Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Our Material & Process | Ordering | Payment & Shipping | Guarantee & Open Exchange Option | Bulk Discount

Our Materials & Process:

(image of bill refining a drum's bearing edge)We recommend professional quality drums for all drummers, whether you're experienced or just beginning. Starting with a quality drum is a must if you want to have a positive experience that will keep you drumming. Don't be fooled by a cheap drum (nine times out of ten it will sound just like that, a cheap drum) you will likely end up paying more in the end to replace or fix it. Blue Heron Drums is confident that anything we offer has satisfied the highest standards of quality. We'll help you find the right drum for you.

Drum Shells
Our imported wood drum shells are hand carved by artisans in West Africa. These imported shells are made from a variety of tropical hardwoods and are carved from a single piece of wood (view our drum shell options). Upon arrival Bill thoroughly inspects each shell and if necessary makes repairs. He then refines the shell by forming his famous Blue Heron bearing edge which transforms the shell from a "tourist" quality drum to a "studio" quality drum. Each shell is then oiled and waxed.

We are currently working on a new line of "locally-made" custom drums which use hardwoods indigenous to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Drum Skins & Hides
The goatskins and cowhides we use are sourced from West Africa, North and South America, and Pakistan. All of the skins and hides from West Africa are from animals that were raised and used for food. The skins are bug free and have passed veterinary, USDA, and United States Customs inspections. Bill cleans and inspects the skins and hides carefully before selecting which ones to use. The skins are then soaked and attached to the shell using a series of custom fit steel rings, high quality/low stretch kevlar or dacron core rope, and a lot of elbow-grease.

Drum Tuning & Sound Quality
Once the drum is fully assembled Bill properly tunes the drum. Many factors contribute to the final sound of the drum including: type and density of the wood, skin type, thickness, tightness, shape of the interior cavity of the shell, playing technique, humidity, and so on.

A Word About Our Bags
To keep our bag costs as low as possible (most of our prices are the same as they were 20 years ago), we primarily use remnants and mill ends. Due to this cost saving measure, most bags are one-of-a-kind. The photos of our products used in our online store approximately represent what you will receive. Matches for color, motif, pattern, texture, etc. are always considered, and merchandise exchanges are never a problem (see our Guarantee & Open Exchange Option).


Selecting Custom Options in the Online Store
Use the link included with each product description to see examples of the product options offered for that product. You will be able to select custom options during the checkout process. Use the "Add special instructions to the seller" text box from PayPal checkout to communicate special requests that may not be covered in the options dropdown menus.

Exclusively from our Showroom
We typically keep a selection of finished drums in stock for our showroom (aka "the percussion parlour"). It's possible we may already have a perfect drum made for you and ready to ship. Because our showroom inventory moves fast, it's difficult to include these drums on our website. If you want to see what we have in-stock, visit our Facebook page, or give us a call at 906-523-7065.

About Bulk Order Discounts >

Payment & Shipping:

Estimated Shipping Time & Method
We ship all of our orders USPS Priority Mail, fully-insured (for orders over $200 dollars a signature is required for delivery). Because our products are custom made, we like to error on the safe side and tell people to anticipate a 4-6 week delivery time, though it's more likely you will receive it in 2-3 weeks. If you have a rush order, give us a call, it's likely we can accommodate you.

We typically keep a selection of finished drums in-stock for our showroom (aka "The Percussion Parlour"). It's possible we may already have a perfect drum made for you and ready to ship. Because our showroom inventory moves fast, it's difficult to include these drums on our website. If you want to know what we have in-stock, give us a call at 906-523-7065.

Ordering from Alaska, Hawaii, or outside of the United States
If you're ordering from Alaska, Hawaii, or outside of the US please call us or contact us by email to place your order so we can calculate your shipping costs.

Found what you're looking for, but not the cash to buy it? We're happy to work with our customers on a payment plan. We handle each layaway on a case by case basis, but we typically prefer an advanced payment of 1/2 down. For more information or to place a layaway order please contact us direct.

Guarantee & Open Exchange Option:

Purchasing through us means that we will do what it takes to meet your needs for the right style, size, weight, and of course sound.

60-day Open Exchange Option
We resisted selling drums over the internet for many years because we know there needs to be a physical bond between drum and drummer. Since every hand-made instrument is completely unique with a personailty of its own, we realize, even with the best description, the drum you receive isn't always going to be the "right one"...kind of like a mail order bride—how do you really know until you get next to it? Our solution is to offer an Open Exchange Option to all our customers. If you're not happy with the workmanship, sound, or feel of your drum (or any product we make) you can exchange it (shipping costs excluded) within 60-days. We do not do refunds (nor have we ever needed to).

LIfetime Drum Shell Guarantee
The structural integrity of our drum shells are guaranteed for the life of the drum, under normal use. It is common for checks and cracks to appear as the wood ages, most of these are superficial, but any that affect the structural integrity of the drum we will repair. Shipping costs excluded. Call to arrange.

Limited Drum Head Guarantee
All of our goat skin drum heads are guaranteed for 6 months, and all of our cow hide drum heads are guaranteed for a year, under normal use. We will replace your head at no cost during this time (shipping costs excluded). Our guarantee for goatskin heads is the best we've found in the industry. If you can show us a better offer, we'll match it. With this offer, certainly some restrictions apply. "Normal use" of your goatskin head includes skin-on-skin contact only, no hand jewelery, and no sticks. Proximity to heat sources and high humidity are also no-no's. Don't be that guy (or gal) who tries to tune his drum with the heat of the bonfire, then let it sit out all night in the dewy air.

Bulk Order Discount:

Blue Heron Drums was started by drummers for drummers for the love of drumming. We are a cottage industry by nature and prefer to stay clear of the mainstream market. In solidarity with other small shops, drum groups, schools, and community efforts supporting and spreading the joy of drumming, we offer discounted prices on drums and other items to individuals and groups that wish to purchase in quantity. Please contact us to place an order.

  Single 5 to 9 10 or more
Drums see retail listing > 30% off retail cost 40% off retail cost
Padded Bags & Berets* see retail listing > 30% off retail cost 40% off retail cost
Cradle Straps* $28 $17 $14
Rattles $28 $20 $14
Shakers $7.98 $6.50 $5

* Discounted bulk orders for bags, berets, and straps are filled using the fabric selection we have in-stock. In other words you can't make specific fabric requests for each bag in a bulk order, but you can give us a general idea of what you want (see our fabric motif gallery). If you need to place a custom bulk order, call us and we can negotiate a discount rate. Sample swatches of bag and strap fabric are available on request.