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Mapex Drums Review

Mapex Drums Review

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This is not a full review, just a "second date" review. I   am doing a master class May 4th at Guitar Works in  Indianapolis for Denny Dixon's 120 students and a clinic open to the public and will be playing Mapex. How  about that for eating a little crow ? (Boy, there's no meat on those crow legs!).


I hadn't touched a Mapex drum in probably five years and was asked by Josh Touchton of Mapex, Artist relations and National Accounts manager, to give their products a fair shake, since I had basically been calling them the lowest of the low. I went by the Nashville headquarters and received a warm welcome from  Josh and also from John Rush, an old friend of mine who I was pleasantly surprised to find working there.  Josh explained to me how the company has developed over the last decade from a purely entry level  manufacturer to the stature of a full line  professional quality manufacturer. The instruments that I heard are proof of this.

Josh pulled out raw shells and 10" drums of all their lines to demonstrate the quality of their sound. The finishes were beautiful especially the gold fade. Starting with the least expensive drums;    

The Pro M, M , and V shells are shells that use either basswood or combinations of basswood and maple. I  like the sound of Basswood and am enthused to see that their entry level and semi-pro offerings are  incorporating this better sounding and better looking wood than  Philippine mahogany (lauan?). There is a Pro M micro set (short toms) at Fork's that has a whomping bass drum sound and has received the nod from all the locals here.

 The Saturn Pro Series occupies the middle ground with a thin shell that is made from alternating plies of  maple and basswood. Very resonant.

 the Orion Classic and Orion Birdseye Maple are the 6 ply maple top of the line models (7 ply with the  additional birdseye maple veneer). Again a well made resonant shell with perfect bearing edges.

It was nice to see that 18" bass drums were offered in all the lines.    

 I also played three Black Panther snare drums at Fork's that more than surpassed my expectations of a professional drum. I'll spend more time with these and other Mapex snare drums and give my reviews after some practical experience with them. I especially liked the prototype cast iron drum at the Mapex office;  should rival the concrete drum. :-)

There are some other innovations that appealed to me since they seemed to be based on solid engineering  that affects the end sound; Floor tom and hanging tom ITS mounts, bass drum spurs and tom mount that are integral with the lugs, not the shell; the floor tom legs are spring loaded; nice rubber cymbal "felts" that  protect cymbals, low mass lugs.

I also got to check out one of the Janus Transmission hi hat double bass pedal systems (left pedal operates  either hat or left bd. beater via a shifting derailleur system). Nice. I want it.   

I didn't have time to check out a lot of hardware but did see enough to know that the problems I had noticed years before have been addressed and improved. Mainly in the "rattle" department and adjustability areas. All of the stands, pedals and mounting hardware are not only state of the art, they are actually cutting edge, new  path blazing stuff, like the triple mount stand.   

My opinion of the Mapex sound was based on experience with drums six and seven years ago before all  these drastic improvements were implemented. I am thoroughly impressed with the sound of these drums.  I'm glad they dropped the long tube lug design and went with the low mass lug.    


Mapex Drums ReviewGeorge Lawrence, Nashville TN       

Drumset artist, teacher, author

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