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3-Ply and Walnut/Bird’s-Eye Maple Wood Hoops

Superbly built options for achieving drier, warmer drum tones.

The folks at Stellar sent us two pairs of wood hoops to review. Out of the box, the first thing I noticed was the great attention to detail given to the construction. The hoops were very cleanly made, with smooth joints and no gaps or bumps. I found it difficult to even feel where the seams were located.

The first ones I checked out were 14″, 3-ply bird’s-eye maple, with hoop claws, and I put them on a 5×14 mahogany snare. The hoops immediately gave the drum a fuller, richer tone, with a fatter backbeat, thicker-sounding rimshots, and a very sweet, pleasing rimclick sound. They’re extremely light, which reduced the overall weight of the drum, and their hooks added an old-school, vintage look. The hoops caused the tension rods to sit a bit higher than they usually do, so care must be paid in positioning the drum on a stand so that rimshots don’t strike the top of a rod.

The batter-side hoop dented slightly during use, so I wouldn’t put it through a hard-hitting session of endless rimshots. But for a lower-volume situation where finesse is the order of the day, these hoops would be a great choice. They dried up the sound of my drum in a very appealing way, eliminating the need for excessive dampening. I can also see them working well for drying and warming up the tone of toms.

The second set of hoops was thicker and made from walnut and bird’s-eye maple, with holes for the tension rods. I tried them on a 6×14 cherry snare that already had a thick, throaty tone, and they did well to enhance the natural sound of the drum, while also reducing its weight and drying up the overtones. The thicker construction of these hoops meant less marring overall, and I was able to put the top hoop through a night of rimshots with very little visible wear. The drum felt more enjoyable to play with the Stellar hoops installed; it had a satisfying, spongy give, and rimclicks produced a sweet, full “knock.”

The 3-ply Stellar hoops with claws sell for approximately $100, and the bird’s-eye maple/walnut models cost around $200. (Regular all-maple hoops are also offered, for roughly $135.) If you’re looking for well-made wood hoops to change the tone of your existing drums, you’ll find that Stellar deserves your attention.

Nick Amoroso