15 inch snare drums.

phdamage

Active Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2009
Messages
34
Reaction score
21
so i try to have a variety of snares for my studio. i have a 13" that i offer to folks who are used to 13s instead of 14s and i feel like they can be beneficial for folks who play double bass pedals to have a little more room to maneuver. i'm curious about 15" snares. i've literally only had one come in to the studio in my 20+ years of recording and i've never played one myself - and it was fairly recently. i was honestly surprised that it didn't sound thin, as i'm used to with shallower snares (this one was i think only 4" deep).

but aside from tonal differences, i'm curious what you all find beneficial with 15" diameter snare drums, especially as i imagine encouraging someone to play with one might end up creating more problems than it solves.
 

audiochurch

Very well Known Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
1,474
Reaction score
212
Location
New Jersey
I have a 15" supralite. I love it. It offers a thick crack for rock bands I play in that just cuts like no other drum I own. It is also very sensitive at soft volumes, so I plan on using it for future jazz trio/quartet gigs.
 

dtk

DFO Star
Joined
Oct 6, 2005
Messages
8,728
Reaction score
533
Location
Needham MA...
I think it offers a unique voice...will the great unwashed no the difference...probably not.

I have a 15x5...

I hear if you're a brush player the extra realestate makes it easy to play.
 

Stretch Riedle

DFO Master
Joined
Jun 9, 2012
Messages
3,238
Reaction score
328
Location
Santa Cruz, California
I used to own two, both were 5x15. One was a 1930's Ludwig Brass Theatre model, and the other was the Ludwig Supralite. The bigger target made it easy to hit, but it took up extra space on the stand between my legs. As said already brush playing was easier. Both also had more resonance than a comparable 14" would, which is to be expected. The 15" diameter also gave both of them a little more mid and bottom tone than a 14". I'm sure the audience wouldn't hear the one inch difference. I sold both of them when I kept going back to my 14" snare drums.

Stretch
 

James Walker

Very well Known Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
1,122
Reaction score
253
I have two, both 5.5x15, both DIY builds - one with a Keller maple shell, the other a Tempus shell. I like that the drums lend themselves to a lower pitch than a comparably tuned 14 - letting the larger diameter offer the lower pitch range, while still keeping the batter head at a tension I like.

I've also got a 5x16 (DIY build, Keller maple), that I like for the same reason.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2010
Messages
969
Reaction score
735
Location
NY-NJ
I have three 15" snares. A 1920's Ludwig NOB 6 lug two-piece shell, 4x15, an old WFL 8x15, and a newer Ludwig Custom 6.5x15 Birch. As previously mentioned, you can get more low end while keeping the batter head tight.

Everyone always talks about the high end crack (or cut) of a snare drum, and in my opinion that's the easy part. The low end and low-mids of a snare is the hard part. A larger diameter drum helps me create more of that low end fundamental without sacrificing the high end crispness of a tighter head. When mixed right, it also occupies a different place (and a little more space) in the mix, which I like too.

The claims that the extra space provides positioning issues, or that is creates a lot of extra space for brushes, is (in my opinion!) based upon perception instead of actual real experience. (PLEASE, This is just my opinion, and is not intended to insult anyone.) The difference between a 14" and a 15" snare is about a 1/4 inch around the circumference of the drum, to me, that isn't a deal breaker.

The sweet spot on a 15" drum is a little different which does take a little time to get used to. And tuning 15's is a little different, it takes a little more time to dial them in, especially when you are used to 14's. So those might be deal breakers for some.

People also refer to the availability of heads and wires, which (with the internet) has never been a problem for me. It might also help that I have three other 15" drums (all toms) so I keep a good stash of 15" heads here so I'm never caught short. (Yeah I own six 15" drums.)

My favorite 15 is my 1920's 4x15 (now that I have found triple flange rims for it,) it provides a wonderful Memphis-y, Stax-y, Al Jackson Jr.-ish, fat back thunk that I LOVE. It's like Al's wallet is built into the drum. Session drummer Larrie Londin had a 4x15 that he used a lot and loved, so I call this drum "Larrie."

My second fave is the 8x15, I will admit, it took a long time and experimentation with heads and wires to get this drum really dialed in. But now that it is, it's a BEAST, and sounds like no other drum that I have. I saw Levon Helm playing a drum like this at a session a while back, and I now refer to this drum as "Levon."

It's a nice color to have on the palette, not essential, but nice.
Hope that helps!

MSG
 

EvEnStEvEn

~Lounge Lizard~
Joined
Aug 4, 2005
Messages
18,314
Reaction score
3,265
Location
Oklur Homer
I have two 15" vintage mahogany concert models that I can't be without.

8x15" Slingerland deluxe concert king (lacquer finish) 50s

7x15" Slingerland deluxe concert king (sparkle finish) 60s

As the testimonials above attest - they're unlike anything else for swampy low end. HUGE tonality!

sling deluxe concert king framed.jpg
sling deluxe concert King.jpg


slingerland silver concert.jpg



Oops, just remembered I also have a mahogany WFL 6x15" Auditorium model as well. Love all three!
 
Last edited:

phdamage

Active Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2009
Messages
34
Reaction score
21
thanks for your thoughts.

am I safe to assume any older Slingerland 15" snare is going to be mahogany? i only ask because i have seen a few around for sale and i have a strong aversion to mahogany snares - they always feel muted/muffled to me in terms of volume and i kill myself trying to get the volume i'm used to from them.
 

dboomer

Very well Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2011
Messages
942
Reaction score
287
Location
Visalia CA
I have a tough enough time straddling a 14” snare. Have you ever ridden bareback on an elephant. I imagine having a 15” in your lap for a night would feel very much like that ;)
 

EvEnStEvEn

~Lounge Lizard~
Joined
Aug 4, 2005
Messages
18,314
Reaction score
3,265
Location
Oklur Homer
am I safe to assume any older Slingerland 15" snare is going to be mahogany?
No, not all are.
In fact my sparkle 1960s example above may actually have a maple interior now that I think of it. Can't check right this second, though.

Personally I love mahogany as a shell tonewood... to each their own.
 

Seb77

DFO Veteran
Joined
Apr 11, 2013
Messages
2,329
Reaction score
944
Location
Germany
15" should be great for playing brushes, maybe for all kinds of sounds as long as you feel comfortable.
Reminds me of a drum I tried in 2001 and considered buying for a second (might have been a good investment?) I think it came with a special batter head, 2ply with dot, which might be a good idea with a large snare like that. In the end it was just too much of a niche design though.
 

lrod1707

DFO Master
Joined
Aug 12, 2018
Messages
3,439
Reaction score
1,585
Location
Florida
I have a 15" supralite. I love it. It offers a thick crack for rock bands I play in that just cuts like no other drum I own. It is also very sensitive at soft volumes, so I plan on using it for future jazz trio/quartet gigs.
Last year I earned a ton of points at Musicians friend. Enough earned to buy an extra snare. I pondered the 15" Supralite but ultimately got the 13". I was afraid of what a 15" snare would feel like on the kit. It seemed like it would have been really wide and uncomfortable. Now after reading your post I'm wishing I would have gone for it.
 

Redbeard77

Very well Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
1,272
Reaction score
354
Location
Louisiana
thanks for your thoughts.

am I safe to assume any older Slingerland 15" snare is going to be mahogany? i only ask because i have seen a few around for sale and i have a strong aversion to mahogany snares - they always feel muted/muffled to me in terms of volume and i kill myself trying to get the volume i'm used to from them.
Not to go off topic, but is lack of volume really an issue in a studio setting?
 

musiqman

Very well Known Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2016
Messages
1,042
Reaction score
481
Location
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
15x10 in Maple Mahogany.

C5A2A5AE-907F-414E-B27B-44D3CACA3B50.jpeg


It took some time to dial in, but now it makes a killer ballad snare.

Out of the box it was a killer main snare too (just not what I wanted to use it for).

Tbh. It actually works better as a main snare in regards of sound (crack and fatness when tuned up) and ease of tuning, than as a ballad.

And for me it is a bit too big between the legs to be comfortable with, so this really stays a side snare for most of its usage.
 

richardh253

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2011
Messages
80
Reaction score
89
Location
Bryn Mawr PA
This will sound kinda dumb but the way I set up, the one time I had 15" I had trouble getting my legs around it. Of course, things could be worse....(I'm sure y'all recognize this kit from its famous video appearance in "Hello, Goodbye" :) )

1594676273486.png
 

phdamage

Active Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2009
Messages
34
Reaction score
21
Not to go off topic, but is lack of volume really an issue in a studio setting?
it can be when you're worried about hihat bleed! but more importantly, as a player hitting a drum super hard and not having it give back what you expect can really throw off your playing. the first few times i played a mahogany snare, i thought i was going crazy.

i'd say conservatively, most players (of all instruments) lose about 15% of their ability in the studio, so adding that extra layer of discomfort is not something i wanna aim for.
 

D. B. Cooper

DFO Veteran
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
2,541
Reaction score
905
7x15" Slingerland deluxe concert king (sparkle finish) 60s


View attachment 450839

There she is! Maybe we've discussed this before, but I owned that drum at one point! That repair plate is unmistakable! Love it. Glad you own it.

That's actually the only 15" snare I ever owned. I admittedly didn't have as much patience back then as I do now and didnt play around enough with it to really dial it in. I liked it, though. It looked sweet with with my red sparkle Tama B/B's.

What heads do ya'll use on 15"s?
 
Last edited:

Latest posts



Top