Our ex­perts get hands on with the lat­est gear

Rhythm - - CONTENTS - Words: Tom Bradley

Cel­e­brat­ing over 20 years of cus­tom drum build­ing, Brian Spaun has built an enor­mous range of kits and snare drums util­is­ing a wide range of ma­te­ri­als. The new De­signer Series en­ables cus­tomers to choose from over a dozen woods, or even com­bine mul­ti­ple types into one shell.

Here we are tak­ing a look at one of the pos­si­ble out­comes of the De­signer Series, which com­prises spruce and ma­hogany shells. These two ma­te­ri­als are of­ten used to­gether in acous­tic guitar man­u­fac­ture for their com­ple­men­tary tonal qual­i­ties, but this is the first time we’ve seen this clas­sic com­bi­na­tion of tonewoods in drum form.


The vast list of woods avail­able within the De­signer series in­cludes birch, beech, po­plar, ash, ma­hogany, spruce, maple, ch­est­nut, bub­inga, oak, wal­nut, cherry, padouk and wenge. These woods can be cho­sen as pure shell ma­te­ri­als or com­bined to a cus­tom specification.

Shells can be built to any con­fig­u­ra­tion, with the op­tion of re­in­force­ment rings and hor­i­zon­tal or ver­ti­cal grain ori­en­ta­tion, and are avail­able in an enor­mous range of fin­ishes. Shell hard­ware, such as hoops and Spaun’s pro­pri­etary Solid Brass Res­onator (SBR) lugs, can be fin­ished in chrome, brass or flat black. There is even the op­tion of choos­ing your very own cus­tomised sig­na­ture badge for a truly one-of-a-kind drum.

Our three-piece re­view kit com­prises a 12"x8" rack tom, 16"x14" floor tom and 22"x18" kick drum. We have also been treated to a match­ing 14"x6½" snare drum, which is avail­able separately. The tom and snare shells con­sist of three plies of ma­hogany on the in­side and equal plies of spruce on the out­side. The slightly thicker bass drum in­cor­po­rates an ex­tra layer of ma­hogany. On each drum the outer ply fea­tures a cen­tral band of ma­hogany with a ver­ti­cal wood grain, while the re­main­der of the sur­face is made up of spruce in a hor­i­zon­tal ori­en­ta­tion. The shells are fin­ished in a satin clear coat, which en­hances the nat­u­ral look of the kit. Again, in the in­ter­est of cus­tomer choice, the De­signer Series of­fers ev­ery­thing from clear satin and high gloss, to stain and wrap fin­ishes. De­signer and builder Brian Spaun tells us that the com­bi­na­tion of woods used for the outer layer is purely aes­thetic, but

Bear­ing edges are Spaun’s sig­na­ture dou­ble 45-de­gree, which results in a very sharp peak. The cen­tral point per­fectly di­vides the in­ner plies of darker ma­hogany from the lighter spruce

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