Labor of Drums


So, I started rebuilding a drum kit back in 2008. I am a huge fan of the “Raising Sand” album from Allison Krauss & Robert Plant. That album used some older sounds, lots of old drums. I wanted to do something similar at the time and started finding these old marching drums on ebay. Now I have roughly 10 and picked two more “drum set-y” snares and found a similar bass drum and put a kit together almost as soon as I could.


So these drums got a makeover based on the setup of the largest tom. I kept it like this for a while until i decided to just shelve the drums for a while.

I did record with parts of the kit and always loved how they were “warm” and little different than anything else I owned or ever played before.

I did a little research into the kit and my largest “floor” tom was from the 1930’s, the rack tom was from the 50″s and the bass drum was from the 60’s and apparently also spent time on the wall of a restaurant. Three different brands, three different decades, but all vintage and sounding great together.

One difference in drums made en-mass today vs pre 1970 is with the use of African Mahogany. My drums consist of this wood and it provides the warm and dark sounds they give.

If you look at the photos you’ll see one “upgrade” from how they originally came to me, “lugs”, the mechanism which secure the heads and tension to the heads to the drums. The original hardware was starting to fail and I couldn’t see taking out 80 to 50 year old drums to live dates with these old hardware. They were great for marching bands but not for some smart-ass trying to do something different.

I contacted one of my friends from the Ghostnote drum builder forum, to create replacement hardware. Allstar Drumworks did the custom lugs and allowed me to get these drums back out in front of people.

I started crafting a design based on my love of hotrot culture. Some guy up the road has this hacked together car and I finally found out about ratrods, these awesome old cars, modernized and pieced together…..exactly like my drums.

So I decided to do a completely shitty black flat primer paint job on these drum shells and hoops and decorate them with Ford racing badges. I’ve shown them on drum forums and they’ve received many raves and likes from folks.

I’m in the process of selling off a few kits and I’m now planning on using this for my main live kit.