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Drumset - Masterworks

The Masterworks Concept

Custom Drums. There seems to be quite a few companies making them these days. Most buy shells from the same manufacturer, mount hardware they bought from some place else, and apply a custom paint job. The end result, after a lot of hype, is a custom drum set...or is it? 
Masterworks hopes to change the way drummers view a custom set of drums. At Pearl, the word custom holds quite a bit more reverence. It means we made it, not assembled it. It means everything about the kit is made by hand, one piece at a time, by a Pearl master craftsman. From hand selecting the finest woods and painstakingly forming the shell, to die casting and plating the hardware that mounts to it, drums bearing the Masterworks badge are one of a kind ultimate acoustic instruments, hand made to your specifications, with the expertise and quality no other company can match.
Masterworks is about choices for the discriminating drummer. Choices like North American Maple, Scandinavian Birch and African Mahogany. Three highly prized woods for shell composition, not just the same shell everyone else custom paints. Choices like four shell thickness options, hardware plating options and full control over sizes and unlimited finishes. If this is starting to sound different from what most companies call a custom drum set, then you see the concept behind Masterworks. At Pearl, we are dedicated to producing the finest drums in the world at our new Masterworks Custom Shop facility. Hand Made. Completely Custom. When you're ready...we hope to build a set for you. 

The Difference
Starts with the Shell

Masterworks gives you a choice of three prized woods, and four thickness and ply options for shell composition. No one else offers you this unprecedented control over the sound of your drums. When you think about it, how much different can a drum sound from manufacturer to manufacturer, when they all use practically the same shell. With Masterworks, your kit sounds like your kit. With this wide range of options, Masterworks drums will be as individual as the players that play them. But options alone are not what separates Masterworks from the others.     Pearl's patented Heat Compression Shell Molding Process, or HC/sms as it's known, takes these outstanding hand selected wood plies, adds an exclusive adhesive formulation, extreme heat and constant cylindrical pressure, and produces the finest, most consistent drum shells on the market today. Consistency. By controlling every aspect of the shell manufacturing process, there simply is no need to tap the side of the shell and give it a note. If you have variation, you don't have consistency.


 Wood Options

Maple is a favorite wood used for drum shell construction. Its evenly distributed lows, highs and mid range frequencies makes it ideal for all around applications.
Our maple is from North America and like all the woods we offer, it is hand-selected to meet Pearl's stringent requirements for proper density, age, and consistency of grain and color.

Slightly boosted lows with smooth mid and high frequencies for all around applications.

 Wood and Frequency Response 

Birch drums have built a cult like following over the years due to their naturally "EQed" tone.
Our Scandinavian Birch shells feature slightly boosted high frequencies, smooth mids, and a good low end punch. Drums made of this wood are ideal for applications requiring extra presence and cut.

Boosted high frequencies, slightly reduced mids, and a good low end punch for applications requiring extra presence and cut.

Mahogany was the industry standard shell material for over fifty years and one listen will tell you why. Few companies today offer this excellent wood for drum shell manufacture.
Our African Mahogany is extremely rich in low end frequencies, with beautifully smooth mids and a slight roll-off in the higher frequencies. Without question, if your main requirements are "bottom" and punch, African Mahogany should be your wood of choice.

Extremely rich low end frequencies, with beautifully smooth mids and a slight roll-off in the higher frequencies for applications requiring ultimate "bottom" and punch.

Thickness Options

The number of plies effects how readily energy is transferred from the heads to the shell. This single factor has a profound affect on the tonal characteristics and projection of the drum.

Thin shells

(4 ply, 5mm) enable relatively easy energy transfer from the heads to the shells thus causing the shells to vibrate. This vibration imparts a very rich "wood" tone to the overall sound that can be most appreciated in near-field applications and especially in recording.

Thin shells (4 ply, 5mm) are ideal for near-field applications and especially recording.

Shell Thickness vs. Sound

Medium thick shells

(6 ply, 7.5mm) have greater stiffness and resist energy transference from the heads. With less shell vibration, a trade-off is achieved: the sound is slightly "cooler" than thinner shells but projection is greater. Drums made to this thickness are ideal for general-purpose applications and / or situations requiring more "horsepower."

Medium thickness shells (6 ply, 7.5mm) are ideal for general-purpose applications and/or situations requiring more "horsepower."


Thick shells

(8 ply, 10mm and10 ply, 12.5mm) are extremely "efficient" and allow most of the player's energy to be focused to the audience. These drums are ideal for coliseum-type venues and other applications requiring high sound pressure levels. Snare drums made in this thickness rival metal snare drums in intensity and projection.

Thick shells (8 ply, 10mm and 10 ply 12.5mm) are ideal for coliseum-type venues and other applications requiring high sound pressure levels.


It would be great if everyone had the budget and the space to own "one of everything." However, as this is not the case, drummers must choose sizes that offer the greatest versatility and flexibility for their musical style or requirements. For greatest versatility, rack toms with depths between "standard" sizes (12x8, 13x9, etc.) and "power" sizes (12x10, 13x11, etc.) should be considered. Shallower depths offer very good sensitivity (the ability to play quietly while allowing the bottom heads to respond for full tone). Deeper toms have greater low-end tuning range but require more energy to "activate" the bottom heads. Sizes such as the Masterworks Alternative depths (12x9, 13x10, etc.) offer both great sensitivity and wide tuning range.

Drumset - Masterworks - MW Finishes Gallery

Masterworks Lacquer Finishes

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Rootbeer Fade


Antique Gold


Azure Fade


Cherry Sunburst


Antique Sunburst


Caramel Fade

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Lilac Burst


Antique White


Black Mist


Burgundy Mist


Emerald Mist


Liquid Amber

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Purple Mist


Red Mahogany




 Teal Mist


 Sequoia Red


 Scarlet Mist













Chrome Yellow


Arctic White


Forrest Green


 Bright Blue


 Burnt Orange


 Candy Apple Red













Gun Metal Blue


Piano Black


Majestic Purple


 Ultra Violet


 Blue Sparkle


 Gold Sparkle













Green Sparkle


Silver Micro Flake


Teal Burnish


 Wine Burnish


 Walnut Burnish


 Red Marbleized













Gold Marbleized


Blue Marbleized


Blue Burnish


 Amber Burnish


 Orange Burnish


 Green Burnish


Artisan Finishes










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