All else being equal- Maple vs. Mahogany Snare

wraub

Well-known member
Assuming everything else is the same-size- hardware, heads, etc - how would you expect maple to sound vs. mahogany? What's your preference?

I have a maple snare, and I like it, but I keep reading about mahogany usually having a warmer and rounder sound than maple, and I think that's more of a sound I'm going for from my snare drum. I have a chance to buy what is essentially the same snare drum I have now, but is a "big leaf mahogany" shell. All the hardware looks the same or very similar.
Should I give it a try, or just try different heads or similar on the drum I have?
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
I only own one wooden snare in my collection and it’s a Gretsch maple 14x5...all I know is when I hit it, it sounds fantastic!! Why not check out the mahogany (preferably in person but failing that YouTube) to see if you can discern a noticeable difference between that and your maple...if the mahogany drum sounds best to your ears go for it!! 🤔 (y) :cool:
9594EDF2-D8EA-4160-8CE3-EDFB88ADB7A9.jpeg
 

wraub

Well-known member
This is what I'm looking for, actually... a snare drum that sounds different from the maple I have. That one has all the attack I need. :D
The rounder softer snare sound is what I want.



Mahogany has a deeper and woodier tone than anything else. It's rather distinct. The softness of the wood creates that lovely tone, just don't be looking for a lot of attack from a pure mahogany shell.
 

wraub

Well-known member
It was from a CL seller, from whom I've bought before.

I tapped on mine, then went to check it out.

It came home with me. :)


I only own one wooden snare in my collection and it’s a Gretsch maple 14x5...all I know is when I hit it, it sounds fantastic!! Why not check out the mahogany (preferably in person but failing that YouTube) to see if you can discern a noticeable difference between that and your maple...if the mahogany drum sounds best to your ears go for it!! 🤔 (y) :cool:
View attachment 96786
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Both woods are superb. @someguy01 hits the bullseye in his verdict. Mahogany alone, though lovely in tone, is dark and mellow. My Pearl Session Studio Select snares are birch/African mahogany. Birch lends assertiveness and clarity, while African mahogany warms the equation. The combination is a winner, producing a perfectly balanced presence.

Both maple and mahogany have unique merits. If you want mahogany, make sure its African. The Asian variety pales by comparison.
 

wraub

Well-known member
The drum is made of "big leaf mahogany", which I think is the real deal mahogany, but newer growth from a plantation setting... From what I've read, it is one of three species that yields genuine mahogany timber (Swietenia).

I found this from the manufacturer- "Known for its great beauty and durability, big leaf mahogany has been used for centuries to craft high-quality wood products. The wood delivers a rich and warm mid-low range tone with a short, natural decay. These drums also use 100% reforested environmentally controlled material."



Both woods are superb. @someguy01 hits the bullseye in his verdict. Mahogany alone, though lovely in tone, is dark and mellow. My Pearl Session Studio Select snares are birch/African mahogany. Birch lends assertiveness and clarity, while African mahogany warms the equation. The combination is a winner, producing a perfectly balanced presence.

Both maple and mahogany have unique merits. If you want mahogany, make sure its African. The Asian variety pales by comparison.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
The drum is made of "big leaf mahogany", which I think is the real deal mahogany, but newer growth from a plantation setting... From what I've read, it is one of three species that yields genuine mahogany timber (Swietenia).

I found this from the manufacturer- "Known for its great beauty and durability, big leaf mahogany has been used for centuries to craft high-quality wood products. The wood delivers a rich and warm mid-low range tone with a short, natural decay. These drums also use 100% reforested environmentally controlled material."
Should be fine. If you really want mahogany, give it a go.

I don't own a metal snare. I've always preferred wood, as I find them cleaner and more focused. I can tune a wood snare nice and tight and still get warmth out of it, whereas some metal shells become pingy at higher tensions. I'm not dissing metal snares; I just like wood a lot more.
 

wraub

Well-known member
I wanted to check it out and compare the difference, if any. I got it, cleaned it up, and just tried it for the first time.

I like it. :)

I also, so far, definitely prefer wood snares drums, but I've really only played cheap ones for any length of time and expensive ones at stores and shows. I definitely would like to get some play time behind a few to compare.


Should be fine. If you really want mahogany, give it a go.

I don't own a metal snare. I've always preferred wood, as I find them cleaner and more focused. I can tune a wood snare nice and tight and still get warmth out of it, whereas some metal shells become pingy at higher tensions. I'm not dissing metal snares; I just like wood a lot more.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
They both start with "M" but mahogany has more letters and it's just. gorgeous wood to look at so-Mahogany.
Oh man remember Mahogany Rush-I think there is band called Mahogany too. I don't think there is a Maple band. So Mahogany for the win-Alec.
 

MusiQmaN

Platinum Member
I always loved Mahogany.

Whether it was the old Rock Tour Customs and Tour Customs, the 10x5 Stage Custom side snare, or the Maple/Mahogany (speaking of low, the 15'' has more body and lows than most 18' floors I played) I play now. Imagine I have an 18” floor in this kit too 😂

605D10EF-8C5A-4312-A0F2-9EA04CD8A5E9.jpeg

Love it!!!
 
Last edited:

ToneT

Well-known member
Mahogany and a deep shell are a perfect marriage of warmth and roundness of tone.
I love my Gretsch Swamp Dawg 8x14. She's a beauty of a drum!
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Not sure what you current snare is, but if its a typical 5 or 6 ply snare with sharp bearing edges it will sound very different than a 3 ply with rounder bearing edge (i.e. the typical vintage 60's snare all Ludwig, Slingerland...). Much warmer in the latter case.
For years I sought a 'warmer snare' sound and to my ears has much much to do with 3 ply + the bearing edge.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Not sure what you current snare is, but if its a typical 5 or 6 ply snare with sharp bearing edges it will sound very different than a 3 ply with rounder bearing edge (i.e. the typical vintage 60's snare all Ludwig, Slingerland...). Much warmer in the latter case.
For years I sought a 'warmer snare' sound and to my ears has much much to do with 3 ply + the bearing edge.
Important point. Shell design can have quite an impact. If I had an all mahogany snare, I'd probably want shell features that lent some edge to its sound, but that's not the way to go when searching for maximum warmth.
 
Top