Bell Brass Snare On The Cheap?

microkit

Senior Member
So I kind of love the Tama BBs of yore, and feel they sound a bit like a snare with reverb added, like how a wide open unported reso kick gives you an added resonance. A few things:

- not spending $900+ on a Tama, Oriollo, or similar. Probably not even the $500+ on an Ahead, Pearl or DW or Gretsch.
- don't want aluminum, like them but it's not the sound.
- read on a forum that thick wood can have a similar tone, and do have a used stave shell on the way, maple I think. I like what I've heard from walnut.

Thoughts on anything similar sounding, or any setup that you feel has gotten you close? Thanks!
 

dboomer

Senior Member
My opinion is that a big mass is what gives bell brass snares their sound. So about anything that has enough mass so as no to resonate (much) will probably get you very close. When shells resonate that are stealing sound from the drum not adding to it.
 

microkit

Senior Member
My opinion is that a big mass is what gives bell brass snares their sound. So about anything that has enough mass so as no to resonate (much) will probably get you very close. When shells resonate that are stealing sound from the drum not adding to it.
I notice that I do like heavier steel snares. Finding that the seamless Tama shells were available in Swingstar dress (cheap now!) was great, and I have one I'm building with a new strainer and DCs.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Just about any thick metal shell should get you close - certainly will offer the basics in terms of response / general tonality. Thick shell aluminium is a good choice if you want to go cautiously as it's the driest metal choice.

Don't get hung up on the "bell brass" thing. It's marketing BS, as bell brass doesn't actually exist in the real world - it's an ad hoc term usually used to describe a slightly harder brass alloy compared to standard red brass. Bell bronze does exist, and has a different character - some would say it's the ideal metal shell material, & to some extent, I'd agree with that.

All material choices aside, what really matters with any snare is that the whole construction is well designed with a defined result in mind, and well made using appropriate material quality. This trumps material / specifications every time.
 

SYMBOLIC DEATH

Senior Member
I'd take a look at the new PDP concept select snares that were at NAMM this year. They're 6.5x14, 3mm shells, and come in bronze, aluminum and steel (I think). I don't know the price, but I'm interested in the bronze shell. The info about them is in the NAMM 2020 thread as a press release.

Here's the link to the press release.

 
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Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
It’s tough to find a brass or bronze thick shell drum for less than $500. I think a cast steel shell might be a good compromise.
 

dboomer

Senior Member
Care to elaborate on that just a little more?

GeeDeeEmm
Simple. The energy that is vibrating the shell would otherwise be sound. So a shell that resonates will not be as loud as one that doesn’t (or does very little).

So what does shell resonance do to the sound. Well if it is perfectly in phase it will add 3dB to those frequencies that are in perfect phase. But if a frequency is out of phase it will subtract those frequencies to -infinity. Mother does most of her tone shaping by subtraction.
 

microkit

Senior Member
Just about any thick metal shell should get you close - certainly will offer the basics in terms of response / general tonality. Thick shell aluminium is a good choice if you want to go cautiously as it's the driest metal choice.

Don't get hung up on the "bell brass" thing. It's marketing BS, as bell brass doesn't actually exist in the real world - it's an ad hoc term usually used to describe a slightly harder brass alloy compared to standard red brass. Bell bronze does exist, and has a different character - some would say it's the ideal metal shell material, & to some extent, I'd agree with that.

All material choices aside, what really matters with any snare is that the whole construction is well designed with a defined result in mind, and well made using appropriate material quality. This trumps material / specifications every time.

I know the alloys, have mostly always thought that 'bell brass' was actually cast bronze.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
@microkit , I have a 14x6.5" Ludwig Supralite and in all honesty, I think it has a lot of the same properties of a bell brass. They're only $200 and worth every penny. It has chest vibrating depth to the sound, with both crack and low end. You should check one out and see if that comes close to your liking.
 
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