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Thread: Maple vs. Birch and Other Common Woods

  1. #1

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    Default Maple vs. Birch and Other Common Woods

    Hey y'all. I'm continually poking around drumsets and goodies online and I always seem to come across a Maple with a Birch equivalent by some other brand, etc. I was just wondering what peoples' opinions on different woods are.

    stuff like:
    *What wood is best for which genre?
    *What's your personal favorite wood?
    *Where does acrylic fit in?

    Anything you want to write I would love to read. Please and Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Maple vs. Birch and Other Common Woods

    maple- midrange pitch, full sustain
    birch- highrange pitch, less sustain than maple
    acrylic- like birch, but less sustain with more volume
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  3. #3

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    Default Re: Maple vs. Birch and Other Common Woods

    theres no best wood, its all personal prefrence, the wood is not the only thing that factors in, the tuning, the heads, the shell size, the shell thickness

    i have a birch/basswood kit(VX), its an okay kit, but i really wish i got the full birch set(VBX)

    my VX kit is great live though because it has birch in it which makes it loud, and the shells are 6/8, some drummers will buy a maple kit for recording, and a birch set for giging, maple has a warm sustaining sound and birch has a loud quicker sound that cuts well, its hard to explain, if you want to hear the difference id reccomend going to a drumstroe and comparing the two types, if u cant decide which u like better, just choose whatever one is cheaper or has a cooler fnish

    whats ur price range? and do u prefer a certain drum company? if u like pearl and want a good priced intermdiate kit, id reccomend the VBX (birch) or the VMX (maple)
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  4. #4

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    Default Re: Maple vs. Birch and Other Common Woods

    I'm not looking to buy anything at the moment but what I've been interested was the Pearl Masters MCX. I'm not sure though now; I'm probably going to do a lot more gigging than recording.

    I guess my price range would be up to 2.5k I already have a completely adequate intermediate kit so anything I buy now would be a pro kit.
    Last edited by hardrockalternative; 02-28-2010 at 05:10 PM.

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Maple vs. Birch and Other Common Woods

    No worries gigging with maple. It is a warmer sound, but that doesn't mean it's quiet, just doesn't cut through as much. If you are playing harder stuff, then you might want to consider birch as it is a more pronounced sound, but the differences aren't huge. (I have a birch kit, and a maple kit).

    Masters would be good for either gigging or recording, ask Shabutie!
    Jesse

    1986 Tama Crestar - Lacquered White
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  6. #6

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    What would be more versatile? Would MCX work for classic rock and metal?

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Maple vs. Birch and Other Common Woods

    I've always been a fan of high-quality maple drums for live playing. They're warm and still project. Just always remember that despite the wood, many other factors go into a drum's sound.
    - Tom

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  8. #8

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    Default Re: Maple vs. Birch and Other Common Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by drummer View Post
    Just always remember that despite the wood, many other factors go into a drum's sound.
    Not to discount the differences in birch and maple characteristics that have been mentioned, but I think shell thickness, bearing edge, and of course heads all can make a larger difference in sound than wood type alone (assuming equal quality between the kits).
    Another point, birch is in no way inferior to maple simply because it tends to be cheaper. To a large extent that represents each wood's cost as a raw material, and of course marketing is a factor.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by SEAN8293 View Post
    theres no best wood, its all personal prefrence, the wood is not the only thing that factors in, the tuning, the heads, the shell size, the shell thickness

    i have a birch/basswood kit(VX), its an okay kit, but i really wish i got the full birch set(VBX)

    my VX kit is great live though because it has birch in it which makes it loud, and the shells are 6/8, some drummers will buy a maple kit for recording, and a birch set for giging, maple has a warm sustaining sound and birch has a loud quicker sound that cuts well, its hard to explain, if you want to hear the difference id reccomend going to a drumstroe and comparing the two types, if u cant decide which u like better, just choose whatever one is cheaper or has a cooler fnish

    whats ur price range? and do u prefer a certain drum company? if u like pearl and want a good priced intermdiate kit, id reccomend the VBX (birch) or the VMX (maple)
    Untrue. Birch is better for studio work as it is more controlled with less resonance, and both maple and birch are great live.
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  10. #10

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    Default Re: Maple vs. Birch and Other Common Woods

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tama View Post
    Untrue. Birch is better for studio work as it is more controlled with less resonance, and both maple and birch are great live.
    I was going to say this also.

    I have a birch kit (w/ one ply of basswood) and I absolutely love the sound of it. It's LOUD, powerful, and still has great low end.

    But I agree that heads, tuning, shell thickness and bearing edge all make a larger difference on the sound than wood type.
    Peace, Love, and Rock N Roll

    Matt

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Maple vs. Birch and Other Common Woods

    No question Yohin. There is a fundamental difference, but there are so many variables involved.

    I'm not sure about Jason's comment in general, but I can tell you from experience that thick birch shells like my old Tamas are definitely not more controlled in studio than thin maple.

    There are so many factors that it should always boil down to playing the drums and liking how they sound. I've had the birch Tamas for so long that I wanted a fairly thin shelled maple kit for a change of pace, hence the Tour Customs. I also put coated G2's on, while the Tamas have clear G2's. There is a huge difference in sound between the two kits, as noted by my bassist recently, but there are so many differences it can't just be attributed to the wood.

    Interestingly, the Tamas are in storage and I'm rocking maple for practice and gigs now, with the Renowns! But given that we don't play as heavy music anymore, the maple with coated fits a little better.
    Jesse

    1986 Tama Crestar - Lacquered White
    2016 Roland TD-25K
    2015 Tama Starclassic B/B - Blue Nebula Blaze

  12. #12

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    I found this weekend, after playing the ddrum maple snare I just bought, that compared to the steel Mapex Ive been playing, I had to hit my drum a lot harder than on my steel drum. It's a 14x6.5 with an Evans batter head. I even have the blisters to prove it.

    I loved the sound though!!!
    Mapex Mars honey amber 6 pc. w/ ddrum 6.5x14 maple Dominion series snare(purple metal flake!) w/ Sabian and Zildian cymbals and one old Zilco.

    Gretsch Catalina Ash 6 pc. w/Sabian cymbals

  13. #13

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    Two more woods I'm curious about now. Ash and Bubinga, anyone?

  14. #14

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    Are their certain heads that do a better job of making cheap quality drums/woods sound good? So instead of a head that brings out the true tone of your drum, maybe a head that masks your drum tone in favor of something less...basswoody?
    I did absolutely nothing, and it was everything I thought it could be.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by comchef3 View Post
    Are their certain heads that do a better job of making cheap quality drums/woods sound good? So instead of a head that brings out the true tone of your drum, maybe a head that masks your drum tone in favor of something less...basswoody?
    The actual tone of basswood is not terrible. It's just got a bad reputation because it's less expensive than birch and maple. Try some Coated G2's. That's what I have on my birch/basswood Tama's and they sound amazing.
    Peace, Love, and Rock N Roll

    Matt

  16. #16

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    I agree on the basswood comment, yohin. Perhaps in recording, the differences would be a bit more exaggerated, but basswood is a tone wood and has certain qualities that can be enhanced by the correct head choice and tuning.

    I gave my son my old Sunlite kit which is a lesser wood than my current kits. When I tune it up I am still amazed at the sound I get from it! The kick is a monster with a Powerstroke. It even looks pretty good.


  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by comchef3 View Post
    Are their certain heads that do a better job of making cheap quality drums/woods sound good? So instead of a head that brings out the true tone of your drum, maybe a head that masks your drum tone in favor of something less...basswoody?
    Basswood has a great low end, but it can be kind of boomy. My old kit was 7 plies of basswood with an out ply of maple. I used evans hydraulics on that kit with pretty good results.
    Mmm... Saturns.

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