Black Beauty - but not from Ludwig

Treverer

Junior Member
As of now, I do not own a brass snare drum and I'm looking for that classic BB sound, a throaty, somewhat unruly but versatile shell in 14x6.5. Unfortunately, I'm not very fond of Ludwig's current offerings, they charge 1000€ for a new BB with mediocre (at best) heads and wires and a hit and miss quality control. That's why I'm considering other options.

Older Ludwigs, from the 80s or before, are very rare in Europe and most of the time even more expensive and have a shitty throw to top it off :D right now, I'm considering a Worldmax BB clone that would set me back 250€ and I have an eye on a Dunnett. I always wanted one of his snares and while they're equally expensive as the original, their quality is higher and for me, they have that special something.

1) Dunnett doesn't offer a black nickel over brass, has anyone an idea which of his snares comes closest to a BB? 2N COB, 2N raw brass,...? It's hard to come by his drums to test them in person...

2) How about the Worldmax, any issues here (strainer especially)? I don't want a Black Magic as I prefer triple flanged hoops on the brass shell.

3) Any other ideas and recommendations for snares in that realm? My budget is around that 1000€ mark (but I'm not afraid of a good deal!), but only for a boutique drum like a Dunnett, even though the new Pearl Matt Halpern signature looks great. But I guess with it's thicker shell and DC hoops that comes too close to my Tempest Bell Bronze.


Thank you!
 

jdavis

Member
I spent a little time comparing the BB to a few of it's competitors a while back. I had 6.5" drums from Ludwig, Pork Pie, Worldmax, Pearl, Tama and DW. All of them in the same room with the same heads and roughly the same tuning.

I won't go too far into the details but I liked the BB the best. It had the best tone of the drums I tried. But, none of the others were too far off the mark. I ended up keeping the Pork Pie BOB because I was able to get it to sound about 95% of the way to the BB tone. The Worldmax was just as close but I liked the look of the BOB better.

The other thing I learned was that I didn't care for die cast rims on these kind of drums. Def stick with triple flange unless you want to dry out the tone even more than the brass shell does, IMO.

Good luck on your quest!
 

s1212z

Drum Expert
I'm extremely satisfied with my BB Canopus 6.5, 8 brass lugs, a great throw off, no bead, custom hoop height, bolt tight washers and their custom wire 30 strand; it has lower/warmer overtone to my ear than some of the newer Lud BBs I've heard. They are discontinued now though and took a bit to find one, but some are still out there.

Dunnett throw offs are not that expensive (~$70), neither are great wires (or heads) so you can upgrade pretty reasonably on a lot different options.
 

jdavis

Member
It's worth checking out the Yamaha Recording Custom Brass 6.5x14. It's a great sounding drum, extremely well built, and has my favorite throw off in the business.
I used to have one a long time ago. Not like a BB, but a good drum nonetheless. Wish I still had it, actually.
 

Bongo Jesus

Well-known member
As of now, I do not own a brass snare drum and I'm looking for that classic BB sound, a throaty, somewhat unruly but versatile shell in 14x6.5. Unfortunately, I'm not very fond of Ludwig's current offerings, they charge 1000€ for a new BB with mediocre (at best) heads and wires and a hit and miss quality control. That's why I'm considering other options.

Older Ludwigs, from the 80s or before, are very rare in Europe and most of the time even more expensive and have a shitty throw to top it off :D right now, I'm considering a Worldmax BB clone that would set me back 250€ and I have an eye on a Dunnett. I always wanted one of his snares and while they're equally expensive as the original, their quality is higher and for me, they have that special something.

1) Dunnett doesn't offer a black nickel over brass, has anyone an idea which of his snares comes closest to a BB? 2N COB, 2N raw brass,...? It's hard to come by his drums to test them in person...

2) How about the Worldmax, any issues here (strainer especially)? I don't want a Black Magic as I prefer triple flanged hoops on the brass shell.

3) Any other ideas and recommendations for snares in that realm? My budget is around that 1000€ mark (but I'm not afraid of a good deal!), but only for a boutique drum like a Dunnett, even though the new Pearl Matt Halpern signature looks great. But I guess with it's thicker shell and DC hoops that comes too close to my Tempest Bell Bronze.


Thank you!

Quality has improved, the stock heads with any drum won't be what you want. Wires are cheap to replace, but the seamless shell is the best out there. Go with the original, thank me later. There is a reason its been copied to no end!

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Treverer

Junior Member
Thank you for all your answers, highly appreciated!

Anyone with experience when it comes to Dunnett brass snares?
 

Iristone

Regular Poster
IMO there's nothing 'mediocre' about Ludwig Weathermaster heads and especially their new snare wires. I use them on my Premier snare drum (it has a problematic strainer so cannot accept the original, extended snare wire) and they definitely give it a Supraphonic vibe.
 

dwsabianguy

Senior Member
IMO there's nothing 'mediocre' about Ludwig Weathermaster heads and especially their new snare wires.

Agreed. Part of "that" sound is Ludwig heads, and whether you like them or not is a personal preference. Stock batter head these days is a coated Heavy (10-mil single ply), which is a much more useful head than the Mediums they used forever. They tune up easy and have a certain sound that is different than the big three (darker than an Ambassador for sure), but they're far from crappy heads. And the new 18-strand "63" wires sound really great.

There's something to do with the snare beds, the seamless shell, the positioning and size of the lugs, but there's nothing that sounds quite like a BB, and you do get what you pay for.

I think the only drum I'd seriously consider as a replacement for my BB would be an Oriollo, but that's sort of its own beast...
 
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Bongo Jesus

Well-known member
I would give the DW Collector's Black Nickel over Brass a good look. It's a sensational sounding drum and built just about as as well as anything out there.

I've owned two of the DW BNOB at different points, and I can tell you it's not the same. If you hit the shell with lugs off on both, the DW will clunk, and the Ludwig will ring like a bell. Here's one of the DWs I had, sold both.


4F3041A1-FE63-442C-9C12-73E7B3855D1F_1_201_a.jpeg
 

Treverer

Junior Member
Josh from rosemary drum co did a brass snare comparison a few years ago. The Oriollo won, to my ears, but they all were nice.
I know that video, but it was a Joyful Noise, not Oriollo in that video. And I remember that the Pearl Sensitone sounded great and slappy, but in comparison to the Joyful Noise/Black Beauty very muted or dampened, is was a world of a difference.
 

ToneT

Drum Expert
I've owned two of the DW BNOB at different points, and I can tell you it's not the same. If you hit the shell with lugs off on both, the DW will clunk, and the Ludwig will ring like a bell. Here's one of the DWs I had, sold both.


View attachment 109281
In all fairness, the DW has a seamed shell. Get one their Bell Brass snares; you'll LOVE it! Their thin aluminum snares are incredible, too!
 

Bongo Jesus

Well-known member
In all fairness, the DW has a seamed shell. Get one their Bell Brass snares; you'll LOVE it! Their thin aluminum snares are incredible, too!

I've owned many DW snares, and kits. (Three kits, and fives snares in the past two years alone). I recently switched to all Ludwig, no DW snare or kit has sounded as good. Look at the history, more hit tracks with a supra or black beauty than anything else even still today. Under mics says it all, I like tone over attack. But I do love DW hardware, I'll stick with them for that.

As for the OP, I would highly recommend the black beauty!
 

ToneT

Drum Expert
I've owned many DW snares, and kits. (Three kits, and fives snares in the past two years alone). I recently switched to all Ludwig, no DW snare or kit has sounded as good. Look at the history, more hit tracks with a supra or black beauty than anything else even still today. Under mics says it all, I like tone over attack. But I do love DW hardware, I'll stick with them for that.

As for the OP, I would highly recommend the black beauty!
I've used Ludwig too forever. It just worked out for me that I found beautifully made DW snares. I love my Acrolite reissue. I had a flawed BB and it wasn't worth the $800 price tag.
 
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