Few drum kits achieve legendary status. Gretsch’s round-badge Broadkaster, Ludwig’s Super Classic. Add to those Yamaha’s Recording Custom

Once more designed with input from Steve Gadd, the new RC retains its original qualities, but is updated with a fatter, weightier lug, thinner bass drum shells, sharper bearing edges and even greater manufacturing precision.

Back in the 1980s the RC was a sensation with the never-before-seen lavish quality of its paint lacquered shells, the same lacquering that Yamaha applies to its pianos. So it’s fitting we have for review a selection of the new Solid Black lacquered drums. There are just three other finishes: Classic Walnut, Real Wood and Surf Green.

Inside, the shells have a mid-brown matt stain, again similar to the pianos. There’s a new badge, understated as ever, but proudly stating ‘Made In China’.

Shells are all six-ply, 6mm birch. The original RC used broad-leaf Hokkaido birch, but from now on the shells will feature North American birch as a steady supply of high quality timber has been secured. 10728237_800 10728227_800

One big plus of the new Chinese facility is a continual tightening of manufacturing and quality control tolerances, which were already industry leaders. Yamaha’s Air Seal shell technology with angled seams (Yamaha features from the beginning) ensure near-perfect shell construction.

Wielding a ruler over the shells confirms they are exactly round. And for once I do mean exactly. Inevitably the bearing edges are equally finely cut and finished. They rise 30° from the inner surface, steeper than the previous 45°, with a single-ply outer bevel.