BY BRAD SCHLUETER
Wouldn’t it be awesome if a quality drum manufacturer would let you design a custom drum kit online with your selection of drum sizes, wood type, finish color, and even hardware color? What if they could deliver it all to you within a month and do it at a surprisingly affordable price? This isn’t too good to be true; this is the new Mapex MyDentity series.
Mapex knows that most drum manufacturers take six months to a year to deliver a custom drum set and they wanted to offer that service with a quick turnaround time and at a very reasonable cost. Most big drum makers manufacture overseas, so once your kit is designed and ordered, it has to be built there and then shipped to the States, adding months to the process.
To speed up the process, Mapex manufactures the drums in the U.S. and has a new website organized to let you design the kit of your dreams on your computer, phone, or tablet and hook you up with a local dealer who can then take your order. More impressive than all this is that these are high-quality, professional drum sets with lots of nice features. If you don’t really know that much about drum gear you can also visit a dealer who can walk you through the process and design the kit along with you.
The MyDentity line also offers flat pricing. So as long as you order a single—bass drum kit the pricing stays the same and is based on the number of pieces you order rather than the options you choose. So a 5-piece kit with a 26″ bass drum will cost the same as one with a 20″ bass drum, and a maple kit costs the same as a birch kit.
Okay, so what’s the catch? The available finishes are all wraps of various types and no painted or lacquered finishes are offered, as these would drastically raise the price and delay the turnaround times.
DESIGNING MY KIT
For the purposes of this review we’re first going to design a kit online to see how easy the site is to use. There are 516,837,888 possible kits and Mapex claims you can design your kit in less than ten minutes. We’ll see about that!
After Googling the site, I was taken to the MyDentity page where you can click a button to begin your “Design A Kit!” odyssey.
I chose a 5-piece configuration and one was displayed for me to begin tweaking. I was able to customize the size of the bass drum to a modern 22″ x 20″ and as I made that alteration the overview of the kit changed to reflect my choice of a slightly deeper bass drum. Neat! Next, I chose the default snare size and altered the mounted tom size to 12″ x 9″, and made other edits to create14″ x 14″ and 16″ x 16″ floor toms. This was all pretty quick and easy.
I realized I’d forgotten to select the wood type I wanted. So I reclicked each drum and selected maple for each drum, though if you’d like a birch snare with maple toms and bass drums, you’re free to mix and match between the two woods available for the line in any combination you’d like.
Next, I needed to select the finish of the drums. I chose a relatively subdued Graphite Gray Ripple, and then chose black hardware to go along with it. There are more than 50 cool wraps available including solid colors, sparkles, satin swirls, some customized camouflage, “illusion” holographic wraps, and even a black wood grain. Lastly, I chose the color/design of the logo bass drum head I wanted from the four available.
If you have an idea of what you want, or what you definitely don’t want, you can probably design a kit in ten minutes. But realistically you’ll want to savor the process of fine-tuning your dream kit.
There are a wide variety of drum sizes available for kicks, toms, and snares. For example, kicks range from a diminutive 18″ x 16″ bebop drum up to a 26″ x 16″ behemoth.
The website allows you to customize the image of your setup in a number of ways. I like to set up with my bass drum slightly angled to the right, almost as though I was sitting behind a double bass kit with the left bass drum removed. The Web tools allow you to move or rotate the bass drum, or any of the drums, however you’d like, which was actually quite cool and will help you visualize everything exactly as you want it. So if you have OCD, you’re free to align all the drumhead logos to the perfect angle.
Beyond these choices, if you want to add pedals, cymbals, etc., to the kit to help visualize it better it’s easy to do so, although these are not added to your order. If you’d like to order hardware rather than just a shell pack, there is a hardware tab at the top with hardware prepacks starting at $199 (MAP).
If you’re not that great with computers, Mapex even has a step-by-step how-to video to walk you through the design process.
This was easy and fun to do and I’m sure a lot of young drummers will be designing and saving their dream kits online.
FEATURES AND DETAILS
These drums have either 7-ply all-maple or 6-ply all-birch shells. Bass drums are 7.2mm thick and the toms and snares are 5.8mm thick. All drums feature 45 degree back-cut bearing edges.
Most of the bass drums have eight lugs (the 24″ and 26″ have ten) and they all have wooden bass drum hoops with matching inlays. The snare and tom rims are 2.3mm Mapex triple-flanged Powerhoops – the same as those used on Mapex’s superb Saturn and Orion lines. Mapex’s ITS mounts are used on the mounted toms though the bass drums are “virgin” (sans mounting bracket), so you’ll hang the mounted toms from your cymbal stands.
Additionally, the snare and toms come outfitted with Remo UX coated single-ply batter heads and the bass drum heads are pre-muffled for both batter and resonant heads, though there is not a ported bass drumhead offered for ease in miking.
As mentioned there are a variety of materials used for the wraps and the hardware is available in nine powder-coated finishes or mirror chrome. My review kits hoops, tom mounting bracket, foldout spurs, lugs, and floor tom legs all had matching black powder coating.
Our kit’s wrap finish (and the black powder coating) was flawlessly applied without any bubbles or defects. The ITS mounts, spurs, floor tom legs, and shell hardware was all professional-caliber gear and operated well.
Most importantly, the review kit sounded very good without a bad-sounding drum in the bunch.
Tuned way low, the bass drum had a very nice attack over a deep and powerful thud with enough resonance to rattle your innards. You could use it tuned this low but it also sounded good tuned a bit higher where the drum’s note became more prominent. The stock heads continued to do a good job of controlling the sustain.
The snare drum has ten lugs and the throw-off is constructed from metal and strong plastic and frankly seems more midline than high-end, but it functioned well. The drum tuned up well and was crisp and responsive with cutting rim-clicks and loud rimshots. With the stock head there was a bit of ring, but nothing objectionable. This is a very nice-sounding snare drum.
The toms sounded good too. They tuned easily and had good attack with a solid low-end. Each drum had equally distributed pitches and good sustain. I’d expect the birch shells would sound similar but perhaps with a little less sustain and low end.
Mapex’s new MyDentity line achieves what it sets out to accomplish. It offers an intuitive website that allows you to quickly design a professional-quality, custom kit with an unrivaled one month turnaround time. Best of all, the drums sound great and you can even feel good about your purchase since they’re all made domestically in Nashville, Tennessee.
Shells 100 percent maple shells with 45 degree bearing edges.
Configuration 22″ x 18″ bass drum, 14″ x 5.5″ snare drum, 12″ x 9″ mounted tom, 14″ x 14″ and 16″ x 16″ floor toms.
Finish Graphite Gray Ripple wrap with black powder coated hardware. Fifty-six wrap finishes with ten hardware choices to choose from.
Features Matching bass drum wood hoops with inlay, 2.3mm Powerhoops, 10-lug snare, ITS tom-mounting bracket, hinged tom clamps, cushioned bass drum claws, and foldout spurs.
List Price: $1,729