Red Rock Drums walk us through design process for their bespoke pieces

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Red Rock Drums walk us through design process for their bespoke pieces

(Source: Red Rock Drums)

With a bit of background on the brand as well.

Did you know one of the world’s best bespoke drum manufacturers resides right here on our doorstep? We catch up with Mat Duniam from Red Rock Drums to find out all about the business, working with Indigenous timbers and why their unique designs are a cut above the rest.

Read more features, columns and interviews here.

Introduce us to the Red Rock Drums team. Who’s involved, and what’s the history?

Red Rock Drums Australia is me – Mat Duniam, and our master craftsman – Roger Terrill. We met in January 2001 during a summer program I instructed, for which Roger provided beautiful African percussion instruments he had made.

In 2003 we built our first snare drums, and in 2005 our first refined instruments were commissioned for a customer. After formalising the business in 2008, my visions for our shell design was formed in 2012, and have remained in production to this day – four hundred and fifty drums later.

What series of drums does Red Rock offer, and what kind of drummer or style are they best suited for?

Our shell construction and design (with the exception of our Hybrid snare drums) remain consistent irrespective of the series; it’s our hardware that provides the differences between each series. Our Heritage series features long skinny tube lugs down the depth of all drums, ideal for drummers who wish to explore more extreme tuning ranges.

Our National series features more chunky single point lugs on toms and bass drums, suitable for all general tuning contexts and sometimes favoured by customers who prefer to see more shell and less hardware.

In addition to these two series, we are now proud to offer our shells in collaboration with Welch Tuning System’s (USA) cable and pulley system, that can be tensioned up or down with the simple turn of one key.

You use a lot of native Australian timbers in your products. Tell us about them?

Roger has an exceptional eye for great timbers and has become increasingly open to sourcing timbers far and wide, some of which are not available to the general public. Roger has also been responsible for introducing us to some exceptional local timbers such as Gippsland Wormy Chestnut, Victorian Spotted Gum, Otway Blackwood and Southern Silky Oak, as well as others (to our knowledge) such as Western Australian Bullich, Fijian Mahogany and New Guinea Rosewood.

Can you describe the sonic qualities of these native tonewoods in relation to drumming?

Whilst the timbers are considered tonewoods, it is our shell design which allows these timbers to speak. Our thin stave shell construction allows vibration from the struck drumhead to efficiently travel the vertical grain direction of the shell, and our round bearing edges facilitate this most effectively. 

Our thin shells are activated easily and resonate impressively. A byproduct of this is sustain, in addition to the incredible qualities of the timbers which then colour the tone with more warmth, or meaty crack, or more wet openness, or more dry clarity.

Where can we try or buy Red Rock Drums?

Contact me through our social media, or our email address ([email protected]) for more information.

Head to Red Rock Drums’ website to find out more.