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15" Snares.

D. B. Cooper

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At some point in history, 14" diameter snare drums became the standard. But how did we get there? What have been the uses and preferences surrounding the 15" snare drum? What are its advantages?
Do any of you use them regularly and how?

I've had a few 15" snares in my time and I enjoyed them, but apparently not enough to keep them around.

I have noticed that they do sound great in theaters and larger venues, especially un-miced. That bigger, deeper tone seems to project pretty well and retain its presence in a larger ensemble.

Tell me your experiences!
 

digovii

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I think you nailed it. I find a lot of people go for like 8x14 snares for deeper tones when really, a 15x5 or 15x6.5 would get you there quicker. I really enjoy them, but like you, haven't found as many applications for them personally.
 

Drum Mer

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I had three (15x10 maple mahogany, the JR 5,5 with wood hoops, and a 15x6,5 brass) but they took up a lot of real estate between the legs and I prefered go 13” and 14” (12” is just too smal for most things) with a deeper shell than wide, for the same effect.

Also not all snare specific heads come in 15” too, or are readily available.
 
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EvEnStEvEn

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I like them quite well because the tonality is richer, fuller & deeper with serious body but they take some adjusting to due to the bigger size.

I own a 6.5x15 WFL mahogany, a 7x15 Slingerland, and a 8x15 Slingerland.
all from the late 50s and early 60s, all have nickel hardware.

You gotta own a snare stand that opens a bit wider and can be adjusted lower, too
 

swarfrat

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I like mine. I was a little disappointed that it didn't sound bigger. Until a drummer started playing at church and his snare was just awesome in that room. His snare was actually tuned quite a bit lower than mine - I like the sound but hate playing gushy snares.

So one day I brought my snare and a tune bot. Even though my 6.5x15 was tuned higher (about 280) than his (about 220) when I hit it in that room it was HUGE. Definitely sounded bigger even though it was pitched higher.
 

pwc1141

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I went small but deep and haven't been happier. A Brady Sheoak block 12 x 7 on which I put wood hoops. Never saw a need for a 15" but have had 14" snares in my time before going smaller.
 

p83

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15x6.5 15x8 15x10 15x12

P1010030.jpg
 

Tubwompus

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In my time, I’ve had an 8x15 Gretsch, a ‘40’s 8x15 Slingerland, and a 6.5x15 George Way. I honestly think I victimized myself when I went on my intense endeavor regarding 14” snares in my teens. It lasted years, going after different sounds and figuring what to change depending on how it sounded wrong compared to what I was after. The feel one develops from such a thing doesn’t cross over to snares an inch bigger, at least it didn’t for me. I could get close but only ever enough for it to be an also-ran. Took a better fella than me to make 15’s happen the way I wanted them to.
 

Whitten

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Not sure how a 15" diameter drum get's you there quicker than a 14" with a deeper depth.
I've had a few 15's, the issue for me is they push your legs farther apart, more reaching for bass drum and hi-hat pedal. Which is ok if they really make a difference, but 14's sound the same or better to me. Also, it's just easier to access 14" snare side and batter heads than 15's. Most stores seem to stock the usual suspects only (10, 12, 14 and 16 in Ambassador, Emperor, Evans Texture coated etc).
 

swarfrat

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Now that I'm down to a hybrid electronic bass/toms (and sadly most of the time snare) with only one real drum (my 6.5x15 Pearl W/F) - it's kind of silly for me to be looking at drums. OTOH maybe it's not - the whole point of keeping my real snare was that cymbals and snare are the thing your ear is most critical of. And it's the smallest drum - so .... why not collect flavors when you don't need to store whole kits?

But I have a strange desire to build one of these:
 

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I don't want her you can have her she's too...well you know the rest of it
 

Quai34

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Mine, Summit Drums Walnut 15X8 is coming, I wanted the same type as the Tama Star Reserve 15X8 Maple Buninga as the demo by Robert Sput searight impressed me a lot. I was with Gary Posey on the phone and he told me that the snare was massive!! I will see if it works well on its double duty I'm planning to put it through, low tuning snare and Floor TOM in 15".
 

JohnnyVibesAZ

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I remember being in a concert band that had 15" snares. They had a big sound! I thought they worked perfectly with the brass section. They had a 6 or 6.5" depth.
 

1988fxlr

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I used to have an early 60’s Slingerland 15x7” that was kind of too much of a good thing, being a very large drum with a very warm construction it just didn’t have enough cut to not get lost behind a band. Now I have an early 70’s Rogers 15x8” with sharper edges that I really enjoy. Its still lively and audible while being big and low. I really would like to try out a shallower metal 15” as I think the lower natural tone of the bigger diameter, paired with a more responsive shell and wires should be a great combination but I’ve often been wrong

In terms of size I’ve never had a problem adjusting to the 15” but I am fairly tall and like to sit high. I felt very clumsy when I had a 13” so ymmv
 

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This post is probably going to cost me two to nine hundred bucks…
 


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