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Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5-Piece Review

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Yamaha is one of the most diverse gear manufacturers in music, from pianos to guitars to drums. However, for over three decades, one drum set series has served drummers looking to hone their skills: the Yamaha Stage Custom Birch.

Today, we’ll dive in and look at the Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 5-Piece Shell Pack and see just how versatile they can be on the stage and in the studio. 


The Yamaha Stage Custom Birch Drum set has long been a staple in the world of drumming for thirty years. It’s becoming incredibly popular with drummers worldwide, as it is one of the most durable and dependable drum sets in the Yamaha lineup.

Yamaha Stage Custom Birch Shell Pack

5-piece Drum Kit with 22" Kick, 16" Floor Tom, 12" and 10" Rack Toms, and 14" Snare

View Price at Sweetwater View Price at Guitar Center
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Recently, the team at Yamaha updated the shell pack with brand new, 100% birch shell, lugs, die-cast kick drum claws, and several attractive finish options. It’s a legacy kit that’s even better than it was before.

Key Features

  • 5-Piece shell pack
  • Made from 100% birch
  • YESS suspension mounts
  • Honey amber lacquer finish
  • Remo UT heads
  • Die-cast claw hooks

How Does the Kit Sound?

In terms of sound, the Yamaha Stage Custom Birch shell pack is a high-quality set that takes advantage of six-ply, 100% birch shells, giving you a tight and natural sound. If you’re new to drums, it’s worth noting that birch wood is a choice wood for many quality drum sets.

In general, birch wood is known for its punchy and bright sonic qualities, delivering a focused sound with a snappy attack. As a result, you can find it in many premium drum sets, and it has long been the top choice in recording studios. 

When you put this kit in the studio, it delivers an incredibly clear tone, each drum speaking to the next with a short amount of sustain. I like the dry and focused sound of these types of kits.

The beauty of this kit is that each drum can hold its own, even outside the realm of the kit. Every drum responds beautifully to dynamic playing and offers a killer attack, even at the lowest playing levels. 

The bass drum has plenty of beef, giving you solid playability with a low-end that is more than satisfying. The same goes for the toms, the rack and floor, which deliver clean and musical sustain with biting initial attacks.

As a whole, the drums play very complimentarily to one another. You can tune up and down within a relatively wide range, even with the Yamaha heads that come factory installed. If you want to make these drums sound better, you may be better off installing two-ply heads. 

How Does It Hold Up?

Yamaha has long been renowned for producing some of the industry’s finest instruments. Unlike some low-end manufacturers, Yamaha doesn’t make their equipment by cutting corners. Instead, the Japanese company has strict durability and build quality standards, and the drum kits are some of the most sought-after and desirable instruments in the lineup.

The Yamaha Stage Custom Birch is undoubtedly no exception. You get all the same quality hardware and lugs that you’d find on Yamaha’s Stage Custom set and their other top-notch drum kits.

I was blown away by the quality of the hardware, which is outstanding. It’s surprising, considering how affordable this set is. If I had some say in your color choice, I would go with the Honey Amber finish, which looks killer in high-gloss lacquer.

Just about everything you find in these drums is solid. The shells feel thick, and the drum set feels wildly sturdy. You can tell that Yamaha constructed the shells with preciseness, delivering smooth bearing edges across each kit piece. The shell construction and quality are impressive for a drum set meant for intermediate players. 

Equally impressive are the lugs and additional hardware found around the drum set. The Stage Custom Birch delivers substantial weight and smooth playability thanks to the proprietary YESS mounting system. This unique mounting system makes positioning your rack toms easier than ever. 

How Does It Play?

It’s easier to appreciate the quality of the Yamaha Stage Custom Birch Kit once you’re sitting directly behind it. The feel of the drums is magical, producing incredible tones throughout the entire range, no matter how hard or soft you play. You’ll first notice how incredibly responsive each kit piece is, delivering a surprising amount of attack at low velocities.

As such a dynamic drum set, it’s ideal for use on the stage and in the studio. In addition, each drum has a distinct fundamental tone, making them easy to fit into just about any mix when appropriately tuned. 

In addition, the kit feels wildly reliable with completely substantial hardware. You never know that you’re playing behind a mid-level kit. Without questioning it, one could almost be led to believe they were playing the legendary Yamaha Recording Custom.

As we all know, the snare drum is one of the most critical pieces of any shell pack. I love that this shell pack even comes with a snare, as many require that you buy them separately. This isn’t just your average snare drum, either.

The snare is responsive, articulate, and dynamic, producing that excellent thwack we all desire while providing body and depth. You also get a punchy and focused kick drum without ever sounding like it’s too aggressive.

If I had to sum it up in a single sentence, this kit is a delight to play, offering better versatility than most. No matter what genre you enjoy playing, you’ll find what you’re looking for in this kit.

How Does It Value Up Against Others?

The Yamaha Stage Custom Birch drum set holds up well against pricier ones, providing excellent value for what you pay. This is because it’s such a remarkably sturdy drum kit with class-leading hardware and one of our favorite mounting systems today. 

For a mid-range drum set, it sounds incredible and provides quality that will no doubt last you a lifetime if taken care of. 

What’s the Downside?

If you’re a seasoned player and own a mid-range drum kit already, you might need help finding a great way to justify spending more on another. The shells might not offer tones outside your normal range depending on how extreme of a sound you’re looking for, whether deep, gut-punching low-end or crisp, airy highs. 

Final Thoughts

Yamaha Stage Custom Birch Shell Pack

5-piece Drum Kit with 22" Kick, 16" Floor Tom, 12" and 10" Rack Toms, and 14" Snare

View Price at Sweetwater View Price at Guitar Center
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

If you’re still on the fence about getting the Yamaha Stage Custom Birch, I invite you to step down on the ‘yes’ side. It’s an exceptional drum set that will last you for many years. So whether you’re a student just stepping into the world of drums, a working professional who needs a decent studio kit, or a kid to take out on the road, the Yamaha Stage Custom Birch is solid.

Tyler Connaghan

Tyler is a music producer and multi-instrumentalist from Los Angeles, CA. When not producing music for TV and film or playing in various projects, he enjoys writing about the gear he loves most.

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One Comment

  1. I had this kit, the bass drum sounded amazing. Great low end, very easily tuned without a port hole. And the 10 lug snare sounded like a cannon every time you hit it. I love the sound of birch. I’d buy it again. Great quality for the price


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