This time we’re doing things a bit differently. This will be the biggest DIY Project so far on To take things further from the norm, we’re providing the main content of this article in video form.



Our most ambitious project yet; the DIY Optimized Compact Players Kit will consist of 8 drums; 20″ X 12″ bass, 13″, 14″ & 16″ Floor toms, 8″, 10″ & 12″ Rack toms and a 13″ or 14″ snare. Wait a minute!?!   What’s Compact about that? Well the intention isn’t to always play 8 pieces, but rather have a A La Carte menu to pick from for various scenarios. Mostly it would be brought to gigs as 4 pieces in multiple configurations depending on the task at hand. (Much like the “Holy Grail” kit described in this article)

We’re introducing some new tricks along the way too. One being a new method of artificially “petrifying” the shells to increase hardness and resonance. We’re also planning on making the 13″ convertible Rack/Floor and the 16″ Floor Tom convertible to a Compact Bass Drum. We hope you enjoy following along.

The entire Video Series can also be viewed on our YouTube Channel


DIY Optimized Compact Players Kit

The DIY Optimized Compact Players Kit in a Nut Shell

The starting point for this project are Yamaha’s entry level Rydeen/YD/DP series. The two latter use the exact same Lauan shells but vary slightly in hardware and finishes. The Rydeens have thinner shells. All three sound much better than their entry level pricepoint suggests and have the following positive characteristics:

  • Somewhat easy to obtain
  • Available in various size configurations
  • The Lauan shells should sound like high end drums with our artificial “petrification”
  • Very high quality for the modest cost
  • Practical and high quality hardware

The reason we chose video episodes for this project is that it will incorporate just about every method and process from all the other projects combined. The video format should provide a clear description of how each step is performed.



  • 20″ X 12″ Bass Drum
  • 13″, 14″ & 16″ Floor Toms (13″ convertible to Rack Tom)
  • 8″, 10″ & 12″ Shallow Rack Toms
  • Vintage-style Round-Over Bearing Edges
  • “Artificially Petrified” Lauan Shells

Yamaha’s Indonesian manufactured Lauan shells use some of the highest quality Lauan we’ve seen. With long hard grain like mahogany, but lacking the latter’s density, strength and level of hardness. By “artificially petrifying” the wood, we should be obtaining sound characteristics similar to real mahogany or maple.

Video Episodes


Episode 1

  • Stripping the shells
  • Removing Existing Wrap
  • Removing Vent Grommets


Episode 2

  • Removing Adhesive Residue
  • Cutting Down Shell Depth
  • Drilling New Holes


Episode 3

  • Artificial Petrification


Episode 4

  • Cutting Bearing Edges
  • Cleaning the Hardware


Episode 5

  • Installing the Wrap
  • Manufacturing Isolation Gaskets
  • Installing Lugs, Brackets & Hardware


Episode 6 – Coming Soon

  • Final Assembly
  • Tuning and Tweaking
  • Setup


Episode 7 – Coming Soon

  • Demo and Review


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