The essence of wood is the essence of sound.
Even if there are acoustic drums made of other materials than wood (see ASBA metal drums), it is nevertheless the most commonly used material in the world. And it is the type of wood that directly influences the sound, the acoustics of your drum. The number of plies (number of sheets of wood glued together) is also a determining factor in the sound of your drum, as well as the direction of the wood fiber, the thickness of each ply, the gluing method, the nature of the glue. Everything is taken into account in the design of a drum barrel. That's why at ASBA, we have reproduced our original drum barrels identically, using the technical specifications of the time and their exclusive features. Only an ASBA drum sounds like an ASBA!
The biggest influence on the sound of your drum comes from the inner fold of the drum. The outer fold defines the snap, the tone of the drum. The ply on the inside of a plywood drum will have the greatest influence. For example, if the inner layer of the barrel
is maple, the sound will be closer to a 100% maple barrel. The center ply, as in our vintage ASBA drums, gives the harmony color of the drum, resonating with the inner and outer ply... A binding agent of sorts, which gives the drums their soul!
Each drum is unique.... Wood is a living material that works with time, each tree is unique, giving each drum barrel its own identity.
At ASBA we rigorously select our woods according to very precise specificities which will influence the sound as well as the homogeneity of the drums between them.
Here is a brief overview of the main sound characteristics of the wood species most commonly used in the manufacture of drums
A family with hundreds of species! An expensive wood but particularly appreciated for its fantastic sound qualities, rich, powerful, round and warm, capable of sinking into the bass and singing in the treble. Our favorite species for its 'bird eyes', natural patterns that personalize your Rive Gauche ASBA kit or your Simone drums... A must have!
THE MAHOGANY (the real one)
A precious wood, very expensive, used for high-end drums. It is the one we use for the manufacture of our Revelation range. The traditional essence of early drums and vintage replicas. A very deep sound with a lot of attack, appreciated by jazz musicians, very vintage sounds reminiscent of the very first ASBA kits.
a relatively neutral qualitative sound, without great richness but characteristic of the vintage barrels in 'filling' in the middle of the 3 folds.
Little used in the manufacture of barrels, we use it at ASBA for our chamfer reinforcements on our vintage ranges (Rive Gauche, Révélation and Origine) because it is a wood that can be worked with great precision, its natural density and its hardness allow very rigorous finishes.
AMERICAN RED OAK
Cheap and easy to obtain, but not very interesting from a sound point of view, it is mainly used for the manufacture of low-end drums
Nothing to do with mahogany from South America or Equatorial Africa (the one we use for our Revelation range), Asian mahogany is an inexpensive wood, which gives the drum a good sound but nothing more; it is intended for "entry-level" drums
The wood of low/medium range drum kits, except when it comes from Canada or Northern Europe (high range). A relatively powerful sound but not very rich, high tone, little medium, no bass...
Little used by drum manufacturers, we find some medium / high end kits in oak. A precise sound For the drums: It is little used. It is used for medium to high range models. A precise and clear sound appreciated for its power and low frequencies.
Used by some manufacturers for the manufacture of very high end drums. A powerful sound with a lot of projection.
The preferred wood of the first price drums because it is cheap and easy to find. But sound qualities without much interest...