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#1
nad_reese

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Greetings, friends!

I have a bunch of Corder drum shells that I bought off of Jim Corder when he was closing down in the late 80’s. If you remember, Corder purchased Fibes back in about 1979 and built “Fibes” drums under the Corder name . . . Jim later sold everything to Sammy Darwin, who sold Fibes to Tom Robertson in the mid-90’s . . .

Long story short . . . we were a Corder dealer when we owned the music store . . . I bought a bunch of the shells and now I am going to sell off these shells. To the best of my knowledge these shells are Jasper shells . . . but I don’t want to list them as such without attempting to verify this . . .

Does anyone remember, for sure, if Corder was using Jasper shells or if there is a way to tell Jasper shells from Keller . . .

Thanks . . . NAD B)

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#2
jazzerone

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Hey NAD... I might be able to help you out on this. I'll check with my Fibes-genius buddy about the jasper shell timeline and get back to you.

In the meantime, you can check the plies to spot jasper shells pretty reliably. Should be 6 plies, alternating maple (light color) with gumwood (dark color). I'll have to confirm this, but if I remember right it should go MGMMGM...

Are these raw shells?
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#3
jazzerone

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So, I'm getting a mixed response from Fibes and Corder experts/endorsers. There's some info floating around that Corder used jasper shells in some of their drums and Keller in most of them, but it appears that this is based some reverse genealogy of Corder/Darwin/Fibes that says if Fibes had them, then Darwin and Corder must have as well. Here's what I got from a former Corder endorser:

"When Corder made drums in Huntsville Al. they used raw keller shells and cut them to length. They bought the Fibes hardware molds from Martin. They were fair drums. When they folded I think the people that run Fibes now bought back the molds."

This from a former Fibes endorser:

"Alot of people thought they used jasper, there may be something to it, but I am convinced there were alot of Corder drums with keller shells also.

I don't think a definitive answer is out there. Thinking back on the history of the whole thing, it was really tough to get jasper to make shells for anyone other than G. I know for a fact that Fibes didn't have the jasper agreement when Tommy and Stacy got it. It took them a while, and then only when G screwed up and delayed resigning their exclusive deal with jasper. So, the current Fibes didn't have jasper when they took over from Darwin. When Jim Corder bought Fibes, it was all acrylic. I doubt he could get a deal with jasper, as G was fierce about protecting their exclusive with jasper."


Based on this, I'm inclined to think it's a long shot that Corder shells were jasper. More likely is that people assume since Fibes were jasper (and not all Fibes were jasper either... that tangerine kit that was just up on ebay was not jasper), then Darwin and Corder must have been, too. I still think you can verify this by examining the plies at the edges. I know what jasper shells look like, so if you want to take a close up and send the picture I can give you my opnion... FWIW.
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#4
jnyman

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Yeah-- wouldn't it look like a Gretsch shell if it's a jasper? Easy to spot in person, kinda hard to describe...

But um=== what sizes ya got!!! I'm interested!!! Spill it!!
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#5
Spongebob

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Regardless of raw or otherwise, I'm in on buying an 18" shell (for BD) if you have any. Desired depth would be 14" but 16" works too.
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#6
K.O.

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So, I'm getting a mixed response from Fibes and Corder experts/endorsers. There's some info floating around that Corder used jasper shells in some of their drums and Keller in most of them, but it appears that this is based some reverse genealogy of Corder/Darwin/Fibes that says if Fibes had them, then Darwin and Corder must have as well. Here's what I got from a former Corder endorser:

"When Corder made drums in Huntsville Al. they used raw keller shells and cut them to length. They bought the Fibes hardware molds from Martin. They were fair drums. When they folded I think the people that run Fibes now bought back the molds."

This from a former Fibes endorser:

"Alot of people thought they used jasper, there may be something to it, but I am convinced there were alot of Corder drums with keller shells also.

I don't think a definitive answer is out there. Thinking back on the history of the whole thing, it was really tough to get jasper to make shells for anyone other than G. I know for a fact that Fibes didn't have the jasper agreement when Tommy and Stacy got it. It took them a while, and then only when G screwed up and delayed resigning their exclusive deal with jasper. So, the current Fibes didn't have jasper when they took over from Darwin. When Jim Corder bought Fibes, it was all acrylic. I doubt he could get a deal with jasper, as G was fierce about protecting their exclusive with jasper."


Based on this, I'm inclined to think it's a long shot that Corder shells were jasper. More likely is that people assume since Fibes were jasper (and not all Fibes were jasper either... that tangerine kit that was just up on ebay was not jasper), then Darwin and Corder must have been, too. I still think you can verify this by examining the plies at the edges. I know what jasper shells look like, so if you want to take a close up and send the picture I can give you my opnion... FWIW.


The original Fibes company didn't make any wooden drums. They were either fiberglass (Fibes...get it?) or acrylic. I remember reading an article about Jim Corder and he said that when he bought Fibes from Martin he looked around and saw all the glass dust around their factory and picturing the possible health concerns decided to abandon that aspect of the production and switch over to wood shells. I've heard that they used both Jasper and Keller shells. I thought someone said that the jaspers were used for marching drums and the Kellers for drum sets but I don't know if that was true. Back then hardly anybody really gave any thought to who made the shells so they may have used both interchangeably. I have some old Corder price lists and no mention is made of either shell type by name. They are simply listed as "Do-It-Yourself maple shells" and it states that "all shells are 6 ply except where noted". Some of the sizes are noted to be 8 ply.
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#7
nad_reese

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Here is a picture of the bearing edge . . . it is definitely 6 ply and looks pretty much like the edges on my Gretsch shells . . . does this help . . . NAD
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#8
Spongebob

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that's as jasper as you can get. i want an 18" shell please. pm me.
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#9
nad_reese

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Regardless of raw or otherwise, I'm in on buying an 18" shell (for BD) if you have any. Desired depth would be 14" but 16" works too.


There is a 16" x 18" . . . it would need a little work . . . the outside has a very light walnut stain and the inside was white coated . . . I was going to build a BD to match a Ludwig 12" MT and 14" FT w/ white coated interiors that I had . . . NAD
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#10
K.O.

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Here is a picture of the bearing edge . . . it is definitely 6 ply and looks pretty much like the edges on my Gretsch shells . . . does this help . . . NAD


The ply layup doesn't look very Gretsch-like to me...although I'm not close to being an expert. Spongebob is though so I guess I stand corrected.

Also...It was "Jasper Wood Products" not "Jasper Gretsch Shell Makers" so even if they made shells for Corder that doesn't necessarily mean they were made to Gretsch's specs. Who owned that particular shell "recipe" I wonder...Gretsch or Jasper? Japser may have made...or Corder may have requested an all maple layup, or maple and poplar, (like Ludwigs)or some other variation.

Edited by K.O., 08 December 2009 - 08:20 AM.

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#11
dtk

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I was the guy who said Corder used both...with Jasper more often in the marching gear (could order smaller batches in more sizes). I got this from one of the Corder Bros. Darwin used both too...I think the toms were one maker, the bass the other...

I'd be interested in what you have (Jasper or Keller) and in what sizes.

Also, I have seen Corder badged acrylic drums...I think b4 he bought Fibes Jim was makeing acrylic (and inspired)
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#12
Bluesman

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shoot me a PM of your shells and prices if you can.
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#13
jazzerone

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The original Fibes company didn't make any wooden drums. They were either fiberglass (Fibes...get it?) or acrylic. I remember reading an article about Jim Corder and he said that when he bought Fibes from Martin he looked around and saw all the glass dust around their factory and picturing the possible health concerns decided to abandon that aspect of the production and switch over to wood shells. I've heard that they used both Jasper and Keller shells. I thought someone said that the jaspers were used for marching drums and the Kellers for drum sets but I don't know if that was true. Back then hardly anybody really gave any thought to who made the shells so they may have used both interchangeably. I have some old Corder price lists and no mention is made of either shell type by name. They are simply listed as "Do-It-Yourself maple shells" and it states that "all shells are 6 ply except where noted". Some of the sizes are noted to be 8 ply.


Your timeline is pretty much on, except for the part about when Fibes started using jasper shells. While it's correct that Corder abandoned the fiberglass shells and went to wood when Jim Corder acquired them, according to the Fibes endorser friend of mine --- who is an absolute encyclopedia about Fibes --- Fibes absolutely DID NOT have an agreement with the Jasper company when Tommy and Stacy bought the company. It was not until some time later, after much wrangling, negotiating and Gretsch's hesitation to re-contract with Jasper, that they were able to get the deal in place to make Fibes drums out of jasper shells. Even at that, Jasper went out of business not too long afterwards, Tommy bought up their remaining jasper shell stock, and when they were gone they were gone. After that, Keller shells. And, all jasper drum shells were the same... jasper did not make different style shells for different companies.

This confusion about when the Darwin/Corder/Fibes lineage used jasper shells is what contributes to the false notion that ALL Fibes drums (except the fiberglass ones, obviously) were jasper shell --- they were not. There are only 2 ways to know for certain if a particular set of Fibes are jasper, and only one of those is an absolute certainty: call Tommy's Drums in Austin and have them look up the serial number record of the drum(s). That's the only way to know for certain.

As for these Corder shells, I have to say that your photo is inconclusive. While I see multiple plies in alternating shades of wood, there's a problem: this ply layup doesn't look anything like the ply layup in my verified Fibes jasper kit. First, as I see them (from the inside edge to the outside edge) there appears to be a maple ply (light), 2 gumwood plies (dark), another maple, another gumwood, then an outer maple. This is not the jasper ply layup as I understand it.

I'm going to send a copy of that shot to my friend and see what he says.
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#14
nad_reese

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The original Fibes company didn't make any wooden drums. They were either fiberglass (Fibes...get it?) or acrylic. I remember reading an article about Jim Corder and he said that when he bought Fibes from Martin he looked around and saw all the glass dust around their factory and picturing the possible health concerns decided to abandon that aspect of the production and switch over to wood shells. I've heard that they used both Jasper and Keller shells. I thought someone said that the jaspers were used for marching drums and the Kellers for drum sets but I don't know if that was true. Back then hardly anybody really gave any thought to who made the shells so they may have used both interchangeably. I have some old Corder price lists and no mention is made of either shell type by name. They are simply listed as "Do-It-Yourself maple shells" and it states that "all shells are 6 ply except where noted". Some of the sizes are noted to be 8 ply.


Your timeline is pretty much on, except for the part about when Fibes started using jasper shells. While it's correct that Corder abandoned the fiberglass shells and went to wood when Jim Corder acquired them, according to the Fibes endorser friend of mine --- who is an absolute encyclopedia about Fibes --- Fibes absolutely DID NOT have an agreement with the Jasper company when Tommy and Stacy bought the company. It was not until some time later, after much wrangling, negotiating and Gretsch's hesitation to re-contract with Jasper, that they were able to get the deal in place to make Fibes drums out of jasper shells. Even at that, Jasper went out of business not too long afterwards, Tommy bought up their remaining jasper shell stock, and when they were gone they were gone. After that, Keller shells. And, all jasper drum shells were the same... jasper did not make different style shells for different companies.

This confusion about when the Darwin/Corder/Fibes lineage used jasper shells is what contributes to the false notion that ALL Fibes drums (except the fiberglass ones, obviously) were jasper shell --- they were not. There are only 2 ways to know for certain if a particular set of Fibes are jasper, and only one of those is an absolute certainty: call Tommy's Drums in Austin and have them look up the serial number record of the drum(s). That's the only way to know for certain.

As for these Corder shells, I have to say that your photo is inconclusive. While I see multiple plies in alternating shades of wood, there's a problem: this ply layup doesn't look anything like the ply layup in my verified Fibes jasper kit. First, as I see them (from the inside edge to the outside edge) there appears to be a maple ply (light), 2 gumwood plies (dark), another maple, another gumwood, then an outer maple. This is not the jasper ply layup as I understand it.

I'm going to send a copy of that shot to my friend and see what he says.



THANKS, jazzerone and everyone else . . . I will pull the rest of the shells out after supper and see if they are all the same of if some are different . . . NAD
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#15
mlvbs

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That sure looks like Jasper to me...I've seen several Gretsch drums with the exact same 6 ply maple/gumwood layup: M/G/G/M/G/M. But I suppose Keller or another company could do the same layup if they wanted to.
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#16
bilkay

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Got a 14X20?
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#17
Spongebob

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Regardless of raw or otherwise, I'm in on buying an 18" shell (for BD) if you have any. Desired depth would be 14" but 16" works too.


There is a 16" x 18" . . . it would need a little work . . . the outside has a very light walnut stain and the inside was white coated . . . I was going to build a BD to match a Ludwig 12" MT and 14" FT w/ white coated interiors that I had . . . NAD



If you can shoot me a picture of the shell, I'd love to see it. Otherwise I'll trust your judgment and honest and buy it from you. Is it drilled for lugs?, extra holes? Some info would help too. Thanks NAD!

SB
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#18
cdlaine

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oops...

Edited by cdlaine, 08 December 2009 - 10:29 PM.

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#19
TommyWells

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That looks Jasper to me, too. The key is: From outside ply to inside ply.
M G M G G M. Also is the modern Gretsch/Keller shell.
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#20
heisnoelvis

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I agree with jazzerone with the inside to out on a Jasper shell being maple, 2 gumwood, maple, gumwood, maple. The photo you posted looks like a maple, mahogany combo. If it's African Mahogany then it's probably a really nice shell.
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