Re: Billy Ward here!
I just picked up a 13x5 Steel snare from GC for $60. I got it mainly as a practice snare and for quieter gigs, and because I have a pile of new 13" heads, but no 13" drums anymore.... but I'm really starting to like it. I'm only playing it with a t-shirt on it as a muffle and haven't tuned the mud out of it, but its got potential. I haven't seen your siggy snare, but I'm certainly game for trying it out. Isn't the Steve Gadd siggy similar? Why do you prefer aluminum over other materials?
[plug] re: smaller companies ... check out Allegra if you get a chance. I've never been a fan of open jazz tuning, but the Allegra drumsets sound absolutely awesome tuned completely open. Solid tone, warm with lots of character. [/plug]