Corder vs Austin Fibes drums

pete2016

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I wanted to do this for a while, just didn't have the time.......I've read as much as I could about Fibes drums and the hierarchy line and how much changes there have been between different ownerships, since Bob Grauso and John Morena created Fibes drums (fiber glass drums and acrylics) in mid 1960's up to 1970 when they sold the company to C.F Martin who continue making fiberglass and acrylic drums (however it seems that quality at this point was not the same as it used to be with Bob's drums). Sold to Corder in late 70's who had a run until 1990, I think Jim Corder was a pioneer. Made the SFT 690 system work on a wood snare, however they did not produced fiberglass shells instead moved to Jasper/ keller shells as well as to continue producing acrylic drums. There were changes coming from the original Fibes, not just shells but the hardware, lugs were different, tension knob was changed to a smaller knob, bottom hoop was kept the same as the old Fibes however it seems that it got changed later on as I've seen snares with bottom hoops similar or same as the ones seen in the Austin Fibes one. Company sold to darwin drums in 1990 ran until 1994, as it seems Darwin continued with jasper shells however also used some shells made of maple with Remo Acousticon for bass drums and toms. They also changed the bottom hoops on their snares, lugs remain the same as Corder's. Then there was also Cannon drums who made wood snares using the SFT system, however used different lugs. Don't know what type of shell they used in their drums. Then there was Austin Fibes Drums who bought the tooling from Darwin as well as the Trade mark of Fibes and started building everything I guess (fiberglass, acrylics and wood drums), Jasper shells in their beginnings until they ran out of Jasper stock and started building their own shells which seems that they went from the 6 ply (maple/gum wood combo) to a 7 ply shell. Ran until 2005 or so when they stopped making drums and as of today and emailing Tommy he still trying to get Fibes running again, hopefully there will be a revival of Fibes.

I had 2 corders snares, a 5 x 14 student model, 6 ply jasper shell with 45 degree bearing edges (sold it, I wanted the SFT 690 system), and an 8 x 14, 6 ply jasper shell, with the SFT 690 system, 30 degree bearing edge (at least that is what it looks to me) still have this one and love it...

I recently acquired a Fibes Austin 5.5 x 14 snare with the SFT system. Bought it from a well know drum collector, Mr. Joe Luoma's collection. Incredible condition. Beautiful drum. Again significant changes coming from Corder and Darwin drums.

I have to say, and I may be wrong though, they are not the same drums. Austin fibes used Jasper 45 degree bearing edges, however these shells were thicker than the ones on my Corder. They are 6 ply though , however the inner and outer maple layers are thinner, the gum wood layers are thicker as well as the mid maple layer. Hardware, again different, it seems that Tommy went back the casting of the old fibes, there is a ridge at the base of the lug vs the corder which is flat. There is also a plastic grommet or spacer between the shell and the lugs. The inserts where the tension rods screw in is made either of copper or brass? it looks like copper though. Bottom hoop looks like the later Corder's one. SFT 690 handle was shorter in the 5 x 14 snares and longer in the 6" and 8" snares. Tension knob back to the big 60's - 70's knob. The butt plate changed as well, although, I've seen both the 3 point butt plate as well as the one that have a groove and you can move the screw up and down and tension it at the side with 2 mounting screws (seen in the Darwin's butt plate as well). Corder used a clear sealer inside their drums vs. the silver sealer on Gretsch, I don't see a sealer on the Austin Fibes. Snare beds totally different between Corder and Austin fibes. Corder are shallow beds, Fibes Austin there are no snare beds and if there are snare beds, then they are barely visible.

To me the Austin Fibes seems more of a modern high end boutique type of construction, the inner shell looks different as well. I saw a pic of a Gretsch USA custom snare and it seems to go more inline with that type of construction. VS Corder which seems to go more with the old Gretsch round badge shells, definitively thinner and the ply architecture on the Corder seems to look more like the old Gretsch snares.

Does one sound better than the other? Nope.....they are just different drums. My take is, if you are looking for the old Gretsch like vibe with the Fibes hardware and the SFT system then go Corder. If you are looking for more high end Gretsch USA custom feel with the SFT system 45 degree bearing edge, modern type of sound, I'd go Fibes Austin.


Gretsch USA Custom

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Old Gretsch Round badge
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Corder 5 x 14 student model
1586008843051.jpeg


Corder 8 x 14 snare
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1586021273693.jpeg



Fibes Austin 5.5 x 14 snare
1586008932324.jpeg

1586021066071.jpeg

1586021099172.jpeg


1586021150458.jpeg
 

pete2016

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Corder 8 x 14 butt plate
1586021378912.jpeg


Fibes Austin 5.5 x 14 butt plate

1586029953224.jpeg
 
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pete2016

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Corder also had the muffling system (Tama). Darwin and Austin Fibes did not have the mufflng system. Darwin also changed their lugs to tube lugs latter on.
 

studrum

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I appreciate the work you've done here. Really, it would be cool to develop this entire history into an authoritative form as a book or at least a good, thick, multi-page pamphlet. Could sell through Rebeats, online and at drum shows, for sure.

Fibes appears in small sections in the Cangany and the Aldridge books, but by design the scope of those fine books (both of which I own) excludes the company's later evolution and history.
 

pete2016

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I appreciate the work you've done here. Really, it would be cool to develop this entire history into an authoritative form as a book or at least a good, thick, multi-page pamphlet. Could sell through Rebeats, online and at drum shows, for sure.

Fibes appears in small sections in the Cangany and the Aldridge books, but by design the scope of those fine books (both of which I own) excludes the company's later evolution and history.

Thanks, Studrum

There is not much info out there about Fibes, they are great drums. I learn about them because I was looking for a 5 x 14 USA custom snare with the micro-sensitive throw, and for some reason in my search I ended up at a Corder/Darwin/fibes thread and from there I was intrigued as I really like the SFT concept, not much of a fan of Fiberglass shells. I really like those jasper shells, and thought that the SFT with the jasper shell would have be a great match...at least for me...luckily someone thought of that years ago, I guess it did not get that much attention from drummers at the time.

I think these drums are great finds, and cheap, mainly because people don't know what they are.
 

pete2016

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I have a NOS SFT 690 system (throw), also have a 3 point butt plate, as well as an original Fibes bottom hoop. I am thinking of changing the whole system on the Austin one for the original Fibes one and see it there is a difference????
 

pete2016

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TommyP, a member of the vintage drum forum is an expert on fibes.
 

dtk

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This is a great thread. I had a few snares with SFT but flipped them (silly me).

w/respect to Darwin and Remo...I have a catalog (in storage)...they did a budget line with Remo shells (toms/snare/bass) and tube lugs. Did they do tube lugs on wooden drums too?

Also...Corder sold the SFT to Cannon who made 6.5 and 8 snares with Keller shells. I had one and it did sound pretty good (they were all finished in silver metallic wrap). I also found a snare this past fall with a Lintone badge. 10 Fibes lugs and I think a Jasper shell. I asked the Corder Brother who makes lugs if he know if they sold lugs to Lintone but he said his dad and brother made those deals and he wasn't sure.

I'm refurbing a Martin era (error?) FG kit (23/13/14/16/18) and have a blue acrylic texas kit (22/12/14).
 

pete2016

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This is a great thread. I had a few snares with SFT but flipped them (silly me).

w/respect to Darwin and Remo...I have a catalog (in storage)...they did a budget line with Remo shells (toms/snare/bass) and tube lugs. Did they do tube lugs on wooden drums too?

Also...Corder sold the SFT to Cannon who made 6.5 and 8 snares with Keller shells. I had one and it did sound pretty good (they were all finished in silver metallic wrap). I also found a snare this past fall with a Lintone badge. 10 Fibes lugs and I think a Jasper shell. I asked the Corder Brother who makes lugs if he know if they sold lugs to Lintone but he said his dad and brother made those deals and he wasn't sure.

I'm refurbing a Martin era (error?) FG kit (23/13/14/16/18) and have a blue acrylic texas kit (22/12/14).
Good info, I did a quick search on Lintone drums but could not find anything.
 

pete2016

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I've got about 10 snares with an SFT 690.
Don't know if you've seen my gallery.

Corder snares:
Cool collection, I've seen your videos as well. Is that 3 corders? I know you have/had a Garcia Fibes and a 13 x 5 Fibes Austin. How does the Fibes Corder shell compares to the Corder? In your video I liked the Austin a bit more than the Corder.
 

pgm554

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Cool collection, I've seen your videos as well. Is that 3 corders? I know you have/had a Garcia Fibes and a 13 x 5 Fibes Austin. How does the Fibes Corder shell compares to the Corder? In your video I liked the Austin a bit more than the Corder.
Just 2 Corders.
I gotta admit they are some great sounding snares.
Rivaling my Fibes Fiberglass snares.
Warm crack with a dry sensitive articulation.
I don't like the tone controls from an aesthetic point of view.

The Austin Fibes is a 13 inch and when I bought it ,was not set up right.
The bottom hoop snare guard was just an enclosed slot and did not allow for the throw to disengage properly.
I had to replace it with a diecast that had no guard,just a free opening.
Nice sound and sensitivity and a great looking Birdseye finish.
I'm trying to get a backup set of snares in case those break ,along with a bottom hoop with a snare guard.
They are proving damn near impossible to find.

The Garcia has a fat thick warm body note ,but delivers a nice sensitivity.
Reminds me of a solid ply DW I own.
The PS3 head probably has a lot to do with that sound.

I got a Cannon too,but swapped out the 690 to put in another Fibes fiberglass I'm restoring.
 

RIDDIM

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I've recorded on an Austin fibes kit. Great edges, easy to tune and sounded amazing.
 

pete2016

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Just 2 Corders.
I gotta admit they are some great sounding snares.
Rivaling my Fibes Fiberglass snares.
Warm crack with a dry sensitive articulation.
I don't like the tone controls from an aesthetic point of view.

The Austin Fibes is a 13 inch and when I bought it ,was not set up right.
The bottom hoop snare guard was just an enclosed slot and did not allow for the throw to disengage properly.
I had to replace it with a diecast that had no guard,just a free opening.
Nice sound and sensitivity and a great looking Birdseye finish.
I'm trying to get a backup set of snares in case those break ,along with a bottom hoop with a snare guard.
They are proving damn near impossible to find.

The Garcia has a fat thick warm body note ,but delivers a nice sensitivity.
Reminds me of a solid ply DW I own.
The PS3 head probably has a lot to do with that sound.

I got a Cannon too,but swapped out the 690 to put in another Fibes fiberglass I'm restoring.

I may modify my Fibes, nothing on the shell though. I was thinking of adding a Gretsch 302 hoop on top and change the bottom hoop with an original Fibes hoop and change the butt plate and throw with the original Fibes. The throw handle on the Austin fibes is short. My snare is 5.5 x 14 so I don’t think it will extend that much out off the top hoop.
 

pete2016

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Just 2 Corders.
I gotta admit they are some great sounding snares.
Rivaling my Fibes Fiberglass snares.
Warm crack with a dry sensitive articulation.
I don't like the tone controls from an aesthetic point of view.

The Austin Fibes is a 13 inch and when I bought it ,was not set up right.
The bottom hoop snare guard was just an enclosed slot and did not allow for the throw to disengage properly.
I had to replace it with a diecast that had no guard,just a free opening.
Nice sound and sensitivity and a great looking Birdseye finish.
I'm trying to get a backup set of snares in case those break ,along with a bottom hoop with a snare guard.
They are proving damn near impossible to find.

The Garcia has a fat thick warm body note ,but delivers a nice sensitivity.
Reminds me of a solid ply DW I own.
The PS3 head probably has a lot to do with that sound.

I got a Cannon too,but swapped out the 690 to put in another Fibes fiberglass I'm restoring.
How does the snare beds and shell of your Corders compared to your Fibes Austin 13”?
 

pete2016

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There was a Darwin snare for sale a while back on this forum. Bottom hoop was also different.

 

dtk

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View attachment 433979
View attachment 433980

It seems that these were the low budget Darwin drums

...
Corder Catalog: http://www.drumarchive.com/Corder/Corder.pdf
Thanks for the photos. The ones I remember had more generic tube lugs....do you own the snare and if so did you get it new? Was thinking maybe a swap out....and the long lugs on the red kit reminded me of the cool Fibes marching lug...which if i recall was really just two lugs with a piece of metal run between them.
 

pete2016

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Dtk, I’ve never owned a darwin set or snare. These are pics fron the internet.
 


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