best 12" wood snare?

Drum Guy

looking to get this exact sound if not exact side snare Vinnie is using here - anybody know what it is, who makes it, and size, 12x6 or 12x7? or 4"?

Look at 1:56 into it to see a flash of the drum. And what 12" x ? do y'all like anyway?

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Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Sakae made an excellent 12" snare. They come up for sale sometimes on eBay or Reverb.

Sonor makes excellent albeit expensive 12" snares. German made.

I had Pork Pie make me a custom Made in USA 12" maple snare $300 bucks. Contact Soundpure in NC give them a deposit and 3 weeks later you'll have a great 12" snare.
From what I can see, Vinnie uses a shallow (wooden?) snare, and since he plays Gretsch drums I assume it's a Gretsch as well. His signature 12" model has 4" in depth, but it looks different with its blue laquer. And it's expensive!!! This very model might be gone long time ago since the concert was 2006.

But don't forget, it's all about tuning, micing and hitting the snare right. Any decent 12" snare drum should be capable of your desired sound, and if you give it to Vinnie, it will exactly sound like the video ;)

If I wanted to use it as my main snare, I would probably spend more money than if it was going to use it as a side snare. It helps to set a budget before testing in order to avoid frustration :)

I don't know much about 12" snare drums, so if I hadn't the opportunity to check several out, I would buy whatever model feels right to me , swap heads and wires and have fun.


Senior Member
I play a 12" Sonor Protean as my main snare. Birch, exquisitely made. Punches well above its weight / size but doesn't sound much out of the box like the snare Vinnie is playing above.

Drum Guy

thanks everyone for helpful answers ....I may be interested in a 12x6 or 7 under $400, would want it in a single wood, birch, bubinga, ash, (hey, is there a Purple Heart out there), something other than maple as I have maple galore in drums and snares already. So I'll keep looking and listening I guess


Senior Member
You can find the Pork Pie I mentioned for under $200 new, and cheaper used. Great snare.

Drum Guy

thank you JML!, you're right, and I have heard little squealers are fine, but i was just looking for something from 1 wood type (not 2 or more), and not made in china/taiwan. Yes for UK, US, Canada, Japan or Aussie...and yes, sonor is great but too pricey.


Silver Member
FWIW I recently had a Musashi which I played on a couple of gigs before trading it in. Admittedly I’m a bit of a rim shotter when I play but it was detuning way way unacceptably on gigs, I was literally having to tighten one or two of the tension rods on my side after every song. It being a six lugged snare didn’t help either I think.
I’ve used a Mapex Black Panther Cherry Maple 12 x 6or7 extensively in the past and it’s a brilliant drum, and has 8 lugs, I’ve only stopped using it because the 14” snare drum I have isn’t as strident so it’s easier to sit in the mix, purely a fault of my playing lack of technique. Mapex have done a range of Black Panther 12” snares for years so second or new is maybe an option to look at, I recently sold a 12x5 Black Panther Phantom in the UK for about £140.

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I have the new 12x4 signature. It came out pretty recently, so it's not that. Close enough. I find these two new signature drums to be the ultimate in versatility. Slightly over your budget, but...

Haven't ssen him use that many different ones A 12x5 Longo, a Craviotto he's used a lot in the studio with a black suede head on it, A regular USA custom at Ronnie Scott's . Was also using a Brady 10x7. When he was with Ludwig he had a 13.

This is something different. Looks like stick chopper hoop.


New member
I recently found a great 12x7” Evetts snare for sale here in Australia. I’ve only ever played 14” snares as I detest the cross stick sound on 13” snares - maybe I’m spoilt by the sound of my regular Brady 14x5” and 14x6.5” jarrah ply snares, but it just my opinion.
This 12x7” is made from gorgeous ply Iron Bark, one of Australia‘s harder timbers, which is saying something, and it goes off like a frog in a sock - incredible highs, cutting mids and a really tight, focussed bottom end. As it’s fitted with the multi adjustable Trick snare release, I can flick it from timbale to marching snare and everything in between with just a nudge back or forth - fantastic drum. Possibly a little out of your price range, but I’ll have it for life. It definitely sounds a lot like Vinnie’s in your clip, but I’ve tuned it lower too, and it’s super fat but still very tight.


Well-known member
I always liked the old Pearl soprano 12x7 maple in classic liquid amber. Not sure if they still make them but you can probably pick one up on Ebay fairly cheaply. Might actually look out for one myself!


Platinum Member
This sounds like a wooden 12x4,5 to 5'' deep with probably a coated CS or high tuned Ambassador on top. That would give you some idea.

Deeper wouldn't get you that tight pop without sounding restrained, no matter how you tune it (and I had my fair share of 10'' and 12'' snares to know the possibilities regardless build or make) then I would rather go 10''

Yamaha made the Erskine 12x4,5, Steel 12x4 SD-2240 and Stage Custom12x5. These can deliver perfectly what you are looking for.

Drum Guy

thanks very much MusiQmaN - that's the level of detail (guessing or knowledge?) that is very helpful to me - as are many of the other replies here of course :)...espeially that deeper won't get that tight pop

I may then be looking for a 12x4-5" wood of some sort. And what is "coated CS" head? Remo, Evans?


Platinum Member
More then welcome to share some experiences.

Yes, that would be Remo. It gives you a nice tone without/lessens the need of muting with damping and such.

This is one of my favorite snares. It is an 90's A.D.M. 12x7 that sounds as if it were a 14x6,5. But tuned high you get that Steve Jordan/90's Grunge vibe.


(low tuning).


Gold Member
Gary Noonan makes a fantastic 12 x 7” Purpleheart stave shell snare that is fantastic .
Ash Soan uses this a lot on his YouTube videos . I would have never thought of using a 12” snare as a main snare until I saw Ash Soan using the Noonan Purpleheart and Gavin Harrison using the 12” Protean. Both are great .

Drum Guy

ok - may have found something affordable but I can't try them out in person - anybody have one of these? Thoughts?

British Drum Co. 12 x 5.5" Imp snare, cold-pressed maple

Premier XC Series England Birch 5.5" x 12" Snare 2012, Purpleheart finish

Gretsch Signature Schulman 6x12 Snare maple

these seem better quality than stage custom (?) though would prefer not maple but seems its more affordable
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