Over the past few weeks, we've been checking out some of the best local luthiers, pedal makers and outlets hooking Aussie musicians up with all the best local gear available on the market. Today, we're shining the spotlight on some of the best local drum manufacturers around Australia to check out what's on offer for devoted percussionists both at home and around the world, proving once again that if anywhere else in the world can do drums, Aussies are almost certainly guaranteed to do it better. Dig in!
Red Rock Drums
Since breaking onto the scene in 2008, Red Rock Drums have risen to become known as the creme de la creme of Aussie drum makers today. With a reputation for using illustrious native timbers like Tasmanian Myrtle, Blackwood and Jarrah, Red Rock Drums put tone to the forefront by making all their drum shells with a stave construction, ensuring the finest possible sonic response and resulting in quite a unique aesthetic.
Red Rock Drums are favoured by drummers both at home and abroad for their punchy sound and long, pure notes, and are suitable for a wide variety of tunings and styles. If you’re on the hunt for a kit that sounds just as good as it looks, we recommend you hit these guys up.
Also launching back in 2008, Evetts initially became known for creating eye-catching boutique snare drums out of local timbers, with the ensuing acclaim seeing them expand their operations to create full drum kits later in 2014. Based in Sydney, these guys are famous for their ‘by drummers, for drummers’ philosophy, providing artists with an end-to-end solution when creating their dream drum kit by getting them involved in all stages of the process.
Evetts have also achieved widespread international attention in recent years due to their incredible signature snare for Northlane’s Nic Pettersen. Decked out with 16ply Tasmanian Blackwood and wrapped up in a tasty Satin finish, this 14x7 snare is incredibly articulate and punchy, and is perfect for a myriad of drum styles.
Gas Custom Drums
Hand-formed by a local team in Melbourne, Gas Custom Drums are widely known as the best makers of acrylic drum shells in Australia. Crafted with 8mm Shinkolite and employing an innovative ‘V8’ joining technique for maximum strength, Gas Custom Drums are super durable, punchy as all hell and look insane, and look to be the best way for any drummer to make a statement onstage.
With a bunch of custom sizes and specs available on their website, Gas Custom Drums also deliver bespoke shell pinstriping and customising to let you fully pimp out your kit. Prominent users include Gotye’s Wally Becker, You Am I and Bamboos drummer Rusty Hopkinson, and Grinspoon’s Kristian Hopes, which really proves that these guys are indeed the big dogs.
For nearly 50 years, Sleishman Drums have been at the pinnacle of the Australian drumming community, with their gear being used by some of the biggest and best contemporary drummers in music today. Founded back in 1971 by Don Sleishman and currently directed by his son David, Sleishman originally rose to prominence with the invention of the world’s first double kick drum pedal in the late ‘60s, and were also known for pioneering the free-floating tuning system that eliminates the need to tune the bottom head of your drums, making them loved by lay drummers all over the world.
Sleishman’s drum range has been celebrated by some of the biggest names in the business, including Queen’s Roger Taylor and Living Colour’s Will Calhoun, and offer a wide range of custom shop options for players looking to build their dream kit.
If you’re chasing the most authentic Aussie drum experience possible, you can’t beat Kentville Drums for one simple reason. Ran out of a little workshop by Steele Turkington in Kurrajong, NSW, Kentville Drums offer a range of customisation, repair and restoration services that have been endorsed by the likes of the Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts and Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, yet their real knack comes down to their incredible assortment of kangaroo hide drum heads.
Similar to the coveted calf hide heads of the early 20th century, Kentville Drums’ kangaroo hide heads deliver a warm tone that cuts through the mix, and are renowned for their beautiful articulation and quality that simply can’t be rivalled by plastic heads. If you’re put off by the notion of someone desecrating our most famous native animal for a drum head, Kentville also offer options for goat and calf hide heads, all of which can be applied to everything from bongos and banjos to djembes and tambourines.
Similar to Melbourne’s Gas Custom Drums, Sydney’s Pansini Percussion specialise in crafting high quality acrylic kits, with founder Nick Pansini ensuring each shell is built from the finest acrylic on the market. By using Cast Acrylic instead of Extruded Acrylic, Pansini’s drum shells are much more resistant to cracking or crazing, and are also UV protected, making them friendly for use with LED lighting systems onstage.
Due to their high density, Pansini’s drums are known to deliver a huge amount of subby low end with a pronounced high-end cut, making them suitable for styles that require a massive, punchy sound without many overtones. If you’re less inclined to go for a translucent drum kit, Pansini also offer custom wrapping services to make for a staunch aesthetic - check out how sweet this matte wrapped kit looks below!
Hand-crafted in Manly by Sia Seysan, Sia Drums have attained a sizeable fanbase in the UK, where drummers pine for their insane sound quality and aesthetics.
Built with top notch hardware, heads and wires, Sia tends to favour native timbers such as Spotted Gum, Jarrah and Myrtle when crafting his shells, utilising stave constructions to deliver snares that are abundant in volume with a sweet emphasis on the midrange.
The undisputed king of the Melbourne percussion scene, Moody Drums was the project of revered live drummer Jim Moody, who has performed with the likes of Justin Yap Band and Juice Box. While the Moody Drums website and social media has been relatively inactive for three years now, his creations still cause a stir when posted to any drum forum or group on Facebook, and are still considered to be some of the best examples of custom drums to ever come from down under.
Also, we chose Moody because we wanted to show off the chops of our incredible print drum columnist Adrian, who you can see shredding on a Moody kit below. What a legend.
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