From £839 Beau­ti­fully hand-crafted snare drums fea­tur­ing in­dige­nous hard­wood shells and ex­otic ve­neers

Rhythm - - GEAR REVIEW - Words: Ge­off Ni­cholls

Syd­ney-based Evetts is one of a hand­ful of Aussie bou­tique com­pa­nies pro­duc­ing su­perb hand-made drums. The ace card for these work­shops is the avail­abil­ity of hard­woods unique to theAus­tralasian con­ti­nent. Evetts drums are ex­clu­sively dis­trib­uted in the UK by Dru­ma­zon of Cardiff who have fur­nished Rhythm with four stun­ning snare drums, while point­ing out that Evetts also makes full kits to cus­tom or­der.


Like most bou­tique man­u­fac­tur­ers, Evetts re­lies on out­side sup­pli­ers for its me­tal bits. Thus we have tube lugs as stan­dard on all four drums and 2.3mm steel triple-flanged hoops. Ad­di­tion­ally, Evetts fits the ex­cel­lent Trick GS007 multi-step solid alu­minium strainer and Pure­sound brass-end steel wires.

All qual­ity fit­tings, then. But the al­limpor­tant com­po­nent is the shell. Evetts uses three sta­ple Aus­tralasian hard­woods, two of which are fea­tured here.

The arid con­di­tions in West­ern Aus­tralia sup­port the deep-rooted Eu­ca­lyp­tus Marginata, com­monly known by its splen­did Aboriginal name, jar­rah. The sorely-missed Brady com­pany in­tro­duced us to su­per-dense jar­rah, which was a rev­e­la­tion. Both the 13"x7" and 14"x7" re­view drums have 9-ply jar­rah shells, the former with a sin­gle outer ve­neer of black­heart sas­safras and the lat­ter silky oak.

Black­heart is al­most un­real – the up­per yel­low giv­ing way to mid-brown bor­dered by a jagged flash, which looks as though a graphic de­signer has been at work. Silky oak is by con­trast al­most se­date, but is equally beau­ti­ful in its un­der­stated way. The third drum is based on an­other Evetts sta­ple: spot­ted gum – the hard­est wood the com­pany uses. Even harder than jar­rah, this has a 14"x53/ 4" 13-ply cross-lam­i­nated gum shell with an outer ve­neer of ver­ti­cally striped ebony macas­sar.

Fi­nally, the 13"x5½" shell is dif­fer­ent again with its 11-ply shell of Queens­land wal­nut and ve­neer of tiger myr­tle. The lat­ter looks faintly syn­thetic, like the eco-friendly ALPI graph­i­cal ve­neers seen on Sonor and Lud­wig drums. Ex­cept this is a real ve­neer with hor­i­zon­tal dark tiger stripes over a rich ruddy base.

All four have been sanded and pol­ished till they are smooth as mar­ble. The fin­ish is de­scribed as Smooth Satin and re­ally does do jus­tice to these wicked ve­neers. Dru­ma­zon has cho­sen to im­port these Ex­otic edi­tion drums for max­i­mum vis­ual im­pact, but Evetts is a cus­tom com­pany and can do glosses, stains, fades, bursts and solid paints on re­quest. Check the Evetts web­site for ex­am­ples of the range of fin­ishes and woods.

Hands On

All four drums sound fab­u­lous and the dif­fer­ences in the tim­bres of the var­i­ous woods is so sub­tle it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to dis­tin­guish be­tween them... but I’ll give it a go.

Spot­ted gum and jar­rah are not only ex­cep­tion­ally dense, they are also

“the real dif­fer­ence lies in the di­men­sions, which over­rides and ob­scures any sub­tle vari­a­tions in the wood species”

weath­er­proof and even re­sis­tant to fire, which is heart­en­ing to know. Evetts says that spot­ted gum is the harder of the two woods and has the lower fun­da­men­tal. Both the jar­rah shells and the gum have a su­perla­tive clout – in­deed, this is what at­tracted peo­ple to the orig­i­nal Brady jar­rah snares back in the 1980s. A wood shell with as much cut as a me­tal shell.

The jar­rah is said to have a bit more mid-range. This is fan­tas­ti­cally sub­tle and I couldn’t say with­out own­ing the drums for some months. What I can say with cer­tain­ity is that the fourth drum is Queens­land wal­nut and this is a slightly less dense tim­ber, which gives it a tiny bit more warmth.

The thing is, the real dif­fer­ence be­tween the drums lies in their di­men­sions, which over­rides and ob­scures any sub­tle dif­fer­ences in the wood species. The dif­fer­ence be­tween a 13" and 14" di­am­e­ter drum al­ways seems greater than it has any right to be! And when you’re used to play­ing a 14" snare, a 13" can be sur­pris­ingly at­trac­tive. Just that one inch less in­fers a huge change in tone and dy­namic. The 13"x5½" wal­nut is so crisp, bright and sharp – it’s re­ally Ste­wart Copeland snappy. It pops and has the spe­cial clar­ity of ghost strokes, which has you work­ing on your best Benny Greb grooves. The 13"x7" (jar­rah) adds tub­bi­ness via its depth but still has a mod­ern ping from that re­duced di­am­e­ter.

Thus I fall im­me­di­ately in love with both 13" drums – which is not to say the 14" drums are any less handy. Just a lit­tle more fa­mil­iar in tun­ing and ap­pli­ca­tion. The 5¾" deep spot­ted gum is a su­perb all-rounder that tunes up and down with no weak spots, just a sharp char­ac­ter with zip and a fat slap­ping back­beat.

In the end it’s prob­a­bly down to what is the most use­ful size for your needs, and frankly which of the gor­geous ve­neers you like the look of best.

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