Maple vs. Acrylic

Papa John

New member
I heard acrylics are a pain in the ass to tune, but i heard they also sound nice.
i know maples sound good cuz i've played on em before
im having a dilemma!!!
what to choose...
i play different styles so yeah...blah. iono


New member
I think acrylics are beautiful- but I haven't played any yet.
Hoping to get a sampling at NAMM next weekend.

There seems to be a trend right now toward acrylics, I'm seeing them turn up EVERYWHERE it seems!

Word has it they are more prone to cracking than wood shells- a bit more fragile, and obviously scratches are going to show worse than wood. They are said to be louder as well; Thomas Lang describes his Sonors in detail on his new DVD, and he seems pretty happy with them.

will try to file a report after NAMM if I can find some good kits to try out.


New member
I think there are some things that are fads and that there are others which will always remain classic. Maple=classic. Acrylic=fad.

I don't think acrylics sound as good as wooden drums. I know Bonham didn't record with his acrylics.

Of course it all comes down to what you want. If you want something different for live playing, acrylics are great.

There was a clear blue Ludwig Vistalite at the drum shop recently. Personally I didn't like the sound that much. But it did sell. Somebody must've liked it.


New member
Acrylics have a huge boost in both the high end and low end frequencies, with the middle being almost nonexistent compared to maple. A different creature alogether.


New member
For the guy going to NAMM, make sure you check out Chop Shop's booth. I saw a preview of an acrylic kit they have......amazing!

Acrylic drums are a little more difficult to tune than maple but not much. The biggest problem with acrylic is that it's VERY sensitive to temperature. Also, some companies make shells with a seam, while I've never had this problem, I've heard of the seams breaking.


New member
I've gotta say that I love the wholeness sounds you get from maple as complared to the booming sound you get from acrylic. To be honest though I'm more of a birch fan. It's got a definitive sound that I just fell in love with the second I heard it. Plus it's a pretty versatile shell sound. Maybe that's just my opinion, but I also own a gretsch Catalina Birch fusion 5-piece. It puts out a great sound for every style I'ev played, especially jazz.


New member
I think Maple and Acyrlic are both great. If I had to choose though, I would go for Maple. Mainly because I just like wooden drums a little more then steel or plastic. They do sound a little warmer. My favorite type of wood so far is Oak. Oak has a great booming, loud sound, but its also warm


New member
I like both acrylic and maple or wood. I just flat out like all drums...anywhoo. Different shell materials are just that... different. I prefer birch to maple but I love mahogany MasterWorks. I have played acrylic kits for years before, they as with anything, became trendy. I have two acrylic kits and a few acrylic snares that will amaze you in sound and sensitivity. The acrylic snare drums are tremendous. Maple is a warmer sound, acrylic is dryer, louder and more sensitive. But ultimately, you should play a properly tuned (to your style) kit of both materials to decide. What matters to your ear is what really matters.

As far as tuning that is an individual preference and taste. You can either tune or not. If a showroom kit is not tuned properly, it will sound bad. I have played many showroom kits over the years that sounded awful and some that were amazing. Just think about how many people mess with the drums in a store. It is all in the tuning. I have personally played on some that truly sounded horrible but when the tuning was tweaked they came alive.

To judge a drum based on a showroom tuning without you tweaking it, would be like deciding not to buy a car with the driver's seat jammed forward saying it had no leg room.

Drums are like an artists color palette, don't just paint everything the same color, use the whole spectrum. Why don't you blend them: a wood kit and acrylic snare drum? Just a thought...


New member
I've used Acrylic several times. (Ludwig, Fibes and Tama's new Acrylic) From what I can tell, they have a very boomy, cold, dry sound. They resonate alot more because of the density of the material used. So its bassically Warm Vs. Cold. What type of sound do you want/need? One isn't better then the other. It's only up to the drummer, and what type of sound he/she is looking for. There isn't one type of music that requires one over the other either. I've heard Be-bop jazz with Acrylics. It sounded nice actually.

If you want to hear the traditional acrylic sound, look up Billy Cobham in his early years in the 70's. He had a gigantic Fibes Acrylic set that he used quite often.


New member
Maple all the way! I don't like acrylic drums at all. Just my own preference i guess!


New member
I'm kind of in the middle about acrylic vs. maple (or wood drums in general) I like the crack and response of an acrylic snare, but I wouldn't want to use a whole acrylic set. I tried them and they are a little too bright for my tastes.


New member
Acrylics have been around a long, long time. If anyone cares, look up the history of Fibes, a quality acrylic drum manufacturer. They are not a fad, they are boutique.

Acrylics tend to take on the sonic qualities of birch with some of the warmth of maple on the low end. They have a capacity to hit extremes, but they do not seem to produce the mix of range you might find in maple or a stout mahogany (such as African mahogany). There's also little mystery in the sound, such as what you might find in a minimum ply maple.

Like any material used to make a drum, there is nothing about them that makes them better than something else. They have their plusses and their drawbacks. I think the biggest plus is they are a very sturdy shell while being extremely light. I've heard of some shells using maple reinforcement rings to make them a little closer to a wood drum. Different drum makers do different things.

I have had the good fortune to play on MANY kits in both a live setting and a private setting. I can honestly say the beauty is in the ear of the beholder, and while playing them had some advantages, I found it much more advantageous to hear someone else play them. That would be my suggestion for you.

If you REALLY want to get into boutique drums, I suggest looking into solid wood shells. There are some BEAUTIFUL drums that produce some really marvelous sounds, such as a Craviatto kit. You could also buy solid shells from a shell manufacturer, order your own hardware, and make your own kit at about 60 percent of the price.


New member
I played a kit by - really dug it!
It's the only other brand I've seen doing acrylic hoops on the bass other than the Sonor X-rays.

sounded really good to me. Very round tones, full and deep.
Seriously thought about shipping it home, was a really good price too.
I don't know that they're selling in the US yet, but I really liked the kit.