I have baught a second hand Mapex M kit which is practically identical to a Mapex V Floor tom I acquired previously. The only problem is that the floor tom is matte or wood finish and the kit is gloss.

I was wondering if there are any implications of using clear, internal use, gloss varnish on the floor tom to make it match the other drums on my kit?

Does it effect its value?

Does it effect the sound at all?

Most importantly will the wrong type of varnish damage the drum shell?

  • Not a dupe, but similar to this - music.stackexchange.com/questions/52129/… To your 4 questions I'd say... You'll never make it look as good as a machine finish; yes; yes; & not if it was just a piece of furniture.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 25, 2017 at 16:21
  • @Tetsujin do you know how it will effect the Sound? will it dampen the resonance? and im guessing it will decrease its value? Mar 25, 2017 at 16:30
  • Best guess is it will lose depth & gain mids/highs - & likely not in a good way - but it will probably depend on the hardness/density of the varnish, how thick it is & how far it soaks in... which is far too much guesswork for me. & for value, no user-mod ever increased the value of anything.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 25, 2017 at 16:33
  • If it gets done, it needs spraying rather than brushing - much thinner coat, and better finish.
    – Tim
    Mar 25, 2017 at 17:19
  • Much more interesting if, as I did, you misread this as "vanishing drum shells" :-) Mar 27, 2017 at 11:53

1 Answer 1


Putting a new layer of varnish over the drum shell will affect the tone somewhat, depending on how thick of a finish you put on. Unless it is very thick coating (like automotive clear coat or epoxy finish) you are unlikely to notice the difference.

Putting a gloss coat on a matte finish series instrument will affect being able to resell it to someone that is replacing that piece in a kit, or who is looking for the original look of the model.

The series itself doesn't seem to be in the "collectable" market, so you should be able to sell it as an individual drum on the used market for whatever the going rate is for that type, unless you end up with a bed finish job.

Getting a good, clean, gloss coating on the drum will not be a simple job.

You will have to seal the matte wax finish with a sanding sealer, then apply multiple coats of finish, with sanding in between, before doing a final buff and polish job. This can be done by hand with hours and hours of work, but having the right tools for the job would be the best way to assure a good result.

There are many options in the types of finishes available, and different ways of approaching getting the high gloss finish. Each method can have a different process and result in different thicknesses of final finish. You will want to do some research on woodworking and wood finishes to decide what method is best for you. You also might bring this question to the woodworking stack exchange: https://woodworking.stackexchange.com/

Edit: Almost forgot, In some cases the matte finish on music products isn't a true wax finish, but a thicker coating that has the gloss removed. I have found in some cases (guitar and ukulele) that the coating is thick enough to polish out to a gloss finish with no additional coating necessary. I can't tell from pictures of the drum set, but this may be the case and worth looking into.

  • This provides me with the advice I need. I think with the amount of work that may or may not be involved and the possibility of damaging my drums sound and screwing up the finish, with my limited (non-existent) woodworking experience, I think I'm just going to leave it well alone. thanks for the in depth answer though! :) Mar 27, 2017 at 9:30

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