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Yamaha Live Custom Hybrid Oak Drum Set Review

The Ideal Live Sound

Yamaha Drums is constantly evolving.  What were the Oak Customs had changed to the Live Customs, and now we have the Live Custom Hybrid Oak line. This latest iteration of their Oak series of drums is a re imagining of the ideal live drum sound.

The Shells

At the heart of the new Yamaha Live Custom Oak Drum Set is the Hybrid shell design. Yamaha’s Hybrid series shells are based off the wildly successful PHX line, which feature a dense center ply of Jatoba. The Absolute Hybrids feature a center ply of Wenge, and Live Custom Hybrids now sport a center ply of Phenolic.  The Phenolic is a super-dense synthetic resin that, when combined with Oak, allows for unparalleled projection - perfect for live performance situation.

Even more innovative than the addition of Phenolic are the weights inside of the bass drum.  We’re not sure how Yamaha stumbled across this idea, but it absolutely has a tangible effect on the low end! The 22” kick has the focus of a 20, with the deep rumble of a 24 or 26. When we first laid into the Yamaha Live Custom Hybrid Oak bass drum, we all agreed this was perhaps the best sounding thump we’ve ever experienced.  It’s THAT good!

The Hardware

It’s no secret that Yamaha hardware is a favorite at Drum Center of Portsmouth.  The shells feature absolute single-post lugs, which maximize shell integrity and promote maximum resonance and open tone. 2.3mm Dynahoops on the toms also allow the shells to speak at maximum volume.  Finally, the revamped YESS III tom mounts provide optimal stability along with superior sustain.

The Finish

Yamaha Live Custom Oak Drum Sets boast five stunning traditional Japanese uzukuri finishes. This proprietary formula for applying the lacquer gives the drums a textured, three-dimensional look that resembles fine furniture.

The Price


At nearly double the price of the previous iterations, many eyebrows have been raised at the hefty price tag, including our own.  Once you get your hands on the new Yamaha Live Custom Oak Drum Set, you begin to understand the amount of R&D that has gone into this line.  Every new detail on these drums, from the Phenolic center ply, to the single point lugs, to the bass-enhancing weights contributes to a truly unique sound.  These drums might be the PERFECT live rig - and isn’t that what the “Live Customs” should be?

Your Home for All Things Yamaha

We are champions of Yamaha Drums at Drum Center of Portsmouth. We’re all gigging drummers, and can appreciate the quality and reliability of Yamaha drums and hardware.  From the Stage Custom to the PHX, we have the perfect Yamaha kit for your individual needs.  Hit us up with any questions, we love talking drums!

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