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Wrap, Lacquer, or satin?

hsosdrum

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What if you were playing in a "pit" and not visible to the audience? Or, what if you only worked in studios, never in front of a live audience?
Of course every drummer should always get their drums with the finish they want. But many, if not most drumsets will be played on stages and will be illuminated with stage lights. In this performance situation the drumset is almost always the centerpiece of the band's stage setup, and from a showmanship standpoint it makes the most sense to have the drums finished in a way that will produce more "razzle-dazzle" for the audience. After all, even a small stage in East Podunk is still show biz.

For me personally, even if I was buying a drumset that would only ever be used in a pit orchestra I would still get it with a wrapped finish because I like them the most. To me, from 20 feet away even a beautifully-finished exotic wood drum tends to look more like a cup of coffee and less like the most exciting musical instrument on Earth, which after all, is what drums are.
 
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I don't like lacquer (nitrocellulose) because it is prone to cracking/checking (the Fender/Gibson relic worshippers love it). I've only ever had Yamaha drums, so I only have experience with their UV cured polyester. Other than some cracking along the outer ply seam, I've experienced no other issues.
 

Markkuliini

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It depends on the situation for me, and I also claim that wraps are not more durable per se in the long run (more about that later).


For bigger productions I would choose wrapped kit, because especially sparkle wraps look good under bright stage lights, especially lighter ones like broken glass, silver sparkle etc. But the black sparkle kit I had looked always pretty much plain black from the distance.

I really don't have a preference myself, look-wise I like both lacquered and wrapped kits. Satin finish it's usually not my favorite, looks bit too matte to my ears.

About durability...
Wraps handle bumps well, sure, and don't show scratches so easily BUT in the long run they are more susceptible to
-temperature changes:
I have seen many kits, for example vintage Gretsch, modern Tama Starclassic that couldn't take even slight below frozen temperatures so the wraps on the whole kit developed cracks during one night in a old car or warehouse. My wrapped DW kits took even hard temperature swings like a champ, but it's bit hard to know beforehand which wraps are durable and which not.
-direct sunlight: glue warming up, wraps bubbling, seams lifting or discoloration of the wrap (even without directs sunlight).
For example I had one Dw snare in Broken Glass finish that turned yellowish in only 10 years. And it was kept in a case for majority of that time!
Friend had DW Broken Glass kit at rehearsal room, not front of window, but in back corner so that one side of kit was more towards window, getting more light. All the toms changed color drastically at the front sides in few years, looks pretty horrible. It has this weird fade going around the toms.

On the other hand lacquerd kits handle the aging better in my opinion. They get scratches etc but that looks much better than discoloration or cracked wraps.
They wear out bit nicer in the long run in my opinion. Wrapped kits look nice until suddenly they don't look nice at all.
 
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Monday317

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Which one do you prefer and why?

I know now there are different types of lacquer, you can get sparkles. I used to love sparkle wraps for a long time but recently I have started to like wrapped drums less for some reason. I have started to like the sort of raw and natural look of satin drums (natural, black, cherry, amber, whatever).

I know wrap is the most durable but I think my pick would be satin just beacuse of the look and the wood feel and the idea of the wooden shells not wrapped in plastic. Or maybe lacquer for a little more fun and variety.
Over the years, I have found wraps to be getting prohibitively expensive and moved to natural wood finishes. I found PSA-backed veneer sheets at Rockler that are reasonably priced and can be mounted without ado or mess, then finished in a variety of ways. I am restoring a bunch of ‘90s Pearl Export maple shells into a kit just that way.
 

Drum Mer

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Laquer (kit) and satin (snare).

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It also depends which brand you use.


I noticed DW’s laquers are far less dent/scratch resistant, than Yamaha or Sonor.

And even within Yamaha the current Stage Custom has a far less protective clear coat, than the upper models.

Lighter wrap handle UV badly.

Again DW’s glass one is terrible, but at the glue part, even Yamaha’s White Marine Pearl yellows badly.
 

DavedrumsTX

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Which one do you prefer and why?

I know now there are different types of lacquer, you can get sparkles. I used to love sparkle wraps for a long time but recently I have started to like wrapped drums less for some reason. I have started to like the sort of raw and natural look of satin drums (natural, black, cherry, amber, whatever).

I know wrap is the most durable but I think my pick would be satin just beacuse of the look and the wood feel and the idea of the wooden shells not wrapped in plastic. Or maybe lacquer for a little more fun and variety.
I like them all and have owned them all. My first kit was a new Ludwig, 1976 Big Beat Set in White Marine Pearl. It set the standard for me and I own 5 wrapped Ludwig sets.

However, I loved my Cherrywood Gloss Lacquer Yamaha RCs, my satin Lacquer Ayottes, my Antique Maple gloss Gretsch USA Customs and my Craviottos.
 

itsjjp

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It depends... My jazz kit is wrapped because I love the classic look, and I'm less concerned about resonance since I'm doing traditional jazz (high) tunings. My other kit has a worn, clear natural maple finish and more normal tunings (though a little higher than most would do), and that kit really sings -partially when played hard. That's my 80s Superstar kit. If I were to do a new kit, I'd likely do a hybrid custom kit in a satin natural finish. I'd do a 20x14" birch kick with maple outer ply, 12x8" rack and 14x12" floor maple ply toms, and my 14x6" custom maple snare that I've already got in my arsenal. That may be my retirement kit :)
 

Thebstar

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Gigging kit: wrap
Living room queen: beautiful wood
Studio: what sound’s better
 

Drdrumdude3009

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For me, nothing is cooler than a beautiful, figured veneer with a sunburst finish, but sparkles, either via wrap or lacquer are equally beautiful. For a gigging kit, it’s wrap all day and twice on Tuesday; at home, lacquer.
 

GretschMan61

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Wraps...they can take a beating!
Can't say the same thing for lacquer, or satin!

I used to have this mindset regarding drum finishes . I just realized after a period of time that I am careful with my drums . I am the only one handling them . I have excellent Beato Pro 1 and Protection Racket bags . My drums are well cared for and I gig a lot . I came to the conclusion that I preferred both the sound and appearance of lacquer kits . I never had the issue with the wrap bubbling and separating from the shell with a lacquer finish that I had when playing an outdoor gig on hot days with a wrapped kit .
 

Drdrumdude3009

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I used to have this mindset regarding drum finishes . I just realized after a period of time that I am careful with my drums . I am the only one handling them . I have excellent Beato Pro 1 and Protection Racket bags . My drums are well cared for and I gig a lot . I came to the conclusion that I preferred both the sound and appearance of lacquer kits . I never had the issue with the wrap bubbling and separating from the shell with a lacquer finish that I had when playing an outdoor gig on hot days with a wrapped kit .

You make good points here, especially with the wrap bubbling in hot outdoor venues.

One finish that can be continuously repaired nearly seamlessly would be an oil finish; it’s just whether or not you would want to take the time to do the repairs, even as simple as they are to complete.

In the end, there is no such thing as a maintenance-free finish that requires no care, except if it’s wrapped with a super-expensive self-healing treatment (they DO exist for cars).
 

Mcjnic

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I had a first run Yamaha Rock Tour Custom years ago in that black sparkle finish ... 22,8,10,12,13,14f,16f.
It was a thick and ridiculously strong lacquor finish.
I gigged that kit with a band up in Buffalo and did the studio thing with it.
Not one ding on it ... and trust me, I tried.
It took a SERIOUS beating, but that finish was tough.
I had read the Yamaha Marketing scripty on the finish.
Evidently, they used the lessons they learned from doing piano finishes and such and applied that to the drums.
Can't speak to anybody else's experiences, but I sure as heck couldn't put a blemmish on that kit.
I miss that kit for many reasons.
 

Drdrumdude3009

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I had a first run Yamaha Rock Tour Custom years ago in that black sparkle finish ... 22,8,10,12,13,14f,16f.
It was a thick and ridiculously strong lacquor finish.
I gigged that kit with a band up in Buffalo and did the studio thing with it.
Not one ding on it ... and trust me, I tried.
It took a SERIOUS beating, but that finish was tough.
I had read the Yamaha Marketing scripty on the finish.
Evidently, they used the lessons they learned from doing piano finishes and such and applied that to the drums.
Can't speak to anybody else's experiences, but I sure as heck couldn't put a blemmish on that kit.
I miss that kit for many reasons.

If they used Catalyzed Urethane, it would have to be dropped before it would show a mark. One of my goalie masks was painted with that and it took a 100 mph wrister aimed at my head to pop the paint. I then popped that bad person LOL
 


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