Upgrading my snare

219Dave

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Happy 4th everybody!

I am going to upgrade my snare for my Gretsch Catalina Birch set. Looking for a wood snare with a nice fat sound. Deeper than 5.5 inches, either 6.5 and tempted by some 8’s. Upper price point is $650 or so. I’m 51, played whole life and am decent in the pocket type classic rock guy. Played in bands, but at this point in life just jam with friends. Okay- here are thoughts:

1. Yamaha recording custom birch 8”: love sound from videos. The now made in China thing doesn’t bother me.
2. Sonor SQ1.
3. Tama slp g maple
4. Tama slp g walnut.
5. Gretsch renown
6. Pearl sensitone in maple



Thanks in advance for your help.
 

bongomania

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The different woods have different tone qualities—it’s up to personal taste which one you’ll prefer. The hoops also make a difference, with die cast having a more focused sound and triple flange having a more open sound (depending on several variables). Also try out the throwoffs, they all have different action and mechanical qualities that suit different preferences.

For “fat” sound, consider Yamaha beech or Tama spruce.

Buy used! That way you won’t take as much of a hit if you decide to re-sell.
 
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Tama CW

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I've been on a similar quest the past 2 yrs to find a sweet wood snare for my 1980's kits....one or two snares would be nice. It's far from easy. Every one I've tried seems to fall short of expectations....and little to no improvement over my metal snares. I tried the 8" route as well thinking that had to be it. Nope. Bigger isn't always better. Even gave brass a try - a Yamaha SD498 (1988. 14x8 "recording series" with the aluminum power hoops. Didn't add anything to what I already had.

My recommendation would be to go no bigger than the 6.5". Best sounding wood snare I've owned in that size was my 1946 Ludwig standard. But in WMP/WAP it didn't match at all with the appearance of my kits. At this point I'll probably just stick with nice sounding metal snares like the Supra, Acro, Tama metal Mastercrafts. I don't think there's a magic bullet in wood that will satisfy me, though I've yet to own any wood snares in the 1950's to 1970's period.....though I've tested a few along the way. I think the best of those was a mid-60's Rogers bdp wood powertone 14x5.5.
 
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kdrumSTL

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My favorite snares ever are both Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute Nouveau, I have a 14x7 and a 14x5.5. The Aluminium hoops are the perfect mix for me, not as focused as a die-cast hoop, but also not as open as a triple-flanged hoop.
 

foxy_shazamtastic

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I’m gonna say the recording custom because that’s the one I most want to try myself :D but also I think the Recording Custom and Yamaha products in general have a timeless vibe and reliability that will never let you down. Also, Catalina’s have 1.6mm hoops I think? Which are the same thickness of hoops on the recording custom, so the feel might match very well. My 2 cents. The other snares are not as special to me personally, accept for the SQ1 which is kind of the opposite of the Yamaha in terms of hoops and therefore feel. Much heavier/chunkier, exemplary of the differences between Yamaha and Sonor drums in general.
 

Hop

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...I am going to upgrade my snare for my Gretsch Catalina Birch set. Looking for a wood snare with a nice fat sound. Deeper than 5.5 inches, either 6.5 and tempted by some 8...
Seeing as you're already a Gretsch guy, have you seen the series of videos Gretsch put out called "The One"? Check out the link below and watch some of the vids and I think you'll find something that suits you very well.
 

dirtysicks

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Only $549 for an amazing stave snare. I have two HHG Staves and they are both utterly superb.
 

foxy_shazamtastic

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If your budget is $650, a single ply maple 6 or 6.5 would be a good choice. Might have to buy used though. Not a problem for me, as my main snare is 100 years old.
This is true, you can find truly top shelf used stuff in this price range if you do some shopping. Which honestly the funnest part about buying something! Go out there and find something truly special!
 

219Dave

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Thanks for the replies. So what are the truly top shelf maple snares I should look for used?
 

Elvis

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Happy 4th everybody!

I am going to upgrade my snare for my Gretsch Catalina Birch set. Looking for a wood snare with a nice fat sound. Deeper than 5.5 inches, either 6.5 and tempted by some 8’s. Upper price point is $650 or so. I’m 51, played whole life and am decent in the pocket type classic rock guy. Played in bands, but at this point in life just jam with friends. Okay- here are thoughts:

1. Yamaha recording custom birch 8”: love sound from videos. The now made in China thing doesn’t bother me.
2. Sonor SQ1.
3. Tama slp g maple
4. Tama slp g walnut.
5. Gretsch renown
6. Pearl sensitone in maple



Thanks in advance for your help.
How are you with wood working.
Your post gave me the idea of getting a Keller shell (maybe a Vintage Maple?) in 14x6.5-8 and outfitting it with the hardware from your Gretsch drum.
You'll likely have to replace the tuning rods for longer versions, but otherwise, you might end up with something really sweet that no one else can say they have.

Elvis
 

MillerMav

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Having just finished building a 5.5x14 walnut snare I would also recommend this choice. It sounds fantastic; nice thick sound with a great crack.
 

DWSlingerland45

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I'm going to suggest a much cheaper option first. You mention several times in your post that snares you've played don't come close or blow you away compared to your current snare line up. So, why not experiment with tunings / head combinations first? For instance, I own a Ludwig 402 and for the first couple months I didn't get what all the fuss was about...to be honest it was kind of thin sounding to my ear. Then I happened upon a few videos on tuning or rather " de tuning " the three lugs closest to you when seated at the kit! What a difference! This was new uncharted territory for me I'm sure millions of guys use the trick ( maybe even yourself) but I'd NEVER heard of it. Also I was a Remo coated ambassador guy for decades. Try an Evans Genera dry or a reverse power dot ( if you haven't already) on your favorite metal snare and see what happens before you drop 6 bills on a new snare. If you end up buying a new one my vote is for the Yamaha RC 8x14 :)
 

pedro navahas

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I have come to the conclusion that a snare is a snare is a snare. But, there are some out there that I can hear a difference, maybe not everyone else.
Maybe a 50’s Pioneer, 6.5” with a mahogany interior, six lug drums could have a nice throaty tone. I also have a 56 WFL 5.5 x 13 that completely caught me off guard, has a coated Emperor with a reverse dot on it, it’s a beast!
Maybe try a calf head, whole different voice, and yes, a 14x8, ahhhh!
 

Topsy Turvy

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Lots of interesting suggestions on here so far. I’m surprised, however, that no one has said a Ludwig Classic Maple snare drum. They can be had fairly inexpensively used and they sound great.
 

pedro navahas

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Lots of interesting suggestions on here so far. I’m surprised, however, that no one has said a Ludwig Classic Maple snare drum. They can be had fairly inexpensively used and they sound great.

Never played one but I have been tempted to pick one up because of the price.
And therein lies the problem, I would get it and think meh, sounds like a snare!!!
I have to admit it, I have a snare addiction!
 

NewVintage

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I know you said wood but the Yamaha RC Aluminum snare is “woody” and sounds very nice. I would recommend checking out the video of a 6.5” one of those if you’re open to it.
 


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