DrumCraft Series 6 Standard: What is it?
There’s a fairly short window for drum fans to remember the name DrumCraft. Originally launched by European distributor, GEWA in 2009, the brand gained wider distribution in 2012, then quietly ceased to be. Until now, that is. In late 2022, German retailer, Thomann, relaunched the DrumCraft name with three ranges. Keeping the same ‘German-design-meets-far-eastern-manufacture’ ethos, alongside recognisable range names organised by Series (6, 4 and 3).
Our review kit is the flagship Series 6 in the Standard configuration: 22”x18” bass drum, 10”x7”, 12”x8” rack toms, a 16”x14” floor tom and a 14”x6.5” matching snare drum. The Series 6 is available in three other configurations: Studio (20”x16”/10”x7”/12”x8”/14”x14”/14”/5.5”); 2up, 2down (22”x18”/10”x7”/12”/8”/14”x12”/16”x14”) and Jazz (18”x14”/12”x8”/14”x14”/14”x5”).
There are six finish options, too, with Satin Black to Vivid Blue Fade, Satin Black to Red Fade, Black to Purple Sparkle, Satin Black, Satin Natural and Scottish White Burst. However DrumCraft recently announced two new limited edition gloss versions of its two gradient/fade finishes, and it’s the Black to Red Fade version that we have here.
While the word 'flagship' might conjure a top-end price tag to match, now would be a good time to note that DrumCraft’s Series 6 is surprisingly affordable, with our five-piece Standard configuration coming in at £999, at the time of writing.
Series 6 drums are made from a combination of maple and walnut, technically making these a ‘hybrid’ shell, and the latter being a wood that we’ve seen come back into favour recently via brands such as Tama and Mapex with the Starclassic Walnut Birch and most recent Saturn, respectively. Each Series 6 shell follows the same construction - 8 plies of wood with four plies of maple sandwiched by two outer plies of walnut on both sides of the drum, with 45-degree bearing edges.
Internally, the walnut is left unfinished but on the external face, the finish is superb. Our Black to Red Fade (although we’d argue that calling it Red to Black would make more sense) catches the light with a classy-looking rich, warm glow as we take it out of the box, a bit like staring at the sun through a glass of Coke.
Meanwhile, the shell hardware offsets the classic vibe by going in an entirely different, space-age direction with a satin chrome finish (only the Black to Purple Sparkle finish deviates from this with black powder-coated hardware).
The tuning lugs follow the same profile as the original DrumCraft drums with the P-shaped, barrelled design meeting the satin finish for a sleek look. The rack toms are mounted via a T-shaped suspension mount connected to two lugs, while the tom holder connects via a 25mm tube, which terminates at a ball-and-socket tilter for plenty of flexibility when positioning.
Overall, the hardware can be summed up as ‘purposeful’ with a precision-machined look, and everything feels smooth and strong when operated.
The drums are fitted with import, single-ply Remo UC heads, which are fine and common fare on new kits of this price, however, we can see people wanting to swap these out, which is another cost to consider either at the time of purchase or down the line.
DrumCraft Series 6 Standard: Performance and verdict
The kit arrived with the drums boxed individually. The bass drum required its heads and tension lugs/claws fitting, but everything else was ready to set up.
Starting with the bass drum, an un-ported resonant head can often require a lot of extra dampening to sound punchy, but in this case, we found it quite easy to get a usable sound without resorting to a pillow. Tuning the reso-head up a little revealed a little tone while keeping the batter head just above finger tight gave us the attack and slap we needed for a decent rock bass drum sound.
With the tension a little higher we opted to muffle the resonant head a bit, just to kill some of the sustain, but with a port hole cut in the front and/or a heavier, pre-muffled batter head, there’s no doubt that this undrilled beast has plenty of low end and projection.
The toms are often the real test for a workhorse kit, largely because they can be the trickiest to tune as a collective set, especially with budget heads. However, we were surprised at just how quickly and easily we were able to get our review kit into a gig-ready state, especially given the budget heads.
10” toms are a favourite for this, and this six-lug drum was a doddle to tune. At lower batter head tensions, we were able to dial in a fat (but still clearly a 10”) rock tom sound with a slight pitch drop. Or, with equal tension between the heads, it was nice and easy to get a pure note from the drum with plenty of sustain.
We swapped the head for some US Remo models, and that’s where things really start to come alive. Even with an Ambassador, these drums sound full, and that’s enhanced further with a double-ply Emperor.
It’s a similar story with the 12”, which blended nicely with the other two toms, and would serve just as well as the first rack tom in a four-piece setup. It’s beefy and seemed happiest in the lower/medium tuning range.
The floor tom was a slightly less convenient scenario and took longer with the stock heads to get into its sweet spot. After battling a few growls and beach-ball overtones, we got it to a usable place, but if you’re looking for a big, weighty floor tom sound you’ll definitely be reaching for a replacement head. In the meantime, at least one dampening gel helped us to tame some of the abundant overtones.
The snare drum is something of a hidden gem. On the surface, it’s a fairly pedestrian 14”x6.5” wood snare (featuring the same maple/walnut construction as the rest of the drums), but dig a little deeper and there’s a lot of mileage to be had out of it.
The dimensions suggest a ‘low/mid-pitch rock snare’, backed up by the supplied CS Dot-style coated head, and it certainly does that well.
Tuned low, it’s got a chunky, weighty backbeat to it, and muffled down a bit it can certainly cover you for those classic rock/blues snare sounds. But played slightly tighter with an open sound, it delivers a great combination of stick response and overtone that will work for playing funk and jazz too.
It’s responsive to ghost notes, and unleashing a rimshot gives some extra power without the ear-splitting attack of some metal-shelled drums. We had a lot of fun cranking the top head a bit too, again the maple/mahogany shell offsetting the bright snap of the tuning with some warmth that would make this usable in situations where you don’t want to or simply can’t be playing at extreme volumes.
The throw-off is smooth, and the snare strainer allowed for a nice range of tensions to complement our head tuning. Considering the snare is available on its own for around £150, it’s an extremely solid drum that we think people might choose to hold on to if the time comes to change kits.
DrumCraft has pitched its most expensive kit in the most violent of battlegrounds. A quick look at what you can get for around £1000 reveals some heavyweight, established options including the likes of the Yamaha Stage Custom, Pearl Export, Sonor AQ1 and Tama’s Superstar Classic.
Can it compete? There’s no disputing that it’s a strong contender in the price bracket - the sounds are high quality, modern and absolutely gig-worthy across a range of styles. Meanwhile, the hardware is strong and the design is more thoughtful rather than a re-badged version of another brand (although we’d like to see a standard chrome option available for the shell hardware).
MusicRadar verdict: The challenge DrumCraft will face in its resurrection is clawing players away from the big guns. If that’s you, we think you’ll be rewarded with something that’s more than up to the job, while giving you a kit with a little identity of its own.
DrumCraft Series 6 Standard: Hands-on demos
DrumCraft Series 6 Standard: Specifications
- Configuration: Five-piece shell pack
- Shell material: Maple/Walnut
- Sizes: 22”x18”, 10”x7”, 12”x8”, 16”x14”, 14”x6.5” snare
- Hardware: Satin chrome
- Finishes: Gloss Black to Red Fade [pictured] Gloss Black to Vivid Blue Fade, Satin Black to Vivid Blue Fade, Satin Black to Red Fade, Black to Purple Sparkle, Satin Black, Satin Natural and Scottish White Burst
- Options: Multiple configurations and add-on sizes available
- Contact: DrumCraft