The best "heavy" metal snare drums, as compiled by DCP

Markkuliini

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Back to the thick metal drums, does anyone have experience with the DW polished bell brass snare? It's a 3mm shell but much cheaper than others (retail $575) because it's rolled and welded. I was hoping DCP would have it or the knurled bronze snare in that comparison to see if there's a noticeable difference in sound (I doubt it).
Good idea, let's move on.
I have only second hand experience. Have been hearing disappointed comments more often than raves, and that's been often enough that I see it as a pattern.
Would be interesting to try one, to see how they compare.
 

Redbeard77

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I haven't seen a brass one, but I got to play the dw knurled bronze in a store and was impressed. It had a powerful focused sound you could feel in your chest. The only other metal snares I could demo with it that day were the typical thin shells.
I hate to open a can of worms, but when it comes to seamless shells vs welded, is any extra "purity" or resonance negated once you muffle it in any way?
 

Neal Pert

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Now that I'm thinking of it, I don't know that I've ever played a drum in a category like this. Does the Ayotte Keplinger count? That thing was WAY heavy.
 

bongomania

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I hate to open a can of worms, but when it comes to seamless shells vs welded, is any extra "purity" or resonance negated once you muffle it in any way?
I love the seamless concept; it makes sense intuitively. But I recently owned both a Ludwig seamless bronze and a Gretsch welded bronze, both 5.5 deep and thin (1 mm?), and I set them up with the same heads and tuning; the Gretsch had a significantly more “pure” sounding tone and resonance to my ears. Now, there are a dozen variables I didn’t take strictly, including one is beaded and the other not. But I’m now inclined to think seamless is not as big a deal as I once thought.
 

jptrickster

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Have had both seam and seamless bronze and quite frankly I could hear no difference.
When the argument comes up seam vs seamless I always throw out the highly coveted and expensive ludwig Super and 400 pre serial brass shell models have a seam lol (Oh and so do the 20's 30's Black Beautues) The whole debate is moot at best, I mean once you bolt all that hardware onto the shell....... Maybe the free floaters stand alone somewhat, I'll give that a nod for purity. Hey my Acro's are seamless!
 

SpinaDude

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I had a bronze Ludwig back in the 80's which came with my barely ever used Yamaha Tour Custom kit. I didn't understand it at the time, but the shell was out of round. At least I believe it was. I remember every time I would try to seat a head, one end would always be popped up. I'd push that down, and the other side would pop up. The lug nuts were always popping out, causing the drum to de-tune...like within less than a half hour of playing. I had to always stop to re-tighten them because they were sticking up over the rim. Once or twice they even fell out completely and I had to pick them up off the rug. There was also an internal muffler which I hated. No matter what I could never tune the drum properly. It was super ringy. I suppose that's what the muffler was for. I remember once getting a halfway decent sound out of it by putting a pinstripe head on it. Very controlled sound, but not a sound I wanted.

I was a catalog geek back in the day (not much has changed). But I was so pissed with the thing I never even looked it up to know exactly what model drum it was.

Foolish I know, but that experience has turned me off to Ludwig, even to this day.
 

Johnny K

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Didn't read any of the previous posts. I watched this laying in bed with my ZST in-ears plugged into my Roku remote. I thought the original Tama sounded the best.
 

stevil

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The draw to seamless/sandcast shells is that they're supposed to be in-round, and stay that way. A perfectly round drum tunes better. Now, having said that, my buddy has a welded DW brass drum and it sounds great. I opted to buy a seamless drum because I happened to have some extra cash at the moment and wanted to treat myself. Having said that, it's a luxury item and the difference between my pricy drum and a less expensive DW drum is probably hard to notice under most conditions.

I could be wrong, but I believe the brass Gretsch drum is welded and the phosphor bronze Grestsch drum is cast.
 

JDA

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That's not just any steel G...that's the expensive steel one llol
5 years ago I noticed them. cast reinf rings...

Published on Jul 22, 2013
 

Neal Pert

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Wow, price tag. As Shaggy would say, zoinks.

Anyway, I'll tell you-- those cheaper Brooklyn stainless steel snares sound pretty great, too. The 6x12, in particular-- very responsive to tunings, nice, fat sound, etc.

You don't have to be worried about a Gretsch snare anymore. Lots of awesome stuff to choose from these days.


That's not just any steel G...that's the expensive steel one llol
5 years ago I noticed them. cast reinf rings...

Published on Jul 22, 2013
 
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I must have missed this thread, interesting, and a very poorly chosen "title." Anyway, I realize Shane might have an allegiance to his major name brands, but he missed some VERY good thick walled snares (that's what I call them,) therefore I find his comparison rather incomplete.

The Keplinger is sort of a "legendary" snare, and before anyone calls these snares "not jazz snares" or "one trick pony (loud) " snares let me offer this. The first time I ever heard a Keplinger snare it was being played by Kenny Washington, who called it his favorite snare ever! Then I was hanging with Elvin once and asking him about snares back in the day, and out of the blue he said "Have you ever played one of this Keplinger snares? Man that is the best snare that I have ever played! It's just so damn heavy though!" I have found these drums to be great brush snares as well.

Another legendary thick walled snare are the Ocheltree drums (both the Paiste ones, and Jeff's steel ones.) The steel drums are now replicated by Sonor as the Steve Smith Signature drum, it looks like the video was only 6.5 drums which is their prerogative, but those (the Ocheltree and the Sonor steels) are very versatile drums, which helped get the idea of thick walled snares started (after the Bell Brass Tama, and a few others.) I have played, and heard Steve's (and his original Ocheltree) in a lot of different musical settings in the studio and live, from small club acoustic jazz (with brushes) to more aggressive fusion, and now the stadium stuff with Journey. That drum does every gig very well.

I think that the thicker walled snares (in both wood and metal) offer a nice low end to a snare sound. High end snap and crack seems pretty easy to replicate on a snare, but low end seems to be harder to create. Since IMHO these drums offer more lows, I don't think you can necessarily hear the difference in close proximity or even close mic'ed. The drum needs some space to speak (maybe even for the longer lower frequency waves to speak,) I'm no scientist, but I have found that in my use of the Ocheltree's and the Keplinger. I also find that in my Brady stave drums drums, that no matter how they are tuned have more low end than normal ply snares.

Seamless vs. seams??? Who knows, we aren't making tympani bowls here (are they seamless, I don't know,) we are talking snares. Although it is interesting (as someone already pointed out,) that some of the most cherished snare sounds ever are the Ludwig 2 piece 1920's drums with have more "seam" (circumference not depth) than any other drums. The Keplinger's are welded too. The whole seamless thing seems be another drum industry buzzword that caught on. If the drum is round it's round (seam or no seam.) Maybe that seam does slightly interfere with the resonance of the drum, but again are we really looking for complete and unfettered resonance (like tympani) from all of our snares? Sure that is "a sound" that has it's place, but it definitely isn't "absolute" to my ears.

If that "complete and absolute resonance" was the snare sound that we were all looking for, wouldn't we all be using a thin single ply (solid) shell (wood or metal ) snare with clear diplomat top heads and bottom heads tuned to a complimentary interval that corresponds to the natural pitch of the shell, therefore creating a fully resonating chamber of pitch and tone, then we let the parallel snares touch ever so slightly as to create a snare sound without dampening any resonance at all? And we would prefer the sound of playing the drum about two inches from the edge. Yeah, good luck with that.

I remember playing the original N&C 6.5" Zildjian Alloy drum, and that drum was so resonant it was almost unusable. It was like a mini tympani with snares added, ever wonder why you never hear people raving about those drums? It was an interesting "idea" but a flawed musical instrument.

I (thankfully) studied tympani for a long time, and it really helped me develop my touch on the drum set. But I also studied orchestral snare drum. And tympani, orchestral snare, and drum set are VERY different instruments and approaches!!! (Thanks Capt. Obvious, right?)

So thanks to Shane for this comparison, but let's have a part two that is more complete, not too one dimensional (musically, how about playing brushes on a snare?) using a more diverse (complete) collection of instruments, and adopt a better name, please?

MSG

PS. And don't let "JDA" get you too upset, he is an expert at poking the bear, while sometimes making some very good points.
 

Johnny K

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Wow, price tag. As Shaggy would say, zoinks.

Anyway, I'll tell you-- those cheaper Brooklyn stainless steel snares sound pretty great, too. The 6x12, in particular-- very responsive to tunings, nice, fat sound, etc.

You don't have to be worried about a Gretsch snare anymore. Lots of awesome stuff to choose from these days.
Almost bought the 6x12 to use with a bop kit. Talked my self into paying 2x more for a Brooklyn 5x14 4160 COB instead. I wanted one anyway. I weighed my COB - about 9 3/4 lbs. Not too heavy, but heavy enough.
 

Neal Pert

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I had one of those Ayotte Keplingers and I used it for jazz ALL the time. I wish I never sold it, as the prices have gone through the roof. But it was perfect— full bodied, sensitive, the whole bit. And it looked as cool as could be.
 

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