Drum companies that don't make their own shells

Neal Pert

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BTW, you should add C&C to the list of companies that make their own shells. N&C sources their walnut shells from somewhere in Italy.

Shell origin doesn't bother me much. However, I want to see skill if a company is making those shells. We've all seen photos and heard stories about companies that seem to lack basic metal or woodworking skills but who pass off their crap as "authentic" or whatever. None of that.

And, I mean, show us that you've personally got a design philosophy and have thought through your shell layups and why they're different and better than someone else's.

I have a hard time when a company is lacking certain proprietary parts. These in particular:

Snare drum companies: I want an original strainer and butt plate and original lugs, at minimum.
Drum set companies: I also want an original tom mount, FT brackets, and spurs at minimum. A non-crappy isolation tom mount is also very desirable. It's 2020-- can we stop with the generic RIMS mounts?

Honestly, it drives me nuts that Noble & Cooley uses Pearl FT brackets and Yamaha spurs, even though those parts are great. I probably would've bought an N&C kit years ago if they just made their own brackets and spurs. Call me petty. i just can't get past it. I otherwise LOVE their drums.
 

Fat Drummer

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BTW, you should add C&C to the list of companies that make their own shells. N&C sources their walnut shells from somewhere in Italy.
Yep, C&C were on the first list already. And that's interesting about N&C walnut shells, I would have just assumed they would have gotten Keller to whip them out.
 

SpinaDude

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So lets try that as well, here are the ones that come to my mind that DO produce their own WOOD shells in a facility that they actually own... (I'm not counting stave or segment wood shells)

Ludwig
Sonor
Tama
Yamaha
DW
Pearl
C&C
British
Cadeson
Craviotto
Cask
Stone
Chicago
Eames
Noble & Cooley
Dixon (so Rogers?)
A&F
Mapex?
Salt
BSP / Dynamicx

Many others actually do produce their own metal snare drum shells from Dunnett & Oriollo to AK and Q. but I was trying to think of all I could that was producing their own wood shells. I'm sure I am missing a ton... fill in the gaps for me...
This is a great answer, thank you so much!

I met Joe Hibbs of Mapex about 6 years ago when they launched tiier SoniClear baring edges and the Armory line. They did a whole clinic tour with Rashid Williams. He said KHS, the Mapex parent company, makes all the Mapex shells, in Asia I believe, then ships to the Nashville plant where they are assembled. He said they made shells for several other companies as well. For some reason Pearl and Sonor come to mind, although I'm not sure why. I am pretty sure he wouldn't come out and mention any other company by name, but those names still linger in the back of my mind. Perhaps someone else told me that? Either way, I also believe it was in reference to only lower end kits from those companies.
 

CC Cirillo

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I think we’ve established great drums can be made with shells made 100% in house or 100% outsourced. I’m fine with either—a great sounding/great executed drum speaks for itself— but I prefer the all in-house ideal.

No logical reason for this. It’s an emotional connection that seems to add some inspiration for me as a mid-level hobbyist. I’ll take my passion from anywhere I can legally get it.

For example, I heard some of Ludwig’s shell molds are the same ones they’ve used for years and years, so my newer drums might have come from the same molding machinery that made Joe Morello’s or John Bonham’s or Karen Carpenter’s....

Anyone know if this is true?
 

NobleCooleyNut

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This is a great answer, thank you so much!

I met Joe Hibbs of Mapex about 6 years ago when they launched tiier SoniClear baring edges and the Armory line. They did a whole clinic tour with Rashid Williams. He said KHS, the Mapex parent company, makes all the Mapex shells, in Asia I believe, then ships to the Nashville plant where they are assembled. He said they made shells for several other companies as well. For some reason Pearl and Sonor come to mind, although I'm not sure why. I am pretty sure he wouldn't come out and mention any other company by name, but those names still linger in the back of my mind. Perhaps someone else told me that? Either way, I also believe it was in reference to only lower end kits from those companies.

Mapex's Parent Company KHS also owns Sonor.
 

bongomania

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No, the INDe reference was for his new Kalamazoo series of metal shell drums, Josh has never hid the fact that Keller produces his wood shells to his spec. As for Ronn, he bends and welds his own DUNNETT drums but it's the Georg Way shells that are produced overseas.
Fair enough. It does illustrate why it can be tricky to answer whatever the theme of this thread is. You’re right that Josh recently began making his own metal shells, but all the Inde metal shells before that point were outsourced. With Dunnett... I don’t see any claim on his website that he does any bending and welding. He only talks about the finishes he applies.
 

NobleCooleyNut

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N&C sources their walnut shells from somewhere in Italy.
This is actually not correct for the walnut shells made now. The initial batch of walnut shells were made by a Company in Italy, true but N&C then bought the equipment/Moulds from Witt Percussion and now make the walnut shells in house.
 

Radio King

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This is a great answer, thank you so much!

I met Joe Hibbs of Mapex about 6 years ago when they launched tiier SoniClear baring edges and the Armory line. They did a whole clinic tour with Rashid Williams. He said KHS, the Mapex parent company, makes all the Mapex shells, in Asia I believe, then ships to the Nashville plant where they are assembled. He said they made shells for several other companies as well. For some reason Pearl and Sonor come to mind, although I'm not sure why. I am pretty sure he wouldn't come out and mention any other company by name, but those names still linger in the back of my mind. Perhaps someone else told me that? Either way, I also believe it was in reference to only lower end kits from those companies.
The Mapex factory does make Mapex shells alongside the Chinese Sonor drums, but the German Sonors are indeed made by Sonor in Germany. Totally different shells.
 

NobleCooleyNut

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Fair enough. It does illustrate why it can be tricky to answer whatever the theme of this thread is. You’re right that Josh recently began making his own metal shells, but all the Inde metal shells before that point were outsourced. With Dunnett... I don’t see any claim on his website that he does any bending and welding. He only talks about the finishes he applies.
Dunnett’s Monoply snares have been made by Unix drums for awhile now .
 

Fat Drummer

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Fair enough. It does illustrate why it can be tricky to answer whatever the theme of this thread is. You’re right that Josh recently began making his own metal shells, but all the Inde metal shells before that point were outsourced. With Dunnett... I don’t see any claim on his website that he does any bending and welding. He only talks about the finishes he applies.

Yep, only the Kalamazoo metal drums are made in house. I assume that whoever does the George Way's do the INDe metal shells. The aluminum version is very similar to the GHW.

I am pretty confident that Ronn does his own metal Dunnett shells in house. I have heard him reference that on many interviews when talking about the company. I have no way of knowing one way or the other but I am pretty confident that he makes his own named metal in house and the Ways are imported. I am still pretty confident as well that Bill D does not do the assembly on the GHY stuff. I know where they are assembled (or at least one location) and it is indeed in Canada. I know that Bill and Ronn are close and he might have done them at one time but I do not think that is the current case.

Again, I have no way of knowing one way or the other 100% but we DO know that neither line of wood shells are made by Ronn so therefore he is not on the list of wood shell builders. BUT I do need to look into UNIX, I forgot they produce solid single ply snares, I was just thinking of the stave and block drums.
 

NobleCooleyNut

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N&C shells by Keller but made to N&C specs, no?

The CD Maples (100% maple ply ) and Horizon( maple with mahogany inner ply) are made by Keller.
The Walnut Ply snares and kits are made in house by N&C . All the Steambent single ply snares are made in house.
 

moodman

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The CD Maples (100% maple ply ) and Horizon( maple with mahogany inner ply) are made by Keller.
The Walnut Ply snares and kits are made in house by N&C . All the Steambent single ply snares are made in house.
my point being N&C shells, whether in house or sourced, are specific to N&C in specs, as I understand it. I love my CD Maples and SSClassic.
 

NobleCooleyNut

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my point being N&C shells, whether in house or sourced, are specific to N&C in specs, as I understand it. I love my CD Maples and SSClassic.
You are correct - the shells Keller provides have a specific grain orientation and ply layup specified by N&C .
 

JDA

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Anybody have a picture of this "Keller" business operation. Location etc Google Pics Overhead what ever.. where it is etc.. Address? Official name?... etc
I want to see how big.... how large the operation is.. thxs
here it is


41 Union St. it's a big place.

 
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Ludwig26

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Premier drums in the late 80s&early 90s had there shells&hardware made by Yamaha,
Gretsch Catalina birch shells were made by Taye,
Ludwig Accent&Centennial used North American sourced maple shells,
BUT assembled in Taiwan as was those lines hardware,
Sleishman Omega series sourced Chinese made maple shells,
There pro series uses Keller maple shells,
ALL other aussie drum companies source there own indigenous wood from right here in Australia,
Except for maple they're Keller.
 

Deafmoon

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To my knowledge, only Ludwig continues to manufacture their own shells. I believe for all other manufacturers they outsource. Gretsch worked with Keller to adopt the Jasper model of maple/gum shell, but gone is the exclusivity they had with Jasper for that combination. Keller I believe now sells the maple/gum to DW and maybe even Pearl. Keller makes just about all of the high end shells. Some companies out of Asia make less expensive shells with basswood. I'm not aware of Furniture Companies making drum shells any longer since Jasper stopped. There simply isn't enough money in making and selling drum shells.
 

BennyK

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Eames has been making shells since 1950 , they have their own line of complete drums too .

Saugus ,Massachusetts .
 

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