I’ve had this 20×20″ Keller maple shell for a few years. Found it on Craigslist for short money. It had a horrible salmon sparkle wrap, Pearl lugs and spurs. It was playable but looked horrid. I had stripped the wrap only to find a very ugly and lazy multi-color spray can finish underneath. It was bad. Real bad.
So I stripped it and sanded it. Threw on a light coat of poly and reassembled the hardware. With a Remo Powerstroke 3 batter and Remo reso head, it sounds pretty good. I never gigged with it but muffled and mic’d up, it records really well.
What I never liked about the drum was its length. A 20″ depth is nutty. The air from the batter head takes too long to get to the reso head and the beater feel is all off. Also, I could never really gig with it live because it sticks out way too far – my singer would trip over it or it would hang off the front of the drum riser.
So I’m finally cutting it down to a more reasonable and playable depth. After careful measuring the deepest I can go is 15″. This would mean cutting the shell just before the lug holes for the batter head. I don’t want to cut from the front of the shell because then I’d have to relocate the spurs as well. Cutting from the batter head means I will only need to drill for the lugs on that end of the shell only.
I was hoping to get a 20×16″ shell and also thought about cutting to 14″ but 15″ turns out to be a nice compromise.
After cutting the shell down to a couple of millimeters over 15″, I sanded down the edge on a flat granite table to make sure the edge was perfectly flat. With the bearing edge cut to 45 degrees using my router table I hand sanded the edge down to round it over.
The next step is to stain the interior of the shell (personal preference).