Quality Lauan Shells???

Quality Asian Firewood...Yay or Nay?


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drummerjohn333

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Hey JR - Are you taking this poll out of curiosity, or are you actually considering a business move? I have often wondered who has the rights to the design of the MIJ Slinger imitations and what it would look like (literally and figuratively) if someone started making these now - like the Slinger-type MIJs. Perhaps the cost of producing these would be too much? Just don't know why someone does not make some entry level drums (with today's entry level wood - actually decent stuff these days it seems) with some of those Slinger-type lugs and cool wraps. Could it ever be done today?

John
 

Elvis

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There seems to be rekindled (no pun intended!) interest in Asian Firewood stencil-branded drums. Is it the vibe, the sound or the price?

Vintage Tama Imperialstars were excellent-sounding lauan drums, as were original Pearl exports.

If an American drum company touted QUALITY lauan shells, would you give them a go? Please vote.
I've actually been thinking about doing this.


Elvis
 

noahJT

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I just bought a Player Date snare that is excellent.

Bad lauan drums arent the wood's fault, it is the design's. You can't have a 15 year old Taiwanese worker slap on 45 degree edges and expect it to work. I think C&C proved that you just have to play to its strengths by putting on rounded edges and minimal hardware.
 

studrum

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I voted "no," but I don't think they are "garbage," just only worthy of budget kits. I'd heard the Tama Imperialstar and didn't like 'em. I have played and listened to MANY Gretsch Catalina Club 18/12/14 kits, with and without the snares, and I think they're ok and fine second/practice kits, but the tone is so limited, and I will attribute that to the wood.
 

Neal Pert

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I'd put my luan-shelled C&C Player Dates against ANYTHING I've heard or played. ANYTHING. And, I mean, I've played and owned just about everything.
 

stickinthemud

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The Acrolite is proof that a drum does not need to be made from expensive or exotic materials to sound good. I think luan's bad rep has more to do with the workmanship of drums made from it than its suitability (or lack thereof) for creating drums that sound good.
 

Elvis

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I agree.
I hear a sound similar to Birch, when I hear a Lauan drum.
However, where Birch has a Warm Brightness characteristic to its sound, Lauan tends to have more of a Bright Fatness characteristic to its sound.
..and of course, "Lauan" is actually a moniker for several related woods that grow in SE Asia.
Please, feel free to check this short artcle from The Wood Database. It explains a lot in a little time...

http://www.wood-database.com/lauan/



Elvis
 

Trev

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I've gotten great sounds out of lauan shells. Fitted with good heads and tuned properly they can compete with the Biggies, IMHO. I think the "MIJ Is Cheap Sh!t" thing is mostly because of the hardware, which was truly rubbish, and not so much the quality of wood. Others will disagree, but it makes for interesting discussion, don't you reckon?
 

JazzDrumGuy

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My 70's Pearl kit was luan. I had it for 20+ yrs. Basically a fake Gretsch kit in black nitron (8 & 10 concert toms/12/13/16/20). It was great for my Neil Peart days and for band practices, but sounded like crap in the studio. Bass had no low end. The hardware was cheap (lugs/rims, but the tom mount was Ludwig style diamond with a long pole and great), and the bearing edges were crap.

If a new drum set had good quality hardware, good B. edges and finishes/colors, I'd look at it, but for the last 10 years or so, I've been loving USA vintage drums from Slingerland, Gretsch RB/SSB, and Ludwig KB. It would have to be a pretty stellar kit to cause me to sell some of my vintage kits to buy a new one. I am pretty sure I would not just go out and do it on my own......

To me, it's sort of like buying a new Fiat 500 - it's still a Fiat! (However, it could be like a new Mini Cooper which is way sweeter than the old school toy ones......).
 

DannyPattersonMusic

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My '87 Pearl Export and Gretsch Catalaina Club kits were both made of that wood and I think both of those kits sounded great.
 

Trilock_Gurtu

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Interesting thread to pop back up. Lot's of varied thoughts, onions on the subject.

Mine is simple: I use what the situation calls for. I don't care about name brands, looks, anything, expect for the sound outcome. I've had a slightly out of round, crappy edges, MIJ snare track amazing under a mic, and a brand new DW exotic kit sound less then exceptional. It happens.

Problem is, people tend to vote with their biases; by looks, or it's made in a certain country, a favorite drummer plays it, etc etc. I personally quit that way of thinking when I was 19, thanks to an experienced recording engineer, having me LISTEN...playing varies tracks with amazing sounding drums; "that one is a late 60's Pearl stencil kit"..."that's a 70's Yamaha, it's bass drum is out of round to", "this one is a mixture of old Japanese drums, no badges", etc.

Of course he tracked with higher end drums, and they sounded awesome, in general...but the moral of the story is clear: ears, not eyes.

I have many MIA, MIE, and MIJ kits. I have favorites from each, but they all have pros/cons. However, MIJ/Luan kits have had a very bad rap (historically) for a long time, typically by rich hobbyists that need to justify why they blew four mortgage payments on a kit. Hey, to each their own, but don't act like Purdie wouldn't still sound like Purdie on a 70's Pearl wood/fiberglass set. Pleeeeeeease.
 

Elvis

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I had a similar experience during a recording gig about 25 years ago.
In those days, I was using a 3-piece red sparkle 20/12/14x4 Stewart kit that I rounded out with a 16" Ludwig floor tom.
The engineer was so impressed by the sound I was getting out of those drums, he offered to buy it so he could use it as a house kit for the studio.


Elvis
 

retrosonic

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To me, issue really ISNT the Luan shells, its the terrible, cheap hardware on those MIJ kits, at least the ones from 60s. I do agree that the MIJ drum manufacturers came up with better hardware by the 70s.

Theres no argument that a cheapo MIJ set could be made to sound good, altho the tuning range will be limited.
 

happyshump

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As I work in a drum shop, people bring in their drums all the time to be tuned. So many times the so called crappy MIJ kits sound fantastic. And so many times the kits that people have paid a fortune for sound sooooo ordinary. I stopped buying into the argument that it has to be maple or birch or whatever ages ago.
 

Bruzzi

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Hi,
two years ago I could get some oversea pallets for free... made from luan.
So I removed all the nails and build a drum set to test if this wood sounds good...
The set sounds really good.








I also got some vintage drums made from luan here, some (old Tamas) sound good, other luan shells are badly made and sound terrible.
Seems it depends on the quality of the shell not which wood is used.

Cheers
Bruzzi
 

Chris

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My first set was "Norma".
Second set was "Majestic".
Each set was made from the same luan wood.
Beginner grade cheap drumsets.They served their purpose.
Personally, I wouldn't waste my money.
Once you've upgraded to a quality professional grade drumset,how could you go backwards?
Keep in mind these beginner drumsets have no resale value.
 

Elvis

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Too bad you didn't put those two kits together, Chris. If you did, you' be telling about the Majestic Norma kit you once owned (buh-dump-bump ;) ).

-------------------------------------------------------

happyshump wrote:

"As I work in a drum shop, people bring in their drums all the time to be tuned. So many times the so called crappy MIJ kits sound fantastic. And so many times the kits that people have paid a fortune for sound sooooo ordinary. I stopped buying into the argument that it has to be maple or birch or whatever ages ago."

I have a theory about that argument.
My theory is that it was created about 20 years ago, when the vintage American drums started to become prized collector items.
These guys seem to live on Ebay and to keep their busimess running, they started singing the praises of Mahogany, Maple and Birch in order to jack up the resell price.
Figure you buy an RB Gretsch bop kit in the early 90's for $600, live with it for a while, then decide to flip it for a small profit so you can get your next obsession . You find a few drum specific chat rooms and start "spreading the word". The savvy collectors latch onto this and the next thing you know, history and our understanding of how a drum works becomes distorted to suit the collectors profit margin.

Just my theory based on sitting back and watching the bally-hoo go on and on for the last 20 years.











....says the man who bought a Ludwig Classic MAPLE kit 19 years ago. :D ;)



Elvis
 


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