Pearl Masterworks

Pearl Musical Instrument Company is a Japanese instrument maker that primarily produces drum kits, hardware and percussion devices. The Pearl Masterworks Series is a top notch high end drum line and is some of the most expensive drum shells on the market. All images are property of Pearl, for more information and history on Pearl see our Pearl Drums Review.


Masterworks BadgePearl Masterworks Series Drums

As accurately described by Pearl, Pearl Masterworks drums are completely custom and totally handmade. These are made to order by master craftsmen in Pearl’s high end Taiwan facility and delivery times can take six months or even a year depending on the configuration. One of the most important elements in the quality of a drum is the wood used for shell combined with the process utilized to put the drum together. Because of this great detail and customization is available with Masterworks series drum shells.


Masterworks Drum Hardware Options

Masterworks Hardware FinishesTo accent the quality sound and construction of the Masterworks drums, the hardware comes with options for plating in Chrome, Black Chrome or Gold. This goes across all hardware options including hoops, lugs and mounting brackets. As far as the hardware itself, there are a few options available for each element. For hoop design, the buyer has the choice of MasterCast Die-Cast hoops or Super Hoop II. For Pearl’s BRL lugs, the drummer has the option of Bridge or Swivel Tube style lugs. Lastly for mounting, the options are I.S.S (Super Hoop II only), Aluminum OptiMount or Optimount. On top of the high quality hardware, Masterworks drums also feature Pearl’s patent pending Golden Ratio for air vents to improve attack on snare drums, and low frequency response on toms and bass drums.


Pearl MasterworksPearl Masterworks Artisan

Like every other element of Masterworks drums, the finish can be totally customized. This means that Pearl will “color match” to any color or fabric the buyer wishes. This also includes ordering exotic woods to be used as an outer ply which enhances the finish. Pearl calls this their Exotic Artisan Exterior Ply.


Pearl Masterworks Series Drum ShellsPearl Masterworks Drum Shells

All Masterworks shells are made utilizing Pearl’s Superior Shell Technology (SST) which involves overlapping scarf joint seams when plys are pressed together. Combined with Pearl’s proprietary “AcoustiGlue” and high temp 1000 PSI pressure, the end result is a drum shell strong enough to withstand the weight of a Hummer. Masterworks owners have the option of pure Maple, Birch or African mahogany for creating their perfect drum shells. Pearl also offers a composite shell which is made by developing a combination of the three woods above. For a drummers looking for a modern style, Carbon Fiber can be used as inner and outer plies for a unique look and sound.

Masterworks Thin ShellsMasterworks Thin Drum Shells

Pearl’s thin shells feature 4ply (5mm) construction with reinforcements at both top and bottom of shells to strengthen and provide support at head contact areas. The advantages that come with a thin shell include a very rich warm wood tone at the cost of projection volume.

Masterworks Medium Drum ShellsMasterworks Medium Drum Shells

Masterworks Medium thickness shells provide a girth that balances volume and durability with tone and resonance. Made with 6plies (7.5mm) like the Master MCS series shells, the medium thickness shells are a great choice for all around general purpose applications.

Masterworks Thick Drum ShellsMasterworks Thick Drum Shells

Thick shells in the Masterworks line are available in 8ply (10mm), 10ply (12.5mm) and 20ply construction giving the drummer escalating options for volume projection and durability. While tonality is sacrificed, these drums are perfect for large venues that demand ultimate volume.


Masterworks 45 Degree Bearing45 Degree Bearing

The first and most popular bearing edge option, Pearl’s 45 degree bearing edge aims at delivering a blend of attack and warmth. This bearing comes standard on other high end Pearl drums.

Masterworks Round 45 Degree BearingRound 45 Degree Bearing

Better contact between the drum head and shell via the rounded 45 bearing edge helps to boost mid to high frequencies. The boost in tonal spectrum comes at the cost of drumstick response.

Masterworks Full Round BearingFull Round Bearing

A fully rounded bearing edge provides supreme head-to-shell contact for a gigantic boost in mid to low range frequencies. Combine with Masterworks thick shells, for powerful sound.


Masterworks Snare ShellMasterworks Snare Shell

Masterworks wood snares come in 10″, 12″, 13″ and 14 inch diameters and feature the same ply options as the rest of the drums in the Masterworks collection with one exception. The Masterworks series snare drum has a solid 1 ply (7.5mm) shell option only in the 14″ diameter.


Pearl Masterworks Review & Price

While some used Masterwork shells packs can be found for around $2,000, based on the Masterworks Price list, the cheapest brand new minimal 4pc jazz setup shell pack would be just over $5,700. A standard size five piece drum set would be closer to the $7,500 mark with Artisan finish at over $10K. Without a doubt the Masterworks Series is a pricey drum set and is typically only considered by the consummate professional. However many drummers will appreciate the options and ability to customize every detail and its common for some drummers to use Masterworks snares only. In summation Masterworks sets are truly a work of art and a kit that can last a lifetime.

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