Birch or Beech?

Drum Guy

Member
I have an excellent Canopus ply Birch snare 6.5x14, very dry but great body actually...was thinking about getting either an American Beech or European Beech steambent snare...will this be very redundant in terms of sound, body, etc? Is there any diff between my birch and American or European Beech snare? If so, American or Euro better sound, body, crack.

Or should I just sell the birch and get a beech if there is a difference? And lastly, do you have a fav depth of snare in beech? Mostly play rock, indie rock, pop, fusion, funk stuff

thanks
 
14x6.5 is my go-to. I'd say, keep the birch and add the beech. and in a few months, you can sell the one that you don't want to play as much.
Good one. Personally I'm not a fan of birch except in snaredrums. Beech?..never heard a beech kit I didn't like. You are in a dil..em..na. But go with T_Kauf.
 
Funny... I'm the opposite of Bozozoid. I really enjoy birch kits, but I don't historically like birch snares all that much.

I'd opt for the European beech, if only because all those classic Sonor kits were made with European beech, and that, to me, is "beech."

I'd personally go with 5.5" depth, since those are the drums I keep coming back to. 6 and 6.5 will also be super versatile drums, but I find I gravitate toward the slightly snappier shallower drums. And it'll also be sufficiently different from your Canopus to justify keeping both!
 
I think your right about sonor and European beech - I may try that in a 5.5, 6 or even 7"...though I know its not a steambent of course.
 
When considering different wood types, I refer to the Janka hardness scale to give me an idea of how a drum will sound. A hard wood such as bubinga or spotted gum will give a drum more cut with pronounced high-frequency harmonics. A softer wood such as poplar will produce a warmer tone with less cut.

Sweet birch has a janka rating of 1,470. European beech has a rating of 1,300. I’d be surprised if I could hear a difference, but they might feel different under my hands.
 
yes I agree, I always check out the Janka but honestly I find that Janka rating depends on where you go to read it, ie, here the Euro beech is 1450 - https://www.wood-database.com/european-beech and yellow birch is like 1260, American beech is 1300, but other sources the Janka is different - never understood that. Doesn't seem to be a real or reliable standard.
 
I think there will be a definite difference between birch and beech, and ply and steambent. Beech won't be as harsh as birch, will be a little darker, but in my experience, steam bent shells have a higher pitch. Go with T_Kauff
 
I've got a Sonor Vintage beech 6.5, red oyster, for sale if you want to go that route.

thanks for offer...but I now have a sonor 14x7 HEAVY beech!

problem is I can't get it to sound good. not even remotely like the videos I see on YT - tried for 5 hours, using tunebot at 400Hz on bottom head, then 394, then 378 on bottom, with top head at 300, then 294, 288, then 282, 278.

I'd like a great crack with loud full body, but I hear some unpleasant discordant notes if I don't hit dead center, and when hit dead center it's just kinda flat...

is this sound typical of a Heavy Beech SONOR 14x7 or what would y'all recommend tuning wise to try?

would like it to approach the sound of 1st 20 sec of this (I know this is 8") -

and also 1st 20 sec of this -

If you Sonor fans can get this snare of mine to sound great, well I'll...I'll...be very happy I guess.
 
Here’s some vintage birch and beech
1951 Ajax birch
1960s Amati 6 ply beech

Personally I want to like beech better because I like the trees better, but I think the birch wins out of these two. Although I think the wood has very little to do with that in this case, and most cases. there’s some good experiments out there in wood comparisons and certainly heads and bearing edges, hoops and etc make the biggest difference in overall sound. The wood gives some nice underlying character though!
F075F746-F7A4-40EA-9510-8F289602B87E.jpeg
 
Here’s some vintage birch and beech
1951 Ajax birch
1960s Amati 6 ply beech

Personally I want to like beech better because I like the trees better, but I think the birch wins out of these two. Although I think the wood has very little to do with that in this case, and most cases. there’s some good experiments out there in wood comparisons and certainly heads and bearing edges, hoops and etc make the biggest difference in overall sound. The wood gives some nice underlying character though!
View attachment 134017
It's definitely a difference in construction. My Trowa beech snare has an extra-thin, 3-ply shell with rings like your Ajax, and it's awesome! OTOH a 6-ply straight birch-shelled drum might not have sounded so nice.
 
I've never played or owned birch drums that I've been happy with long-term. I'd choose beech by default. Also, Sonor's vintage series are made out of beech, and I like the way they sound.

I'd go with beech if I had to make a choice.
 
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