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Snare drum anyone?

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  • Snare drum anyone?

    I am looking to add an acoustic snare to my arsenal. The band I play with has a couple of offshoots that occasinally do an acoustic duo type act. I will occasionally show up and play a little percussion for fun. I recently thought of getting an acoustic snare for some of these sit ins. The majority of work will be with brushes and multi-rods.
    I come seeking your opinions. Wood, steel, brass, piccolo, soprano, deep shell, brands that are great, brands that suck, any other pearls of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.
    I know the choice of a snare is a deeply personal one, on the scale of choosing a mate, but I would just like to see what you think about the subject.

  • #2
    Based on what you say your intended use will be, I'd probably recommend (in order of preference):

    - 5 X 14 brass snare, such as a Ludwig Black Beauty. Versatile as all hell, great tonal range and dynamics, as well as very sensitive.

    - 3 X 13 or 14 steel piccolo would be light, cheap, portable, and VERY sensitive. Tonally, they tend to be a little more one-dimensional, but they give great volume for very little input, and are quite crisp.

    - 3 X 14 wood piccolo would be a pretty good choice, too, as they are sensitive like the steel ones, but not quite as harsh. They are a bit warmer than the steel ones, and still very crisp. With the shell depth that small, the shell material won't have as much of an impact on the overall sound as it does with a larger drum.

    Overall, I'd stay away from snares deeper than 5 inches for your purposes, as they require a little more input to project as well as a shallower drum. I have snare drums ranging from 3 to 12 inches in depth, and each are suited to specific applications. My 5 X 14 black/brass DW Anniversary Model is the most versatile, though.

    Of course, like you said, snare drum selection is a really subjective and personal thing. My best advice: Play lots of them before you decide. Good luck,


    Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.


    • #3
      Oh, I forgot about brands! Ludwig is my all-time favorite for snare drums, but their throwoffs pretty much suck. They sound beautiful, though. DW has much superior hardware, and are finely-crafted instruments.

      Pearl, Tama, and Yamaha all make good instruments, as well. Kinda like choosing a car brand - get what you like. Stay away from cheapos (CB700, Percussion Plus, etc.)

      More expensive esoteric drums, such as Ayotte, Keplinger, Pork Pie, etc. would probably be overkill for you, but if you're willing to spend the dinero, check 'em out by all means.

      There are many other reputable companies such as OCDP, Premier, GMS, and others that you might find a good instrument from as well.

      Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.


      • #4
        Thanks Danny, that was a very complete and well thought out answer.
        Anyone else?


        • #5
          I use Tama. The snare that came with my swingstar sounds really good for being a low end metal snare. There's the Mike Portnoy snares that have the 3 way selector switch that could give you something in the way of versatility. The reviews I've read on it favor the 5x12 as opposed to the 5x14 drum based on looks and sound.
          I also like pretty much any 3x13 piccolo snare simply because of the high end crack to get above the guitars.
          td-6, pro-mark, remo, sabian, dw, tama rockstar.


          • #6
            hey arriguy -

            i have been on a snare buying spree as of late. you can get alot of A drum for your E drum dollar! here are three that i picked up that i absolutely love:

            - noble and cooley alloy classic 4.75x14
            - gretsch broadkaster 5x14
            - dw craviotto 5.5x14

            they weren't cheap but these are some of the best drums i have ever owned. all are extremely versatile snare drums. i have the N&C drum tuned with a bit fatter and with a faster attack for rock and funk feels, and the broadkaster tuned with a bit more resonance for jazz. the craviotto i have tuned for a nick crack and is extremely sensitive.

            two of the drums i picked up on ebay for a significant discount. the craviotto i actually got new for even cheaper then the ebay going rate from an old friend at west LA music - he used to sell me gear when i was starting out at 14 years old!!

            the good thing about drums such as these, or the drums danny spoke of, is that if you keep them in good shape they will be worth their weight in gold down the road.

            good luck and have fun.


            • #7
              If I had the $'s I would look at a DW edge or a Yamaha nail drum.


              • #8
                I like snares with a lot of snare buzz. Not so much bite or a tight back beat.

                I had a Pearl Free Floating snare (copper shell), which was nice for me a long time. It was 6,5 inches deep; but I generally prefer 5-inch deep snares. But in those days snare drums were only 6,5 inch, 8 or even 12 inch deep. So: it was the most shallow one I could buy.

                Nevertheless after 10 years I decided to buy a new snare. I tested some Tama and Yamaha stuff. And then the Sonor Designer Light Maple.

                The Sonor snare was the most expensive one. Things are always expensive if you like them. But: wow what a snare!!
                It blew all the Japanese drums away. As with buying the powered speaker: I had my wife and children with me. She at me. I at her. We went home with the Sonor...

                Like with Sonor, I prefer to have European or American snare drums. Premier, Sonor, Ludwig, Gretsch: they all have something special that most Japanese snare drums don't have. Perhaps it's the simplicity with which those snares are made.


                • #9
                  Putt, the Sonor stuff is very fine, indeed! Best sounding bass drum I ever heard was a Sonor. Damned non-standard tuning keys always make me a bit crazy, though!


                  Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by puttenvr:
                    I like snares with a lot of snare buzz. Not so much bite or a tight back beat.

                    I had a Pearl Free Floating snare (copper shell), which was nice for me a long time. It was 6,5 inches deep; ..
                    I had a Pearl free floater as well. I ordered one with a maple shell and piano black finish to match my kit. I really liked it a lot. I never liked tight choked snares. It took awhile to get it right but I was able to get a great snare sound out of it without choking the snares AND with out the snares buzzing every time the toms were hit. The toms were tuned medium low and used black Jack DeJonnette signature heads (they put out a really sweet sound without having to muffle them and seemed to help with eliminating snare buzz when they were played - something to do with the coating I think).
                    Kit Pic 1 Kit Pic 2 Kit Pic 3... And FOR SALE I have: 3 PD-9's, MDS-10 purple rack w/cables/pad and cym mounts. See classified posts for details or PM me.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by fartnokker:
                      Damned non-standard tuning keys always make me a bit crazy, though!
                      I was at the Sonor factory a couple of years ago and asked them about these tuning bolts. Sonor still considers it as an advantage that you can tune your drum with a screw driver. !!


                      • #12
                        I don't think there is anything more annoying than a drummer without a drum key! Walking around with this lost expression on their face asking everyone...
                        uh, you don't happen to have a drum key do you?'
                        To which most people respond.
                        DO I LOOK LIKE A (insert expletive here) DRUMMER TO YOU????

                        'I only ever quote myself - except when I quote someone else' - me

                        , plenty of , and , , triggered acoustics, , and a plethora of PA blah blah freakin blah...I mean does anyone care about the specifics of pedals, speakers, processors, hardware or anything that I'm using?? :confused: Hmmm, maybe this is an appropriate place to mention that I tried out a new cymbal stand the other day...


                        • #13
                          Hi Arriguy

                          I had a snare drum from Ugly Percussion which was made from a 13" diameter, 1/2" thick, 5" deep piece of, get this...PVC. I bought it after a rave review in Modern Drummer - the reviewer bought one for himself.

                          This drum did everything well and was very musical around the rim. Also, it was inexpensive at about $180.00 in cherry veneer delivered.

                          FWIW, here is their website http://www.uglypercussion.com

                          They can probably send you the MD review


                          [This message has been edited by gingerbaker (edited February 08, 2002).]
                          Immensely powerful yet with a liquid cat-quick elegance


                          • #14
                            I am currently using a Yamaha maple custom 14x6 with cast hoops, plus a mapex 12x4 maple.
                            I recently sold off a sonor and a ludwig, I think I have a 13 brass somewhere at someones house too...

                            All are nice.

                            Jeff, using...
                            td 8,PD-120,
                            pintech pads,gibraltor rack, JBL G2 EON 15 AND Mackie srs-1500, BBE 462 yamaha maple customs, remo jazz kit, buttloads of cymbals... 96 Tahoe,leather.
                            The original Gig Pig.


                            • #15
                              And the gold medal winner is.......... drum roll please.
                              brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrcrash The DW Collector's Series brass 6 1/4 x 14" snare. Just picked it up today. Played alot of drums and listened to all of your suggestions. Thanks alot. The silver medal winner was the Paul Liem signature Yamaha snare, but the DW was very similar sounding and a full $200 cheaper.
                              Just wanted to follow up here with the winner.

                              [This message has been edited by Arriguy (edited February 19, 2002).]