Carolina Drums: Drummaking At The Edge Of Magic

Carolina Drumworks

Beautiful inlay work by Jeff Hankin.

Inspired by Mickey Hart's book, Drumming at the Edge of Magic: A Journey into the Spirit of Percussion , Jeff Hankin decided to build himself a snare drum. One taste of the custom drum making juice, and he was hooked. "I found it was a new way to apply things I had learned from all those years of playing kits, concert drums, even timpani and mallets, as well as instrument voicing in composing, arranging and early electronic music," he says.

It was about five years ago, when Hankin was reaching his 50-year mark as a player that he established Carolina Drumworks. He knew after the first drum he built that he would be making many more than he could, or should, own. This, of course, stems from where he starts the building process — with a drum that he would want to play. He embraces his selfishness in this way, and won't build anything that he doesn't wholeheartedly believe in. "I try to plan a drum so that all of the design factors are working in the same direction, toward the same sound and performance qualities," Hankin explains. "There are several dozen small details on a drum that can either contribute to the way the instrument performs or interfere with it." Controlling these details is what Hankin says is the difference between making an "okay" drum and "great" drum.

At Carolina Drums, each instrument is an individual project, with specific goals, and must be treated as such. Hankin does not spray-finish or use computer-controlled tools during the drum making process. Drums are produced in high gloss, clear finishes and various methods are used to get custom-blended colors. Lugs are finished in chrome, nickel, brass, and occa sionally 24k gold. "I'd rather make a limited number of drums that I've spent time with, had my own hands and eyes on, than hundreds that I've barely seen in person," Hankin admits. "This is really a labor of love."

Carolina Drums produces two lines of snares — The Gold Series, which range from $600-$1500, and The Silver Series, which run from about $400-$600.

Contact: carolinadrumworks.com.

Carolina Drumworks

Maple snare.

Carolina Drumworks

Birdseye maple.

Carolina Drumworks

Rosewood offers a substantial low-end and makes a beautiful drum.

Carolina Drumworks

This Canarywood three-piece is immaculate.