Birch Vs Maple Drums: What’s The Best Wood for Drum Shells?

By JohnPascuzzi

Maple and birch drums have a warmer, lower tone, whereas birch drums have a brighter, snappier tone. On average, birch drums often cost less than maple drums. Despite this, birch is frequently more expensive than poplar and basswood.

Purchasing a new kit is one of the few things that drummers enjoy more than anything else. Either you are progressing in your drumming or adding a new kit to your collection. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful sensation.

However, as with many drummers, you might be familiar with the many types of wood used to make shells. You might not be completely aware of their exact differences, however.

So today’s article will focus on maple and birch, the two most common types of wood.

Birch Drums

Birch Drums
Birch Drums

Birch is the most popular type of wood used to make drum shells today. The wood is readily available and can be utilized to make fantastic-sounding drums.

Birch shells make loud, sharp noises that are distinctive. Compared to Maple, they are larger, louder, and more concentrated.

Birch shells have an excellent, well-balanced projection despite being more aggressive. Birch shells exhibit some of their higher qualities well. These factors make Birch drums ideal for usage in live performances of genres like rock or metal.

Some low-ends may be lost because Birch tends to project the mids and highs better. Birch is not the most excellent material to use while performing quiet music or in a more intimate setting.

Birch trees are widely distributed in North America, Europe, and Asia. Birch shell creation is made more straightforward as a result. Naturally, birch shells cost less than maple shells.

Birch drums are probably available at most price levels, from the low to the high end. The bearing edge, number of plies, and wood quality play a role.

*** Read more: Learn How To Play Drums Without A Drum Set!

Maple Drums

Being regarded as quality shells, maple drums are highly sought after throughout the drumming world. Like birch in hardness but much denser, maple is a popular material for high-end kits.

Maple shells produce a rounder, richer tone with enhanced mid-range projection. Drummers favor maple shells over birch because they produce deeper bass notes more effectively.

Maple shells have a longer sustain than birch shells, which is advantageous for playing larger venues. Jazz and funk are two excellent genre choices on Maple.

Despite their premium reputation and generally favorable reviews, maple shells are not for everyone. They do not project as far as birch shells do. They do not sound very brilliant either. Additionally, some musical genres do not lend themselves well to the long sustain of maple shells.

Despite being more common in nature than birch shells, maple shells are nevertheless more expensive. It could be Maple’s demand. Alternatively, it can be the heavier and typically more difficult-to-work-with nature of denser timbers.

All of the central drum manufacturers produce Maple shells. They will all be in the mid-to-high range.

The Difference Between Birch and Maple Drums.

#1. Birch Wood

Birch Wood
Birch Wood

A drum kit made from birch wood has a lively tone. The drums sound powerful as the mid-and high-frequency components are highlighted. You will then play on birch kits; you will notice that the toms have many attacks and cut through mixes much more straightforwardly than they will on other woods.

Typically, birch drum sets sound best when tuned between medium and tight. This is so that the characteristics of the birch wood may be highlighted. The tighter the drums are tuned, the more attack they will have.

Birch drums do not ring for very long because of their low sustain. After being struck, a tom’s sound quickly fades away.

#2. Maple Wood

Drums made of maple wood sound much warmer and perform best when tuned low to medium. Each drum has much more bottom, which gives them an earthy tone. If maple drums are not tuned precisely, they tend to merge into mixes.

Hard hitters will benefit from the massive sound that maple drums can produce. The drummer can also have control over the tones thanks to them.

In particular, when tuned loosely, the sustain is prolonged. The toms have a much longer ring time than the ones made of birch wood.

Birch drums are produced more commonly than maple drums. However, their tonal qualities continue to be cherished.

*** Read more: How To Read Drum Notation: Quick And Simple To Learn

#3. Styles Of Music

Styles Of Music
Styles Of Music

Only seasoned specialists can distinguish the tonal distinctions between the two types of wood because they are so small. Each wood does, however, favor particular musical genres more than others. This is so that the drums can be played at the appropriate volume, softness, brightness, or warmth, depending on the musical style used.

Rock is one genre of music that many drummers play. Both types of wood will function admirably in most rock situations, but birch will perform better in situations requiring quick playing and intricate drum sections.

If you want to perform detailed drum fills that need to stand out in a mix, you will need a birch drum kit. Birch would work well with the hard rock and metal genres.

Maple might be a great choice if you are searching for a looser rock sound with a significant impact. At any stage, the ringing toms will be reasonably audible.

Jazz setups benefit more from the earthy tone and lengthy sustain of maple drums. Jazz drums must be tuned high, yet the warm tone of maple compensates for the low high-end.

Birch kit gigs can be performed with birch kits. While they function flawlessly, you will notice a lack of the round sustain that a maple kit would provide.

Alternatively, you could discover that playing quick chops on birch kits is a little bit simpler. The drums seem to respond slightly more quickly. Thus, the faster pace of play works better with them.

#4. Recording Studio

Recording Studio
Recording Studio

Managing the sound from the mixing desk is the most crucial component of recording drums. For recording purposes, dry cymbals with a brief sustain are ideal. They are quick to move out of the way and are simple to regulate. This would lead you to believe that because birch drums have a short sustain, they are perfect for recording. That is not accurate.

In recording studios, maple drums’ earthy sound usually works much better. The warm tones produce a superb drum sound when picked up by microphones. Drums muffled using tape or gels are one-way recording engineers get around the long sustain.

However, this does not entirely disqualify birch drums. Birch might be better if you are recording songs with quick drum parts.

Additionally, maple drums have a comprehensive tuning range. Versatility is essential in the recording studio. Studio producers will often use one drum kit to record all types of music. The kick drum and toms will remain the same, but the snare drum and cymbals will change. The broad tuning range is ideal in these circumstances.

#5. Price

Birchwood is much more widely available than maple. Hence, there are many more kits built of a birch on the market. Birch entry-level kits are frequently less expensive than maple ones.

Most often, maple may be found in drumsets marketed for intermediate and experienced drummers. Birch kits are also available in this price range, but the drum shells are frequently constructed using a combination of other woods.

*** Read more: Left Handed Drumming: Pros/Cons And Drummer Advice

#6. Drumheads and Sticks

Drumheads and Sticks
Drumheads and Sticks

It is crucial to remember that the sort of drumheads and sticks you choose has a significant impact on the tones you get from the drums. Therefore, a combination of the type of wood and the type of drum head will determine your overall drum tone. The type of drum stick used will determine the attack sound.

Drums with single-ply heads will have more sustain and ringing tones. Jazz musicians frequently utilize them, especially while performing with maple drums. Birch drums can be given single-ply heads to give them more sustainable.

Heads made of two plies are thicker and more muffled. They are far more durable and have better sound control than single-ply heads. They play both birch and maple drums brilliantly. If you prefer a tighter sound, they work better with birch drums.

On birch and maple drums, sticks with wood tips and nylon tips produce the same tonal quality. Specialty sticks like brushes and roots will have a very little tone change, but it will not be noticeable.

You might enjoy the sound of single-ply heads on your maple drums. Double-ply heads could be able to take the tone of your birch drums to the next level.

Birch Or Maple Drums, Which Is Louder?

While maple handles low-ends better than birch does, birch does handle high-ends far better. Maple shells carry more bass, whereas birch shells provide a fuller tone.

Drum shell volume varies depending on several variables. Not only the type of shell.

The strength you employ is the most evident. Next, decide whether to install 1-ply or 2-ply drum heads. Your drums’ volume will also depend on the type of stick you use, such as one with a nylon or wooden tip. And lastly, the tuning of your drums.

How Do I Know If My Drums Are Birch Or Maple?

How Do I Know If My Drums Are Birch Or Maple
How Do I Know If My Drums Are Birch Or Maple

Birch has a grainy feel when you run your palm through it, but maple feels considerably smoother. This is due to birch’s pores, which are substantially more extensive than those of maple, which are closely packed.

To tell Birch from Maple, you do not need to be an expert in wood. All you need is a little information and a sharp eye for detail. However, birch and maple frequently resemble one another, and some merchants might exploit this.

The rays in the birch appear to be small and infrequently seen without a lens. On the other hand, the rays on maple are more giant and more pronounced.

*** Read more: Top 12 Easy Songs To Play On Dums For Beginners


Super-common woods like birch and maple are utilized to make fantastic drum shells. While maple has excellent mids and lows, birch shells are more prone to high ends.

Most budgets, ranging from mid-to-high, can get birch drums. Drums made of maple are often more expensive, though this might vary.

Leave a Comment