Good brass snares (besides the Black Beauty)

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I was at a Music Go Round store yesterday looking at snares and they had a Pearl Sensitone brass (well used, $300). The top head was totally loose so I borrowed a tuning key and as the head reached tightness, I was surprised how good it sounded. I was tempted momentarily but decided to do some research and more looking. A couple years ago our local Guitar Center had a 6.5" Black Beauty which I played a little and instantly recognized why it's so highly regarded. But $800 is out of my reach. So my question for those who have brass snares other than the BB, what can you recommend?
I was at a Music Go Round store yesterday looking at snares and they had a Pearl Sensitone brass (well used, $300). The top head was totally loose so I borrowed a tuning key and as the head reached tightness, I was surprised how good it sounded. I was tempted momentarily but decided to do some research and more looking. A couple years ago our local Guitar Center had a 6.5" Black Beauty which I played a little and instantly recognized why it's so highly regarded. But $800 is out of my reach. So my question for those who have brass snares other than the BB, what can you recommend?
I have do BB that I love but I love my 70s Slingerland Sound King just as much. The first brass I ever had was a Mapex Black Panther brass with gold hoops and lugs (‍♂) that I bought at Fork’s in the 90s, which is amazing & have owned more Mapex since and can’t go wrong with any of the old or new ones.
 

Bonzo70

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I was at a Music Go Round store yesterday looking at snares and they had a Pearl Sensitone brass (well used, $300). The top head was totally loose so I borrowed a tuning key and as the head reached tightness, I was surprised how good it sounded. I was tempted momentarily but decided to do some research and more looking. A couple years ago our local Guitar Center had a 6.5" Black Beauty which I played a little and instantly recognized why it's so highly regarded. But $800 is out of my reach. So my question for those who have brass snares other than the BB, what can you recommend?
Gretsch Bell Brass all the way. Such bottom end!
 

Drumskillz

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The Gretsch Brooklyn Chrome Over Brass is an absolute BEAST! It is every bit a match for the BB. And at under $400 retail, it is WAY cheaper than a BB.

Hell, the DW Collectors Black Nickel Over Brass is cheaper than the BB. Another great option.

Even Ludwig's own Heirloom Brass 14x7 is under $500...and it is essentially the same drum as a BB! Some would say it's even prettier. :)

And if you're REALLY on a budget, both the Ludwig Black Magic series as well as the Pork Pie BOB are great (relatively) low cost alternatives. I have a BOB which I record and gig with some. And a Genera HD Dry on top and an Orchestral 300 on the snare side creates a magical synergy.
 
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So
I have do BB that I love but I love my 70s Slingerland Sound King just as much. The first brass I ever had was a Mapex Black Panther brass with gold hoops and lugs (‍♂) that I bought at Fork’s in the 90s, which is amazing & have owned more Mapex since and can’t go wrong with any of the old or new ones.
Sorry for my typos
 

Alpine

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Vinman

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No one here has mentioned Mapex snares!!!! I recently purchased a Mapex Matt Halpern sig snare, The Wraith. Its from their Black panther line and it is sooooo sweet sounding!!!! I found it on GC for $350, it was regularly $500 but because since Halpern is no longer with Mapex, he went to Pearl, they(Mapex & GC) was clearing them out. Its a 14x6. His new Pearl brass snare is listed at $700!!!!! Its a great drum also.....
 

fredpasta

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You will eventually get a black beauty. Anything you buy in the interim is just money you could have spent on your black beauty. There are some good copies out there, but that's what they are.
That's right. There is only 'one' brass snare that is the best for every last one of you. Regardless of what you might like or what you might think you want. Listen up to this guy! He knows it all!
 

tbird8450

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I think the BB magic is overrated and way overpriced. Especially considering the gaskets they have to use to prevent lug splay .....Bah !!!!
I took the gaskets off both my 402 and BB and see zero noticeable splay on either. Doing so definitely opened up the shells. Splay is just cosmetic anyway. It's not going to affect the sound unless it's so bad you can't give the snare a proper tune - in which case, send it back.
 

karlcrafton

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Other than a B stock BB's that are out there now, or used, that's pretty much it for a seamless shell without a steep price tag.

Pearl Sensitone are great snares, Ludwig Black Magic snares are great, etc...
Anything with the Worldmax shell is going to be about the same. The Steve Feronne Sig Pearl snare (or the one that's the same in chrome and without his name)m is a fabulous drum.
Minor differences in the quality of the hardware on the BOB, WM, ACE, etc... (maybe).

If you play a snare wide open, that's when you really hear the difference between a seamed and a seamless shell.

Assuming that you start off with new heads, good wires and can tune the drum, the main difference is that a seamed shell FOR ME has had a little more "contained" type of sound overall. There's still some ring, and the brass character is there, but it's not as open on every area of the head.
Some people prefer a little less ring, some like a lot of ring.... it's all in what you like.

JMO, but, if you muffle the head (full moon gels, a muffle ring, etc...), so it has "that studio sound..." (80's ad lingo haha!) and like that type of sound, forget everything.
Save the money, buy a decent seamed Black Brass shell of any brand, play away and have fun.
 

Saladdaze

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Sakae Black Nickel over Brass. Great snares for the money if/when you can find one.

So, yeah. A note of thanks to @Beesting for this great thread. As usual here on DFO, it ended up costing me. I bought this Sakae!
 

mydadisjr

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I took the gaskets off both my 402 and BB and see zero noticeable splay on either. Doing so definitely opened up the shells. Splay is just cosmetic anyway. It's not going to affect the sound unless it's so bad you can't give the snare a proper tune - in which case, send it back.
"Splay is just cosmetic"..... Sorry, I gotta respectfully disagree here. Excessive splay on TUBE LUG drums (Black Magic) will make it easier to cross-thread the t-rod into the tube lug. Not good....

Also, I had a Mapex steel drum with tube lugs, and the rims were too large for the shell (or the shell was too small for the rims??). All 8 t-rods would not go smoothly into the lugs without some of them binding up. Splay on tube lug drums can definitely cause problems.
 

jrh1230

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Pork Pie BoB. Or get a World Max shell and parts from DFD and make your own.
I went this route (built my own with the World Max shell) and I'm happy with it for the money. Also, the World Max shell sounds really good tuned low.

Having said that, to my ear, a COB snare sounds better. I have a late '70's Slingerland 6.5"x14 COB that is awesome. But it's subjective right.
 

Seb77

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If you play a snare wide open, that's when you really hear the difference between a seamed and a seamless shell.

Assuming that you start off with new heads, good wires and can tune the drum, the main difference is that a seamed shell FOR ME has had a little more "contained" type of sound overall. There's still some ring, and the brass character is there, but it's not as open on every area of the head.
Some people prefer a little less ring, some like a lot of ring.... it's all in what you like.

JMO, but, if you muffle the head (full moon gels, a muffle ring, etc...), so it has "that studio sound..." (80's ad lingo haha!) and like that type of sound, forget everything.
Save the money, buy a decent seamed Black Brass shell of any brand, play away and have fun.
When you add muffling, I agree overtones hardly matter anymore, but it depends on the amount of muffling. Once you tune lower, it's more about snare response and low end, which can both differ a lot as well.
 

Ronnie G

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Hey guys. Love this thread and great timing for me personally, Thank You upfront. For several weeks I've been seriously looking at the Ludwig Raw Brass Snare 6-1/2x14, a snare I've had an eye on since they came out. But I'm also very interested in the Dunnett Antique Brass Snare but at a higher price point and I'm also looking at the DW Black Nickle over Brass Snare. I would love some thoughts and feedback on these 3 snares, I'm seeing some info on the DW snare here. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
Ronnie
 

Shovel&Pale

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I was at a Music Go Round store yesterday looking at snares and they had a Pearl Sensitone brass (well used, $300). The top head was totally loose so I borrowed a tuning key and as the head reached tightness, I was surprised how good it sounded. I was tempted momentarily but decided to do some research and more looking. A couple years ago our local Guitar Center had a 6.5" Black Beauty which I played a little and instantly recognized why it's so highly regarded. But $800 is out of my reach. So my question for those who have brass snares other than the BB, what can you recommend?
It depends on what model of Sensitone it was. I have a Classic II with brass tube lugs that has what can only be described as a serious "punch" even at really high tunings. I myself am not as resigned to it as I prefer the sharper sound of a good steel. That in no way decries the quality and build of it, I've just never liked brass snares for some reason.

I pulled it out for a practice in my B3 trio a while back and we all agreed it was too much; that could be a good thing for some. This model originally came with diecast hoops which I will never understand as the shell needs to breathe a little.
 


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