This is the third Odery kit this writer has reviewed, working from the entry-level Fluence, through the mid-range Eyedentity and finally arriving at the pinnacle, the Custom Series.
All three series are visibly different from other drums around, and the obvious reason is because Odery is based near Sau Paulo in Brazil. There is a refreshingly different mindset at work here.
Dave Passera, manager of Wembley Drum Centre, Odery's UK importer, explains that with the Custom Series, "You can go to their website and completely customise the kit you want from an online configurator. The lead-time is about three months."
"The Custom line has two basic shell options, 100 percent araucaria or a 50-50 hybrid of teak and araucaria"
Odery's kits certainly stand out from the crowd with a vibe of old-world, traditional craftsmanship about them. They also look different because the wood is unusual. The Custom line has two basic shell options, 100 percent araucaria or a 50-50 hybrid of teak and araucaria. Araucaria is probably new to you, as it is to us. It's an extremely tall evergreen conifer which grows in southern Brazil and the first thing to say is that Odery reassures us that it comes from a sustainable, ecologically approved reforestation source.
Selected plies are glued without applying heat, in formers built by Odery, and left in the moulds for 18 hours to dry. A protective sealer is sprayed inside before the outside is finished. The sticker inside each shell eventually bears six separate signatures, being those of the craftsmen involved in each stage of manufacture.
"The date, the shell manufacture, painting, drilling, assembly - each stage is signed off and the final signature is of the founder, Mr Odery. He inspects every single drum," explains Dave Passera.
"Go to the website, input the serial number and you can check the complete history of each drum, the full spec sheet. So you can, for example, add on matching drums later."
Our review kit is 100 percent araucaria which has an undramatic straight-lined grain finished in a natural to mid-brown Imbuia Fade. Sizes are 8"x7", 10"x8", 12"x9", 16"x14", 22"x18". The 4-ply tom shells are thin at 5mm, but have 2-ply reinforcing rings which inflate the top and bottom edges to 6-ply 7.5mm. Bass drums lack reinforcing rings, so are straight-sided 6-ply, 7.5mm thick. All the drums have cleanly-cut bearing edges which slope up at 45° to an outer peak.
"The most striking thing about the look is the solid block wood tom hoops"
The most striking thing about the look is the solid block wood tom hoops. You can have normal metal hoops (1.6mm or 2.3mm), but Passera says the block hoops are more popular with WDC's customers. Whatever the diameter, each hoop is made up from eight blocks of Brazilian Tigerwood, staggered four-deep (ie: 32 blocks altogether). The tension bolts pass through holes in the hoops with the bolt head sunk out of harm's way. Hoops are colour-matched to the shell, the top ones being lighter than the bottom. And they have 'Odery Handmade Custom Drums' heat-branded into them.
In fact this legend appears all over the kit, including on the badge, which is a large black and silver shield, stuck on a 1/3"-thick black rubber gasket.
The bass drum has normal ply hoops, but rather than conventional claws, the tension rods pass through solid brass housings which are bolted to the wooden hoops. Tension rods have 3mm-thick nylon washers, which protect the hoop and provide a cushioned grip for holding tension.
Choice of finishes is massive. Our kit is Natural Special Waxed in Imbuia Fade, one of 13. But there are also 19 covered wrap finishes, 21 lacquered, and another 24 lacquered with 'radica (exotic wood) ply' and seven sparkle lacquers. And if you really want to splash out, Odery will undertake to apply any custom graphic artwork.
But the finish is not just about the shells. Odery offers a wider choice of hardware options than anyone else. Standard issue is chrome plate "coated with copper, nickel, cobalt, and flash micro-fissure chrome with a final coat of 15 microns".
But get this - you can order from copper, brushed old copper, 24-carat gold, black nickel high gloss, black nickel matt, brushed old bronze, brushed steel, 'aluminium-no-gloss-chrome', brushed brass, black chrome, old silver or satin brass. Our review kit has brushed old bronze and jolly fine it is too.
All the hardware is exclusive to Odery and again the company cuts no corners. Although the small rounded lugs may look familiar, they are Odery's own Vintage design, hewn from solid brass, moulded one-by-one in a CNC machine.
The small tom isolation mount follows the Pearl OptiMount-style of grabbing both top and bottom lugs. It's doubly stable and along with the massive wood hoops contributes to making this a pretty weighty kit.
Once more the Odery logo is attractively etched into the mount. Equally sturdy and isolated, the floor tom legs are positioned well away from the shell via a bridged bracket on two outsized rubber blocks. The knurled legs have large rubber feet with holes to reduce the damping effect of the floor. And the memory lock is shaped to slot into the bottom of the stylishly curvy clamp.
Araucaria is a new wood to the drum world. We were not able to gig this kit but within the drum store confines the araucaria produced warm tones with controlled harmonics, making this a clean and versatile set. Thin shells are characterised by darker and warmer tones, a more natural woody timbre.
"The hard wood hoops have a distinct warming and softening effect"
The reinforcing-rings only bulk up the edges slightly, but they inevitably sharpen up the response a little. And because everything is well crafted, including the 45° edges, there is no problem tuning for an obviously professional sound.
The hard wood hoops also have a distinct warming and softening effect, a lower pitch, unlike metal hoops which inevitably impart a hint of metallic zing to the resonance. Being so solid they have a sharp clave-like ping if you catch them.
With the toms being classic sizes and not too deep they all have a splendid punch, with a lively bend to the after-note, a versatile rocking sound, perfectly enunciated by the clear Evans G1 batters. And with the stable mounting brackets there is no shortage of sustain. The bass drum does not have the chunky hoops (too thick to mount a bass pedal), but has the same warm and clear timbre, sitting well beneath the toms, so that overall this is undoubtedly a top-notch kit.