ply kits....maybe SQ1 or Tama Star Walnuts? Maybe they mix and match (?). I'm not into the 'make a drum the lowest pitch possible' that DW has mentioned because I don't dig their higher tunings or hanging low tones. But I credit them for making the industry (or drummers) more aware.

 

calan

Silver Member
As for an answer to your actual question, I have no experience in these matters
But I do know woodpeckers are not on trees: they are pecking my house, so that is where the musical wood is.
Over the spring and into the summer, there was a pileated woodpecker that would wake me up because it was hammering on my chimney cap.

This confirms that metal is the true tone wood.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
From what I have read, energy should be transmitted more freely through vertical grain than horizontal. The xylem and phloem are laid down vertically to transport water and sugars etc between roots and canopy leaving lignin walls

My feeling is the more readily energy is transferred through the shell, the less tonal colour it will pick up on the way. Given timber variety plays a very small part in the overall sound of a drum, I like the idea of emphasising that difference

Horizontal for me
I am in agreement. Stave does transfer the energy quicker. To me, that's not a selling point. I like the resonance to not dissipate right away. I can easily hear the difference between stave vs horizontal grain. To my ear the stave tone has a really dry, fast decay where the horizontal grain has a much longer decay by comparison. Horizontal grain is way wetter sounding to me compared to the (IMO) dry sound of stave. Stave would be great for fast tempo blast beats like 250 bpm and up. Since I don't blast, I don't need stave. I had a Canopus Zelkova, a hollowed out log if you will...it had vertical grain...that I actually sold because the tone was just too dry and short lived. No real personality, dry as the Sahara. Ever since the Zelkova it's been steambent or segmented for me. I'd even take a ply shell with horizontal grain over a single ply stave everyday. I'm just not a fan of stave. Horizontal ply drums sound fine to me.

But I'm a solid shell guy through and through.
 

Bozozoid

Gold Member
Microphones, average soundmen, oblivious bar patrons... it's all pointless.
I totally agree..BUT...if a little thing like this does something that inspires YOU behind the kit..that inspiration translates to the audience because you are playing inspired.....no?
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
That's a big "if". And only when they're not high end and a waste of money.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I don't know what I'm talking about.

I really don't think it would matter sound-wise, but grains running horizontal may be more stable; however, it may not matter if you are dealing with plies and good glue.

I still don't know what I'm talking about.
 
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