How to Buy a Good Drum
Beginners probably want to start with this
guide to buying your first drum. Here are some more advanced tips to
buying a top-quality drum. These ideas are distilled from many
conversations, but most notably from a workshop taught by
A new drum always rings high and a little tinny; but a good drum will have a good, resonant bass even when it is new. Tommy Hayes measures the pitch of a drum with a Korg AT1 tuner; he looks for drums with a natural pitch of D or G. Hand-stretched skins are better than machine-processed skins, but of course they will cost you more. Every professional I've talked to agrees that goatskin is far and away the best. Opinion varies on which goatskins are preferred. Henry Geraghty swears by billygoat skin, because it is heavier. Tommy Hayes prefers the skin of a two-year-old female or a young billygoat, because it is thinner and more flexible; he wants a skin that will give him a wide tonal range. Ultimately, the choice is driven by the style of the individual player; you should choose a drum that sounds good to you.
Other Places to Shop
Lists of other makers and suppliers of percussion instruments can be found
the Middle Eastern percussion page, at
the Drums and Percussion Page,
on the Historical
I have no connection with any of the companies listed here. Any unattributed commentary is based only on my own experience. I'll include any relevent information that people send me.
Thanks to Greg Taylor for his help in the early stages of compiling this information.
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Last updated 20 Sept 1999