When it comes to buying a professional kit, the first decision you probably make is whether to buy birch or maple drums, since most high-end kits are described as emaple this’ or ebirch that’. This was not always so. Growing up during the 1960s and 1970s, I really don’t remember much talk about the type of wood employed in making shells.
The catalogs glossed over the question and often didn’t let on. In any case most drums were covered in plastic wraps n pearls and glitters n and given exciting names like Rogers Starlighter, Ludwig Super Classic and, erm, Premier 303.
Nowadays the type of wood is often included in the name, e.g., Gretsch Renown Maple, Ludwig Classic Birch, Sonor Force Maple, or Yamaha Oak Custom, etc. So presumably it must be very important.