So you're shopping for a new 14x6.5" brass snare [UPDATE: purchase made]

Targalx

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And it's gonna be your first and only brass snare! So what do you get?
I agree on the Yamahas. But, I have the “budget” Black Beauty. The Ludwig LB400B. It’s a COB shell. Not sure if they still make them new, but that’s a terrific drum, too. From what I know, it’s the Black a Beauty minus the black layer and fancy etching (which is an option on the BB). I believe they make it at the 6.5” depth.

 

Targalx

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Don't rule out the Pork Pie Black over Brass snares or Worldmax - I put together a snare with some hardware and a Worldmax shell that sounds great. You will be well below budget with one of those!
Agreed. I owned, toured and recorded with the Pork Pie BoB (the rare USA made version) for many years. Fantastic snare drum!
 

mcirish

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I think the Pearlsensitone is great at any price. Personally, I listened to them all and went with the Pearl Sensitone Bronze 6.5x14. It was just a touch drier than the brass. I would not consider it a dry sounding drum at all. Great drum.
 

Ptrick

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Personally, I’d just go with the black beauty. Sounds like that’s what he ultimately wants anyway. They are iconic for a reason. Tune up easily, hard to get them to sound bad, and record REALLY well. Once you have that sound, you can decide if other variants are needed.
 

Hop

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I'd suggest looking into one of the 'B' stock Black Beauties. You typically get a discount for a minor flaw that is often difficult to detect - and sometimes is only on the interior portion of the shell.
 

nylontip

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The thing that gets me about the Ludwig and Gretsch snares is you're paying $$$$ and for that money, you're getting a strainer that is on the level of Pearl or Tama's budget line
Exactly! For the price, they should include a quality throw and butt plate system. I purchased a new Gretsch Bronze 6.5, took it out of the box, flipped the strainer a few times and the butt plate side came apart were it was pressed together. Really? Packed it up and returned it. Very disappointed.
 

RIDDIM

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My vote is for the World Max black nickel over brass. I bought one years ago and when I need that BB sound, that's where I go. They are made in Taiwan, so availability shouldn't be an issue. And the price is very reasonable.
 

dirtcity

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Now granted, I am a Ludwig addict so there's definite bias here. But I used to have the Pearl brass Sensitone, I've played the Pork Pie brass, and a couple others, but when I got my 6.5 Black Beauty, it just nailed the sound in my head. It scratched every itch I had for a powerful, throaty, full bodied but articulate and sensitive snare. I also really like the newer p88 strainer.
 

NobleCooleyNut

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Personally, I’d just go with the black beauty. Sounds like that’s what he ultimately wants anyway. They are iconic for a reason. Tune up easily, hard to get them to sound bad, and record REALLY well. Once you have that sound, you can decide if other variants are needed.
+1 I am with Ptrick - If I was in the market for a brass 6.5” my search would start and end with the Black Beauty . I have the 5” model and it is such a fantastic drum . I have played a 6.5” before , no idea why I have never bought a 6.5” yet .
 
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unregisteredalien

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Diving back in to say (for anyone who's listening) thanks for all your responses, I really appreciate the thought, effort and wisdom.

I'm gonna listen carefully to clips of all these drums and play whatever I can in person, but at this point the Yamaha RC, the Pearl FF and the BB seem to tick the most boxes.

Or, you know, I could completely stuff my budget and lunge for something like a Pearl Reference!
 

bbunks

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I’ve owned a Black Beauty, Sensitone, Slingerland Krupa COB, Supra, AK/Craviotto, Joyful Noise TKO and Joyful Noise COB. I love brass drums.

If you had a good secondary market, I’d suggest you consider the Krupa. Great value for the $. Sounds killer.

The Joyful Noise COB is my hands down favorite brass drum. Sounds wonderful, and the feel you get playing the drum is mind blowing. I’ve never experienced a better “hand feel”.

That said:
- you will not go wrong with a Black Beauty. Everyone should own one.
- if money is a big deal, a Sensitone or Supra would be great. They’re well built and parts will never be an issue.

Happy shopping!
 

Radio King

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I'm on my third 6.5" Black Beauty now. I sold the other 2, and both times I did, it was only a matter of time before I picked up another. The one I have now was just delivered Wednesday, and it has the MUCH improved P-88 strainer. No more struggling with the cheapish P-85.
 

Fat Drummer

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So if you have the budget and have never had one, I would recommend going ahead and scoring a BB. That is a "everyone n need to own one at least once" kind of drum! I LOVE brass snares and have owned dozens of them. While I am currently down to only a couple, I am sure many more will pass through my hands in the coming years.

And if one is on a budget, I truly believe the Pearl Sensitones are the "bang for the buck" workhorses of modern snares and would always recommend one without hesitation.

After those two directions, I start looking at boutique lines. Many have been mentioned here already so I will toss in one more... while this is a one off Dunnett presented as a George Way, it is still just based on the Way 6 ½” X 14” Hollywood Model (GW904). While they are not "cheap" they are still lot of drum for the dollar.

I switched to Copper a few years ago and so don't play as much brass as I used to, but still have a deep affection for it!

20200118_205639 copy.jpg
 

dirtcity

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I’ve owned a Black Beauty, Sensitone, Slingerland Krupa COB, Supra, AK/Craviotto, Joyful Noise TKO and Joyful Noise COB. I love brass drums.

If you had a good secondary market, I’d suggest you consider the Krupa. Great value for the $. Sounds killer.

The Joyful Noise COB is my hands down favorite brass drum. Sounds wonderful, and the feel you get playing the drum is mind blowing. I’ve never experienced a better “hand feel”.

That said:
- you will not go wrong with a Black Beauty. Everyone should own one.
- if money is a big deal, a Sensitone or Supra would be great. They’re well built and parts will never be an issue.

Happy shopping!
If money was no object, I'd definitely have a Joyful Noise.
 

bigleedybass

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A lot of great recommendations here.
Gretch 6.5 x 14 USA Custom Bell Brass is my first recommendation to anyone looking for brass...I own one but pricey.
Check out Mapex's Black Panther line. Many options and price is reasonable. My choice was the "Blaster". " great CRACK!!!
Lot's of great Inde choices out there as well. Look outside the popular box of snares.
Oriollo Bellmaker 65 has been tugging at my heart strings but $$$$.
 
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Targalx

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The one I have now was just delivered Wednesday, and it has the MUCH improved P-88 strainer. No more struggling with the cheapish P-85.
Quick question: Is the P-88 a bolt-on replacement for any drum with a P-85? I'd like to lose the P-85s on all of my Ludwig snares. They're such ungraceful strainers. I want smooth action, smooth turning knobs...basically I want the technology of 2020 on my Ludwig snares!
 


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