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Personalizing The Look of Your Frame Drums

Frame drum frame drum artist women drummers

Cooperman’s essential mission is to make great sounding percussion instruments.  That said, we also strive to make them great looking - to display our attention to detail and craftsmanship. 

Nestled in the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountains, our mill shop has access to some of the world’s finest hardwoods.

Cooperman mill shop

Our local Ash, Cherry, Maple, and Oak trees are the building block of our instruments’ sound and its durability. So, naturally, we have historically ( over the almost 100 years of making drum shells) , treated the wood as the primary feature of the instrument’s appearance.  Each log that we harvest has a unique character.  In the grain and in the way the log is sawed, there is a story about the individual tree and its terroir ( to borrow and idea from wine making).  

Newly sawn boardsRough shells showing grainRough tambourune shells showing wild grain patternsCurly maple tambourine frame drumN.Scott Robinson curly maple frame drum

That story informs the both the sound and the appearance.  We will discuss the log’s contribution to the sound  of the drums in another blog.  But, as regards appearance…to help put on display the background story of the wood, we have traditionally preferred simple finishes - clear , instrument grade lacquer is applied after sanding, then buffed out by hand; wax is then applied and then rubbed to a luster. That simple process gives our drums their hallmark patina.

Cooperman Classic tar and bendir frame drums

Sometimes we can’t help but to take a moment staring at the grain, imagining the wonderfully complex voice of the drum. The wood has a tone, but it also has a voice… 

Joelle Barker with frame drumPatrick Graham in concert with frame drum
Frame drum set up on stage
Kobi Hagoel with frame drum on stageMarla Leigh with frame drum on stage

Our Artist Innovation Series drums each have a signature look which manifests the particular artist’s character and style - a distinctive inlay pattern on the Velez series, for example, or the signature Marla Leigh tars ( 16”Marla tar in orange/red, 14” Green Goddess, and 12” Purple Haze),  or the signature April Rose blue.Marla Leigh signature tar frame drums

Our recently added Krista Holland “ comfort grip” frame drum has a distinctive bee overlay.

Krista Holland bee frame drum

Our specialty drums - the Bee Mythos and the Tympanum have classically inspired decorative finishes:

Bee Mythos framecdrumTympanum frame drum

 In recent years, more and more, players are choosing to express their own personal spirit by personalizing the drums with inlays, overlays, and stains.

A gallery of “ sunburst finishes”

 Gallery of single color stained frame drums

 A gallery of single color stained shells:

Gallery of single-stain drums:

 Two galleries of overlays:

Gallery of overlays frame drums


Some unusual ones:

 Starry night riq tambourineHopi symbols overlay frame drum

 Something tells me that these galleries will be expanding …let us build a drum for you.  It’s always personal to us…let personalize the drum for you too.


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