Twin Cities Drum Collective

Twin Cities Drum Collective is a retail drum shop and a custom drum manufacturer located in South Saint Paul, Minnesota.

How do I place an order?

  • A custom order begins with sending us an email with details of what you would like to order.  We will then schedule a time to talk by phone.  We want to give you the best possible service, discuss your wants and needs, and talk through all aspects of the process so you end up with Ellis drums you will love for life.  
  • At Ellis drums you speak to an owner to make sure every detail will be correct.  When the order is placed we ask for a 50% down payment.  The remainder of the balance is due upon completion.


What is the turnaround time?

  • With the exception of drum sets and snare drums ready in our store, most Ellis drums are made to order.  A typical turnaround time for a drum set is 4 to 6 weeks depending on the complexity of the order.  We stay in communication with you during this process and will contact you when we start building your Ellis drums, when they are complete, and when they ship or are available for pickup.


What goes into the cost of Ellis drums?

  • There are three main contributions to the cost of your Ellis drums: The cost of the materials, the cost of the finish, based on materials and complexity, and the cost of the labor.  
  • First, we use all maple shells with our proprietary high grade aluminum lugs and Aquarian drumheads.  Other companies often use shells with filler plies such as basswood or poplar, use mass-produced die cast lugs manufactured overseas, and cut costs with lower grade drumheads.  Ellis Drum Company always uses high end parts and makes every effort to buy American.
  • Next, some finishes are more expensive than others, sometimes because the materials are more expensive, and sometimes because the labor to do the finish is more expensive.
  • Last, Ellis drums are an American made product, meaning that our drum builders and custom finishers are paid a living wage for their expertise and the care they put into your Ellis drums.  
  • To determine the cost of an Ellis drum set to your specifications, email us and we will follow up by phone and put together a quote.

What are the Pros and Cons of a wrapped drum set versus a satin, lacquer, or painted finish?

  • This is a hot topic with divided opinions.  Most wrapped drums tend to be  durable, depending on the wrap used.  If you play a lot of shows and tour smaller venues, a wrapped set is a good choice.  Those familiar with life in the clubs will attest that a lot of people will shuffle your drum set around, and a lot of those people will not necessarily move your drums carefully.  Wrapped drums, especially sparkled, tend to hide scuffs and scratches well.  Note that we will discourage certain wraps that have a tendency to shrink and have other problems even when professionally, and properly, applied.  
  • Drum sets with hand applied satin and lacquer finishes are preferred by some people, but these finishes may not hold up as well when subjected to clubs and the road.  However, if you have sufficient control of the environments it will be in (i.e., everyone treats your drums like fine furniture), then that may be a suitable choice for you. 
  • Our recommendation over wrapped and hand applied satin and lacquers is choosing our automotive grade finishes.  These custom finishes can be done in a variety of styles: clear finishes, transparent to solid colors, fades, sparkles, or virtually any finish you can imagine.  These finishes have none of the shortcomings of wraps and are remarkably durable, performing as well or better than wraps.
  • Will having a wrapped finish versus satin, lacquer, or painted finish change the sound?  Probably not much, and not in a noticeable way to most people.  With a properly wrapped set, the wrap acts like another ply of wood.  Also remember that drum shells soak up whatever finish is applied to them.  So both methods have an effect on the shell, but really those effects are rather small and inconsequential.  Frankly, your choice of drumheads, how you tune them, and the weight of the lugs and hardware will affect the sound of your drums much more.  Professionals of all styles have recorded amazing drum tracks with drums with all types of finishes.  Do not overthink it.  Your time is better spent practicing then debating the topic in online forums! 
  • If you prefer the look of one method over the others or are convinced of a significant sound difference one way or the other, then make your choice accordingly, and we will make you happy.  


I want to do a crazy, unique, dazzling, or unusual finish that everyone will notice.  Can you do that?

  • Yes we can.  However, consider that a more material or labor intensive finish will typically be more expensive.  Also, rock stars who grow tired of their "signature" finish can afford to move on to their next drum set and probably sell their old one at a profit.  Consider if what you want will be a good decision in the long term or if it will work with future bands you might play in.  Sorry to sound like your dad, but if Lane is not old enough to be your dad, then Tim probably is.
  • Tim also says, “If you want to draw that much attention to yourself, you better be a monster player to back it up!”


Can you do gold, black, or another finish on the hardware?

  • Yes we can.  However, we plate our hardware in finishes other then chrome in small quantities when custom ordered that way.  Expect an added cost and a longer turnaround time. We have done drum sets with other then chrome lugs that looked stunning.  But as Tim says, “The Chrome has to start somewhere!”  So consider if a different finish on the lug will blend well with other chrome hardware.  


Should I buy a matching snare drum with my drum set?

  • This decision is up to you, but our opinion is yes.  First, consider your drum set to be a complete musical instrument.  Although you may swap out snares for different purposes, and we certainly sell individual snares, having a matching snare made out of the same shell material in the same finish can be desirable in terms of sound and appearance.  
  • Having a matching snare is also important in resale.  Vintage drum collectors always value drum sets with a matching snare much higher in desirability and price.


What do you mean you will build it “unless it is wrong”?

  • We’re kidding.  That said, some things are just a bad idea, and we will tell you if your idea is one of those.  But it is still America, and if you really want it, we will build it, even if it is a really, really bad idea and clearly wrong to most people who specialize in drums and drumming.


Have another question?  We would love to hear it and give you great answer. 


Visit our shop

Twin Cities Drum Collective
234 Concord Exchange South
South Saint Paul, MN 55075


Store Hours:
Wednesday – Saturday
12pm to 8pm

We're Social

Major brands we carry: Drum Workshop (DW), Gretsch, Ludwig, Rogers, Dream, Meinl, Sabian, Zildjian and more!