The direction of the grain in two thirds of each shell, including the innermost and outermost layers, is down the length of the shell, as opposed to around the drum, which is more commonly found in mass-produced drums. This ensures a faster, more cutting response, as sound travels 4 times faster along the grain than across it (researched by Professor Charles Taylor of the Royal Institute). The Birch itself has frequency responses in both the higher and lower ranges, giving it a fast attack combined with greater bottom end resonance. Tonally the drums sound fuller than those made of mid-frequency-responsive Maple, renowned for it's 'warmth'.
"The anisotropic character of materials relates to those properties that have different values when measurements are made in different directions within the same material. This animation shows how sound waves exhibit anisotropic character as a function of grain structure when traveling through a wooden block."
The drums are available in natural or stained birch - or other wood veneers by request - with a choice of satin wax or high gloss lacquer finishes. Whichever finish is chosen, the shell is constructed and completed by hand. The process for the satin wax finish involves the application of multiple layers of 'finishing oil', followed by several layers of wax after the shells have been left to "cure". Each wax layer is allowed to harden, then polished before the next layer is applied. This process gives rise to the classic 'polished side-board' rich lustre found on Jalapeno drums. The "lacquer" finish utilises an extremely hard and knock-resistant synthetic coating which is polished to a glass-like finish. All shells are finished internally with layers of the finishing oil which increases the wood hardness and thereby the resonance.
The shells then have the inner and outer 45 degree bearing edges cut, followed by drilling for the fittings, and the deeper snare beddings applied, all done and finished by hand. The end grain is then sealed with wax to stop any moisture entering the shells.
The hardware is added at this point, including the exclusive 'hexagon and ball' tension bolt bearing lugs. The solid nature of the lugs, combined with the complete absence of any form of dampening (e.g. rubber or nylon washers, springs etc.) allows for increased resonance through the direct-contact transfer of sound energy back into the shells.
The drums come with Aquarian Drum Heads as standard. The drums come with quality all-round use heads as standard, though advice on choice of heads that best fit the style of music you play can be given at the time of ordering, and the appropriate heads supplied.
Another standard fitting are the 2.3mm triple flanged hoops which give greater brightness and ring. It is possible to get most drums supplied with birch hoops (at an additional cost of £40 - £50 per drum), and some sizes of snare drum are available with die-cast hoops at additional cost and subject to supply. Please contact David to find out about availability and exact prices.