Snare question, opinions ... . .

PetesPonies

Junior Member
I have a Mapex Meredian Birch set that I really like. However, I decided to play with some snare sounds, mods. I picked up a 10 lug, maple Mapex snare really cheap. I had thought about building a snare from scratch ( buy a shell )but when I saw this one, I couldn't pass it up. However, it's not staying as is :) My set ismber Honey, basically translucent orange . . and why I chose that specific set. Love the color. The snare I picked up is natural, looks nice really. But I am going to strip it down and start a finish from scratch. I do auto restorations, used to teach Auto and even Woodshop, etc. So refinishing this snare in a professional manner is no problem. What I am interested in is some of your experiences with what this will do to the tone/sound from the snare. Its relatively thin shell, about 6.5mm. When I am done, I'm sure it is be 8 or 9 mm. What will that do to the tone of the drum? I won't be wrapping the shell, but I will be layering some finishes. all sprayed. Thoughts? I just got it and will play around with the sound as is to see how it compares with what I have . .but either way it is getting anew finish. The next question is a type I rarely ask. I help on several car sites and hate when I see someone ask "what color should I paint my car" LOL really? Make up your own mind. However . .here i am LOL I could go crazy wild with a paint scheme, to keep it mellow. I want to have a finish that goes with the Honey Amber, but not trying to match it. Something totally different, but with some orange qualities. I could an orange sparkle, heavy large flake. Some crazy pearls, maybe black base with some orange hued pearls. I could do anything, but I'm looking for people more experienced in drums, to give me some ideas of what you have seen, or "would do it if you could" thing :) Thanks
 

PetesPonies

Junior Member
I played with the new snare and definitely have some observations. This is the first 10 lug snare I have owned . . . like it. Just tuning the drum, you can tell the advantages. Thumbs up. Secondly, I like the pop of the maple snare. It's loud, definitely will have to adjust my hitting . .again, thumbs up. I like it. So . . what about the finish change?
 

notvinnie

Senior Member
I'm not sure how the added layers of paint will affect the sound of the drum, but it will definitely alter it a bit. Whether it's an improvement or not is another story. Let us know how it works out. I would just leave it as is unless the finish is damaged, but since you're experienced with that sort of work, I can see why you're inclined to modify the finish. I tend to prefer solid finishes, and I don't care for fades.
 

PetesPonies

Junior Member
Thanks for chiming in. I want the snare to be complimentary to the Honey Amber. As a natural, it's not a horrible match, but I want something that is "orange" in some way. I'm not big on wraps, but I can do a metalflake that looks like a wrap, but is real paint. I could do it orange, maybe a black stripe around the drum, between the upper and bottom lugs? just thoughts, but yeah, going to do something.
 
Using a warmer shell color will apply a smidge of warmth, while cool colors are known for adding a little "harshness" to the sound. ;)
I'm not sure how the added layers of paint will affect the sound of the drum, but it will definitely alter it a bit
I am pretty sure you will hardly find ANY difference in sound as long as you don't put an oscilloscope in front of it.

I own two different 6,5 x 14 classic metal snares, a Supraphonic with an aluminum shell, and a COB Studio King snare drum. Totally different animals apart from the sizes. Funny enough they almost sound the same side by side, played with the same stick at the same intensity at the same spot of a standard one ply coated head. (Remo vs. Aquarian Texture Coated)

Sound differs in terms of dynamics, snare response as well as rim shots (due to different hoops) of course. In a band setting the COB has a more agressive, cutting character than the Supra.

Why do I mention? Because it shows there are more important variables than thin layers of paint that have very little effect on the drum sound.
 

PetesPonies

Junior Member
Thanks. But true, a 6.5mm will sound different than a 10mm ply? When I'm talking spraying metalflake, then clear, we aren't talking a thin layer of paint, in relative terms. As far as paint goes, this will be a think coating. I will be adding a couple mm, I'm sure.
 
You are completely right that a thick layer adds more mass to the shell. But even with sparkle flakes a paint layer doesn't become very thick. I would consider it similar to a regular drum wrap. And I never heard of someone who could tell a wrapped shell from a laquered one sonically.

Most people hear what they expect to hear, yet psyche is very powerful sometimes.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Since you are a car guy, how about a classic muscle car orange? Big Bad Orange, Hugger Orange, Grabber Orange, Hemi Orange, Orbit Orange, I'm sure I'm missing some.

Just a thought on paint thickness, if the paint is too thick you may start to run into fitament issues. Drum tolerances are much smaller than cars. Heads might not fit properly, you could get some lug splay. I run into this at work. Grilles are too tight, bolts stick out, labels don't fit in recesses, rigging is out of spec, etc.
 

motleyh

Senior Member
A couple of things to consider with a finish that thick:

First, remember that wood moves -- expansion and contraction related to its environment. It moves less overall in a ply configuration, certainly, but it's not the same as a metal material that won't change shape if due to moisture. So a very thick finish still needs to have some ability to flex, no matter how slightly, or it could conceivably crack. Choose your finishing materials carefully. Be aware also that some wood finishing materials cure (and shrink) over a great deal of time -- another possible source of cracking in the case of very thick finishes.

Second, a finish that thick is adding mass to the shell, which will have an effect on its sound. You may or may not be able to tell the difference to the finished drum with your ears because mass is only one in many factors, but increased mass will raise the fundamental pitch, reduce tone/resonance, and increase volume. If you're adding 2mm to 2.5mm of mass to a 6.5mm shell, you can see that it's a pretty large increase proportionately.
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
I won't address the tone issue as it has been covered well here, but if this is more of an experiment to refinish a shell for the experience of refinishing a shell, then you are starting with a good candidate of a reasonably priced snare drum.

You obviously have the painting skills with your restoration background. My only question is would you be better off--knowing what finish and clear paint materials cost these days--applying that money towards another snare drum you really want down the road?
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
I can't even imagine having over 2mm of just lacquer on a drum shell. How many coats would that even take?
If he shoots a metal flake finish the number of coats would largely be determined by the size of the flake and the number of clear coats to get a uniform smooth surface. You would also typically have a tie-coat or primer followed by a few base color coats before applying flake and clear coats.. Some of the top clear coats will be "cut" and finished sanded and buffed, but It all adds up.
 

notvinnie

Senior Member
thin layers of paint that have very little effect on the drum sound.
He's not adding a thin layer. He said it will be a considerable thickness.

Here's an interesting story that will shed some light: Vinnie had his white Gretsch drums painted blue at the factory for a Sting tour a few years ago. The show had a color theme, where Peter Gabriel's band would be Red, and Sting's would be Blue. The factory painted the blue over the white instead of stripping them down to the bare wood (they're not a refinishing shop so they're not set up for that kind of work, plus there was a time crunch). Anyway, long story short, the drums used to sound awesome, but not anymore. He's getting them fixed now by having the paint stripped and then refinished.
 

PetesPonies

Junior Member
Yes a couple of you understand the process I'm talking about, as far as flake goes. Those that don't paint or haven't seen it done don't understand how difficult and the amount of steps it takes to accomplish this. That is why the manufacturers use a wrap on flake drums. More back ground . .my degree is in Industrial Education. I have taught a lot of wood working as well. So I fully understand what it takes to refinish wood as well. But my main interest was in autos, so I taught that and now do restorations, as I retired from teaching.
Taking in a few thoughts above . . . . an orange and cream would be a cool look. I'm not trying to match the kit, or I would be matching it exactly. I just want it to be complimentary. To each his own, I want this order. I have many oranges I have painted, but again, don't want it to look like I was trying to match it. I paint a lot of motorcycles and have done some wild paint schemes for customers, so I'm doing something for me, it will just be on my snare :) I will watch the thickness as far as fitment goes. I 'll do some measuring before hand to see the clearance it looks like I have to work with. I am going to finish the color phase with an orange candy, over probably a silver flake ( maybe a little red thrown in just because ). But some cream/off white, might look better than black, as a contrasting color.
I leave you guys with a tank I did. It may look not crazy wild to you :) But it is a candy base ( shame on me for letting the customer choose that as a base ) with ghost flames, done in metal flake, large flake. When the sun hit it it went wild. The flake areas are thick, customer wanted everything buried. So lots of clear, lots of sanding and re clearing. Any mistake, meant you went back to the beginning because of it being over a candy base. I know this is lost to many here, but that is what made it so difficult. This job was by far the most difficult to do. It cost the customer a lot, because it was a lot of time involved. And it was fenders and side covers too.
Thanks for ideas guys, I'm still open for others, as I haven't started yet :)
 

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Morrisman

Platinum Member
I can’t imagine layers of paint adding any more than a fraction of a millimeter to a shell. I stained and lacquered a raw kit with 10 coats of clear and it added almost nothing. The thin shell did become a little stiffer though, probably due to sealer and lacquer soaking into the wood.

Regarding flake finishes - most high end companies make lacquered kits with flakes and sparkles. Yamaha, Pearl, Tama and Maprx come to mind.
 

PetesPonies

Junior Member
I can’t imagine layers of paint adding any more than a fraction of a millimeter to a shell. I stained and lacquered a raw kit with 10 coats of clear and it added almost nothing. The thin shell did become a little stiffer though, probably due to sealer and lacquer soaking into the wood.

Regarding flake finishes - most high end companies make lacquered kits with flakes and sparkles. Yamaha, Pearl, Tama and Maprx come to mind.
You haven't sprayed much, or any automotive paint, and definitely not the procedure I am talking about here . . to think it won't add even a fraction of a mil :) It will add much more than that.
 
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