Markley Custom Drums Markley Custom Drums
Shell Prep
The Markley Custom Shell
The heart of any drum is the shell, and we spend a significant amount of time perfecting every drum shell we produce. The finest North American maple and birch wood is carefully selected and sliced into thin plys at the mill. Skilled craftsmen then form these thin plys into perfectly round and consistent drum shells, using a combination of heat and pressure in specially designed presses. The seams in the shell are staggered to increase strength and are glued with a patented heat-cured adhesive, specifically chosen for its vibration-enhancing properties. The resulting shells are thin, (slightly under 1/4”) but strong, supplying a deep warm tone for toms. Bass shells are slightly thicker for a balance of low-end presence and increased projection. And snare shells can be thin, medium, or thick, depending on the customer’s preference.   
Installing Reinforcing Rings
Thin, 3-ply birch reinforcing rings are then installed inside the tom shells, while bass drum shells receive 6-ply maple rings. Perfectly round shells are absolutely critical to the drum’s performance. These rings strengthen the shell at the bearing edge, which ensures that the shell stays perfectly round under tension. This guarantees that the drum sounds it’s very best – even under the heaviest playing conditions, which can cause lesser drums to flex out of round and choke under pressure.
A Word About Reinforcing Rings
Reinforcing rings raise the pitch of the shell slightly, as mass is added to the shell. Rings also increase the articulation and projection of the toms, and add substantial “punch” to kick drums. The resulting thin shells supply a deep warm tone, while the rings add more “attack”, presence, and projection to cut through any amplified mix or studio track. Markley Custom Drums deliver the perfect blend of warmth, depth, and powerful “cut”.  However, if rings aren’t right for you, we can accommodate you with standard straight shells.
Harmonic Kit Matching
Once the shells have passed our quality control inspection and been placed into our shell inventory, we begin the kit matching process. Each shell is carefully tested for its inherent resonant frequency - or “note” - and shells are grouped together based on their harmonic relationships. In non-technical terms, we match the shells in each complete kit so that their natural resonance complements each other – like a pleasant sounding chord on a piano.  This ensures that all of your drums are working – literally –  “in harmony with each other” to create the best possible drum kit sound. Once determined, each shell is marked with its resonant frequency for easy reference when tuning the drum.

The Birth of a Markley Kit
Here we begin to see the birth of a Markley Custom drum kit….

Premium African Ribbon Mahogany has been used as the inner ply of this 18x22” kick drum, and is available on any custom kit. Mahogany has long been recognized as a wood that enhances low-end frequency response, making it a perfect choice for kick drums.

Interior Shell Finishing
6-ply maple reinforcing rings are now added, preserving the attack and punch of an all-maple kick drum, while combining it with the low-end tone capabilities of mahogany. After rings are installed, the interior of each shell is hand-sanded and our specially formulated sealer is applied. This sealer enhances the beauty of the wood grain and seals the wood from moisture and humidity. The sealer penetrates and hardens inside the wood, leaving the most natural wood finish on the interior of the drum. This natural wood finish retains the warmth and characteristic sound of the wood, unlike the lacquer or polyurethane coating inside some lesser drums, which can add a bright, hard, or brittle sound to the drum.

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