Iconic standard reference point for maple shell drums.

Tmcfour

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I feel like the answer is Keller Shells. No particular brand. Soooooo many companies use Keller, I figure there has to be a reason.
 

CherryClassic

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That's a really good question. I would not think Keller since they have only been around 50-60 years. What was Leedy, Ludwig and Slingerland using in the early 1900's?
I'm wondering the same thing; my late 80's Ludwig's are maple, poplar, maple but did they make all maple before the 80's?

sherm
 

bongomania

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I feel like the answer is Keller Shells. No particular brand. Soooooo many companies use Keller, I figure there has to be a reason.
I suspect the actual reason is that the tools and facilities for making drum shells are a huge expense, that most drum manufacturers would be glad to outsource. Most of the brands don't make their own heads, hardware, or wrap either. They design it and send the specs off to a specialist manufacturer, who then sends them the parts to be assembled.

The fact that Keller shells are good, reliable, and available at large scale is why they apparently have the top market share. Notice how many other companies that make their own shells have struggled in the market, or stayed content to be small. Yamaha is one of the cases where they have the money, tools, and facilities to produce good shells at high volume.
 

SKSMITH

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I think K.O. has hit it on the head, all maple shell Rogers XP-8's. After that, other brands started marketing their shell materials.
Steve
 

JDA

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Mixed wood shells;
from Ludwig website;

"Historic Fact
Ludwig and Ludwig's 3-ply shell formula was unveiled in 1923; at the time touted as being built "...in accordance with the recognized correct principles used in the manufacture of airplanes." This classic construction evolved into a sound that captured the attention of generations of drummers."

lightness and strength: airplanes.
 

hector48

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So, Yamaha and DW both make their own shell (I believe).

Does Tama and Pearl both use Keller on the high end maple?
What about Ludwig, their own or Keller?
 

SteveB

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When Ludwig came out with the heavy 6 ply shells in the very late 70's. I think those made people think of the wood type involved, then Recording Customs for birch after that. I used Rogers and Ludwig from about 1965 and through the 70's; I even had one drum I made from a shell I bought at Keller. This was a meet in the parking lot sort of purchase as Ted Herbert didn't the competition. Two Rogers shells and two Ludwig shells completed the kit. The shells sounded great together by the way. I just used Ludwig lugs to make a black matched set.
 

Mcjnic

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Ludwig had a solid Mahogany shell and the Aero-Kraft shell (Maple/Mahogany) ... etc.
Slingerland did all sorts of solid shells, including Maple, Mahogany, Walnut, etc.
 

Tornado

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So, Yamaha and DW both make their own shell (I believe).

Does Tama and Pearl both use Keller on the high end maple?
What about Ludwig, their own or Keller?
Tama and Pearl make their own shells. There was a short period in the 80s when Pearl couldn't keep up with demand, and used Keller shells on some kits, IIRC.
 

Pimp-a-diddle

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Ludwig Classic Maple and DW 6+6. If you're really in to re-rings and thin shells, the Sonor Vintage Maple shell is incredibly hard to beat. It's like getting the best qualities of the DW with additional attack due to the undersized shell and floating head on the 45 edge.
 

BennyK

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If I had to choose, I'd lean toward GMS instead of Yamaha .
 

Mcjnic

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ooooooooooo!!!
Can I change my vote?
Either INDe or Noble & Cooley.
Those are both pretty cool sounds.
 

K.O.

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I'm wondering the same thing; my late 80's Ludwig's are maple, poplar, maple but did they make all maple before the 80's?

sherm
In the modern era (post WWII) WFL/Ludwig didn't make an all maple shell until the advent of the Classic Maple series in the 1990's. All the three ply shells were some combination of two thin maple or mahogany plies (or maybe one of each) with a fat poplar ply in between. The six ply shell developed in the late 1970s was a mix of maple and poplar.
 

jaymandude

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tough to say which brand is “ iconic “ for a variety of reasons. I think XP8 was the first one the block, but all the American companies marketed their blends as maple. sheeet.... when did people finally find out Gretsch had gumwood ? Pearl dominated in the 80’s, those are amazing maple drums. And Yamaha didn’t have a contender, and the 80’s also saw the rise of Keller and GMS. I’d have to go with DW in the 90’s up to now. As much as people love Maple Customs and Starclassics they weren’t doing nearly the numbers that DW did. No possible way. And then when people found out they could order that shell from Anderson Trading or Precision ? Forget it. Keller defined it.
 

skelt101

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I'm surprised there's been no mention of Ayotte. Back in the mid-late '90s, they were the sh*t! BTW, no dog in the hunt either. My current kit is a Ludwig USA Club Date!
 

hector48

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Okay.
So based on the comments, I'm not seeing a clear king of the maples.
Seems that Ludwig, DW, and Yamaha maple were mentioned the most.
I would have expected more from Tama and Pearl, since they make excellent drums and are big names.
And I've heard of the Keller shells many times over the last few years, but all of the major companies make their own shells.

So, imo, if you want to hear "good" Birch listen to the Yamaha RC.
If you want to hear "good" maple, pick a top shelf kit from any of the brands mentioned above.

Regarding Yamaha, I hardly ever hear anything negative about their products.
They make excellent shells, the hardware gets great ratings for reliability, etc.
Yet, I don't see a lot of people playing them, at least in my area.
In fact, my local drum shop hardly has any Yamaha gear.
 

Elvis

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When it comes to birch drum shells, it seems most people agree that the Yamaha Recording Custom sets the standard.
But what about maple shells? Is there a standard to which most other maple drums are compared?
I'm not talking about which one sounds best to you, but what brand and model comes to mind when you think maple drums?
Not vintage, but within the last 30 years or so.
To me, it would most likely be Pearl Masters, Tama Starclassic Maple, or Ludwig. Maybe even DW Collectors.
Or perhaps there isn't one model that is the golden child.
Thoughts?
Interesting question.
You're right about the RC's, but I think Maple is a deeper and murkier pond.
For many years, it seemed a lot of guys would say "Rogers XP-8".
As far as I know, that's the original 100% Maple shelled kit. I can't think of any kit/series that came before that.
Problem with that is, we're talking the mid-late 1970's and in hardly any time at all, the Japanese had gotten into the game.
Pearl G series shell, Tama Artstar II. Yamaha finally jumped on board with the Maple Custom. That was around the late 80's or early 90's I believe (I wasn't playing then, so I don't recall catching their debut).
Personally, though, I guess "The Maple Sound" would probably the Radio King snare drum from the 30's and 40's.
Solid Maple shell and extended snares, it was so preferred for studio work that it held the title of "most recorded drum" for many years, until finally being eclipsed by the Supraphonic.
These days, amongst my collection of drum kits, I have owned a Ludwig Classic Maple for almost 20 years now. Those drums sound fan-tastic!


Elvis
 
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