Are Solid-Shell Snares worth the money?

s1212z

Well-known member
That's a question each drummer must answer for himself. There's no way to objectify it. It depends on what you "value." For some, it's "Definitely!" For others, it's "No way!" Each player caters to his own tastes and biases. When we buy a drum, we're usually buying more than a drum. All of our associations with the drum are part of the purchase. Some are willing to spend a lot more on those associations than others.
lol, we should expect to hear a variety of opinions otherwise it would be a very boring discussion (would suspect a forum hostage situation 🔫 🤔)

Should have expected people took this as a purchasing advice question (which it's not) since it is posted so much.
 

Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
My thought on if it's worth it? Maybe. If you're into that sort of thing.

I think if you're going to sink money into one drum in particular, then it really ought to be the snare drum - followed by the bass drum. They're the only ones that matter the vast majority of the time. It comes down to playing context too. Will the drunk guy at the back of the pub notice? Probably not - but if it makes you feel better when you play them, sure.

One of the best snares I owned was a Yamaha Musashi that got dubbed the 'snare of death' by one of the local sound engineers. He went to mic it up at a local venue (small place - could probably fit about 200-250 full) asked me to give it a whack and walked away with the mic, shaking his head and covering his ears. I'd tuned it high and I'd rimshotted it with a 2B and I played it that way a lot - going for the 'skill-less Bruford' vibe. High end? No. Appropriate for what I was doing? Absolutely. Would I swap it for my Guru? Absolutely not - because my Guru can do that (to a lesser extent, being a 14" as opposed to a 13") but it can also do everything else that I want it to do.

A good snare is at the heart of a good kit and is a big part of a satisfactory feeling behind the kit. A bad snare can suck all the energy out of you and make you want to walk away. Personally, if I had the money to spend on one drum, I'd do it. It'd have to be the right drum, mind.
 

s1212z

Well-known member
This was an interesting video which contradicts some conventional thought, that a single ply has 'more resonance and volume' (these are Noble and Cooley's words).

Ironically, every NC drum I ever heard or played sounded top notch; the CD/Horizon/Walnut ply’d snares seem to have plenty of volume, projection, sensitivity and resonance. Has anyone actually A/B'd these to say that SS are justifiably 20-60% higher in price? If anything, the SS hardware mount on (brass w/ single nodal pt) might actually contribute more projection/resonance than the actual shell design.

 

incrementalg

Gold Member
Every thread should probably bear that banner. No one else can play a drum or cymbal for you. Likewise, no one else can dictate your perception of the experience. To know the taste of whiskey, you have to take a swig. Drumming is no different.
Damn...Larry hit Socrates level in the drum world with this one.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
This was an interesting video which contradicts some conventional thought, that a single ply has 'more resonance and volume' (these are Noble and Cooley's words).

Ironically, every NC drum I ever heard or played sounded top notch; the CD/Horizon/Walnut ply’d snares seem to have plenty of volume, projection, sensitivity and resonance. Has anyone actually A/B'd these to say that SS are justifiably 20-60% higher in price? If anything, the SS hardware mount on (brass w/ single nodal pt) might actually contribute more projection/resonance than the actual shell design.

The folks at N&C know what they're doing for sure...as does Josh at Inde. All from experience and having purposeful goals when developing or trying new things. I've bought some "boutique" snares that were total crap...those particular makers checked the right boxes for me on paper, but their real world application of the techniques they touted, sucked.

I think a solid shell snare can absolutely be worth the money for multiple reasons. Craftmanship, hours spent building and finishing and most importantly, sound. By sound, I'm not saying solid shells inherently sound better than ply, stave or segmented shells. I'm saying if you find a particular solid shell snare that sounds like THE one, then it's worth the money.

Try out as many snares as you can because there are incredible sounding drums of all construction types.
 

bongoman

Junior Member
The whole “is it worth the price” thing is kind of a mental trap. A boondoggle we pull on ourselves. For one, how many of the recordings and shows that sound glorious to you were played on some rarified prestige snare; how many on a middle tier Supra, Jazzfest, etc.? Heck, one of my best sounding snares is a Rogers I got for $100.

But then a fine piece of artisan craftwork is a thing of beauty, worth owning just for the pleasure of appreciating its qualities. The more we admire it, the more money it’s worth to us. Does that mean it sounds better than my old Rogers? Or that there’s some aspect of fine craftsmanship that will predictably translate to better sound? Nope.

Shell construction is perhaps the most woo and impossible to pin down in this way. Does it affect the sound? Sure, of course. Is the result “better sounding”? Does strawberry taste better than orange? Does every orange taste equally good?

Over time I have bought several single ply snares; I have kept two (they were “worth the price”) and sold the others (they were “not”). Owning the two, as well as some other high end snares, my favorite to play every day is a middle tier 6-ply drum.
 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
If you buy a Solid Shell and keep it the Value is there and remains constant , if you don't keep it it held no Value for you. All my ply snares are gone.. they started to sound cardboardy..... go figure.. and a few metal ones as well.. oh it's not just the solid shell it's quality hardware that one should value as well.. sometimes the sound you are looking for is less than one quarter of a turn on one tension rod..
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
Last night I placed an order for a 14x7 craviotto snare drum made of one solid piece of cherry wood.

this morning I cancelled it.

it was a complete impulse buy but after I slept on it, I just couldn’t justify a thousand bucks for a wood snare

I’m gonna add a solid snare to my collection however I’m gonna try to find it used.
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
So alot of great opinions thus far, I appreciate the discussion! Just to be clear, this is not a purchasing advice question; ear is in the beholder anyways. And my limited experience, SS play and sound great 'overall', no doubt a high quality instrument and I'm sure many cherish their high quality snares. The opinion question is rather 'does the value actually justify the expensive cost'. And though buying 30 SS snares in a controlled environment to find what I like would be extremely fun (and err...expensive experience), I find you really need extensive time with just one snare within musical settings to really understand it. So perhaps just purchasing one and spending some time along with a whiskey swig would suffice :)🍻

The hollow/segment/stave snares, though enticing are really a different animals and should sound different but again, haven't owned any of them. One could slice those snares in half vertically and they would keep their shape....steam bent 1ply should not and the stress on the wood to form & keep the shape is different. I've heard hollows are more vulnerable to cracking too, not a something I would want to gig with.

Just to pick on Craviotto (I played their maple snare, sounded great)...but some of their design choices are strange. Like why do all wood varieties use maple reinforment hoops (and not native to their species)? This seems to be a convenience rather than a sound choice. Or the multi-specie stacks make little sense to me unless their is extensive R+D to achieve a purposeful sound using a particular formula (not just for the sake of doing it). Canopus 1ply, I see they are using specified thicknesses depending on species along with specified re-inforcment hoops depending on the drum...this seems more strategic. Just an observation...
I know very little about craviotto but I know the cherry snare I purchased (and then cancelled) last night had cherry re-enforcement hoops
 

motleyh

Senior Member
It's hard to go into a lot of detail in a forum post -- and there is a lot of detail to this topic -- but I'll try to do a bottom-line short version here. I do have this on my list for a future blog article.

The big advantage with solid shells is the clarity of the tone, which has to do with the direction and the continuity of the grain. That's why there are certain differences in sound characteristics between steambent, stave, segmented, and true solids -- and why there's a really big difference between any of those and ply construction.

Tuning range and sensitivity have to do with the design of the bearing edges, not so much with the type of shell construction. Sustain may be influenced by wood species (and some other minor factors), but also is mostly related to bearing edge profiles.
 

RickP

Gold Member
I am a solid shell fan , the clarity of note and sensitivity of a good solid shell snare just hits all the buttons for me.
I have owned solid shell snares from Craviotto , Wells Custom ; Unix and Noble and Cooley . My favourite being a Noble and Cooley 6” Walnut SS . I have owned N&C SS snares in maple , beech, ash , cherry and walnut . N&C are my favourite solid shell snares by far .
A new contender in the solid shell game is Gary Posey from Summit drums . He makes wonderful solid shell snares from just about any wood you care to choose and his pricing is incredible ! Like half the price of a Craviotto .
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
I am a solid shell fan , the clarity of note and sensitivity of a good solid shell snare just hits all the buttons for me.
I have owned solid shell snares from Craviotto , Wells Custom ; Unix and Noble and Cooley . My favourite being a Noble and Cooley 6” Walnut SS . I have owned N&C SS snares in maple , beech, ash , cherry and walnut . N&C are my favourite solid shell snares by far .
A new contender in the solid shell game is Gary Posey from Summit drums . He makes wonderful solid shell snares from just about any wood you care to choose and his pricing is incredible ! Like half the price of a Craviotto .
Does the noble & Cooley have re rings?

I’m torn between craviotto cherry and walnut from n&c
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
Those are all cool great drums. I do totally agree that they all give a solid dry pop and that can be had in a sub $200 birch snare, my old Tama 12x5 birch with sound arc hoops fit this bill exactly. I would never spend that much on a drum, especially such a one trick pony.

Now a dunnett titanium on the other hand...
I have a Dunnett Titanium (His name is Arlo, Ronn names all of his snares) and it's an incredible drum that cannot be made to sound bad. My go to snare.
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
I am a solid shell fan , the clarity of note and sensitivity of a good solid shell snare just hits all the buttons for me.
I have owned solid shell snares from Craviotto , Wells Custom ; Unix and Noble and Cooley . My favourite being a Noble and Cooley 6” Walnut SS . I have owned N&C SS snares in maple , beech, ash , cherry and walnut . N&C are my favourite solid shell snares by far .
A new contender in the solid shell game is Gary Posey from Summit drums . He makes wonderful solid shell snares from just about any wood you care to choose and his pricing is incredible ! Like half the price of a Craviotto .


Dude thanks for the recommendation. I just reached out to Gary and Purchased a 14x7 walnut solid snare from him. Price is killer. Can't wait to hear it
 

pbm2112

Senior Member
Maybe the benefits of a solid shell are wasted on me as I don’t have my snare wires particularly tight? I trade sensitivity for having a lot of body in my sound.

I’ve owned a few maple single ply shells (Craviotto, N&C, Willoughcraft, my favourite being a Pearl Custom Classic without re rings - I always seem to prefer no re rings on a drum.)

But for some reason they never felt/sounded as satisfying as my two favourite wood snares - 14” Yamaha Maple Hybrid and 13” Sonor Benny Grebb (currently my only wood snare)

I bought them because they came up at the right price and have such a reputation I felt it marked some kind of coming-of-age - like a drummer who really knows their stuff will at some point move away from drums made from 50% glue : ) So as beautifully made as they were (the Willoughcraft was a work of art) I felt a little guilty for owning such expensive drums while not hearing something super special in them.
 
Last edited:
Top