choosing a pricey/custom snare

phdamage

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those of you who have taken the plunge on a custom snare - how did you go about deciding what to get? Not many shops have a large stock of fancy snares and youtube videos can only get you so far. I had this idea that I would just go up to Portsmouth Drum Center and try everything they have there, but aside from it being a trek (I'm in Philly), it seems like it might be a while until I can make that kind of trip with covid happening. Also, now that I've been turned onto Oriollo, I think I'd have to fly somewhere to try one.

my shortlist:
Keplinger black iron
Oriollo bellmaker - though i'd prob skimp on the hoops
Gretsch phosphor bronze
Gretsch USA bell brass
Tama Tempesta sig
Trick copper
Dunnett titanium

currently have Noble and Cooley solid maple, Ludwig BB, custom thing made from 3/8" cold rolled steel pipe (weighs a ton and so damn loud!), and an old brass dw i'm quite fond of. I play in mostly loud rock (ugly music - punk/hardcore/metal) bands and record records of the same kinda stuff, typically.
 

NobleCooleyNut

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I find the reasons I get interested in a particular snare can be caused by all sorts of reasons . Peers, a musical requirement , appearance , sound etc. I generally lean towards wood shell drums in particular solid shells . There are exceptions of course and I have my brand favourites as well ( Sonor and N&C) . Playing a snare in person is usually the final impetus to choose a particular snare drum for me .
 

JDA

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I think you judge a snare drum by the drummers that came before you and what they used. If you take a, Buddy Rich, an Elvin Jones, an Art Blakey, a Michael Shrieve...the snares they used, will point you, directly into the right direction. 1) it's not the drum that makes the sound, You do, but you need a good starting point (with the gear) Those that came before you Show you...It's really quite simple (gear) and need not to be complicated. You, more than the drum, make the sound. The drum is just the blank canvas (the wood and nails structure) , It's you, that adds, the paint the color, and the art, more so than the drum itself. You go by what your great predecessors used all the way back to Baby Dodds and Gene Krupa and come forward there's hundreds easily available simple choice. Then you're ready for a lifetime of painting and expressing. Gear is the mundane simple canvas part. People don't listen to the drums as much as they are listening to the drummer.
 
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amosguy

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Sometimes they fall into your lap. I found both of these thru CL for $100 each.

Craviotto shell and local builder - seller could not get it to sound right. Turns out a split in the head out of sight below the edge.

Craviotto 1.jpg

Champagne custom from Canadian builder - part of a multi-set swap.

IMG_20200526_233152722.jpg
 

Neal Pert

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Most of the drums I've bought have either just been a shot in the dark based on very reliable recommendations or actually getting to play the drums in person.

I assume you've been to Philadelphia Drum Company? They seem to have a number of drums that could be close and could get you in the ballpark.

I'm a believer in the idea that a professional drummer should have four sort of "core" drums-- a deep wood, a shallow wood, a deep metal, and a shallow metal. Right now, I'd say my core performing drums are:

Deep Wood: Noble and Cooley 7x14 SS Maple Classic
Shallow Wood: Slingerland Niles Artist 5.5x14
Deep Metal: Yamaha Recording Custom 6.5x14 Brass
Shallow Metal: Yamaha Recording Custom 5x14 Aluminum

And I have a few other drums that fill out the characteristics of the core 4. I have a 6x14 Yamaha Absolute Hybrid Maple which sits between the two wood drums as a very modern, focused drum, and I have an old 1930s 6 lug Ludwig COB which gives me a wilder sort of vintage brass sound.

Anyway, it seems to me that as I look at your drums, your metal drums are covered. I'd steer toward a wood drum, maybe something with plies, fat and fuzzy sounding but at a different depth than your Noble and Cooley.

But that's me. If you just dig metal drums and want more metal drums, more power to you. I'm just always looking at my collection and asking how to expand my sonic palette with the fewest drums possible.
 

Trilock_Gurtu

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For your style of playing, I'd go with a Oriollo Bellmaker (with die casts, more then fine), Gretsch Bell Brass, or a Kep. Hard to pick. All of those will tear faces off, go with whatever one is cheapest.
 

pwc1141

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For some time I had a locally built Paduak block shell 12 x 7 that I really liked beacuse it was the closest to a Brady block snare that I could afford. I loved the 5/8" thick shell, the depth, the tone, the sensitivity and tuning range. Then a Brady Sheoak block snare of same dimensions was actually was offered at the price someone would give me for my locally made one and I jumped at that and never looked back. In other words I knew what I liked before I ever got the snare I wanted.
 

phdamage

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kicking myself for not utilizing this forum more often! good thoughts in here.

do you think those bronze hoops are really worth the extra $600? they do look nice, but it makes the drum go from at least close to Keplinger priced, to A&F priced.
 

Hop

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Hard to narrow down that great list... I'd be looking at these three in that order:
Keplinger black iron
Oriollo Bellmaker
Dunnett titanium
 

cornelius

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I've bought a few custom/boutique snares. In every instance I asked the builder/designer a bunch of questions, then bought the drum based on our conversation without playing the drum first. I have two drums similar to what's on your list:

•Dunnett Stainless Steel. I went with steel over titanium because I like steel better, but also wanted the Dunnett concept with a shell material I was familiar with. I don't know if I'd recommend titanium for loud live gigs...
•Keplinger Steel. I went with Steel over Black Iron from conversations with Gregg - but I think either would be great choice for the style of music you're playing. DCP has a 4x14 Black Iron that sounds great.

A Kep is probably a good way to go...
 

halldorl

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I seem to favour metal shells. To my ears they are oftentimes warmer and thicker sounding than wood shell drums. Steel is one of my favourite metals. However I do have a stembent Maple snare I dearly love. I had a Dunnett Titanium but I found it a bit to soft and quiet for my taste plus the sweet spot was very small.

My fav these days is the Gretsch Bell Brass and it’s also reasonably priced. It’s one if those do-it-all drums. It can take your head off but it also shines in low volume settings depending on how you play it. Grohl used a Bell Brass with Nirvana but so did Elvin Jones and Bill Bruford.
 

phdamage

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ooh. titanium isn't very loud? not what i expected. i've never played a titanium snare before. good to know. yeah, that nixes it.
 

Markkuliini

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ooh. titanium isn't very loud? not what i expected. i've never played a titanium snare before. good to know. yeah, that nixes it.
I had one, bit over 10 years ago. Don't remember anything specific about it's volume, but I remember it being dry in a weird way, it felt that with every hit the sound imploded rather than exploded.
It was quite unsatisfying drum to play, so I sold it month later with significant loss, since I had it bought it new. It also broke 2 reso skins during that month, so that didn't help either.

I'm extremely pleased with my Gretsch Bell Brass. If I had a chance to keep only one snare that would be it. It just kills in every tuning.

Here's mine with 4 different tunings if you want to hear it.

 

A.TomicMorganic

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The only drums on your list that I have heard are the Dunnett and the Kep. The Kep is about 10 times more aggressive and louder than the Dunnett. I do think the Kep would be more of what you are looking for.
 

Ptrick

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Have you checked out the Duluth redux thread? You could have a custom made cast bronze, cast bronze hoops, hardware of your choice, for the same price as most of those you listed.

Something a bit cheaper that is an excellent choice is the Gretsch solid steel. It EASILY sits with my cast bronze snares.

Here’s the epic Duluth thread if you haven’t seen it.
 

MrDrums2112

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I had one, bit over 10 years ago. Don't remember anything specific about it's volume, but I remember it being dry in a weird way, it felt that with every hit the sound imploded rather than exploded.
It was quite unsatisfying drum to play, so I sold it month later with significant loss, since I had it bought it new. It also broke 2 reso skins during that month, so that didn't help either.

I'm extremely pleased with my Gretsch Bell Brass. If I had a chance to keep only one snare that would be it. It just kills in every tuning.

Here's mine with 4 different tunings if you want to hear it.

Sounds amazing!
 

dtk

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Just a thought...EAMES...birch...many ply options...you can supply your favorite hardware.
I've had two of their snares...loud...nice sounding...

If I were to buy a new drum today (not likely) I'd look at INDIE...yet to hear one but yet to hear anyone talk bad about them too...
 

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