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The finish is simply the final outer layer of the drum shell. The possibilities for this with today’s drum builders are endless. The main categories the finishes fall into are stains and wraps.

  • Stained Drum ShellStains: Stains are often used on higher end drum sets to show the natural beauty of the wood grain. However, you need to do your homework because many entry level drum kits come with cheaper woods on the interior of the shell with only the final outer ply being maple, birch, etc. This isn’t always bad, just something to be aware of. If your budget is such that entry level is your only option, this is a great way to “dress it up” a bit. The stains also include either a high gloss lacquer coat or a matte finish as a final coat to help protect the stain. Neither of these finishes will drastically change the tone of the shell.
  • Wrapped Shell Wrap: A drum wrap is simply a layer of plastic, or more specifically Formica, glued to the outside of the shell. These can have solid colors, sparkles, stripes, just about anything your heart desires put on them. This type of finish does change the tone of your drum to some extent. Some professionals will say it has no affect because the glue and Formica layers are so thin, they don’t do anything. I disagree somewhat. The tone is generated through the vibration of the shell, just as the length of sustain is as well. If you put a layer of glue or contact cement, and a layer of plastic/Formica, you have muted the vibration of the shell. This may be perceived as minimal, but it is still there and it is still happening.

Leave A Reply (2 comments so far)

  1. Gail

    I was thinking: Satin Black…

  2. I really dig the satin look!