Piccolo Snares In Jazz

Burps

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2017
Messages
221
Reaction score
124
Location
New England - USA
I used to play one of these one hundred dollar Guitar Center special Remo Mastertouch piccolo snares. They were very common in the late '90s and Guitar Center always had them on sale for about $79-$99. I used them in jazz combos and when I played in the university big band. It was a perfect snare sound for any jazz situation.

I sometimes see them used for about the same price now as when they were new. I had a Remo Mastertouch kit at the time, so when I sold the kit, the snare went with it. It was an excellent drum for the price. I wouldn't need one today, but I also wouldn't hesitate to use one on a gig if it were around.

I have a MasterTouch piccolo and I love it. I use it a lot. I have a maple Pearl one as well. Both 3x13. It’s funny, because I usually love a beefy lower pitched snare sound generally speaking. But the Remo piccolo sounds fantastic. The original snare strings were very thin and I replaced them immediately when I bought it, back in the late 90s. It’s still going strong and I never plan to part with it.
 

Targalx

Very well Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2017
Messages
1,181
Reaction score
832
Location
Los Angeles
I have a MasterTouch piccolo and I love it. I use it a lot. I have a maple Pearl one as well. Both 3x13. It’s funny, because I usually love a beefy lower pitched snare sound generally speaking. But the Remo piccolo sounds fantastic. The original snare strings were very thin and I replaced them immediately when I bought it, back in the late 90s. It’s still going strong and I never plan to part with it.
Yes, I replaced the Remo's stock snare wires with this Rhythm Tech Active Snare System.
 

10 Lug

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
322
Reaction score
166
Location
Cape Cod, MA
I don't know what is technically a piccolo snare and what isn't. But here are a few of my opinions. And a list of guys that I know that have played 4x14" snares.

I love 4x14 (or 4.5x14) snares for jazz and have quite a few. Great for brushes, you can leave them wide open, and not have to worry about them getting away from you with sticks, nice cross stick sound. You can tune them down a bit, and get a nice throaty (without being "loud") sound, and if you play rimshot they seen to be more balanced with the "natural" snare sound (to me.) As I said I love them. However, I also love 8" snares for jazz too, because of their wonderful snares off sound (they sound like a tom, instead of a timbale.)

I would never use a 13" snare for jazz. I have never played any 13 snare that I could get a nice cross stick sound from, and playing brushes on a 13 would probably feel really weird. But that's just me.

As originally linked, Peter Erskine had Yamaha build him a 4" signature in Birch (I have and love that one,) he had DW build him a 4" snare too.

Jeff Watts has a 4" Sonor that he plays A LOT, and it sounds great!!!!

Those old pix of Roy (that are included in this thread,) have him playing one of those old Ludwig's (what were they called?) I have one of those too. Great drum that I used for years, and then the lugs started to twist a bit, so now it gets babied a bit. I'm not sure if Roy is playing that drum on the Trane clip. Roy's snare on that records sounds much brighter than this Ludwig 4's.

Papa Jo had an infamous 4" Black Beauty that he played, and it wound up in Billy Cobham's possession, and then John Riley's, and then Dennis Chambers'. John also had a 4" Yamaha that he used for a long time (maybe influenced by the BB.)

As pictured Max's "signature drums" was a Gretsch 4" (but the included picture in this thread doesn't look like the Max Signature to me, I could be wrong though.) I still have yet to see a clear picture of Max playing his sig Gretsch (but the one in this thread MIGHT be the one picture, I can't tell.)

Marvin "Smitty" Smith had a signature 4" Copper that he actually played, and it sounded really good too. I have also seen Jack DeJohnette use a 4" Sonor Bronze a few times too.

One of the "Buddy gear nuts" with tell you about Buddy using a 4" (I forget which brand, Slingerland?)

I contend that part of the 4" drum craze in the studios in the 90's was the fact that Drum Paradise has a 4" Lang, that everyone (Vinnie, JR, Keltner, Erskine, etc...) rented, fell in LOVE with, and tried to have their companies replicate. Larrie Londin also had two 4" that he LOVED (4x15 and a 4x14 old Ludwig two piece NOB or BB's.) But that's not jazz.

Ironically, I have a bunch of 4 and 4.5 snares that I love, and a whole lot of 6.5's that I love. I even have a few 7's and 8's that I love. But except for my vintage 5" Black Beauty, and my Yamaha Copper, and Bamboo, I don't own a bunch of 5" or 5.5 snares that I LOVE (and I have a few.)

View attachment 449055

But again, that's just me! That's what Joe is referring to as "finding YOUR voice."

Hope that helps!
MSG
"Those old pix of Roy (that are included in this thread,) have him playing one of those old Ludwig's (what were they called?) I have one of those too. Great drum that I used for years, and then the lugs started to twist a bit, so now it gets babied a bit."

Downbeat?
 

JimmySticks

Very well Known Member
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
812
Reaction score
759
Location
Queens NY
So after a "long" search of about 2 days, I joined the piccolo club and purchased a Ludwig Classic piccolo, 13x3. I think she's a real beauty, especially the lovely lugs and I couldn't resist.

I want to thank everyone for chiming in with their opinions, and especially Elvis, who is an encyclopedia of Ludwig knowledge and helped me understand these snares.

Here she is -

 

JimmySticks

Very well Known Member
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
812
Reaction score
759
Location
Queens NY
Congrats, looks like a winner!
These are very rare in my part of the world, or else I´d have snagged one already. :)
Thanks, I'm glad to know this snare has some fans!

Yeah, it does look really nice for an almost 30 year old drum and I can't wait to play it. I think these are fairly rare over here as well, although the word rare is kind of overused these days. There's not much on Google about this model, and only one or two hits on YouTube, but its enough to know it has the sound I'm looking for.
 

Targalx

Very well Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2017
Messages
1,181
Reaction score
832
Location
Los Angeles
So after a "long" search of about 2 days, I joined the piccolo club and purchased a Ludwig Classic piccolo, 13x3. I think she's a real beauty, especially the lovely lugs and I couldn't resist.
I'm not very crazy about piccolos, but that is a very nice purchase—a wonderful drum! Good luck and have fun!
 

JimmySticks

Very well Known Member
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
812
Reaction score
759
Location
Queens NY
Mine is a Bowie custom. Has a Keller shell. Renaissance diplomat head. But the biggest difference is I use cable snares to darken the sound.
View attachment 449482
Man, she is a beauty! I love the gold hardware with that pretty green stain (or wrap?)

And the sound is killer and works so well for that small combo jazz. I'm glad about that, because that's really the snare sound I'm looking for, so thanks for putting the sound files up there. Very cool playing as well!

I'll play mine for a bit when I get it and see where the sound is at, and I'll keep those Grover snare wires in mind if I need to make a change.

Thanks for taking the time! :cool:
 

hardbat

Very well Known Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
1,200
Reaction score
564
Location
Sacramento CA, USA
Thanks. The finish is green stained wood. Bowie is very reasonably priced too. I tried a lot of different combinations of heads (thick and thin, dampened and not) and snare wires (narrow, wide, split, and cable), and ultimately the thin heads with cable snares gave the sound I was looking for. The Renaissance surface is perfect for brushes too. I was surprised at the difference the snare wires made.
 

JimmySticks

Very well Known Member
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
812
Reaction score
759
Location
Queens NY
Thanks. The finish is green stained wood. Bowie is very reasonably priced too. I tried a lot of different combinations of heads (thick and thin, dampened and not) and snare wires (narrow, wide, split, and cable), and ultimately the thin heads with cable snares gave the sound I was looking for. The Renaissance surface is perfect for brushes too. I was surprised at the difference the snare wires made.
Honestly, I never heard of Bowie before, but it's certainly a beauty, so I learned something there.

This drum is coming with an Aquarian American Vintage batter head, which I've never played before. I have been using Evans Calftones lately and really love both the look and the sound. But I'll give this Aquarian a go for awhile, since it looks brand new.
 

hardbat

Very well Known Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
1,200
Reaction score
564
Location
Sacramento CA, USA
Honestly, I never heard of Bowie before, but it's certainly a beauty, so I learned something there.

This drum is coming with an Aquarian American Vintage batter head, which I've never played before. I have been using Evans Calftones lately and really love both the look and the sound. But I'll give this Aquarian a go for awhile, since it looks brand new.
I use Aquarian Vintage heads on my Gretsch kit and like them a lot. You can get them in thin as well. For brushes you'll need some time to wear down the grit, whereas the Renaissance surface is good to go right when new. Haven't tried Calftones yet.
 

bob meyer

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 7, 2007
Messages
83
Reaction score
34
Location
New York
Rarely. Mostly deep drums, but when I do, for either quiet settings or "that special thing", Gretsch 3ply 1950's 4x14 or Leedy 4x14 1930 walnut!
 


Top