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Mapex USA released a special edition of its hybrid shell Saturn Series drum set. The new set features a Birch and Walnut composite shell and two new lacquered finishes. The drums will be sold as a five-piece shell pack only and is available exclusively through the Five Star Drum Shops.

The Saturn Birch shell is composed of four interior walnut plies, and two exterior plies of birch. The result is a thin 5.8mm thickness on the toms. The 7.2mm bass drum is constructed with two walnut plies on the interior of the drum, surrounded by four birch plies.

"Like our maple and walnut Saturn, this shell produces sonic properties that are exclusive to Mapex," explains Joe Hibbs, Manager of R&D and Artist Relations for Mapex USA. " The birch gives the drum plenty of attack, but the walnut rounds out the overall sound of the drum. It's quite unique."

The drums will be sold as a shell pack only and have very limited availability. The sizes include a 22x20 bass drum (with no tom mount), 10x8 and 12x9 tom toms and 14x12 and 16x14 floor toms with legs. Hardware and snare drums are sold separately. Multi-clamps and tom arms are included for the rack toms. MSRP for the Special Edition Saturn Birch is $2,739.99. Add-on components will not be available.

Two special sparkle finishes were developed for this series, Galaxy Fade and Supernova Burst. The drums are equipped with Remo Emperor clear batter heads and Ambassador clear bottom heads. The bass drum comes with a special edition white front head that bears the Mapex logo and the Five Star Drum Shop logo. The drums are appointed with black nickel hardware. A special Five Star Drum Shop sticker is adhered to the inside of each drum shell.

This special edition Saturn shell pack continues a variety of products that Mapex has designed exclusively for the Five Star Drum Shop Group. A list of Five Star Drum Shops that are carrying the Saturn Birch product can be found on the Mapex website.

The Saturn Birch has been heavily road tested. Mapex endorsed artists Darrell Robinson and Eric Greene have been touring with the product since March. Both play on stage together with R&B, hip-hop legend Pharrell Williams and his band N.E.R.D. The group is currently on a nationwide tour with Kanye West.

"The sound is actually attacking but warm, which gives the soundman an easier job to EQ them," says Greene. "The toms have more of a round sound but are still warm. After hearing the drums on one of the shows I discovered that these Saturn's are amazing."

Opposite Greene is Darrell Robinson who has played for Jill Scott, Floetry, Musiq Soulchild and LL Cool J. "This walnut and birch drum is absolutely killin'. The toms are easier to tune and the overall projection is better. I can easily hear Eric's kit and he can easily hear mine, which is very important with the two drummer thing."

"It's just a great kit," says Horace Ward the tour's sound engineer. "They are so easy to dial in. These Philly guys are known for their quick doubles and these longer bass drums bring out the clarity and the attack. If every tour I worked on had these drums, my job would be a lot easier."

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