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Yamaha Percussion Terminology

Your guide to percussion terminology.

Here’s a translation of some of the acronyms and terms you see used in descriptions of Yamaha Percussion products:

ABS™ (Articulated Back Support) Carrier

The articulated back support (ABS) carrier, designed by Randall May International, is a feature on the higher-end carrier system. The ABS promotes correct spinal posture by equally distributing the weight of the drum for comfort and safety.


A synthetic bar material used in the manufacturing of marimbas and xylophones, Acoustalon is produced from fiberglass-reinforced plastic in a one-step manufacturing process providing exceptional durability and a pure tone. The scientifically designed Sonic Tone Holes™ created in this process give Acoustalon bars a tone similar to rosewood. The color is impregnated directly into the fiberglass material.


Acoustalon-Lite bars share the same manufacturing process as Acoustalon bars but are thinner for lighter weight. The smaller bars utilize three Sonic Tone Holes.

Air-Seal System™

The Air-Seal System is, in part, responsible for the quality of Yamaha drum shells. The wood sheets are cut into plies, positioned with staggered diagonal seams, and sealed together with evenly distributed air pressure. The resulting shells are perfectly round and of uniform thickness – delivering superior tone and excellent durability.

Balanced Spring System

A type of timpani pedal mechanism where the tension of the pedal spring and timpani head are balanced so that the set pitch is maintained even if the player removes their foot from the pedal. This mechanism helps facilitate glissandi and other advanced playing techniques.

Bearing Edge

The point where a drum head makes contact with the shell.

Die-Cast Rim

Aluminum alloy rims are made in a die-cast mold to remain perfectly round and rigid. This design helps provide immediate response and fast decay at all dynamic levels. Medium weight die-cast rims also maintain proper tuning at any tension.

Dyna Hoop Rim

Dyna hoop rims are triple-flanged and constructed of 2.3 millimeter thick steel, contributing to a fast, well-defined attack.

Extended Snares

Snare wires that extend past the diameter of the drum.


A medium weight, synthetic head made by Remo™ consisting of a laminated film that has a feel and sound similar to calfskin.

Field-Corps Carrier

The Field-Corps Carrier, designed by Randall May International, features an ergonomic lightweight design with multiple adjustments to enhance comfort. These carriers are gender-friendly tubular embodiments, with adjustments to fit a wide range of student sizes.

Free Floating Lug Bridge™ (FFLB)

A suspension system for marching toms designed by Randall May International. The FFLB is installed without drilling into the drum’s shell; instead, high-strength performance polymer bridge suspension connectors use the existing lug casings.

FRP™ (Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic)

Synthetic material exclusive to Yamaha used to make durable, lightweight products such as Acoustalon tone bars and Acoustalon-Lite tone bars.

Graduated Tone Bars

Vibe, marimba and xylophone bars with widths that gradually increase from higher to lower register.

High Profile Rim

A batter snare drum hoop with a greater than normal distance between the hoop’s eyelets and the top of the hoop. This protects the bearing edge from inadvertent rim shots as the head stretches.


A very light yet strong, non-stretch woven material used in drum heads by competitive marching drum lines. It provides great articulation, but may cause damage to drums not designed to use Kevlar heads.

Lug Casing

A treaded receiver for the tension rod that is either attached to the drum shell (concert snare drums, marching tenors and bass drums, and drumsets) or freely suspended (marching snare drums).

Non-Graduated Tone Bars

Vibe, marimba and xylophone bars of the same width throughout the instrument’s range.

PAC™ (Pedal Adjustment Clutch)

The PAC system allows pedal resistance to be adjusted while maintaining perfect pedal balance. A large knob in the middle of the base makes for easy adjustments.


A type of wood from Southeast Asia used in the production of some marimbas and xylophones, Padauk is a natural material that is less expensive than rosewood and an excellent choice for student level instruments.


High quality wood from Central America – primarily, Honduras – used in the production of some marimbas and xylophones.

Sonic Tone Hole™

A type of design that uses holes which run horizontally through Acoustalon bars in order to simulate the air pockets that rosewood has naturally. They produce a sound which closely resembles rosewood, but with less ring than solid synthetic bars.

Tension Rod

The tension rod, or tuning bolt, is used to tighten and tune the drum head. It goes into the threaded lug casing and is adjusted by a drum key.

Three Piece Tube Lug

The three-piece tube lug is a feature on intermediate and advanced snare drums. The design of this kind of lug minimizes the amount of material that is touching the shell, thus allowing the shell to ring more freely. By holding the tension of both the top and bottom heads with unified lugs, an optimal balance of tension between the heads is achieved.

Triple Flanged Hoop

Triple flanged hoops are constructed of 1.6 millimeter thick steel that contributes to an open sound and long sustain.

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