Custom Drum Builders

wayne

Very well Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2016
Messages
1,330
Reaction score
234
Location
canada
Topic used to start some wicked debates, many years ago when it seemed the industry was saturated with them. These days, all, or most of the self proclaimed experts have drifted away with the saw dust, but I know there is still a demand for these genuine experts, but where are they? Is there one near you, or do you send your project through the post? Is there someone specifically you trust with your treasure? I live in Ontario and my go to guy, hands down the best craftsman I,ve ever encountered is TRS Custom Drums..I can go on and on, but this fellow is blessed with talent....So who,s your guy??
 

Fat Drummer

DFO Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
2,290
Reaction score
1,209
Location
Tennessee
For me, if it is drum repair or customization, then it's myself. My wife and I opened a custom drum shop in 1983 and was blessed to have a long career for many years, including 2 years establishing a custom shop for a large national drum store. While I was one of the earlier custom builders, I actually built less than 350 drums, as the majority of my day was spent paying the bills with repairs, customization, refurbishment and restorations.

So today I can still take care of those needs myself, but when I want something custom built from the ground up I often turn to Punkinater Drums in Chattanooga (now Pelfrey Drum Works). It's pretty neat for me as he started as a customer of mine in the late 80's and began building himself in the mid 1990's. He can take finishing to places I never dreamed of!

Chattanooga has other builders including AJP Custom Drums not far away in Cleveland TN who does nice work, as well as the new Mothertone Drum Company. But for me, while I dont have a lot of his drums, if it's a full on custom build, it is Pelfrey.

Cool question, I look forward to seeing the reply's. As you might imagine, I could wax on this topic for pages! Will be a fun read.
 
Last edited:

Trilock_Gurtu

Very well Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2017
Messages
754
Reaction score
498
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
I'm blessed with some amazing builders within a hour of me; Ray Ayotte, Ronn Dunnett, Jeff Woods, Richard Klemm, Kevin at KBM Drums, etc.

This reminds me, my goal this year is to finally get Ray to work on my 70's Premier kit. He actually sold the kit to original owner, back in the 70's, when he owned Drums Only. Special project.
 

bongomania

DFO Master
Joined
Oct 16, 2008
Messages
4,144
Reaction score
1,114
Location
Portland, OR
We’ve got a couple guys here in Portland; unfortunately the one I have done a bunch of business with in the past has gotten flakier and flakier over the years, and I basically “fired” him over the last job. So now I have to take my custom work to another guy.
 

TheMattJones88

Very well Known Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2015
Messages
754
Reaction score
414
Location
Massachusetts
Noble and Cooley is my company of choice. They're only about two hours from my house, make incredible instruments and have awesome customer service.
 

gbow

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2012
Messages
450
Reaction score
183
Location
Michigan
Noble and Cooley are great for sure.

I also have purchased quite a few stave shells and drums from Terry at https://www.davilledrumworks.com/

The quality of their work is excellent.

I've also would really like a snare from Duluth Manufacturing. Man those things look awesome.

I think there are still many custom manufacturers and boutique shops that do really excellent work and make great products.

So I'm not sure I can pick just one!

gabo
 

dtk

DFO Master
Joined
Oct 6, 2005
Messages
8,516
Reaction score
398
Location
Needham MA...
I would have to look to Eames.
I had Lane (from this forum) make me two Fiberglass shells and pre drill for me...super easy to work with.

Grover has a custom snare software program on their website...and depending on what I was looking to do...Mapex's Mydentity might scratch my customer itch but...

I don't see anything new in my future though so its all in theoretical.
 

pwc1141

DFO Veteran
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
1,720
Reaction score
632
Location
Pattaya, Thailand
Thailand has a few builders at the very low end, middle and top end. One makes their own shells and wood hoops and designs their own lugs etc. The rest use Taiwanese or mainland Chinese builders who make to order. Imported custom drums are expensive here so I bought a kit from the best local one recently.... Percussion House is their name.
 

Mcjnic

DFO Veteran
Joined
Dec 28, 2010
Messages
2,712
Reaction score
1,277
I've worked with quite a few custom builders throughout the years ... though I've purchased only a few full kits. I have "fired" a few companies that dropped the ball on a build.

Lots of goofy builders slapping hardware onto some mail order shells back in the 80s and 90s and such. They were pitiful. Back in the late 90s, I worked with a guy up in Buffalo ... built me a kit. The single worst edges I've ever seen. Said he does them by hand and as such are prone to imperfections. I gave him the drums back and said "no thanks".
One of several kits built that didn't pass muster.

The worst experience ... Craviotto.
The best ... Noble & Cooley.

Noble & Cooley is the single best custom drum builder I've ever come across. Goodness knows there are great builders out there. But these guys go so far beyond the call ... unreal. And they are seriously skilled at what they do.
 

Neal Pert

DFO Veteran
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Messages
1,746
Reaction score
795
Location
Among the Coastal Elites
I had a couple really, really bad experiences with "custom" builders back in the day and now will only deal with companies that have a stellar reputation and a history. Heck, I sent one guy a pile of Gretsch RB drums that were 12/13/14/16/18/22 and he sent them backed "rewrapped" and "re-edged" after 8 months and they were essentially unplayable. Sold them at a huge loss.

Noble and Cooley is in a whole different category. Those guys are amazing and so are their drums.
 

Old Dog

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2019
Messages
458
Reaction score
158
I had a couple really, really bad experiences with "custom" builders back in the day and now will only deal with companies that have a stellar reputation and a history. Heck, I sent one guy a pile of Gretsch RB drums that were 12/13/14/16/18/22 and he sent them backed "rewrapped" and "re-edged" after 8 months and they were essentially unplayable. Sold them at a huge loss.

Noble and Cooley is in a whole different category. Those guys are amazing and so are their drums.
It's horrible when you think you've found someone reputable, and it turns into a pile of steaming crap. I've not dealt with this as far as drums go, but with other "modifications".

I'm in Indiana, and I really know of NO ONE that does any custom drum work. I've done a little searching, but have had no luck.

So if anyone knows of anyone in my state or mildly close, thanks. And I won't deal with the Drum Foundry which is sorta close in Kentucky. I bought one of their snare throws and had some difficulty installing it. And whoever is in charge of their Ebay concerns just came off as a COMPLETE smart A$$.
 


Top