Acoustical Drum Design Principles

Amy and I were talking recently about me getting into drum construction. We’ve talked about it before, but I’m not exactly sure how to get started. After a conversation Sunday, my mind began working on some concepts to get me started. What I’ve come up with is a desire to redesign the drum (traditional styles including animal skin heads and rope tuning). I have some designs in my head, but nothing concrete yet. What I need is some sort of scientific approach to qualifying the designs. Drums have been around for eons, but what innovations have they seen? So I’m looking around for information about acoustical design principles as it relates to drums. I’m learning about the specifics of concepts like resonance, reflection, and harmonics so far. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of public information (i.e. the Internet) around this stuff. What I’d really like is some sort of software that would allow me to stage 3-D designs through which I can test a range of sounds. I want to learn more about the particular characteristics of materials as well. Which woods sound the best to me? What animal has the best skin for which sounds? The obvious conclusion anyone would make is that I just need to experiment. Problem is, I’m not made of time and money. Any audio physics majors out there?

1 comment

  1. Hi Foxx and Olaf…Mike is of the desire as well to build drums. He is currently in the cabinet manufactuing industry and has been giving his fascination a good study for the past 4-5 years now. Olaf go ahead and email him and I’m sure he’d love the discussion.


    Get to Mike at

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