Birch - The Overlooked Drum Set Material
When most people think of a premium drum set, they often think of 100% North American Maple. Maple (or some combination of Maple and another wood) has been the go-to choice for drummers for decades. Birch is often overlooked and considered a second rate drum sound. We're here to help dispel this myth as we present what we think are the 4 best birch drum sets!
British Drum Company Legend Series Drum Set
Our first candidate for best birch drum set is a relative newcomer to the market. The British Drum Company Legend Series is constructed from 10 ply 100% Scandinavian Birch. The plies are cross laminated and cold-press molded, forming a shell only 6mm thick. These super-strong, thin shells promote lower fundamental tones with immediate attack and deep controlled sustain. The 2-ply reinforcement rings match the exterior veneer, which is a classy touch.
Legend Series toms come equipped with a fairly minimal mounting system that attach directly to the shell via two holes. The mounts do a good job at allowing the drums to resonate freely.
These drums are at the top of our list for their unique tone, construction approach and gorgeous aesthetics.
Yamaha Recording Custom
The newest generation of Yamaha Recording Customs are the best yet. Their shells are now made from North American Birch as opposed to Japanese Birch giving them more attack and cut than before. Yamaha also increased the weight of the lug which reduces undesirable noise from the shell without using a mute. This promotes sustain for the core sound, producing a crisp, articulate tone. Add to this some of the best tom mounts in the business (YESS) and you get the attack and musicality of the previous generation RC's, but the warmth AND bite we've become accustomed to with modern drums.
The new Recording Custom snare drums are extremely impressive. Right out of the box, the 14x5.5 snare delivered the best sound from a birch snare we have played in recent memory. Tons of high end pop PLUS beefy body.
Recording Custom birch drums are made for...recording. They aren't designed to be as aggressive sounding as some of the other kits on our list. RC's are at home in the mix among other instruments, and there is no higher build quality standard than Yamaha.
Canopus Yaiba II
Canopus Yaiba II birch drums are Canopus' attempt to create a more affordable option for drummers, while maintaining their high standard of quality. Yaiba II birch drums are still made in Japan, but take a few shortcuts in order to get production costs down.
They use a cast "Sword" lug design, instead of their signature solid brass lug. Yaiba drums are also available in limited sizes and finishes. Other than that, they are 100% Canopus level quality with a sound that is big and boomy.
The toms are fat and punchy with excellent sustain. The kick drum filled the room while simultaneously punching us in the chest. The 14x6.5 snare was also particularly fat sounding, making this kit ideal for any rock application you can think of.
The German-made SQ1 line from Sonor combines thin, slightly undersized birch shells and razor sharp bearing edges with new Sound Sustainer isolation brackets on all toms and floor toms. The result is a punchy, direct, focused tone, with a warmness and sustain not typically found in a birch shell. Add to that a host of range-topping SQ2 features, and you have a genuine, exclusive sounding Sonor birch kit at a price that is anything but exclusive!
The SQ1 line is made in Germany to incredibly tight tolerances, which gives the shells a broad tuning range and tremendous versatility. Trust us, these drums will blow away audiences and studio engineers alike.
Get Your Birch On
Hopefully, our video helps you decide whether or not Birch is right for you. If it is, you can find an incredible selection of Birch drums from beginner to professional level at Drum Center of Portsmouth. Give us a call and let us help you decide which kit is best for your unique style and situation!