Problem with George Way Snare

Stroman

Platinum Member
I've having increasing difficulty tuning my George Way walnut snare. I thought it might be a head problem, so I've tried several, with no improvement. Certain lugs are higher pitched than the surrounding lugs, even with the tension rods completely backed out at the high pitched lugs.

Today I took the head off and measured carefully, and the shell is out of round. At the widest point it is 14", at most lugs it measures 13 7/8", but the lowest diameter is 13 3/4". What makes it worse is that the lowest diameter is exactly adjacent to the highest diameter!

It is now almost impossible to tune, except at the higher tunings. Any suggestions on how to correct this?

For those unfamiliar, this is a very thin 4 ply (IIRC) shell with thin rerings.

EDIT: Just an update. As suggested by several members, I contacted Ronn Dunnett and he has already responded. He's working with me on this to help make it right.
 
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MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
So are you saying that basically your shell is now peanut shaped? I wonder if with enough steam and a frame of sorts you can get it round again?
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
So are you saying that basically your shell is now peanut shaped? I wonder if with enough steam and a frame of sorts you can get it round again?
Yep, it's a bit peanut shaped.

Not sure how to steam it, and I'm also not sure if that would ruin the finish, but it seems like an idea that might work.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I'd talk to Ron.

You might get lucky and get a shell swap.

Say no to steam. It's for bending a single solid piece of wood. It will likely cause ply/seam separation on a finished drum.

Talk to Ron first, and if you cannot find resolution, we can discuss using heat as a last resort. The only requirement is that your shell be able to fit into your oven, and that your oven has an accurate thermostat.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I'd talk to Ron.

You might get lucky and get a shell swap.

Say no to steam. It's for bending a single solid piece of wood. It will likely cause ply/seam separation on a finished drum.

Talk to Ron first, and if you cannot find resolution, we can discuss using heat as a last resort. The only requirement is that your shell be able to fit into your oven, and that your oven has an accurate thermostat.
Yeah, that's a good plan. I hadn't thought about that, as the drum is over a year old, but I should at least contact him. Thanks, K. Good to have you back here, BTW.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Ronn takes great pride in his drums and would be mortified that one isn't working out. I don't know the acceptable tolerance for a shell being not perfectly round, but the fact that it won't tune should be good enough to get an exchange. Maybe it hadn't acclimated properly after it was made?

Bermuda
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Yeah, that's a good plan. I hadn't thought about that, as the drum is over a year old, but I should at least contact him. Thanks, K. Good to have you back here, BTW.
Remember to temper your expectations. GW's are made in batches. He might not have walnut and you might end up with whatever the current batch is (cherry, mahogany, maple, etc). You may end up eating the raw cost for the shell, etc.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Applying heat is not the answer. Without the benefit of an accurate press, it's likely to cause more harm than good. Speak to Ronn. If it's out of round to the point of not being useable, and the drum has been cared for in reasonable conditions, he should sort it for you.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Applying heat is not the answer. Without the benefit of an accurate press, it's likely to cause more harm than good. Speak to Ronn. If it's out of round to the point of not being useable, and the drum has been cared for in reasonable conditions, he should sort it for you.

Indeed, I tend to view heat as a post-last-resort only to be used after you've written off something as irreparable. Not only does heat often not work, but the fixes can lack permanence, and can even result in highly misshapen product. He would also need to build a jack jig (I have one I built for a dropped Acrolite) to act as a the press.

Sorting it through Ron is definitely the path of least resistance.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Indeed, I tend to view heat as a post-last-resort only to be used after you've written off something as irreparable. Not only does heat often not work, but the fixes can lack permanence, and can even result in highly misshapen product. He would also need to build a jack jig (I have one I built for a dropped Acrolite) to act as a the press.

Sorting it through Ron is definitely the path of least resistance.
I have a spun copper Yamaha that got dropped. It’s so far out that it’s hard to get a head on it. What are your thoughts?
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I have a spun copper Yamaha that got dropped. It’s so far out that it’s hard to get a head on it. What are your thoughts?
For the Acro, I routed two 14"d circles out of two 4'x4' sheets of 3/4" plywood, cut several inches out of the center of the innards, and mounted to a small jack... Think Semicircle, jack, semicircle

(X)

Since I used an 1/8 router bit, I used the outer sheet (with a circle cut in it) as a holder and backstop. The result was within the 1/16th of an inch. I also hammered the cosmetic bits out.

I think I still have the inner section around, and can dig it out of the loft if need be. One of the outer pieces is currently repurposed as our baseball backstop with a 14" strike-zone net.

While the result was a round Acro, I have no way of knowing if it sounded the same before/after the fall.

I also tend to shy away from recommending fabri-cobble solutions like the one I used. Mainly because I don't know the people on the internet, whether their dad taught them how to use power tools or took 8th grade shop, etc. My metal-shaping experience is almost entirely automotive, so there's that too.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I updated the original post, but wanted to let everyone know that Ronn Dunnett responded to my email and is working with me on this. Thanks Ronn, and everyone who wisely suggested I talk to him.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Update to the update -

After an email asking a few basic questions, Ronn called me directly to discuss the issue with the drum. Top notch service!

As it turns out, the problem stemmed from heads rather than the shell. When I measured the first time, I simply took the batter head off and measured. Ronn told me he thought that the measurements were due to the shell flexing, rather than the shell being "out of round." We had quite a good discussion about the effects of shell thickness, heads, and tension on these drums.

He kindly offered to send me a new set of factory heads to start afresh, and gave me a few other tips.

I took the snare-side head off in preparation for getting the new heads, and decided to remeasure the drum. Sure enough, without either head on, the drum is back in round! I would never have believed it if he hadn't told me it could happen. Of course I had to check for myself, lol. Who knew that the tension on a thin reso head would be enough to flex the shell that much? Especially when we're talking about a head that wasn't marching-drum tight or anything. I sure didn't.

So I want to say thanks to Ronn and to those who suggested I contact him. For him to personally call on a Sunday, just after receiving my email, was exemplary service.

I can't wait to get this drum back in action! I'll post a follow-up.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I took the snare-side head off in preparation for getting the new heads, and decided to remeasure the drum. Sure enough, without either head on, the drum is back in round! I would never have believed it if he hadn't told me it could happen. Of course I had to check for myself, lol. Who knew that the tension on a thin reso head would be enough to flex the shell that much?
Sorry, in your first post, I assumed you'd taken both heads off.

Snare wires are even worse. Stresses from wires can be considerable.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Sorry, in your first post, I assumed you'd taken both heads off.

Snare wires are even worse. Stresses from wires can be considerable.
Hmm. So very thin shells have an inherent problem on snare drums? Sounds like Super-Sensitive strainers like on the old Ludwigs could get around that problem.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Sorry, in your first post, I assumed you'd taken both heads off.

Snare wires are even worse. Stresses from wires can be considerable.
Nope. In my ignorance, I didn't know I needed to. I just popped the head off and measured, and when I found the widest measurement at the lug locations that were higher pitched than the others, I thought I'd discovered the problem.
 
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