The Shell

Drums are available in either laminated or solid wood shells.

grovercustom_options_shell_plyOur laminated shells are assembled using 100% clear grain New England maple. The plies are glued together under extreme pressure and set using ultrasound frequency technology. Similar to a laminated wood beam, laminated shells are stronger than solid wood shells. Laminated shells do not require reinforcing rings due to their tremendous strength and stability. Many believe that keeping the inside shell wall free from obstruction (i.e., rings) improves the resonance of the drum.Laminated shells are available in 8-, 10-, or 15-ply.

grovercustom_options_shell_solidSolid wood models are available in both domestic and imported exotic wood species. These shells start life as hand-selected pieces of solid hardwood that have been cut and machined to exact specifications. The flat, solid board then undergoes a period of steaming, which softens the grain so that the straight board can be bent. The board is then slowly formed around a mandrel and placed in a mold to set. After 24 hours, the steam-bent round shell is lathed to an exact wall thickness. The reinforcing rings are added to ensure that the shell remains dimensionally stable.


How does shell size impact the sound of a drum?
Drum Dimensions

  • Diameter
    The diameter of a drum shell is the single most important variable in determining sound profile. Obviously, larger diameter shells will have a lower fundamental frequency range (pitch) than smaller diameter drums. While the “standard” size snare drum shell has been 14 inches, 13-inch shells have become popular with players who desire more high-frequency overtones in their sound.
  • Depth
    Shell depth primarily functions to shape resonance and volume characteristics. In addition, shallower drums (4″-5″) have brighter overtone profiles than larger (6″+) depth drums. While deeper drums have increased volume capabilities, it is at the expense of snare sensitivity. We recommend a depth range of 5″ – 6.5″ for general use.
  • Thickness
    A thinner shell wall produces a “fatter” and more “open” sound, while a thicker shell wall produces a drum with more “clarity” and “focus”.

Not every combination of shell/diameter/depth is available. Consult the Drum Builder for the possible options.

The World’s Most Precise Bearing Edges

Cutting a bearing edge is perhaps the most critical operation in creating a high quality drum. Not only do they need to be precisely shaped, but perfectly level, otherwise the head will not seat evenly around the drum’s circumference. We ensure precise tolerances by cutting all bearing edges on our custom CNC Drum Machining Center. After machining on the CNC, each bearing edge is critically inspected using a precision-ground surface plate accurate to 0.0001″. We make sure that our edges are flawlessly profiled and balanced, which guarantees that the vital interface between the head and shell is optimized.

Bearing Edge Options:

  • Double 45°
    Balances the tension loading across the shell wall. Allows the drum to resonate fully and naturally.
  • Single 45°
    Moves the head contact point to the outer plies of the shell, minimizing shell-to-head contact. The result is an increase in the “openness” and high frequency response of the drum.
  • Vintage Rounded
    Maximizes contact surface between the head and shell, which controls overtone production and results in a warm, round sonority. Emulates the sound of vintage (calf head) drums.

Flawless Snare Beds

A snare bed is the all-important recess that creates a “pathway” for the wire/cable snares to travel across the resonant head of the drum. A critical component of any quality snare drum, there are two beds that must be perfectly aligned and dimensionally identical. While many companies attempt to cut beds by hand, the only accurate method is to machine cut the beds. To this end, we use a very precise custom-made computer-controlled cutter for this purpose. While we’d like to tell you more about how we make our beds, they are so important that the specifications and details remain a closely guarded secret!