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Yamaha Stage Custom Birch Review: Performs Well Right out of the Box

Yamaha has been making quality instruments for decades. This article will take a look at their Stage Custom Birch drums, which consistently get high ratings.

Not only do they look great, but they also offer high-quality construction at a reasonable price. We wanted to take a closer look to see what makes them tick and if you should consider them when upgrading your kit.

yamaha custom. birch acoustic set

At a Glance – Our Initial Thoughts

Yamaha sells these as a shell pack, which is beneficial for those that already own a kit. You will only need to swap out the drums themselves, and they can immediately pay dividends.

They are superbly crafted, using birch wood, absolute style lugs, and a high-gloss finish for a high-quality sound, performance, and look.

We think anyone that is looking to upgrade their kit to a more intermediate level model would love what the Stage Custom can do for you.

Over time, you can upgrade the kit and Frankenstein it into a major force that will outperform most drum sets in the same price range and rival professional models.

What’s in the Box

The box is pretty bare-bones due to the fact this kit is a shell pack, which means you don’t get a full drum set, only the drum shells themselves. The bass drum dimensions are 20 x 17 for a full and punchy low end. Three toms are included 2 racks and 1 floor. The rack toms measure 10 x 7 and 12 x 8, respectively, with a 14 x 13-floor tom making up a 5 piece configuration.

Yamaha does include a bit of hardware, providing a TH-945B 3-hole receiver with 2 YESS mounts for the rack toms, and 3 legs for the floor tom.

How Does It Stand Out?

Birch Shells

The Stage Custom series uses All Birch Shells, which provide elevated high frequencies, a reduced midrange, with excellent low-end. Birch drums tend to be loud and cut through the mix very well, making them an ideal material for use with various styles of music.

The shells are also cut with 45-degree bearing edges, which provide benefits in a few different ways. As the cut peaks close to the outside of the shell, it produces more attack and sustains when they are struck, resulting in a more lively sounding kit. This style of cut also produces more harmonic overtones, making them open up for a bright sound.

Absolute style lugs are secured to the drum head using a single bolt, meaningless holes in the shell, and less metal inside the drum. This helps ensure there is nothing impeding the full resonance of the drum.

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Customize

Cymbals:

With this kit being just a shell pack, you will need to do some cymbal shopping. which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as you can pick and choose which cymbals, and how many, you add to your kit. Cymbals come in a range of types, sizes, and materials both of which affect the sonic characteristics.

Stands:

Choosing the right stands for your set is something to be mindful of as well. You will need a hi-hats stand, a snare stand, and stands for any crashes and rides you may add into your setup.

The most common cymbal stands for a simple setup is the triple-leg straight stand which has a tilted head for you to angle the cymbal into position. Boom stands are more flexible with an extendable arm and tilt head, for more precision placement in a busier kit. Additionally, there are also boom arms that can be affixed to a straight stand, or rack-mounted for a custom connection. Stands that offer double bracing will be more beneficial for hard-hitters.

Heads:

One of the first things most drummers will upgrade on entry and intermediate level drum kits is the drum heads. While the Stage Custom heads aren’t terrible by any means, you can dial in your preferred sound by swapping out the heads for the type that suits your style.

The thickness of a drum head will greatly affect the tone, with a thicker head offering more attack, durability, and a louder strike, compared to thinner heads. Also, pay attention to clear vs. coated heads. Clear heads are brighter with more sustain, whereas coated heads tend to be darker, warmer, with a shorter sustain time. You can also help to control the reactive properties of the drum heads by using dampeners.

Pedals:

Both the hi-hats and bass drum are controlled by chain-driven pedals. The hats stand will have the pedal built-in, so it is a matter of finding a stand that works well, feels comfortable, and is in your price range.

The bass pedal will be where you get a bit more flexibility. Of course, there are a bunch of different models on the market, but the most popular is the chain-driven ones. These pedals have the most natural feel to them and are used by the majority of drummers. Adjustments can be made to the angle of the beater as well as the spring tension, allowing you excellent control and comfort for your foot. Additionally, a lot of drummers will employ two pedals for a double-bass configuration. These setups cater mainly to metal genres but can be used for any type of music.

Sticks:

The choice of drum stick plays an important role in your performance, and it is also the most affordable way to change up your playing as each stick provides its own sonic characteristics when the kit is struck. Stick length, taper, tip, weight, and grip all play a role in how you use the stick, and how it reacts with the set.

Choose Your Color

Yamaha offers the Stage Custom series in 5 different colors for you to choose from – pure white, cranberry red, raven black, honey amber, and natural wood. The shells are also coated in lacquer for a striking, high-gloss finish.

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F.A.Q.

Would this kit be good for beginners?

Beginners could definitely use it, but it is a big step up in quality from most entry-level kits. Keep in mind that this kit is just the drum shells so you will have to pay for all the hardware as well. Most kits for beginners have everything in the box at a lower price point.

Does it come with a drum throne?

It does not. Drum thrones start at around $50 for an entry-level model.

Do the shells use a wrap or lacquer finish?

The Stage Custom drums use a lacquer finish.

Does this kit come with cymbals and stands?

While the promotional photos show a full kit, it is a drum shell pack – meaning it only comes with the drum shells. The cymbals stand, tom mounts, and kick drum pedal all have to be purchased separately.

What size space can this kit fit into?

With a basic configuration, it takes up about a 6 x 6-foot area, but to play it comfortably we would recommend having an 8 x 8 space.

Our Final Thoughts


If you are an amateur drummer that is looking for the next evolution from your current kit, we think the Yamaha Stage Custom is an excellent choice. Not only are they crafted well and look beautiful, but they also perform well right out of the box.

You’re in a great position if you already have all the hardware and cymbals, as these drum shells will give you an immediate jolt of inspiration. Once upgraded, it can rival kits that are two to three times the price, and you can confidently use them for rehearsals, live performance, and recording sessions.

If this acoustic drum is not what you were looking for, check out our Best Acoustic Drum Set Under $1000 Post.

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