Shell constructions & timber species - The very foundation of the Guru sound.

Here's just a selection of the wood species available to Guru.  We hand select every board/log, & only source from trusted suppliers, who themselves, personally select timber from the country of origin.

Here at Guru, we only craft our instruments from solid wood.  There's a reason for that decision - the sound!  Crafting high quality solid shell constructions requires the sourcing & selection of high quality timber.  It also requires a high level of skill, & an intimate knowledge of the timber species sonic properties.  Add to that, a significant increase in the time it takes to craft solid shells, compared to multiple ply shells, & it's not a decision taken lightly.  The bottom line is, it costs a lot more money to craft our shells than their multiple ply equivalent, but we know it's worth it.  We craft our kit shells using two primary construction methods, and our snare shells using three primary methods.  The following is a brief resume of the construction method, & the inherent character imparted by each method.



 We take equal size solid sections of machined timber, & arrange them in a circle.  The sections (staves) are machined such that they form an accurate fit with the other staves.  They are then glued & clamped together & placed in a jig to allow the glue to cure.  Once cured, the raw shell is then placed on a machine called a lathe.  This machine gradually removes the inner & outer surplus timber, leaving a finished diameter & thickness.  Lathing is the most accurate way of machining a solid shell.  We often cut bearing edges on a lathe too.  We craft stave shells down to only 5mm thickness, depending on the design of instrument we're creating.




Stave shells are the nearest thing to a hollow log, but much more consistent sonically & constructionally from shell to shell.  Unlike multiple ply shells, the timber structure is unmolested.  The vertical grain efficiently transfers vibrations from the batter head to the resonant head.  This gives a very sensitive resonant head response in snare drums, & imparts a lot of shell tone in all drum sizes.  All solid shells resonate more faithfully to the timber species, & more readily than their multiple ply counterparts, even when constructed with a thicker wall.  Stave shells are inherently full sounding.  Big & rich in tone, they offer a fairly focussed sound, & a punchy voice with few overtones.  Both good projection and control of the fundamental, make them perfect for both live & studio performance.  Easy to dial in, & offering a vast tuning range, they are the ideal choice for the discerning artist in all areas of modern performance.


Steam bent


We take a prepared board and place it in our steam cabinet for a while (depends on size & wood species).  This softens the lignum (a kind of resin that maintains the structural form), & allows us to gently bend the board into a cylinder shape.  The raw shell is then placed in a jig, clamped in position, & allowed to cure in our humidity & temperature controlled curing room.  Curing sometimes takes many months, depending on timber species & shell thickness.  Once cured, the raw shell is lathed to finished dimensions in the same way as a stave shell.  in traditional constructions (as pictured), reinforcement rings are added to maintain the shell's form.  In our Origin series, the reinforcement rings are added externally.

Steam bent solid, or single ply shells as they are sometimes known, are a very traditional way of constructing drums.  This method was mostly superseded by multiple ply shells in the late 50's/early 60's, due mainly to the attractions of cost saving & suitability for mass production.  The steam bent shell offers vastly superior resonance to any multiple ply shell.  It's inherently a very open sounding construction, resonant, & with an extended fundamental.  Drums constructed using steam bent shells typically open up to full tone with very little input, yet, if constructed correctly, can deliver high dynamics without choking.  Most suitable for classic rock, jazz, latin, earth music, & all genre's that require enhanced resonance, low dynamic tone, & a wide tuning range.




 Our segmented snare drums are constructed in a similar way to our stave constructions, but with the grain running horizontally rather than vertically.  Machined solid segments are arranged in a circle, & jointed.  Multiple segment circles are then stacked according to the desired shell depth.  They are then glued, cured, & lathed in the same way as our stave shells.  We make our signature segmented hoops using the same method.  Either single layer, or multiple layer, depending on the application.  Hoops also use finger jointing between the segments for extra strength, & undergo further profile machining to develop that signature Guru hoop form.

Segmented snare shells share the properties of both steam bent & stave shells.  They offer a balanced range of tones, equating to a resonant yet controlled palate that allows each instrument to be used across the widest range of applications.