Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Music & Performing Arts

First Advisor

Lanier Sammons


This paper will examine a variety of ways that drum makers approach their craft by comparing the processes of distinct forms of drum construction as well as the philosophies and aspirations of these artists. This dissertation will review the various choices of drum makers by: (1) providing a brief history of the drum set, (2) comparing the processes of manufacturers, both prominent and independent, and (3) narrating a firsthand project of making a drum with an independent drum builder while incorporating a handmade drum into original compositions and recordings. The paper will also explain the creative decisions of drum makers and how they have reflected the needs of artists throughout history. The motivation that underlies the various techniques will be discussed: that all drum builders are driven by a desire to provide instruments that are musical, extraordinary, unique, and, above all, true works of art. Uncommon approaches to making drums will also be presented to illustrate the diverse range of approaches that assorted drum manufacturers take. Finally, an analysis of the styles and environments that the drummer can perform in will be presented. The needs of the performer inform the construction of the drum and it is up to the drum builder to understand these requirements before the building process begins.