For entry-level models: Most brands use wood laminate. This is a composite material made up of several layers of laminated wood whose fibers are generally oriented in the same direction, parallel. Plastics or recycled wood are also used. In addition, many of these low-cost drums are made from light wood of low acoustic quality, such as poplar or an equivalent species. Note, however, that poplar in the inner bend of the barrel surrounded by noble species such as maple, birch or mahogany is also used for high quality drums. Inexpensive thin metal cases, structured like a tin can, are also used for snare drums.
For the middle and high end: Wooden drums are made by gluing multiple layers of wood, glued laminate, of the same or various species such as maple, birch, mahogany, beech and sometimes oak. Many drums are also made of Okoume plywood. Other materials such as Plexiglas, altuglas or acrylic are also used. They diffuse a powerful sound. These materials offer colorful and transparent musical instruments at the same time. This construction was fashionable in the 70's and is offered by the brands Ludwig, ASBA and Meazzi.
For the top of the range: Shells can be made by stave gluing, similar to the way barrels or congas are made. There are also, for the most expensive barrels, models made by bending a single sheet of wood in a kiln; in a single ply of noble wood like maple or mahogany. Other manufacturers cut the barrels from the mass. Metal snare drums, made of stainless steel, aluminum or chrome-plated brass (COB) are also offered. ASBA is the main manufacturer of stainless steel drums.
The acoustic qualities vary according to the choice of wood species. Constant improvements are made by their selection and the technique of thermobonding using high frequencies. Some drums are made with beech or chestnut bevel reinforcements that encircle the inner perimeter of the drum to prevent it from becoming oval. The angle of the bevel of the chamfers affects the sound.
The exterior finishes of the barrels are innumerable. In natural varnished wood or covered with a thin plate of chromed metal, most often it is a Rhodoid that is used. The choice of colors is very vast, from the glittery model to the most unexpected moirures, these decorations make the charm of the instrument.
Other exciting topics on the drums
The bass drum
The snare drum
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