Thicker shelled drum suggestions

pbm2112

Senior Member
Hi - who knows what thicker shelled kits are out there on the market? I'm finding that the thinner shelled toms sound really musical when played quiet, but seem to max out when played hard. Maybe it's my Gretsch Brooklyn? The toms are significantly quieter than my Black Beauty, and so I have to play them harder to balance the kit out (I mainly play acoustically) and in doing so am pushing them too far sometimes. I used to own a Yamaha Maple Custom kit that had pretty thick shells and they seemed to keep their tone throughout a very wide volume range. (I know it will be commented on, but my technique is good, I'm not abusing my kit and don't hit the drums any harder than I've seen Weckl do! I do use Thomas Lang sticks though, so they are heavy with large tips which effects the sound.)
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
Check out Eames birch kits. They offer thick shell options for drum kits without, I think, an up charge in cost like Pearl would. (I think to get thicker shells now with Pearl, you’d have to go Reference series or Masterworks.)
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
Pearl seems to have drifted away from 7.5mm shells, but the previous generation Session Studio Classic had 7.5mm shells and can be found today for pretty good prices.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Hi - who knows what thicker shelled kits are out there on the market? I'm finding that the thinner shelled toms sound really musical when played quiet, but seem to max out when played hard. Maybe it's my Gretsch Brooklyn? The toms are significantly quieter than my Black Beauty, and so I have to play them harder to balance the kit out (I mainly play acoustically) and in doing so am pushing them too far sometimes. I used to own a Yamaha Maple Custom kit that had pretty thick shells and they seemed to keep their tone throughout a very wide volume range. (I know it will be commented on, but my technique is good, I'm not abusing my kit and don't hit the drums any harder than I've seen Weckl do! I do use Thomas Lang sticks though, so they are heavy with large tips which effects the sound.)
No recommendations. I just highlighted a couple things to check your assumptions.

Thin shells sound good when played lightly. Thin shells lose their tone when played hard.
Thick shells keep their tone through a larger dynamic range.

Just wondering what others think of these assumptions.
 

danondrums

Well-known member
edit - Pointed out below that GMS shells are pretty thin 8 plies so my dialog below is incorrect!

I vote for GMS. 8 ply, cross-laminated and staggered seem.
I love mine and also have a thinner shelled DW Collectors so I have a pretty good cross-reference.

Oddly my experience is different regarding playing the two kits and feel the DW with thinner shells handles loud playing very well and really opens up at louder volumes.
 
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larryace

"Uncle Larry"
No recommendations. I just highlighted a couple things to check your assumptions.

Thin shells sound good when played lightly. Thin shells lose their tone when played hard.
Thick shells keep their tone through a larger dynamic range.

Just wondering what others think of these assumptions.
Choking. Losing tone. Same thing right? In my mind it's the head that chokes not the shell. That's just a guess though. I'd like to hear thoughts on the subject. I'm not sure I can get on board with the statement that thin shells when played hard lose their tone. I don't know what causes it, if it even happens at all, but my guess is that it's the head that gives up.

To me thick shells project the sound more, but don't contribute to the net tone as much as a thin shell. Thick shells would vibrate less than a thin shell given the same force and heads. I think. Thin shells vibrate easier. I just can't imagine the shell choking but I can definitely imagine the head choking.

All of this is just conjecture on my part, I don't really know.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Choking. Losing tone. Same thing right? In my mind it's the head that chokes not the shell. That's just a guess though. I'd like to hear thoughts on the subject. I'm not sure I can get on board with the statement that thin shells when played hard lose their tone. I don't know what causes it, if it even happens at all, but my guess is that it's the head that gives up.

To me thick shells project the sound more, but don't contribute to the net tone as much as a thin shell. Thick shells would vibrate less than a thin shell given the same force and heads. I think. Thin shells vibrate easier. I just can't imagine the shell choking but I can definitely imagine the head choking.

All of this is just conjecture on my part, I don't really know.
Shells can have more or less stiffness at the bearing edge. Stiffer shells have a higher fundamental pitch, too, and therefore are perceived as louder as well. So I’d say that stiffer shells are the direction to go if you need to be loud. Persohally, I think a really thick stave shell, vertically-oriented grain, of a really hard wood might be the direction to go.
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
I vote for GMS. 8 ply, cross-laminated and staggered seem.
I love mine and also have a thinner shelled DW Collectors so I have a pretty good cross-reference.

Oddly my experience is different regarding playing the two kits and feel the DW with thinner shells handles loud playing very well and really opens up at louder volumes.
GMS 8-ply shells are pretty thin, though, right? Pearl’s 8-ply shells are 10 mm thick, but GMS’s are 5.4 mm, no?
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
Yup: GMS uses Keller VSS shells, and the 8 ply are 5.4 mm, which is usually the average thickness of most other companies’ 6-ply shells (Tama is 6-ply/5mm, Yamaha Absolutes used to be 6-ply/6mm, Pearl Reference Pure 6-ply/5.4mm, etc.).
 

danondrums

Well-known member
GMS 8-ply shells are pretty thin, though, right? Pearl’s 8-ply shells are 10 mm thick, but GMS’s are 5.4 mm, no?
Thanks for pointing that out. It must be that heavy hardware that makes them so heavy!

I edited my post above in an effort to keep it real!
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
Thanks for pointing that out. It must be that heavy hardware that makes them so heavy!

I edited my post above in an effort to keep it real!
Dan: Do you have GrandMasters or Custom SE GMS? The GMs are super heavy because of the brass tube lug.
The thickness of VSS shells I took from Precision Drums listing of Keller shells. It is possible that GMS could be dictating Keller to use a different thickness.

On a different note, it strikes me as odd that a current (ie, post 1990s) Gretsch USA custom kit has a higher resale value than the average GMS GM or SE kit, given that both use Keller shells. Arguably, you are getting better quality with GMS because (a) more performance thought has gone into their lugs (brass and tension relieving vs Gretsch’s are run of the mill, not even solid metal), and (b) GMS has tighter quality control (you know Tony Gallino is cutting and perfecting your shells/bearing edges). I guess it comes down to Gretsch’s longer history and popularity through golden periods of jazz and early rock music. To be fair, Gretsch’s uniqueness lies in the gum/maple Keller shell and 5-lug tom design.
 

danondrums

Well-known member
Dan: Do you have GrandMasters or Custom SE GMS? The GMs are super heavy because of the brass tube lug.
The thickness of VSS shells I took from Precision Drums listing of Keller shells. It is possible that GMS could be dictating Keller to use a different thickness.

On a different note, it strikes me as odd that a current (ie, post 1990s) Gretsch USA custom kit has a higher resale value than the average GMS GM or SE kit, given that both use Keller shells. Arguably, you are getting better quality with GMS because (a) more performance thought has gone into their lugs (brass and tension relieving vs Gretsch’s are run of the mill, not even solid metal), and (b) GMS has tighter quality control (you know Tony Gallino is cutting and perfecting your shells/bearing edges). I guess it comes down to Gretsch’s longer history and popularity through golden periods of jazz and early rock music. To be fair, Gretsch’s uniqueness lies in the gum/maple Keller shell and 5-lug tom design.
GMS GM series with the brass tube lug.
GMS kits are the hidden gem of the used drum world in my opinion.
My latest score was a 6 piece (4 toms, bass drum and snare) dated from 1994 in amazing condition. I then had GMS make me a 20x16 kick so that I have two really great kits for different types of gigs. The custom kick was almost as expensive as the 6 piece used kit, but totally worth it.
Their lug design is fantastic.
 

fl.tom

Senior Member
Pearl’s Reference (original not Pure) series drums have relatively thick shells... 7.5mm rack toms and 10mm floor toms & bass drums:


[ Generally, medium is considered to be 6-8mm and thick is > 8mm thus the “relatively thick” comment. ]

Combined with progressive shell composition and bearing edges, the Reference are great sounding drums.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Pearl’s Reference (original not Pure) series drums have relatively thick shells... 7.5mm rack toms and 10mm floor toms & bass drums:


[ Generally, medium is considered to be 6-8mm and thick is > 8mm thus the “relatively thick” comment. ]

Combined with progressive shell composition and bearing edges, the Reference are great sounding drums.
Agreed. I love my Reference kit. It doesn't choke at all. They are relatively heavier drums though, so probably not the first choice if you're hauling your stuff around daily as a working drummer.
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
I must admit, all this talk about GMS has me wanting a kit by them! I could also handle a bop set of Reference Pures. 😬
 

fl.tom

Senior Member
Agreed. I love my Reference kit. It doesn't choke at all. They are relatively heavier drums though, so probably not the first choice if you're hauling your stuff around daily as a working drummer.
Agreed on all points. Thick shells with quality dense & hard wood are going to be heavy. The Reference bass drum in particular is one of the heaviest I’ve hauled, but it’s also been one of the best sounding. An excellent kit overall for the arsenal.
 

Skrivarna

Senior Member
Get an old Sonor Phonic kit. Built like a tank, heavy, and super nice drums (but decidedly out of fashion for years, so you may be able to pick it up cheap). You might not like the tom mounts, but the shells will take anything.
 
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