Welcome to our new frame drum online store!
Welcome to our new frame drum online store!
Cart 0

Some comments about the weight of the drums

Essential pillars of drum design

Our drums are built from log to finished drum. Each drum shell is dimensioned from a single-ply slat of our local Vermont hardwood.  The weight of any particular drum may be surprisingly lighter or heavier (sometimes up to 100 grams - about 3.5 oz.)  in comparison to comparable model drum made from a different log of the sames species.   For this reason , it's difficult to pin a weight on a particular model drum, but we do make an effort to keep our eye on the average weight of the models, and it is most certainly a consideration in our design of drum.  We are aware that this is a major consideration for many players, especially those challenged with joint problems or  injuries.

We appreciate the challenges that many drummers have with the ergonometrics of holding drums in the upright position, and, surely, this is on our mind when we set out to create a drum.  That said, weight may not be the primary specification we consider.

The SlapBack99, for example, is all about the unique sound of the shaker beads. While the bearing edge, and the diameter, and the head material are most carefully specified, the weight was of the drum was of less concern.

Similarly, some drums that were designed for lap style playing are specifically intended to be heavy - giving them greater stability and strong fundamentals. The Asheville Rhythm Series and  and the and the David Kuckhermann Series Tars are a good example of this. 

Riq style tambourines are, by design, heavy and dense in order to reduce sympathetic vibrations in the jingles.

On the other hand, our Krista Holland 14" Comfort Grip drum was all-about creating the lightest weight drum possible.

We modify our choice of wood species, shell thickness, and sometimes diameter to achieve the goals related to a design's intended playing position and sound.   Larger diameters and thicker shells necessarily increase weight, but these specifications may be desirable in creating the intended pitch and timbre.

Egg-shell thin ash wood rims are used on Glen Velez models tars 

to make them extremely nimble, though we've added a little depth to give them some "punch" too.

N.Scott Robinson's Golden-Eye Series are larger diameter drums, made from a very heavy curly maple, comparatively thick shell. This all helps creates the substantive fundamentals that Dr. Scott had in mind.


Thick shells absorb energy whereas the thin shells transfer the energy back to the drum head material, giving them more complex overtones.

Depth adds some "punch" or "resonance", especially when mic'd, but the impact is incremental when we are talking 3" vs 3.5" vs 4" etc.

We created our Featherweight series as an exploration of this topic.  The intention was to make a deeper frame that was light in weight in comparison to the same depth with a thicker shell (a Cooperman Classic model). The difference in weight is about 80 grams. That is a little less weight reduction than we had hoped for, but when people are using weight as the PRIMARY specification for choosing a drum,then it is worth considering this design.

Our Marla Leigh Series drums answer the desire to have an "all around" spec'd drum - great timbre, comfortable in a variety of playing positions. and portable. ...not too heavy,not to light...

Balance is also an important design specification that needs to be considered.  A well balanced drum can mitigate the negative ergonomic impact of the drum's weight.

With these considerations in mind, as well as the caveat that we are looking at averages, let's take a 14" diameters drum as an example:

14" Cooperman Classic Tar = 720 grams

14" Marla Green Goddess =    700 grams

14" Featherweight =                 680 grams

14" Krista Holland =                  480 grams

Each of these drums is intended to offer a varied range of timbres and playing experience over the variety of playing positions.

Cooperman is committed to not being dogmatic about the "best" drum.  Each player needs to make their own good sense of the options and goals in choosing a drum.  Or, of course,...one can buy all the different models. 







Older Post Newer Post

  • Erica on

    The last sentence – best last sentence EVER. :D

  • Peter Bonadei on

    Great information, thank you!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published