The Bello Drum Company is the brain child of Bill Haller. In his small workshop in Greenville Pennsylvania, Bill constructs the fiberglass drum shells by hand. Fiberglass drums have been around for five decades and have withstood the test of time, even though they don’t have a large market share. Bello drums are a niche boutique item. All drums are built to order with a good number of color and size options.
The set that Bello sent us to review is called a fusion kit in their price list. The sizes 12 x 20 bass drum. 10 x 9 small tom, 14 x 14 floor tom, and a 13 x 6.5 snare drum in a beautiful purple finish. I would normally call this a “compact kit”, but, upon playing them the small sizes belie the large sound so there is no compromising of tone for the convenient sizes. All the drums had a very nice square badge secured with four small screws. The lugs are pretty standard rounded lugs that give the drum a nice look. Hoops are all 2.3 mm.
The bass drum came with gull wing spurs which fold nicely into the curve of the shell. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for shallow bass drums, so I really looked forward to giving this one a test run. The 12” depth makes for a short, quick response. The drum was fitted with an Aquarian clear batter head with built in ring and the front head was a a black Attack Terry Bozzio single ply with port. The wood bass hoops had a nice glossy clear finish and were a nice color contrast with the purple shells. I tried the drum with and without muffling . When muffled, the drum had a nice punchy thump with good low end. Without muffling the same qualities remained, plus a nice sustained low note from the front head. I tried two tunings; a loose medium low and a high jazz-ish tuning. No problem in the tuning range department. Fibreglass drums have always been known for their volume and this bass drum is no exception.
Toms. The toms had a rich, fat, clear, musical sound with a nice sustain. Very warm. The heads were Aquarian coated single ply on top and Attack Terry Bozzio clear single ply on bottom. Both toms had a good long sustain and a wide tuning range. The mounted tom comes with a RIMS holder and bracket for an L arm, but no tom arm or bass drum mounting bracket were included.
The 13” snare drum was very responsive with a nice dry spot in the middle of the head and a nice ringing when played near the hoop. The snare beds were shaped correctly so it has a nice snare response. The throw off is a Taye type lever – a simple throw off. The drum tuned well at low and high tunings. The low tuning with a zero ring sounded especially fat.
All in all, this Bello kit is a very balanced set of drums. This would be a very nice versatile kit that could be used for small jazz and coffeehouse gigs as well as louder pop/rock gigs where a punchy sound is required.
Because of the fiberglass shells and shell hardware that is on the small side, the drums are very light weight. Fibreglass is also very durable and impervious to extreme tempatures and moisture. The 12” long bass drum makes the footprint of the set smaller than your average rock kit, facilitating set up on tight stages.
Bill Haller is making some nice instruments. Give Bill a call or send him an email if you want to find out more. He’s a very hands-on, amiable guy with a great off kilter sense of humor. He can be reached through the Bello website – www.bellodrums.com.