Bone Custom


Bone Custom

Essence Series Drumset

by Michael Dawson

Bone Custom has been handcrafting drums in Slovenia since 2005. This year it launched the Essence series, which is designed to be more affordable without sacrificing the high-end quality and bold look that Bone employs on its custom-shop kits.

Our review kit’s shells are maple (9-ply kick and 7-ply toms) and it came in contemporary sizes: 7×10 and 8×12 rack toms, a 16×16 floor tom, and an 18×22 bass drum. The outer veneer is a natural-finish bird’s-eye maple that features cool dark spots and stripes in the grain.

The hardware includes chrome beavertail lugs, 2.3 mm triple-flange steel hoops, heavy-duty spurs and floor tom legs, die-cast bass drum claws with rubber gaskets, and chunky 1.25″ black-coated-aluminum air vents. The toms are suspended on Gauger RIMS mounts, and the bass drum has an extra-deep front hoop.

The drums are outfitted with Evans-made/Bone-branded drumheads. The toms have clear 2-ply batters and clear single-ply bottoms. The bass drum has an EQ3-type batter (2-ply with removable muffling ring) and a single-ply coated front with a 6″ port and plastic porthole protector.

The bearing edges are shaped very precisely and feature a slight round-over back cut so that more drumhead makes contact with the shell for a bigger, fatter tone. The drums tuned up very easily, and they sounded most at home when tensioned just above the wrinkle point. That setting produced big, powerful, contemporary-sounding tom tones with sizeable yet controllable sustain and punchy attack. Bone also offers its own stick-on muffling pads, called Candy, which are 1″ circles. It wasn’t necessary to dampen the toms to tame overtones, but one pad applied to the batter side was all that was needed to make them more focused and record-ready.

The 18×22 kick also preferred lower tunings. With both heads just above the wrinkle point, and without additional muffling, the bass drum produced a chest-thumping punch with a snappy attack and nice, rumbling sustain. Again, a little dampening goes a long way, so it only took tossing a towel or an Evans EQ pad inside the drum to shorten the sustain and get a tighter tone. One word of caution: the extra-wide front hoop makes the already-deep kick a bit larger than some standard-size cases will accommodate. But from a purely sonic- and craftsmanship-perspective, Bone has made no compromises with the Essence series.

Shells: maple with bird’s-eye maple veneer
Sizes: 7×10, 8×12, 16×16 toms, and 18×22 bass drum
Heads: Evans Clear G2 tom batters and G1 bottoms, Clear EQ3 kick batter and coated single-ply front with 6″ port
Price: $2,980