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Mark Rhoades: Blog

Mark Rhoades : Modern DrummerHey, everybody, this is Mark Rhoades from the Fold. So honored to be a part of MD! I’d like to take this opportunity to answer questions I get regarding the custom drumkit that I’ve built myself. At the time I didn’t have a major-label budget to buy a brand-new kit from some of my favorite companies, like Tama, C&C, or Truth. But I still wanted a nice custom set. I did my homework and bought all the tools needed to take raw shells and build my own kit—and I did it for almost no cost. Here’s how.

I already owned a Tama Starclassic Birch kit. I loved that kit, but I really wanted to go with a maple set. I love Tama’s Star-Cast hardware and die-cast hoops, so I removed them and sold my birch shells to pay for the new raw maple shells I ordered from Keller. I went with an 8-ply 22×24 kick, 6-ply 9×12 tom, and 6-ply 14×16 floating floor tom.

For the snare drum I started off with the 14″ floor tom shell that I kept from my old kit. I cut it down to 7½”, and with the router I bought I cut a double 45-degree bearing edge on the bottom, leaving the stock bearing edge on top. I wanted to stay with birch on the snare, and I’m glad I did. I get such a great sound out of it. I’ve used it on all the Fold records to date!

As far as tuning, I love tuning my toms low, so I went with a unique bearing edge for the tom and floor: a reverse 45-degree edge. A typical custom kit has a 45-degree bearing edge with the ply that contacts the head on the very outside of the drum. This often makes tuning hard in my experience—it’s difficult to get the heads to sit on the drum nice and even. I cut a reverse 45-degree angle on my toms so that the very inside ply is in contact with the head. This allows the head to sit on the shell nicely, even in very low-tension tunings, making the toms sound huge. A good example of this would be in the intro to the Fold song “Gravity.”

I’m a heavy hitter, and for that reason I cut a double 45-degree bearing edge on the kick. I’m sure I would crack the inner ply of the kick if I used the reverse 45 cut. After the shells were cut and the holes were drilled out, I took a design that my singer, Dan, and I worked on to a local vinyl graphics shop. They were able to wrap the whole kit for only $100. Then I put the hardware from my Tama Starclassic kit back on (after painting), and there it was—a sick-sounding kit that looked pretty sweet as well!

I also noticed my drum tuning skills jumped dramatically. Because this was a kit I built, I thought, They better sound good.

When the Fold isn’t touring the country or recording, we like to have fun in our spare time. A few weeks back we got together and wrote this song/parody and shot a funny video for it. It’s gotten a lot of attention, and I think everyone can laugh at it. You can see it at www.myspace.com/thefold.

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