Yamaha Drums is a subsidiary of the Yamaha Corporation. Yamaha has been building drums since 1967, and builds their drums by hand in Japan. Yamaha drums are also made in Indonesia. The company currently manufactures acoustic and electronic drum kits, as well as other percussion instruments, marching band equipment, and drum hardware. Many professional drummers have endorsement deals with Yamaha Drums.
In 1987, Yamaha acquired the Premier Percussion factory in England, in an attempt to establish the Yamaha name in the tougher European market. Yamaha placed machinery and trained the Premier craftsmen in the "Yamaha-way" of making drums, resulting in Premier producing a large number of Yamaha drums "made in England". In 1992, Yamaha withdrew and sold their stock shares back to Premier.
Yamaha has made many innovations in drum hardware. They were the first to introduce:
- a hide-away cymbal boom stand (a hide-away bass drum mounted boom arm was introduced by Premier in the 1950s),
- locking hi-hat clutch,
- a ball-joint tom mount with 360 degrees of rotation,
- Yamaha Enhanced Sustain System (YESS).
Yamaha drums are manufactured at two different locations in Asia. Their Osaka Japan factory produces their high-end professional drums, as well as all marching percussion. The research and development of new products also takes place here. Marketing is managed from the Yamaha Corp. headquarters in Hamamatsu, a few hours away.
The massive factory in Indonesia produces all hardware and the entry/budget-line drums. Some 500,000 drums shells are shipped from this factory every year. The Indonesian factory uses the same machinery and techniques in the making of a drum shell, and all craftsmen working there are trained by Japanese craftsmen from the Osaka site.
The only difference between these two plants is that the Osaka plant uses the more exclusive woods (maple, birch and oak); and a produces a larger range of options in sizes and finishes. In addition to the drum production; several smaller sites in Osaka also produce their classical percussion instruments, such as timpani, marimba, xylophone, vibraphone and glockenspiel.
Yamaha’s hardware is engineered and manufactured in the Yamaha motorcycle factory. For these reasons Yamaha drum hardware has been the standard for backline and cartage companies all over the world for decades.
Beginner and Semi-professional Lines
- Yamaha Tour Custom — Originally introduced in the early 80's, consisted of a mahogany/ birch blend for a deeper fundamental tone. The line was re-introduced in 2006. As a new series of affordable pro/semi-pro drum kits featuring 100% Maple drum shells. They are finished in high-gloss lacquer with three translucent and one solid finish.
- Yamaha Stage Custom Series — A series of affordable drum kits featuring Birch, Falkata and Philippine Mahogany woods, and the "Yamaha Enhanced Sustain System" (YESS) mounts (see description of Yamaha Maple Custom below). A new line of Stage Custom drums debuted summer 2008.
- Yamaha Stage Custom Advantage Nouveau — Identical in construction to the Stage Custom except that they are equipped with Nouveau-style lugs (see Yamaha Absolute Nouveau series description below). (Jan '08 - Temporarily discontinued until summer '08 when a new Stage Custom line will debut.)
- Yamaha Maple Custom — The elder of Yamaha's Maple drums lines. The company's professed flagship Maple drum kit, featuring 100% Maple wood, and the "Yamaha Enhanced Sustain System" (YESS) which mounts the drum at its nodal point, a technique developed by Noble and Cooley. Maple is perhaps the most widely used wood in drum construction, rivaled only by Birch. Maple is desirable for producing a warm tone, full sustain, and outstanding projection. Toms are 7 plies thick, while the bass drums are 10, making it exceedingly heavy in the opinion of some reviewers. The series is easily recognized by the pairing of square brass lugs and steel hoops, the only of Yamaha's lines to do so.
- Yamaha Recording Custom — The longest-running series Yamaha makes, in production for some 30 years now. A professional series of drum kits which is known as Yamaha's flagship Birch drum kit, featuring 100% Birch wood and YESS mounts. Birch is punchy with a low fundamental tone and short decay. Also features a large, high-mass lug that extends the length of the shell. The series features a small, rectangular badge with rounded corners.
- Yamaha Absolute Series — Founded on the idea of creating a Maple and Birch hybrid kit (such as a Maple bass drum with Birch toms), the Absolute series debuted in the late 1990s offering a full Maple and Birch line with six identical finishes and low-mass, teardrop-shaped lugs. The series has now grown to 30 colors and finishes.
- Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute — One of two series of drum kits designed for the Absolute series of the late 1990s. The shells are 100% Maple wood and include YESS mounts. There are two major revisions from the original Maple Custom line. First, the hoops and the lugs have a consistent appearance (early MCA kits featured brass badges, while today's are chrome in line with the rest of the kit). Second, the shells are thinner (MCA bass drums are 7 plies opposed to the Maple Custom's 10, and MCA toms are 6 plies versus the Maple Custom's 7). With all other factors equal, a thinner shell will resonate longer. However, the thicker shell will have greater projection, volume, and structural integrity. Many custom drum companies install a reinforcement hoop inside shells thinner than 6 plies.
- Yamaha Birch Custom Absolute — Identical in finish and construction to the MCA, with the exception of using Birch instead of Maple. Birch tends to have a more focused tone and higher pitch. It differs from the Recording Custom in its use of smaller mass lugs, which do not constrict the drum's resonance.
- Yamaha Beech Custom Absolute — After the success of the MCA and BCA lines, Yamaha revamped its Beech custom line to similar specifications. Like the MCA and BCA, 30+ colors and finishes are available, and the drums come standard with YESS mounts and low mass lugs. Beech has a low fundamental like Birch, but has the projection of Maple.
- Yamaha Absolute Nouveau Series — The offspring of the original Maple and Birch Custom Absolute series, the Nouveau designation signals a change in lug design, which for the Nouveau line does not require the removal of the tension rods in order to separate the head from the shell. Although first introduced in the Absolute Nouveau series, Yamaha has incorporated the design into its semi-professional offerings, creating the Stage Custom Nouveau. Yamaha offers the new lug design on all of its professional Absolute series, which are denoted ** Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute Nouveau, ** Yamaha Birch Custom Absolute Nouveau, and ** Yamaha Beech Custom Absolute Nouveau.
- Yamaha Oak Custom — Yamaha has not only recently experimented with Beech wood, but Oak as well. The Oak custom line is not considered to be part of the Absolute series, and offers a narrower range of color and finish options (4), as well as shell sizes. Crafted from 100% Oak wood and equipped with YESS mounts, Oak is loud, powerful, and carries plenty of attack. They are less expensive than the Absolute series counterparts, but are more costly than either the Rydeen or Stage Custom lines.
Signature Drum Lines
- Yamaha Hipgig Portable Drumsets — A series of compact portable drum kits with a variety of different configurations and finishes.
- Rick Marotta Signature Hipgig — The original series of compact portable drum kits which comes in a Cherry Wood lacquered finish and a White Marine Pearl wrap finish. They feature Birch, and Philippine Mahogany wood shells.
- Al Foster Signature Hipgig — A larger version of the original Hipgig drum kit which features a special "Jaguar" finish as well as White Marine Pearl and Gold Marine Pearl wrap finishes. They feature Birch, and Philippine Mahogany wood shells.
- Manu Katche Signature Junior Hipgig — A smaller version of the original Hipgig drum kit featuring new Black and Silver lacquer finishes. The feature 100% Philippine Mahogany wood shells.
- Steve Jordan Cocktail Hipgig — A cocktail drum kit which features a standard cocktail snare, a secondary 8" snare drum as an option, a tom drum as an option and the choice of two sparkle finishes. They feature Birch, and Philippine Mahogany wood shells.
- Yamaha DTXPLORER DTXPL — A beginner 9-piece electronic percussion system.
- Yamaha DTXPRESS IV Standard Set - The Standard Set is compact but covers all the basics with 3-zone snare and hi-hat pads and 3-zone round cymbal pads.
- Yamaha DTXPRESS IV Special Set - This set includes round cymbal pads, a snare pad with pad controller, real hi-hat pad, hi-hat stand, RS85 rack system, and more.
- Both of the new DTXPRESS kits use the new DTXP4 Trigger Module
- Yamaha Rydeen — A series of beginner drum kits featuring 100% Philippine Mahogany wood, and five colors and finishes.
- Yamaha Custom — A custom series of drum kits featuring either 100% Maple or Birch wood, a variety of colors and finishes, and the "Yamaha Enhanced Sustain System" (YESS).
- Yamaha Club Custom — A professional series of drum kits featuring Birch and Mahogany wood.
- Yamaha Beech Custom — A series of drum kits featuring 100% Beech wood, and the "Yamaha Enhanced Sustain System" (YESS).
- Yamaha Stage Custom Standard — A series of semi-professional, affordable drum kits featuring Birch and Philippine Mahogany wood, and the "Yamaha Enhanced Sustain System" (YESS).
- Yamaha Stage Custom Advantage — A series of affordable drum kits featuring Birch, Falkata and Philippine Mahogany woods, various colors and finishes, and the "Yamaha Enhanced Sustain System" (YESS).
Yamaha YD (Yamaha Debut) Series - 9-ply Philippine Mahogany shells, Air-Seal System shell, Matching inlay on wood bass drum hoop, New springless design lug casing, Professional BD spurs and tom mount "Yamaha Enhanced Sustain System" (YESS)
- Yamaha DTXTREME IIS — An 11-piece electronic percussion system using the DXT2SU drum controller.
- Yamaha DTXPRESS III — An affordable 9-piece electronic percussion system.
- Yamaha DTXPRESS III Special — An affordable 9-piece electronic percussion system, comes with additional hardware.
- Yamaha DTXPRESS II — An affordable 9-piece electronic percussion system.
- Yamaha DTXTREME DSXT10 — A top-of-the-line 10-piece electronic percussion system.
- Yamaha DTXTREME DSXT11 — A top-of-the-line 11-piece electronic percussion system.
- Yamaha DS9 — A 9-piece electronic percussion system using the DTX drum controller.
- Yamaha DS10 — A 10-piece electronic percussion system using the DTX drum controller.
- Yamaha DS11 — An 11-piece electronic percussion system using the DTX2U drum controller.
Taken directly from the Yamaha Drums website.
- Yamaha has been creating handcrafted drums since 1967.
- Yamaha's high end drums are made by the hands of 60 craftsmen in a small factory in Japan.
- Yamaha drum hardware is engineered and manufactured in the Yamaha motorcycle factory.
- Yamaha makes its own shells by hand, utilizing its exclusive Air-Seal System with staggered, diagonal seams for greater durability and strength.
- Yamaha is the only drum company that offers 4 different 100% wood shell kits: Maple, Birch, Beech, and Oak.
- Yamaha craftsmen were the first to utilize the same lacquering and buffing techniques made famous on its world renowned pianos.
- Yamaha was the first in system hardware innovation, creating interchangeable pipe diameters to provide maximum flexibility in hardware set-up.
- Each aspiring drum maker studies 3 years as an apprentice before being given the title as an official Yamaha Drums craftsman.
- Yamaha Drums are some of the most requested drums worldwide for touring, festivals and cartage needs.