Rock Drumming System

Drum Review Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute Nouveau Snare

Yamaha Drums have been making quality snares, pedals, and other percussion instruments for many years. Their product line runs from lower end drum hardware all the way to higher end and more expensive drum hardware. With such a wide array of products Yamaha is in to, can they really put enough focus needed into a single drum? With something as important and personal as a snare drum, you as a drummer will not settle for second best. This being said, I went out and purchased a Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute snare drum. Has Yamaha hit the mark with their Maple Custom series snare?

Yamaha Drum

Looks Of The Yamaha Snare Drum

Obviously the first thing anyone looks at with any drum is the looks of the drum itself. Well it does not take a professional to tell you this drum looks nice! I was using the Black Sparkle model; however, the many varieties and finishes they have truly sets them apart from the competition. You can pick up almost any color in a sparkle finish, or you can go with the classic Maple look, or a solid color lacquer. All look equally nice; however I had my eyes set on the black sparkle! The Yamaha crest on the drum was very slick looking. There was a chrome patch on the side of the snare with Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute engraved perfectly on it. Also, on the vent holes, there was another chrome patch surrounding the hole. This really goes to show that Yamaha did not hold back on any details when designing this drum.

The Yamaha Snare Drum

We know that this snare drum is made from maple wood, but how well is the drum shell made? Looking at this drum more closely, I noticed that the shell is 7-ply pure maple. This is very nice to have, as I am a fan of the thicker drums. Being a 7-ply maple shell, the drum will offer a much warmer sound than others. The drum also falls under the Air-Seal System shell that Yamaha has boasted for some time. This means that the design of the shell offers a seal on both of the rims that traps the air in (except for the vent holes). This gives the drum much more of a controlled sound that can be heard much clearer then usual.

This Yamaha snare drum is complimented with Die Cast hoops that shine when polished up. Nothing too special about these hoops, as they are pretty standard with higher end snare drums. Since this is a Nouveau series snare, it is equipped with Yamaha’s Nouveau style lug casings. These are great non slip lugs that will allow you to tune your drum with ease. Another thing you will notice is the drum will not fall out of tune with these lugs. The one problem I had with these lugs, is when you are changing heads, the whole casing comes off of the drum. This is very nice for keeping your drum tidy and clean, but can be a bit of a pain when changing heads. Also because it is a very solid drum with die cast hoops and aluminum lugs, this snare drum can be a bit on the heavy side. This can be an annoyance when transporting your drums from show to show.

The Sound Of Yamaha’s Snare Drum

Before I dive into the sound of the drum, I want to warn you that different styles of drum heads will cause different sounds from any drum. I used Evans G2 Coated heads for this drum. The sound from this snare is very clean. With out the snare drum wires tight this drum had a rich tone that could be used for a professional gig any day! When I tightened the snare drum wires,  I found the sound equally satisfying. Tuning this drum I found it easy to get the sound I was looking for. All in all, the Maple Custom sound was very impressive. However, because the drum is 7-ply maple with air seal, I found it hard to get enough “crack” from the snare. The drum has a great warm tone, but it lacks a bit on higher end cracks that I was looking for.


All in all Yamaha has made a great snare! For the cost of around $400-$500, you are getting a professional sounding (and looking) snare drum. Tuning this drum is very easy to do, so you will not spend a lot of time messing around there. Also, one click switching on the snare is very fast and effective. The only downfalls to the drum would be the weight of the drum, the style of the casing lugs, and the lack of crack you get. However, if you can put up with a bit heavier drum, then you are ok! If you are looking at upgrading your kit, start with the snare, as it is the most important drum in the whole drum set. The Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute Nouveau snare offers amazing sound, style, and affordability!


By:Dave Atkinson

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