About Zebra Drums
Why? How? What?
Zebra Drums is a small company owned and run by me (Sjoerd van den Beuken), which specializes in the making of handcrafted solid stave free floating drums.
These drums have a different approach to almost everything than a conventional drum does. I build these drums from an engineering point of view together with some plain simple logic. I always imagined building a drum that could offer more to the drummer. More in sound, tuning, tuning range and playability. I found a way by making my own shells, redesigning the free floating concept and creating a revolutionary new suspension.
“The thinnest and best looking staves I have ever seen”
I take great pride in building the most resonating and stable stave shell as I can. Building a stave shell isn’t hard, but building it well is hard. By well I mean that it is durable. It took me 5 years to perfect the shell, by that I mean until I was satisfied with the result. In my opinion all shells have to look flawless, inside and out. What distinguishes my shells from others?
- Each shell is carefully made with a strong stave shell construction from a hand picked selection of woods. Very special care is given and much effort is made in creating a stable thin shell without using reinforcement rings. Every stave is glued together with a special interlocking fingerjoint. This way you can build a much thinner shell (as thin as 5mm!).
- All shells are only made using quartersawn staves. When inspecting my shells you will not ever see the normal grain pattern (flame-like grain). You will only see straight grain patterns (straight grains always alternate in dark and light stripes, hence the name Zebra), comparable to the neck of guitars. This way soundwaves travel better through the wood, which again improves sound characteristics.
- Every shell I make is finished inside and out. Especially the insides and bearing edges of the shell are important. After some research I made my own recipe of special wax to seal and finish the insides and bearing edges to create a barrier so moisture can’t penetrate. This again improves the stability of the shell.
There is this conception that stave shells are always loud and have thick shells. In most cases that is true but with my unique thin shells this could not be further from the truth. This all has to do with the way my shells are constructed. That is not to say that if you wanted a thick shell this wouldn't be possible! It's possible to choose from a number of shell thicknesses, depending on the style you play and what you desire in a snare drum. This is something we can discuss about together and come with a type of shell suited to your needs.
Free floating system (toms & bassdrum)
The most important aspect of these drums is the sound. With this system you are able to tune your drum better than you ever could using the conventional tuning system (in my opinion). It’s remarkably easy to get an impressive sound out of these drums. You instantly hear a super clear sounding drum without any overtones. This is ideal in studio’s for instance. They even sound bigger than they really are. Quite often I get asked at fairs if the drum kit is amplified, because of the huge sound these drums produce.
This system is built not only with practicality but also aesthetics in mind. The sleek design looks both modern and vintage. No unnecessary hardware is blocking the shell from view. Every lug stays in the upright position when the top hoop is unscrewed, so that the shell can be easily removed. Replacing the heads is a breeze! Every tom or bass drum can be tuned by just tuning the batter head. This way tuning the drum takes far less time and you get a much clearer sound, true sound! Everything can be tuned from your seating position. If you desire different tuning between the batter head and resonance head you can use heads with different thicknesses to achieve this.
Every lug is made to my own design in the Zebra Drums workshop. The bass drum claw and the bass drum spur plate is precision cut by a laser cutting machine.
S.A.S. (Spring Action Suspension) mounting system
I recently upgraded this mounting system with a new and improved version. The springs of this suspension are tightened to a significant high tension so the shell stays upright when suspended. This way the shell stays perpendicular to the suspension. It doesn’t sag, to put it that way. Which again improves sustain. Also any no metal-to-metal contact between the suspension and the lugs has been eliminated.
All these features combined makes for a much more stable suspension of the toms and results in a much more open (and dynamically) sounding drum in comparison to the conventional suspension systems. In combination with this unique suspension, the free floating system and stave shell construction these drums give an unbelievable warm tone and offer the absolute maximum in tuning range. I designed a similar system for the floor tom configuration. Every piece of the suspension is custom made. All rack toms are standard fitted with a Pearl tom bracket. I spent so much time testing different brackets and found that this bracket gives you the best tone, by far. All tom toms are fitted with the S.A.S. mounting system.