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collector's series drums
DW is The Original American Custom Drum Company™.

The California Custom Shop is like no other custom drum workshop on Earth. Starting with only select, responsibly harvested woods, a variety of shells configurations are crafted to order. Choose from "Pure" wood shells such as North American Hard Rock Maple, Rotary-Cut Cherry, Heartwood Birch, Red Oak, or Hybrid Shell Collector's Series® options such as Maple & Mahogany and Cherry & Mahogany. Hybrid Poplar & Maple (DW Classics™), Maple & Gumwood (DW Jazz Series™) and Bamboo & Birch (Eco-X Project™) are also available.

Add to that, a wide array of Grain Orientation possibilities that deliver a wider overall tonal range, enhanced low-end punch, and an unmatched selection of custom diameters and depths, to design the ultimate sonically-customized dream kit.

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As the name would suggest, Maple, Birch, Cherry, & Oak shells are crafted from matching plies of one species of wood.


The most popular wood for drum making, maple is a hardwood that produces maximum resonance, projection and attack. Combined with reinforcement hoops, it can produce a more focused sound and is well suited for live and studio applications.

Watch the Pure Maple Shell Animation


Birch has long been a studio favorite. With a brighter fundamental and shorter resonant note, it’s microphone-friendly and another time-tested artist favorite. Heartwood Birch is cut from the center of the log, providing a more "exotic-looking", highly figured appearance.


Rotary cut from hand-selected logs, DW Custom Shop Cherry is a very "musical" wood, which yields distinctive melodic clarity and a warmer tonality than maple. Combined with 2-ply heads, it appeals to drummers that prefer a punchy, round timbre.

► Watch these VIDEOS featuring Pure Cherry shells:
  + Mick Fleetwood's "The Cherry Picked"
  + Pure Cherry Shell Animation


Pure Oak shells are crafted from thicker, 1/32" plies of select Red Oak to create a more robust shell that's perfect for louder playing situations. It packs a full, round punch and is excellent for snare drums of all sizes.

► Watch these VIDEOS featuring Pure Oak shells:
  + The Making of Collector's Series Pure Oak - A Step by Step Factory Tour
  + Pure Oak Shell Animation


Following the footsteps of the much-talked-about Pure Purpleheart snare drums, are a complete line of custom drums made exclusively from this distinct hardwood. Deriving its name for its purple hue, the shells are even more dense than oak and provide ample attack and punch.

A sound unlike traditional drum-making woods, such as maple or birch, Pure Purpleheart drums can be custom ordered with VLT grain orientation in any DW Custom Shop size.

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Santa Monica is the original Collector’s Series all-maple shell configuration. Named after the famed California beach town where Drum Workshop was founded, the shells offer yet another versatile sonic option for drummers, while paying tribute to DW’s near 50 year drum-making legacy.

Hand-crafted from select plies North American Hard Rock maple at the California Custom Shop, the 6-ply shells utilize slightly thicker 1/32” veneers, and are fitted with 6-ply reinforcement hoops offering a resonant, yet focused tonality. Available in all Custom Shop finishes and drum hardware colors.

Santa Monica Butterscotch
Santa Monica Seafoam

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In drum making, a certain wood species is often chosen for its specific make-up, and related tonal characteristics. Combining these veneers can offer a wider range of sonic possibilities and customization. California Custom Shop Hybrid Shells are crafted to do just this—combined with patented manufacturing techniques, proprietary adhesives and years of know-how.


The warmth of mahogany is undeniable. Used in drum making for decades, it provides a dark, mellow tonality that is an excellent choice for a range of musical settings. Available in maple or cherry with an inner and outer ply of select African mahogany, each offers up studio-friendly resonance and musicality.

Watch the complete Maple/Mahogany playlist.

Maple/Spruce Shell SPRUCE HYBRID

Spruce has been a preferred tone wood for acoustic guitar tops for generations. The resonant qualities of this cherished wood species had not been employed in drum making until experimentation began at the Cali Custom Shop. Mixing the soft material with favored drum tone woods such as maple, cherry and mahogany was found to deliver a round, punchy sound that has since toured arenas and graced the world's most celebrated tracking rooms.


Devised to provide the lowest fundamental note across the kit, this unique 9-ply shell with 3-ply reinforcement hoop features a 3-ply Purpleheart wood core with only one long grain veneer. This means the rest of the shell is short grain, thus putting very little tension on the shell and dramatically lowing the overall pitch of the drum. PurpleCore is a drum technology breakthrough that yields maximum low end response designed to compliment today's music.

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The direction of the grain within a shell's composition contributes greatly to its sonic characteristics. This is the basis of DW’s patented grain orientation technology. Both long and short grain veneers have been proven to influence pitch and can be manipulated to create a wider pitch range within a set of drums and boost low-end response.


SSC stands for Specialized Shell Configuration. It's the culmination of more than a decade of DW Custom Shop shell technology and represents the state-of-the-art in sonic customization. So what is SSC? Put simply, it's DW's recommended shell configuration that utilizes HVLT, VLT, X, and VLX shell technologies. Of course, drummers can custom order a custom DW kit anyway they want it, but we've simplified the process by optimizing a particular type of shell for each drum size.

(Horizontal Outside + Vertical Low Timbre)

One of our newest grain orientation technologies, HVLT™ (Horizontal/Vertical Low Timber) is similar to our popular VLT™ (Vertical Low Timbre) shell configuration in that most of the plies within the shell are vertical.  This creates less tension on the shell to provide an overall lower note. The difference with HVLT™ is that the outer ply is horizontal. With more tension on the shell, it offers slightly more low-midrange frequencies.  HVLT™ comes standard on Collector’s Series® Cherry and Design Series™ drums.

333 333
Alterations in grain direction greatly influence sound. In a VLT™ shell, the outermost and innermost plies run vertically, rather than a traditionally horizontal configuration. The vertical grain places less tension on the shell, thus allowing it to vibrate more freely, resulting in a lower fundamental pitch. From VLT technology, 333 was born. This 9-ply VLT evolution also has no reinforcement hoops and produces a lower overall tone while still maintaining maximum resonance and attack. 333™ shells are available only in Collector's Series® Pure Maple.

Patented X Shell™ shell technology began with foray into VLT™, or Vertical Low Timbre™ grain technology. In experimenting with alternate ways to cross laminate a shell, the tension on the shell could be greatly decreased if the majority of plies were run vertically, rather than horizontally. Drum makers have always known that shells must be cross-laminated to maintain a shell's structural integrity, so the idea of designing a completely vertical shell to achieve optimal low frequencies was never an option. It was discovered that if veneers were cut at a 45-degree angle and cross-laminated in an X pattern, both low frequency ranges and shell strength could be accomplished. Available with Pure woods and as part of SSC.

Vertical Low Timbre/Diagonal grain shells are the lowest grain orientation available from the DW Custom Shop. As a result, they are suggested for bass drums and larger floor toms. Of the 8 plies that make up a VLX shell, 6 are diagonal or X and 2 are vertical or short grain. When ordering a factory SSC configuration, all bass drums, 16" & 18" floor toms will be made as VLX.

VLX+ and VLX++, utilizing 3 and 4 vertical plies are also available on any custom Collector's Series® kit.

U.S.A made DW Performance Series™ drums feature HVX™ shell technology. Click here to learn more.

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Choose Shell Type
and Grain Orientation


Collector's Series Size Chart


Lacquer, Oil, FinishPly™
and Graphics...

+features & options

Hardware Color, Tension Rods
Suspension Mounts & More...

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