Guru Drumworks, a drums manufacturer from the UK is slowly starting to build a name for themselves with their line of products. They will be at the London Drum Show this coming weekend. We had a chat with the founder of this venture, Dean Price and here’s what he had to say:
ID – Hey Dean! How are you? What’s been happening at the Guru Drumworks camp of late?
Dean - Hi Sumanth, I’m very well thanks, Along with being busy with our regular solid shell production of steambent stave and segmented shell work, we have been preparing for the London drum show this coming weekend, and working on a few very exciting product innovations which are coming together very nicely!
Dean - I started around 8 years ago. I have always worked in cabinetry, and have played drums since my school days, but never put the two together until a friend showed me a Brady block shell snare and challenged me to make one. After I had made him and myself one, and word got around, I was receiving orders from a lot of local drummers, and decided to put a name to them….Guru.
ID – How many people work with you? When is comes to quality control, do you inspect all the parts made yourself?
Dean - Guru Drumworks is a 2 man company with me (Dean) working in the workshop, and Andrew Crosby who takes care of sales, marketing, & co-designing our new innovations, although when we have busy spells, I have help from a fellow carpenter in the workshop.
ID – Did you learn the art of building kits from someone initially?
Dean - Already having good wood working skills and knowledge, I found myself looking at lots of other kits and snares to find out what made them sound so good, or not so good, and studied the physics and acoustic qualities of different timber species. I also had a lot of trial and error with different constructions to define the products we offer today.
ID – How much knowledge about wood is needed to building parts of a kit?
Dean - It really depends on the specification of kit you are trying to make. If you are intending to buy all parts and shells, and just assemble a kit yourself, you can get by with moderate woodworking skills. Things get much harder when building shells comes into it.
ID – When you receive orders for kits with custom specifications, how hard is the process to go about selecting the wood to getting it all finished?
Dean - The wood selection process is easily underestimated when producing solid shells. There are lots of factors to keep in mind before the timber is even cut. Understanding how the wood will react and age, is an art in itself, as each board and species behave differently.
ID – Coming to wood hoops, can you give us an idea about the steam bending process of wood hoops?
Dean - The process can get a bit technical, but understanding the woods structure and how it will react is the key to successful bending of any wood, as each species reacts differently. I have a set 8 stage process. All our steambent products go through these process steps, but each stage can vary depending on the species of wood and how it performs.
ID - Could you give us an idea of what Guru are innovating at the moment?
Dean - We are currently working on a few products, but we are about to show our first prototype kit at the London drum show. It’s a new design of drum that offers highly resonant super thin stave shells (3mm).
They’re free floating, and have no fixtures or fittings attached to the shell.
ID – When it comes to getting the sound in the studio, do you have any tips for drummers on what shells or wood would give the better sound?
Dean - We find each player has their own idea of an ideal sound, but the best sound must start with the best source. Stave & steam bent shells help produce a very clear fundamental tone that features the character of the wood species. Our prototype kit is specifically designed to produce a good “near field” sound. This is especially important in close mic-ing applications, as the microphone “hears” a totally different sound to the human ear at a distance.
ID – What’s in store for you guys at Guru in the near future?
Dean - Well, we have a busy schedule so far with orders and drum shows, but we are working towards a production kit of our new design super thin shelled kit. We hope to have some news to share on that mid next year.
Thanks a lot for doing this interview Dean! We wish you folks at Guru Drumworks the very best!
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