Craviotto or Noble & Cooley... Help me decide!

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RickP

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0AA380E5-74E8-4CBD-AAA3-EDCD81C31112.jpeg

One other drummaker that does beautiful solid shell snares is Unix Drums from Quebec, they do a very wide variety of woods and even make solid shell kits ( for a LOT less dough than Craviotto and there kits have one piece shells, not stacked shells like Craviotto does).
 

midnightsupperclub

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Thanks jbonzo1 and RickP.

STOP TEMPTING ME!!

Trust me, I have gone back and forth and agonized over over makers as well. Unix and Dynamicx are very high up on my list too. It's a pity Bellwether is no longer making drums. My current fav walnut is from Bellwether and I would pick up another in a heartbeat if he was still making drums.

I AM really curious about cherry as a strong contender and alternative to walnut.

And of course, at some point in my life, I'd like to get a nice 6.5" solid maple, which will probably be a Johnny C. In my mind, that's the best no frills, value for money, name brand solid snare out there currently.

A long time ago when I was in school, someone asked my teacher how to tell the difference between "good" wine and "normal" wine. My teacher's answer was "Go buy a $20 bottle and a $100 bottle of wine from the store and drink them. If you can taste the difference, there's your answer. If you can't taste the difference, then you'll know to save your money and just enjoy the cheaper wines from now on."

I've always remembered that answer, and unfortunately, I've applied that to my music gear acquisition these days. When I was looking for an Acro several years ago, I wondered about the Acros from different eras so I read up all I could but didn't find a conclusive answer. My solution? I ended up with 5 Acros from different decades and different finishes, played them all side by side and figured it out for myself.

I'm just afraid that if I don't get some help and clarity on this forum, I'm gonna end up buying BOTH the Crav and the N&C, which I really can't afford to. Hahaha
 

owr

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I own a maple N&C and a Cherry Craviotto. Both are wonderful drums, I think you could be very happy with either. Im a displaced new englander living in Santa Cruz ca so have loyalties to both.

Honestly I think the biggest difference will be driven by rims, heavy die cast on the N&C, light weight triple flanged on the craviotto. You can of course swap them out, but these are the natural starting configs for each.

Sound wise, the N&C drum is the most stable drum Ive owned. I havent changed the batter in years, I once left it in a bag for a few years and took it out and it sounded great. The craviotto is more finicky, but when I get it tuned right the back beats are glorious.

Regarding post-Johnny Craviottos, I find it a bit silly. I picked up my drum from the factory in 09, got a tour from Johnny and he had a great crew making drums. He emphasized that he personally made mine, which implies that even back then his crew was making most of them. I have no inside knowledge on this, but Id find it hard to believe if the ones being made now are any different from a few years back, other than a signature.

Lastly, in terms of long term value, no one can really say. I got my N&C 3 piece CD maple kit 17 years ago (holy!) on ebay for $700. I am beyond thrilled that they are having a resurgence, they deserve it as much as anyone, but back then no one gave a snap about them really. I priced out a 16 tom new to match and it was more than I paid for the rest of the kit (though their customer support was stellar). Instead, I bought a different cd maple kit used, 8/10/12/14/16/22 for $1200, and later sold for slightly less. Around that time the black cherry craviotto snares were all the rage and running around $800.

So listen to a bunch, dive in, you cant go wrong with either.
 
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I'll throw my opinion in here. First, I have a bunch of snares.

IMG_0872.JPG

I could have bought a Crav SD any time in my career, and didn't. I do have a N&C 7x14 SS Maple, a cloud badge Radio King, and not to muddy the water but I have 2 solid drums (a cherry and a walnut) made by Neil Longo. Cherry and Walnut are my fave tone woods, so you have made a good choice there. Neil isn't just "another" fly by night drum maker, he has been around for a long time, is as honest as the day is long, a wonderful craftsman, and he REALLY knows wood. I feel the same about the Noble and Cooley guys, high quality, high character, great instruments.

I have been told that one of the real big differences between all of these solid snares is how the wood is dried-aged before construction. But I'm no wood expert, I play drums for a living. I have put Neil's walnut drum next to walnut drums made by Crav and I like Neil's much more. More warmth, more character, and easier to dial in at all tunings. I also like the Trick strainers more. The N&C maple is a workhorse, I can't get it to sound bad (I also have and feel the same about other N&C snares that I have.)

Another factor is this. I have no real affection for "bling," and when you pay for a Crav I feel like I am paying for a lot of "bling." And the Cravs without the bling don't seem to get the superior workmanship that the "blinged out" ones do. To me, that's a problem.

All of the Longo drums are the same, the only thing that changes is the wood, the sizes, and the finishes (Brady was the same way, but those aren't not solid shells, so we won't go there. But I do own a few Brady's too!) Unix drums are wonderful too (I have a walnut stave Unix,) but they feel like furniture to me. I'm afraid to hit them, throw them in a case, put them on a plane or in a van, and play them.

The Longo and the N&C look (and feel) like drums to me, not blinged out furniture. And they just sound better (to me,) live and on record. My drums are my working tools, and I like the tools that do the job best.

N&C and Longo!!!!!!

Hope that helps,
MSG
 

dilbertfan1

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Dark horse..... Ive had both Craviotto and N&C. Both were great. My recently acquired Joyful Noise is on another level altogether. Perfection.
 

midnightsupperclub

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JazzDrumGuy said:
So what's the best Acro???
Not to derail my own thread, but I should answer your question! Haha

So I haven't had the privilege of comparing many different 70s and 60s models, just the one of each era that I have, which I'm not sure are representative of ALL 60s or 70s era Acros. That being said, here are some of my observations and opinions, based on the ones I own:

1. I had 3 Blackros (yes I went a bit overboard!). All 3 sound very similar and very consistent.

2. There are definitely differences in my Acros from the 3 decades. General signature sound is the same, but I can hear differences.

3. The Blackro is the brightest and most wet/ringy of all. I actually like my snares a little ringy, so that's kinda my favourite.

4. The 60s keystone Acro is the driest. A lovely sound and good crack, just not as ringy as the blackro.

5. The 70s B/O Acro sounds the best out of the 3 in lower tunings, doesn't seem to be as bright when tuned up high. Bearing in mind this is the grey painted version, so I'm not sure if the finish has anything to do with it.

So yeah, that's some quick observations of the Acros from 3 different eras. In a blindfold test, I'd say all 3 are very nice. I might be able to tell the Blackro apart from the other 2, but not the 60s vs the 70s. If you put all 3 side by side with the same heads and tuning (which I did), I could hear small differences.

I ended up keeping the 60s Keystone and one of the Blackros. The Keystone just cus of the vintage vibe of it, and the Blackro cus I like how it sounds and that's also my loaner snare. Once in awhile, the street kids that I work with will have a gig somewhere and they always need a drum set so I keep a spare Stage Custom kit around to lend them. They love the Blackro and it hurts a little less if it gets a bit dinged up from their gigs.
 

mgdrummer

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I may be one of the odd ones out, but I sold 3-4 NC SS snares that I never really connected with. I figured I just didn't care for the sound of solid maple snares, but that was until I ran into a 6.5x14 Craviotto special "5 Star Shop" edition "Unlimited" series drum at a local Guitar Center about 7 years ago. It's been my go-to maple snare ever since.
 

Treviso1

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midnightsupperclub said:
So what's the best Acro???
Not to derail my own thread, but I should answer your question! Haha

So I haven't had the privilege of comparing many different 70s and 60s models, just the one of each era that I have, which I'm not sure are representative of ALL 60s or 70s era Acros. That being said, here are some of my observations and opinions, based on the ones I own:

1. I had 3 Blackros (yes I went a bit overboard!). All 3 sound very similar and very consistent.

2. There are definitely differences in my Acros from the 3 decades. General signature sound is the same, but I can hear differences.

3. The Blackro is the brightest and most wet/ringy of all. I actually like my snares a little ringy, so that's kinda my favourite.

4. The 60s keystone Acro is the driest. A lovely sound and good crack, just not as ringy as the blackro.

5. The 70s B/O Acro sounds the best out of the 3 in lower tunings, doesn't seem to be as bright when tuned up high. Bearing in mind this is the grey painted version, so I'm not sure if the finish has anything to do with it.

So yeah, that's some quick observations of the Acros from 3 different eras. In a blindfold test, I'd say all 3 are very nice. I might be able to tell the Blackro apart from the other 2, but not the 60s vs the 70s. If you put all 3 side by side with the same heads and tuning (which I did), I could hear small differences.

I ended up keeping the 60s Keystone and one of the Blackros. The Keystone just cus of the vintage vibe of it, and the Blackro cus I like how it sounds and that's also my loaner snare. Once in awhile, the street kids that I work with will have a gig somewhere and they always need a drum set so I keep a spare Stage Custom kit around to lend them. They love the Blackro and it hurts a little less if it gets a bit dinged up from their gigs.
How did you go from N&C vs Craviotto to talking about Acro's? ADD/ADHD hijacking? Ridiculous!!! Come on people... This is embarrassing already!
 

musiqman

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I love my Craviotto Butternut (white walnut)



I had a vintage brady block too.

The latter has more meat, a beast. But the Craviotto is multi purpose dream and could get the same crack with a top die-cast hoop if needed.

So i'm glad I sold the Brady and got the Craviotto.
 

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cochlea said:
I have a Craviotto that I really like but if I were in the market for a solid shell snare today, I would go with Noble & Cooley. Since purchasing my "Johnny C" 3 years ago, I have contacted Craviotto 5 or 6 times with questions when using the online "Contact Us" form located on their website. On only one occasion did I receive a reply, and that was almost 3 months after my initial inquiry. I received an email directly from one of their top people describing what I needed to do, which I followed through on, only to hear nothing further. This lack of customer service really bothers me, even though I love their product, so much so that it makes me hesitant to recommend them. If they don't have the staff to answer emails, then don't put a "Contact Us" text box on the website. I've heard great things about N&C customer service, which at my age is a factor I weigh much higher than in the past when contemplating drum-related purchases. Sorry for the rant!
I'd like to weigh in on this ~ being that I work for Craviotto. I appreciate the heads up here and a friend turned me onto this thread. I looked into the website and the contact us form appears to be functioning properly. If there was a delay or non-reply, I'm not sure what happened. Either way, Craviotto has always been committed to taking care of our family of drummers. Craviotto has built its reputation on quality, craftsmanship, and customer service. I'd like to address your situation and help you resolve it. I will PM you with my personal contact information.
 

drumstar

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I have worked for Craviotto for nearly 10 years. As a professional drummer, I have a lot of respect for all boutique companies. I think we are all fortunate as drummers to have so many quality options at our fingertips. Solid, Stave, Segment, and ply...there are darn good drums out there.

I understand what it takes to make a drum. That said, N&C, Vaughncraft, Longo, Unix, and Craviotto do things very differently. Conceptually and from a manufacturing standpoint, though all solid, we have a lot of differences in our processes.

These differences are evident in the final product. N&C and Craviotto do not sound or perform the same way. Each builder has "their" way of doing things and that's cool.

Its always best to try to play both side by side and see what resonates with you and the musical application you will be using it in.

There are 23 steps in Craviotto's craftsmanship process. They only difference in manufacturing a Private Reserve from a less expensive offering is the wood. If you asked Johnny, he would always point you to Maple first. Given the question I once posed, "if you could have one drum what would it be - he said a 4.5x14 Maple".

ALL master craftsman at Craviotto have been in place prior to 2008 and some as far back as Johnny's Solid / Select days (the 80s and 90s for those of you who remember those drums). Needless to say, doing this day in and day out for over 50 collective years, they know the process and the techniques and have rolled over thousands of shells, signed and unsigned.

I hope this clarification helps. My intention is not to sell drums, but to educate drummers on how Craviotto drums are handcrafted.
 

Treviso1

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musiqman said:
I love my Craviotto Butternut (white walnut)



I had a vintage brady block too.

The latter has more meat, a beast. But the Craviotto is multi purpose dream and could get the same crack with a top die-cast hoop if needed.

So i'm glad I sold the Brady and got the Craviotto.
Gorgeous!!!
 

Dan Felix

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I have had both. They are truly amazing works of craftsmanship.

Got a beautiful standard finish maple Crav in 2006 (14x6.5). Fabulous drum. About 5 years ago I also found a NC 14x5 maple. It blew me away; it was the sound I was hunting for in maple.

To be honest, both are superb. Recording engineers love both. The average person won't care a hoot... But my preference is the NC. In fact it is so good that I sold the Craviotto and went off hunting for another NC in cherry.

NC are superb drums and the company are first rate to deal with. Whilst the choice will be yours alone and decided by your own ears I don't hesitate to recommend NC.

However, either way you go you will end up with a truly first class instrument. Play em and enjoy! Just don't tell the wife how much they cost
 

musiqman

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Treviso1 said:
I love my Craviotto Butternut (white walnut)



I had a vintage brady block too.

The latter has more meat, a beast. But the Craviotto is multi purpose dream and could get the same crack with a top die-cast hoop if needed.

So i'm glad I sold the Brady and got the Craviotto.
Gorgeous!!!
Thank you. It was a bit on the expensive side but man it is worth it.
 

cochlea

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I want to follow up on my previous post where I expressed frustration with Craviotto's lack of responsiveness through their online "Contact Us" feature. Dave, who works at Craviotto and is a forum member here, reached out to me immediately to explain some of the issues they were having back then as they migrated to a new hosting provider. He was extremely caring and informative and renewed my faith in Craviotto's customer service. This is the best snare I've owned so I am hopeful that with the bugs worked out, their customer service will be on par with their craftsmanship. Many thanks to Dave for reaching out to me directly.
 

jhall

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Cool thread. I own a few Craviotto snare drums, (not walnut) and I really enjoy them. I've had little experience with walnut and I found it a little too dark for my taste. I've mostly experienced Maple & Mahogany and enjoy the right blend of crack and fatness with the right amount to sensitivity. Not a huge fan of DC hoops on snare drums. I have played several N&C snare drums at recent NAMM shows and they feel/sound great (as much as you can tell in that environment). I definitely know is that I really prefer to play the exact drum I'm buying as there are many variances among two of the same instruments. Good luck with your purchase!
 

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