Oregon Drum's Myrtlewood Series™ Snare Drums

Oregon Drum Myrtlewood Solid Shell Snare Drums Oregon Drum Myrtlewood Steambent Shell Snare Drums Oregon Drum Myrtlewood Stave Shell Snare Drums
Solid Shell Models Steambent Shell Models Stave Shell Models

Myrtlewood is a rare hardwood, found only in a small geographical zone spanning from Florence, Oregon to Northern California. This places our Coos Bay location right in the middle of Myrtlewood’s growth territory. It takes 100-150 years to grow a 14-16 inch diameter log, which is the smallest used to produce any of our unique snare drums.

Myrtle tree located near our Coos Bay, Oregon location

Myrtle tree foliage is very dense. When viewed at a distance, one does not see the branch structure as in other trees. It is so symmetrical it would seem to be a carefully pruned, cultivated tree. When small, the tree looks and grows like a shrub. Different stocks grow together to form the trunk.

Myrtle grove located near our Coos Bay, Oregon location

Minerals drawn up from the soil color the wood. The conditions experienced by the tree during growth causes many grain patterns to appear in myrtle: burls, tiger-stripe, fiddle-back, quilt and flame grain. Myrtlewood’s color ranges from golden hues to velvet black with warm brown, yellows, greens and reds, from ebony to a rich maple color. You can literally see Oregon coastal history within each finished drum.

Common Methods of Snare Drum Shell Construction Explained

Picture of plywood shell bearing edge Ply ('Veneered')

The majority of acoustic snare drum shells are built from a process similar to that of making plywood. Thin plies of various woods are held together with fillers and glue. Heat and compression molding techniques are used to produce these plywood cylinders. Often, only the inner and outer-most plies of these shells are made of a quality hardwood. This can result in portions of the bearing edge consisting of glue, filler or a gap in the wood ply altogether. (Gaps of air don't resonate very well.) Even with plies or an outer veneer of an exotic wood, the shell still consists of thousands of square inches of glue. No ply models are offered in the Myrtlewood Series.

Picture of segment shell bearing edge Segment ('Stacked Segment')

Some midrange acoustic snare drums are built in a ‘segmented’ manner. The shell walls on these drums are built from stacked rings of wood segments. This type of construction creates a sturdy shell once it is glued together and turned into a cylinder on a lathe. This method improves the quality of contact with the drum head as there are few glue joints touching it. That said, since each shell is built from a number of these segmented rings (essentially stacked staves), there is still a considerable amount of glue content. The method is similar enough to the concept of stave construction that we phased them out of the Myrtlewood Series in late 2004.

Picture of stave shell bearing edge Stave ('Block', 'Solid Stave') Hear an MP3 of a 5x14 Myrtlewood Series Stave

Other premium acoustic snare drums are sometimes built in a ‘staved’ manner. These higher quality drums are made in a method similar to constructing a barrel, where sections of wood are cut at angles allowing a round cylinder to be produced once it is glued together and turned on a lathe. This method greatly improves the quality of wood in contact with the drum head as hundreds of square inches of glue are eliminated from the process. Adhesive is still required to hold the individual 'staves' of the drum shell together, typically in conjunction with a wooden or aluminum 'spline' to reinforce the joint. The resulting drum shell comes alive with the wood species making a tonal contribution not found in a ply shell. We offered a premium line of hand-built Stave Shell Snares in our Myrtlewood Series through 2008.

Picture of steambent shell bearing edge Steambent ('Solid', 'Single-Ply') Hear an MP3 of a 5.5x14 Myrtlewood Series Steambent

Some of the finest acoustic snare drums offered today are built in a ‘steam bent’ or 'single-ply' manner. Some manufacturers incorrectly refer to them as 'solid'. The shell walls on these drums are built from a single plank of lumber, bent into a circle over time with steam and bending jigs. This type of construction creates a sturdy shell once it is glued together at a single scarf joint and turned into a cylinder on a lathe. This shell type utilizes reinforcement rings at each bearing edge, necessary to stabilize the shell. Because of this, they aren't truly a single-ply shell at all. This method greatly improves the quality of contact with the drum head as there is only one glue joint touching it. We find this shell type to be one of the most resonant, truly musical construction methods available. We offered a premium line of hand-built Steambent Shell Snares in our Myrtlewood Series through 2008.

Picture of Oregon Drum's Solid Shell bearing edge Solid ('True Solid')

Oregon Drum's legendary line of Solid Shell Snares were built from a single, precision lathe-turned piece of Oregon grown Myrtlewood. While many in the drum industry continue to use the generic term 'solid' to describe all manner of stave and steambent single-ply drums, Oregon Drum was among a handful of companies around the world to offer a 'true solid'. In the case of the Myrtlewood Series, solid was truly a seamless shell lathed from a round of kiln dried, relaxed wood. In other words, a hollowed out tree trunk. While the erosion of our local Myrtlewood industry and scarcity of this old-growth hardwood forced an end to this line in early 2006, the construction method allowed the wood to freely offer it's contribution to the sound of your drum in a way no other method could.

Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed.

Isaiah 55:13