By Phil Hood
Doc Sweeney is a San Diego-based drum company that has quickly developed a reputation for artistic one-off drum designs using proprietary building techniques. Founder Steve Stecher (pictured behind one of his kits) is the face of the company and its master builder. We dropped by in May to see some of his creations in person.
Doc Sweeney drums are all stave or steam bent (solid-shell) drums. Minimizing glue and laminate layups has traditionally been a way to bring out the natural sound of the tone woods involved in drum making. What sets Doc apart is that, to date, no two drums that it has produced have been the same. Each model is a one-of-a-kind based on the availability of particular exotic woods and the preferences of the builder and customers. Stecher says that may change in the future as the company plans to offer some limited-edition series.
One of the advantages of this approach is that the wood available to Doc Sweeney drums is virtually unlimited. A larger company needs to source enough wood from a tree or supplier to make a line of hundreds of identical models. By comparison, Stecher can buy a single exotic board, knowing there will only be one snare or kit made from it.
The company’s drums are typically finished with hand-rubbed oil. However, Stecher also uses dyes and other coloring techniques to highlight natural wood patterns, producing drums that work as musical or visual art.
Enjoy Drum Magazine’s quick, exclusive visual tour through some of Doc Sweeney’s creations:
For more information, visit Doc Sweeney online at docsweeneydrums.com.