For those approaching the world of drums, for those who have to choose which battery to buy or simply for those with somewhat confused ideas, let’s try to clarify a bit about the different types of wood used to build batteries.
Let’s start by saying that the woods used are many, especially since many artisans entered the market and like to experiment with new timbres/finishes in addition to the most famous woods.
“In the last decade there has been a boom in African and Asian woods”
For those like me who were musically born in the mid-90s, the most widely used wood for making batteries is maple.
Everyone wanted to sell us the maple and all the magazines in the sector praised the sound qualities of this wood. Even today the maple is considered the most versatile wood, indicated for Jazz, Pop, and Rock. Birch is also very common, it too sounds good and is quite versatile.
MAPLE OR BIRCH?
Since the Gretsch introduced Canadian maple, challenging the market that saw mahogany as the undisputed leader since then this wood has been growing. I challenge anyone of us who has read some industry forums not to have been overwhelmed by Keller’s Canadian maple post, supplier of the old (and for some unreachable) DW, the first Drum Sounds and many other emblazoned brands.
The sound of the maple is characterized by a very wide sound range, with a prevalence of low and warm tones, a good presence of mids which makes it very balanced and few high … Maple batteries usually strike for sound richness and warmth sound and power.
Buying maple is almost always synonymous with excellent sound output, even if prices are often higher than other woods.
The birch is probably the most common type of shell currently on the market, these trees are very common which also allows keeping very competitive prices, slightly lower maple.
It is a wood known for its tonal qualities and in fact, many companies call it “naturally equalized”. This would be enough to give you an idea of its main feature, in fact the sound of the drums made with this wood is more ringing, with more pronounced high and low frequencies.
The use for which the birch is particularly suitable is the one in the recording studio, but also live is an excellent instrument, especially enhanced in situations where the battery is not miked.
The birch, already famous, was made famous by Steve Gadd with his signature to some companies like Yamaha has built the fortune of many series (Recording Custom).
Ultimately the birch has a clear and distinct attack and is suitable for genres such as the Funky, the Fusion, but it is widely used by those who make rock in general, creating endless discussions with maple supporters.
“The endless war between maple and birch continues …”