Zelkova Snare Drum

HS-1450 / HS-1465

A Hollowed One-Piece Snare Drum



All Sound Samples
HS-1450 (14"x5")
HS-1465 (14"x6.5")
Die-Cast / 8
Vintage Snare Wire (CPSL-ZL14NP)
One-Piece Hollowed Zelkova 14mm

The Zelkova Snare Drum, which has a hollowed one piece drum shell, can be described as the purest form of the drum. Only one hollowed piece can be taken from a stump of precious 200 year old Zelkova wood, also called Akagi or “red wood.” The sound that is produced from a single piece of wood has a unique and powerful attack. Each stroke produces a “block of sound” with a sharp edge and a thick low pitch, while maintaining the warmth of natural wood. The special nature of Zelkova is highly revered and sought after by top drummers around the world.

CANOPUS and the Zelkova Snare Drum Project


The Zelkova snare drum is CANOPUS’ flagship model. In the primary development process we first experimented with traditional drum crafting theory. We cut the drum’s edge at an angle of 45 degrees on both the inside and outside of the shell. Our first try was insufficient; the drum lacked the resonance and sensitivity we were looking for. We continued to experiment with several different edge angles, including 60 and 70 degrees. After some trial and error, we achieved an unprecedented edge shaping process. The end result is a hand crafted snare drum with maximum resonance and a delicate yet fat sound with sharp response. (See figure)

Our new edge shaping is very sharp. This overturns existing edge shaping theory. In order to pull the best sound out of the drum, the edge shaping must be determined by the material, thickness and structure of the shell. These findings have contributed to CANOPUS’ overall development policy and shaped our attitude towards the drum crafting process, prompting us to constantly.
challenge the status quo, disregarding convention in favor of innovation.
Zelkova Shell

Why are most snare drums made of plywood?


In order to pull out the best natural resonance. it is essential that the vibrating object must consist of a single element. In other words. a hollowed solid piece of wood is the ideal drum shell. When you compare the resonance of a piece of solid wood to a piece of plywood the difference in sound quality is obvious.
A one piece snare drums is very fragile due to its construction.
To cover up these shortcomings plywood shells are widely utilized. By plying several pieces of wood together with glue the drum shell is several more times durable than a one-piece shell. Consequently. natural resonance is impaired in exchange for durability.

Throughout the world, drum manufacturers have tried several approaches to combat the issue of a single element and durability.
Segmented shells are one approach and are closer to a one-piece shell. Another approach is to place a reinforcement hoop inside the bent piece of wood. One-piece wood is the most ideal in terms of pulling out the specific natural resonance. Because of technical problems such as shell alteration and cracking, which may occur several years after the drums production, only a few manufacturers are producing hollowed one-piece wood snare drums.




* Since its debut, precious 200-year old redwood has been used for Zelkova Snare Drums. This material has become scarce in recent years, thus procurable quantities are yearly decreasing.

Why Is A Hollowed One-Piece Snare Drum Subject To Crack?

The cylindrical shape of a one-piece snare drum is inherently fragile. Therefore, we have adapted a new method: we have found the answer in “vectors.”
When the force f(n) is given vertically against a curved surface, it branches off into f1, f2, and f3. The force f1 and f2 run along straight forward, while f3 runs through the curved surface, thereby causing a crack. (See fig. 1)
However, our original global shaped snare drum shell will disperse the given vertical force along the global surface. (See fig. 2)
Hence, we have achieved the desired outcome: a hollowed one-piece snare drum that is much stronger and more durable than the existing cylindrical surface of the present one-piece snare drums available. We allow the wood to season naturally for 3years and then treat the shell in a specially designed wood drier to reduce the moisture content down to 9 percent. This drying procedure contributes to minimize the shrinkage and cracking of the drum shell.

Zelkova Fig.

A new revolving height adjustable tubular lug

Zelkova lug
ゼルコバスネア 高さ調整ラグZelkova snare drum, the flagship model of Canopus which has enjoyed tremendous support since its introduction, has now unveiled a new revolving height adjustable tubular lug as a standard feature. The Zelkova snare drum features a hollowed one piece shell made from a stump of precious 200 years old Zelkova wood. The wood is seasoned for three years and moisture content is regulated down to 9 percent in a specially designed wood drier . However, this shell may still be affected by outside humidity, and may display a degree of contraction and expansion. The diameter of the shell increases when the humidity is high, and decreases when humidity is low.

Since commonly used lugs have a swivel feature to accomodate the tension bolts, it wouldn’t matter if the drum shell expands or contracts. However, the Canopus tube lug has no swivel feature – it is a solid structure in order to enhance vibration cycle efficiency. Sometimes, when expansion and contraction occurs on the shell, perfect alignment of the tension bolts and lugs may prove difficult A new revolving height adjustable tubular lug has been designed in order to solve this problem. It has a mechanism which enables the user to adjust at the height of the lug by plus or minus 2mm by simply turning the center pole.

We do not put any grommets in the air hole of Zelkova snare drums for the following reasons:

1. We would prefer not to put any kind of hardware on the Zelkova, so we eliminate any extraneous metal or wood to preserve the resonance of the drum.
2. The wood can shrink, causing the grommet to rattle. The shell expands and contracts in response to temperature and moisture. Canopus takes every precaution to minimize drum shell shrinkage. Even though we dry the Zelkova snare drum shell until the moisture content is at 9% and the Zelkova snare drums shell is made without a seam (it’s made from one, non-comprised piece of wood), there is a possibility that the shell could still shrink or expand due to the changes in air moisture.
3. Just look inside the air hole and you can appreciate the thickness of the single piece of wood.
ゼルコバ エアホール


Zelkova Vintage Snare Wire
Vintage Snare Wire [CPSL-ZL14NP]
brings out the potential of your snare drum and allows you to express more with pianissimo sound.
More Detail
Zelkova Bolt Tight
Bolt Tight
Makes the Tension Rods Smoother. No More Loose Tension Rods. No More Unwanted Overtones. More Overall Tones from Drums.
More Detail
Zelkova Diecast Hoop
Diecast Hoop
Defined sound profile, Direct, concentrated projection
Zelkova Shell
One-Piece Hollowed Zelkova 14mm
Zelkova Strainer
Snare Wire Strainer
A nylon nut is built in the strainer switch CSA-20S.
Canopus’ switch is so designed to prevent “loosening of snare wire” during the performance by creating moderate friction on the tension adjustment dial by the torque controlled nylon nut.


Stevie Wonder has his own Canopus drums!

Stevie Wonder
Everyone at Canopus is really pleased and honored that Stevie visited the Canopus booth at NAMM 2016.
Prior to the show we had sent him, upon request, a Zelkova snare drum – which he really liked.
He came to the Canopus booth to check out our other products.

He played the YAIBA II Groove kit, with his favorite snare drum – the Zelkova. He loved the YAIBA sound, and decided he wanted it for himself.
Words can not explain how excited and honored we are that such a great musician has chosen to use Canopus’ Yaiba drum kit and snare drum!

February 12, 2016

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Modern Drummer Review
Modern Drummer (USA) / Sep. 2000

"Rare beauties from the mysterious East"

Modern Drummer Review
Modern Drummer (USA) / Sep. 2000
"Rare beauties from the mysterious East"

by Rick Mattingly


solid one-piece shell promotes drum projection
unusual contour of shell promotes head resonance
6.5x13 offers piccolo highs with deep-shell body

Modern Drummer Review

It wouldn't be surprising if you've never heard of Canopus drums. They're made by a small Japanese manufacturer who is only now breaking into the US market. But Canopus has actually been around for quite a few years, offering a fairly standard selection of traditional-style drumkits --- along with the anything but standard Zelkova snare drum.
The subjects of this review owe more to the tradition of Japanese taiko drums, which are made from hollowed-out logs, than to the Western-style snare drums that we're all familiar with. Canopus Zelkova snare drum shells are bored out of a solid piece of zelkova --- a Japanese hardwood prized for its density and resonance. Because the wood has not been bent, the grain runs vertically instead of horizontally. Additionally, the shells go through various drying processes that take approximately two years.

According to Canopus, this process creates a shell with a 9% moisture content, compared to 12% on typical drum shells.
The result is a snare drum with a wide spread of overtones. With the depth and body one would expect from a wood-shell snare drum, it also has the high-end ring that's more typical of a metal-shell drum --- and that helps the sound project. This was true of all three Canopus snare drums that MD received for review: a 6.5x14, a 6.5x13, and a 4x14.

Modern Drummer Review

Zelkova drums start life as a bored-out section of a tree trunk.

Getting In Shape

The outside of the Canopus shell has a very slight vertical curve to it, making it fatter in the center and slightly thinner at each edge. This allows the head to extend out from the shell slightly, much like the heads on timpani. Such mounting tends to increase a head's resonance. On the inside, the shell has a 7/8" taper at each end, culminating in a thin, smooth bearing edge. At its fattest point in the center, the 6.5" shell is nearly l/2" thick, gradually thinning to about l/4" where the sharp taper on the inside of the shell begins.
The single element of the drum that has a somewhat raw, unfinished look is the air vent. It's simply a hole drilled through the shell. There's no grommet around it, and the logo badge is attached elsewhere on the shell. But the vent doesn't have a particularly unsightly appearance. In fact, it's hardly noticeable at all except close up at certain angles.
The drums are fitted with die-cast rims and classic, double-ended brass tube lugs (with no springs or other parts that can rattle). Each drum has eight lugs attached to the shell with a single screw. Lugs are isolated from the shell by leather washers. Likewise, the tension screws are isolated from the rim by two leather washers with a metal washer sandwiched between them. The snare-release lever is a standard vertical throw-off design. Snare-tension adjustments are located on the butt plate as well as the throw-off. The screws with which the snare unit is attached to the throw-off and butt plate are drumkey operated. The snares themselves are standard spiral wire. The drums came fitted with Remo coated Ambassador batter heads and clear Ambassador snare-side heads.
The drums come finished in a stained gloss over the natural wood (which has a striking grain pattern). This will appeal to some drummers and not to others, but it' s certainly distinctive.

Solid Sound

The integrity of the bearing edges and the rigidity of the die-cast hoops make the Zelkova drums easy to get in tune with themselves. Snare response was excellent: The drums sounded crisp and articulate when cranked up tight, and fat and gutsy when the heads and snares were loosened a bit. Rimshots were bright and powerful.
The 6.5x14 model combined a bright, cutting attack with a warm, full-bodied tone that could work in a wide variety of musical styles. It also had plenty of projection for unmiked settings. The 4x14 version had similar tonal qualities, but the shallower shell gave it a slightly more contained sound with enhanced crispness and response. This would be a good choice for acoustic or softer electric settings, as well as for situations where the drum will be miked.
The 6.5x13 drum was a pleasant surprise. In general, 13" heads work better with shallower shells. A deep snare drum with a small diameter can often sound like a tom-tom with snares. But the Zelkova 6.5x13 produced a clean, high-pitched sound with plenty of body and projection. It would be especially good in live, unmiked situations where you want the high pitch of a piccolo snare drum but need more sheer sound than a 3" or 4" shell can typically deliver.

Modern Drummer Review
Careful shaping on a lathe is followed by many hand-finishing steps.

Modern Drummer Review
The outer surface of the Zelkova shell features a unique curved contour.

Worth A Search

Zelkova snares have been a well-kept secret among top international drummers for several years. In fact, Canopus may have been the first company to offer one-piece, bored-out drums. Whether or not that' s the case, the point is that these drums are not new and trendy. They're well-established, with a deserved reputation among those familiar with them. After playing them myself, I can understand why.
The drums feature unique, Iabor-intensive construction, and they are imported --- so they aren't cheap. But they have a design unlike any other, and they sound terrific. So you definitely get what you pay for.
Canopus drums aren't on the shelves in every local drumshop. But they are available through a few selected dealers across the country or directly from the manufacturer in Japan. The company's web site is canopus.inc.co.jp/, or you can email them at *protected email*.


Antonio Loureiro
Antonio Loureiro

You can't compare Zelkova with anything! Its a complete snare. Completely versatile. I love when you have that beautiful snare wire sound even when you play pianissimo. Its the best snare i will ever have.

Tupac Mantilla
Tupac Mantilla

As someone that has emerged from the classical school into the contemporary Jazz, Rock and World percussion/music scene, and after searching for decades, I can say without a doubt that the Canopus Zelkova is the most responsive and versatile snare drum of them all. Its body, warmth and clarity surpass any expectation in any musical context and genre. Moreover, it has a fascinating way to blend to your own voice while enhancing it. It’s pretty much alive! Thanks Canopus for creating it!

Rainer Güntensperger
Rainer Güntensperger (GÜNTENSPERGER)

I have had many of the very best snare drums in the world going through my hands, but your Zelkova is the by far best of them all. A absolute unique blend of sound consisting both, wooden warmth in the deep and the bite of steel in the high. Great and unmatched!

René Marx
René Marx

the zelkova is simply stunning! I have a Slingerland 14x6 Radioking SD which is very smooth, sensitive and delicate. The Zelkova has all the attributes of sought-after vintagedrums too but it´s also more powerfulI. And on top it inherits this special japanese tradition of the taiko-drumconstruction. That makes it a very unique instrument. It makes me play more stuff on the snaredrum in any kind of groove or solosituation because it sounds so beautiful.

Andrea Valentini
Andrea Valentini


Ian Froman
Ian Froman(METAL WOOD)

“I like the Zelkova snare drum because it is warm, dark and sensitive. A truly exceptional drum !”

Brian Blade
Brian Blade

The ZELKOVA snare drum has a beautiful tone and a clear responsiveness that speaks in all dynamic ranges. It is the perfect instrument for any musical situation.