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Bone Custom Drumers

Mineral Maple Drumset

A strong visual aesthetic with the tones to back it up.

Although most North American drummers are likely not too familiar with Slovenia’s Bone Custom Drums, the company has been making high-end specialty instruments that marry striking design with world-class sound since 2005. Punk legend Marky Ramone even signed on to have a signature snare built for him, which is a 6.5×14, 20-ply maple drum with a black glitter finish and pink/black powder-coated tube lugs. Our curiosity about Bone was piqued at Winter NAMM 2015, where the company displayed some unique-looking drums, including the six-piece Mineral Maple setup we have for review. Let’s take a look!

Every Little Detail

Bone builds fully customizable drumsets, but a few things are consistent across most of its offerings. These include tube lugs (either mini or full-size versions), Trick GS007 three-position throw-offs, 2.3 mm triple-flange steel hoops, and Evans-made drumheads.

The Mineral Maple kit we received for review comprises an 18.5×22, 10-ply bass drum with matching hoops (the front hoop is twice as wide as the batter hoop); 7×10 and 8×12 rack toms, both 7-ply; 15×14 and 16×16 floor toms, also 7-ply; and an 8×14, 7-ply snare that has a center ply of wenge. All of the drums feature brass hardware, rectangular wood badges, and chunky 1.25″ black aluminum vent-hole covers. The rack toms feature Gauger RIMS suspension mounts in a gold-colored alloy, and the snare has a set of PureSound’s wide thirty-strand wires.

The bearing edges are meticulously cut to 45 degrees, with a slightly rounded back cut. The lugs, spurs, floor tom leg brackets, hoop claws, and tension rods are insulated with plastic gaskets to minimize metal-to-metal and metal-to-wood contact, and the bass drum batter-side hoop comes with a plastic protector installed to keep the pedal from chewing away at the wood.

Drumheads include clear-G2-type batters and clear-G1-type bottoms on the toms and a pre-muffled EQ3-style system on the bass drum (clear 2-ply batter with two muffling rings—one permanent and one removable—and a black single-ply front head with a permanent muffling ring and a 4″ port). The snare has a double-ply coated batter with a 1″ muffling ring and a thin, clear resonant head.

Clean, Powerful, and Precise

While the rich appearance of these drums is enough to garner serious attention from players on the lookout for something distinctive, the kit also proved to boast strong, cutting contemporary tones and a wide tuning range. None of the drums, including the kick, required muffling to focus the sound and tamp down overtones; that’s a testament to the quality of the shells, which Bone makes itself, the precision of the bearing edges, and the strategic choice of heads.

Very rarely do I forgo muffling inside the bass drum, even if it’s just a small towel to break up the reflections of the sound waves, but this kick sounded powerful and punchy right away, with minimal rumble, and it recorded very well with the batter head tuned medium-low and the front head tuned medium.

The 8×14 snare was very responsive, thanks to the wide wires and clean edges, and the pre-muffled batter head focused the tone just enough to warm up the sustain while retaining an overall open character. The drum could be tuned high and tight, low and loose, or anywhere in between, with great results. In a blindfold test, I doubt anyone would guess that the shell is 8″ deep.

We tested the toms at high, medium, and low tunings, and they were right at home at each. The high tuning was reminiscent of the bright, cutting, and snappy sound heard on classic ’70s fusion records featuring Billy Cobham and Simon Phillips, while the medium tuning was a bit fuller but had just as much presence, making it great for all-around applications. The low tuning produced my favorite sounds, which were consistently clear, fat, and punchy, allowing me to articulate intricate modern-rock tribal beats that were perfectly balanced, from the satisfyingly clean tone of the 10″ rack tom all the way down to the clicky thump of the kick.

Michael Dawson