Our experts get hands on with the latest gear
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