What effects have age had on the sound of your drums?

equipmentdork

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I recently had to pull out my Premier Heritage Club mini-kit (Artist Birch shells) for a low volume rehearsal. Years ago, I never made a love connection with the 6x10" tom, so I put it off to the side. When I grabbed it again Sunday, to save room, it sounded markedly better than what I recalled--warm and a nice legato note versus the coffee-can-like "thunk" it had always produced. A head-scratcher, but I'll take it.

Then, it occurred to me that my '86 Recording Customs appear to sound better every time I set them up. Hmmmm.

Have you noticed your drums getting better as they age? Do some drums mellow out, or even become less resonant? What has your experience been?



Dan
 

kallen49

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Wood presumably dries out over time. Does that affect the sound in a positive way? I would guess no?
Is some change happening in the fibres of the wood that makes a “better” sound?
Without scientifically measuring using oscilloscopes or some device to analyze the sound waves it’s really our opinion whether an old drum sounds “better”.
With the price being paid for vintage drums recently I’m sure people want to believe ”old” = “better”

In the recent drum history podcast about bearing edges it is mentioned that vintage drums bearing edges may have been damaged over time by use or mis-use and these edges are the exposed core of wood plies where originally the sap drained out of the wood so are “delicate”, (delicate is my word).
Point being that a vintage drum with a bearing edge that is damaged or no longer functioning properly because of distortion will not sound as good as new, at which point edges need repair. (Ringo sounded great but his drums were brand new).

I have a 1969 Club date bass drum and a 1986 Yamaha 8000 series bass, both still sound great, (both 20”).
In Canada, where I am, avoiding our extremes of heat, cold & humidity is key to preserving wood instruments.

Does the cobalt blue finish on my Yammie make it sound better? Not really but it makes me happy just looking at it even if I can’t play it!

Slightly O.T. but I’m reminded of the scene in the movie “The red violin” where the centuries old violin that is the star of the movie is tested in a sound lab and the technician declares it to be the most amazing conductor of sound he’s ever tested, before Sam Jackson yells at him to stop.
 

kallen49

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dsop

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CherryClassic

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I also think the head may have an effect on the sound as well. A month ago, I put new heads on all my toms and snare, and I was very impressed on the quality of the sound at the first gig. They setup in my truck for a month with temperatures changing from freezing to 80 deg. at times and last week the same heads sounded more mellow than the month before. I feel they had time to stretch and balance (for the lack of a better term) themselves.

Wood I feel does get better over time, they always said "The older the Violin the sweeter the music."

sherm
 

michaelg

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I also think the head may have an effect on the sound as well. A month ago, I put new heads on all my toms and snare, and I was very impressed on the quality of the sound at the first gig. They setup in my truck for a month with temperatures changing from freezing to 80 deg. at times and last week the same heads sounded more mellow than the month before. I feel they had time to stretch and balance (for the lack of a better term) themselves.

Wood I feel does get better over time, they always said "The older the Violin the sweeter the music."

sherm

The opposite could be said for the wood in pianos as their spruce soundboards deteriorate over the years affecting resonance.
Approximately 30 to 50 years and its downhill from there.

Also the hardwood pinblocks often deteriorate although they have an indirect influence on the quality of sound produced.
 
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Tigerdrummer

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Age makes violons sound better, so it would probably help drums too.
Supposedly the age and vibration do that for guitars too. Interesting after all the years how instruments still are made mostly w the same basic materials.
 

cribbon

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Most of my drums are inorganic, made from either fiberglass or carbon fiber; the only noticeable change has been when I've changed the types of heads I use. The drums themselves will sound the same to their subsequent owners long after I'm dust in the wind.
 

vintagedrummersweden

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I don't really know about drums.
But my brother, who was a cello player, said that he had to play his cello from 1790's regularly to keep it resonating correctly. Pick it up a couple of weeks before tour to get the sound he wanted.
And a guitarist friend who has quite a collection "warms up" his seldom used guitars by putting two large speakers on each side of a padded blanket wrapped around the guitar and play loud, vibrating music for a day or two to get the wood to be more resonant.
 

HalldorL

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The opposite could be said for the wood in pianos as their spruce soundboards deteriorate over the years affecting resonance.
Approximately 30 to 50 years and its downhill from there.

Also the hardwood pinblocks often deteriorate although they have an indirect influence on the quality of sound produced.

The average lifetime of a Steinway concert grand piano in concert halls is 10 years. Then they are usually renewed.
 


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