Oak Is A Rockin' Wood
by Anthony Rodebaugh
(Lansing, MI, USA)
Yamaha Oak Custom
I've owned a Tama Rockstar (Basswood/Mahogany, I think) since 1999. I played it until it started to fall apart. Literally. The wood began to deteriorate, the hardware was pitting, etc. Then began my search for the new kit.
I went with a 6-pc Catalina Maple set from Gretsch. I was very disappointed with the lack of punch, definition, and over-warmth of the kit. It was so warm, the drums did not speak over the guitars, even after levels were adjusted.
I then decided on a Yamaha Stage Custom Birch, which was a beast. I mean that in the most constructive way possible. The birch wood was the exact opposite of the maple, much to my surprise. It was a beautiful kit, but way too loud and obnoxious.
My next kit was an Epic from Ludwig. This was a hybrid of birch/maple/birch (outside, mid, inner plys). I was expecting the warmth of maple and the pronounced bark of birch. What I got was a kit that was dull and thuddy. Okay, it wasn't that bad, but it wasn't what I expected.
The next kit was the Yamaha Oak Custom. It was EXACTLY the sound I was looking for. The Yamaha Oak Custom has the attack and warmth of maple, but still is pronounced and barky like a birch drum.
It's also got a suitable amount of beef in its resonance to carry through the drum head strike. Also, the drum cuts through at high volumes without becoming aggressive; it's able to maintain its dynamic range when needed while still being heard.
Overall, I think this kit is a great purchase. Drums are very personal, though. To say I highly recommend this is to say I highly recommend heavy strings to a bassist, or the thinnest picks to a guitarist.
I do recommend trying one out if you can, though. It's a pleasant sound that does earn respect without asking for it. As an Oak Custom player, I also think this review is very accurate.
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