There’s been a lot of recent talk in the musical instruments industry about wood. Instrument builders are searching the far corners of the earth for quality wood that they can legally import.
But Michael Outlaw, founder of Sylvester, Georgia’s Outlaw Drums, thinks the perfect wood is all around him, he just had to figure out where to look. Outlaw scours the countryside for historic structures, falling down and scheduled for demolition, and turns the reclaimed wood into custom snare drums.
As with any great product, there’s a great story behind it. Michael, a custom furniture builder and avid drummer, was riding through Albany, Georgia one day and stumbled upon an 1880’s plantation home being torn down, and asked the contractor if he could have some of the wood. The contractor said yes, since it was going to be hauled off to a landfill anyway. Michael loaded his truck up with as much wood as he could before the dump truck got back to take it away. When he returned to his shop, the beauty and the aroma of the rare wood inspired him. He wanted to build a snare drum that was different, and this heart pinewood was the perfect fit.
The beauty of the wood lies in its age. When these houses and barns were erected over 100 years ago, they were built with old growth trees. So, today, this heartpine could be 300-500 years old. Because of this, the aged wood has 40-60 rings per inch, vs 3-5 rings per inch on “new wood.” And what does this mean? More sustain and better tone! In addition, Outlaw Drums are built with stave construction and precise 45 degree bearing edges.
Before you crack open the piggy bank, right now you have a chance to win a premium Outlaw “Weathered” snare drum, priced at $950. This drum’s unique finish was created by over 150 years of sun, wind and rain.
“It is my pleasure to present a 13”x5” weathered snare drum. If one were to ask me to describe the sound? This drum has a crisp clear pop at the high tuning and low warmth sound when tuned lower. It produces great dynamic range that I believe is linked to the tightness of the wood’s grain pattern. In addition, there is no bending or stress imposed on the drum shell that multi-ply and one ply shells offer. Less glue is a big factor. Stave shells use less glue and are therefore more resonant. The drum stays in tune longer, resulting in a more stable, even sound because lack of vibration. The thickness of the drum is about ¾” thick, giving it a more solid fast attack.”
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