The bearing edge is the surface where a drum shell meets a drum head. How and where these surfaces meet can determine most of a drums sound, response, and flexibility. Bearing edges are the single most important factor in a drum. They're responsible for tuning range, stability and intonation, as well as feel. Regardless of shell type, suspension systems or any other upgrades, a proper edge will have the largest influence on the over all tuning ability, sustain, overtones, stick rebound and even head life. With over fifteen years of re-shaping edges I've learned one main lesson. The largest difference between good drums and bad...are the edges. Not the price or brand.
Poorly shaped edges come with many frustrations. Most of these problems are buzzes at low tuning, uncontrollable over-tones in the high register, a flat stick response and regular detuning. Not to mention the classic cries, "I can't get this drum to tune!" and "I don't know how to tune". We offer an alternative to the gels, gaff tape and heavy drum heads while adding a larger tuning range and clearer tone. Most importantly, proper edges give you control and range over the function and capabilities of your kit. This control and flexibility means you can find or create YOUR sound.
Vintage edge service - Many companies that are known for a certain sound, have become known due in large part to their edge types. Over the years these edges have changed because of new ownership and designers, changes in manufacturing tools and locations, and many other reasons. Some brands have even gone through three or four edge profiles. For example, Gretsch used a fully rounded edge to create that "Great Gretsch sound", and then moved to a sharp 30 degree cut. Camco and early DW edges were rounded on the outside and they also moved to a sharp edge. These drums can be restored to the original manufacturer designs and returned to what made them sought after legends. With years of research I've developed era specific bearing edge reproductions. In the case of Ludwig and Slingerland, we had to make special bits to reproduce tooling that is no longer used. This dedication to detail and history has made Kirsch Drums the trusted choice for restoring vintage drums or returning modern drums to the makers original sound concept. We can also restore drums that have been modified, back to the original manufactures edge. The vintage service also includes restructuring of reinforcement hoops, shell gaps, cracks and dry-rot
Do I need edges?
If you've had problems with wild over-tones, buzzes or wrinkles in the heads or an inability to tune low, you're likely in need of new edges.
Like a guitar, piano, violin, or any other acoustic instrument, drums need an adjustment to get the most out of them. Even fresh from the factory, nearly all production drums can benefit from an edging. Many guitar players will have a set-up done, right out of the box, even on the highest end model. While a guitar with a bent neck is almost useless, a drum will still produce... something usable ...so many drummers don't realize how much potential is missed. Folks who struggle with tuning and tone, don't realize the instrument is simply not tunable.
If you wanna nerd out about edges, read more below...
Ok so that's the work stuff. Let's get back to drums and some questions I've gotten...
"So, whats your beef with the single 45 edges?"
They're nearly worthless. Especially on the looser tuning toms and kicks. Although it has become the industry standard, it's a terribly flawed design in my book. The majors flaws...
The first is that this edge creates too much outside diameter for all drum head brands and causes the head and shell to fight each other. Any nicely tuned note that can be achieved, won't last long as playing causes it to rotate out of tune. The second is tuning range. Molded plastic does not want to take any other shape than the mold that made it. Sitting on a sharp point means the rounded head collar needs to be pulled to a crease to reach it's first note. This molded area holds a lot of tension. By the time the crease is formed, lower notes are already passed. A rounded edge supports the collar and directs the tension in a tightening and loosening rotation. That's why they're called bearing edges. Like a bearing in a wheel or the cam on your kick pedal...Roll tight and roll loose.
Then there's shell tone. The shell cannot produce it's fundamental tone if energy isn't sent into the shell from the head. The two need to transfer vibrational energy to get the best of both. A sharp contact point will only produce the sound of head, in a tympanic way. There is also the problem of the rounded collar of the head, being in the playing surface. This molded area actually holds a spring tension. Like the rubber surround on a speaker cone. The area of the head thats struck is disconnected from the drum and floating suspended on the tension, leading to multiple simultaneous overtones and a dead stick rebound. Which brings us to another aspect that's rarely mentioned in the drum world (as it is in other instruments) is touch and feel. Do the sticks feel good in your hands? Can you feel the drum reacting to you and your dynamic? A better touch response is another way of getting "your sound". The single 45 is boxy and painful.
(The only exception are German Sonor and British Premier drums which are metric and under sized, putting the edge peak inside the rounded collar at the playing surface. These drums use sharp edges quite well.)
Due to the minimal labor, skill and time required, this edge has become very popular with most manufactures. In my personal opinion this cheaper, faster and easier to produce edge is the worst thing to happen to drums since mass production began. It's a shortcut to production and a shortcut to thinking. This might get long but let me give you an example...
Leo Fender built beautifully crafted, playing and feeling guitars. He and his team built the company through an attention to detail while still making larger numbers. Necks and intonation set by a loving employee. Nuts and frets dressed. Ready to go. These days, the Fender corporation still produces a well made guitar but quickly set up and packaged. Many guitarists know this and drive straight from GC to their Tech. Fender simply cannot detail each guitar and produce enough to keep them competitive. But both fender and the customer are aware and ok with this relationship so they sell guitars that are set up ready. The guitarist shops for potential and knows the fender is gonna be fantastic after a set up.
My point is, the same bean counting, labor saving, efficiency expert types that got Fender to mass production, also got the modern drum industry going. Some of which are owned by the same companies. Once Rock N Roll hit the radio, small craftsmen shops had to learn to produce in a HURRY. Every basement, garage and club in America and abroad was ordering kits. Many companies didn't survive the sudden growth. The highest quality ones failed or were sold. The ones who cut corners (or triangles) survived and by the late 70's, only a few like George Way, really understood how a drum works. And just like the car industry at the time, customers started to get discouraged with the weight, sluggishness and and constant need of tuning. This gave Japan the window to come in and rule it for quality and reliability in the 80's until they also cut the same corners by the late 90's. Much of the drum industry is the same today. Running on an old idea, from the wrong source. People are still using the same display edge (as I call it). Even many of the new custom builders who grew up on that edge, never question it. To me, it's like learning to build guitars by learning from mass production Fenders instead of from what Mr. Fender did. I will say that some brands in the last few years, have gone back to the origin of great edges. Mapex really surprised me with the Soniclear edges although there's nothing "groundbreaking" about installing a classic edge.
Drummers need to know that just like a guitar, your drums are not complete from the factory. And just like any instrument, the quality of the set up is dramatically more important than the brand or price. And once done, you get more of what makes that brand great. Almost every player in the industry gets their gear teched while drummers buy tape. There are thousands of endorsed guitarists who also promote their tech while many endorsed drummers I've done edges for, can't even mention it. It's bizarre. I'm hoping the the edging industry continues to open up and grow because nearly every kit sued and new needs this done. There should be as many edge techs as guitar techs in every city.
I will say that some brands in the last few years, have gone back to the origin of great edges. Mapex really surprised me with the Soniclear edges although there's nothing "groundbreaking" about installing a classic edge. I've had the same drawing of that edge on my board since 01 and I got it inspired by early Rogers and Way edges and the infamous Recording Custom.
Edge Service Price Per Drum
These are individual drum prices and include both sides.
Edging multiple drums saves labor and lowers the over all kit price.
Any modern shell kit average
(non reinforcement ringed)
$80 to $150
Vintage Rogers, Gretsch, Camco
(Jasper and Keller shells)
$120 to $200
Ludwig and Slingerland average around
$150 to $250 in extreme cases
Lead times are between 2 and 4 days depending on condition.
Vintage Ludwig and Slingerland 3ply Drums are between 3 days and 2 weeks depending on condition.
We can set an exact delivery time when we meet.
I wanna be sure you don't miss any shows or rehearsals and can usually work within your schedule.
If your 3ply drums have a lot of dry rot and a repair takes longer then planned, I do offer a free backline of sizes.
Contact us at email@example.com any time for a specific quote or call 503-847-3088 with any questions you may have.
Other Services Available
Shell and hardware repairs - Cleaning and tuning
Custom Refinishing - Wrap removal and installation
Wrap seam repair and polishing- Depth resizing
Installation of mounts, spurs, and floor tom legs
Custom and vintage parts replacement
I know you're thinking you'll probably just do the toms and snare to save money on the kick, but bring it in. It'll get you the volume discount and its the drum that's tuned the lowest and needs it most.