Ever have one of "those" snares?

single-ply

Senior Member
So I've got this Snare. It was custom made for me many years ago by a company I was endorsing at the time.
14" x 7" Maple with a White Marien Pearl wrap. I wanted something that "looked" vintage, but wasn't. Kind of a tip of the cap to Gene Krupa.
Anyway, No matter what I do, this thing just doesn't sound good. I've tried changing heads, different thickness, different snare wires. Everything. No mater what I do, or how I tune it, it just doesn't sound right. Only thing I haven't tried is having the edges re-cut. That's a last resort. Anyone got suggestions on tricks I may have not tried?
I had a wood snare like that. The shell was round and the edges were flat, but what I finally realized was that the the top and bottom edges were not parallel. One side of the drum was about 3/16" shorter than the other side. It had no re-rings, so it was not really noticeable by looking at it. I could tune that thing all day and it would still sound like crap. Sold it. This was back in the 80's before the internet. I didn't know places could fix these things easily. Nowadays, I'd send it off to Precision drum.
 
Check if it is round. Sometimes thats the culprit. No matter what you do it wont make it sing if its out of round. Only exception is brass. That stuff sounds great even if its square)
 
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Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
I appreciate all the suggestions. I checked the edges to make sure they were okay. Everything seemed pretty good.
The wires always had a very harsh buzz after the initial strike, as if they were broken or improperly set. However I've changed out the wires with a nicer set, and made sure everything was set up correctly. I tried playing with the tension of them as well, and no matter how tight or loose, they still have a wonky sound. This leads me the believe the snare bed is the problem.

The only cure I've been able to manage is cranking the bottom head very tight (I do this on all my snares anyway) and also tightening the batter head. MUCH more than I typically prefer to tune. This is the only way to make the drum sound like a proper snare. However, at this high tension tuning range it's very one demential, and lacks that nice "woody" tone you typically get from a wood snare. It also become all attack, and lacks any kind of body or low end. Something I was hoping to gain from a 7" deep snare. I could easily just play a piccolo instead and get the same result.

I guess it's fine for daily practice, maybe some studio work with the old paper on the snare trick. But outside of that I'll be using any one of my many Brass snares.

I'm tempted to list it and try to flip it for something similar, but ya know... better. The problem is that the drum was a custom job made just for me. That devalues it a lot and I probably couldn't get a good price for it.
 

vyacheslav

Senior Member
Deeper snare beds will most likely eliminate the loose/buzzy snare wire thing. Precision Drum Company in NY does excellent work with that kind of stuff. I had a similar issue with a snare that no matter what I did, the snares always sounded very loose. Once I had the snare beds re-cut, it turned into a real winner!

For now as a temporary fix, maybe replace the string with some Grosgrain Ribbon available at fabric stores (even found some in the craft section of the Dollar Store)!. That grosgrain ribbon will hold tightly, yet it is flexible enough to conform to the snare bed/bearing edge. Plastic strips and string/cord sometimes are too stiff to conform to the snare bed. I would give that a shot to see if it improves any.
 
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roncadillac

Member
So I've got this Snare. It was custom made for me many years ago by a company I was endorsing at the time.
14" x 7" Maple with a White Marien Pearl wrap. I wanted something that "looked" vintage, but wasn't. Kind of a tip of the cap to Gene Krupa.
Anyway, No matter what I do, this thing just doesn't sound good. I've tried changing heads, different thickness, different snare wires. Everything. No mater what I do, or how I tune it, it just doesn't sound right. Only thing I haven't tried is having the edges re-cut. That's a last resort. Anyone got suggestions on tricks I may have not tried?
Maybe it's the wood in general? From what I see you are usually playing more rock oriented music and I would think you need a snare that cuts. Regardless of being a bigger drum you could be simply underwhelmed by it's (presumably) warmer nature. I personally could see a birch or walnut shell being a much better option and when in doubt go metal. Solely on the basis of sound and feel, I personally would take even a budget level steel shell over a fancy maple shell any day.

I'm currently going through something similar, I got a new kit that came with a 13x6 maple poplar hybrid shell. While not a super expensive nor custom drum it still is a 'nice' drum for conversation sake and it does sound 'good'... It's just very vanilla and underwhelming. Also when playing live it seems to float just a bit under the mix, even when mic'ed.

Every time I play a wood snare, even a nice one, I still wish it was metal.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I’ve had two. One was my PDP maple snare. I know, not even close to being in the same class, but had a local guy check the bearing edges and snare bed and he asked “if I trusted him”? I said sure….$30 later it sounded great. It was very vintage sounding. Great for classic rock. It had no life prior to the mods. The other was my Tama Starphonic Bubinga. Great drum. Beautiful and well made, but just never moved me for some odd reason. In my head I was always thinking…”speak up”!

The PDP was pure junk before the repair. Don’t think DW ever planned on that snare sounding as it did after. Should have probably kept it, because I just can’t tune the two I have like that snare. The Tama was a real disappointment. I really wanted to keep it and it wasn’t a bad drum at all. It’s just the way it was and it was it’s best. If I was playing small venues, that would have hands down been my snare of choice. It would have been super easy to play that one quietly.

If it’s not working, it may be best to move on, but I wouldn’t hesitate to have the drum reworked if that’s an option.
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
@AzHeat 's post reminded me of another one.

Tama SLP Bubinga 14x6. It was a beautiful drum with one of my favorite throw-off/butt combinations, but it was one of the most lifeless drums I have had the displeasure of owning. It had no body to speak of and like the snare I mentioned earlier, it seamed like it was purely head noise coming from the drum. I attribute this to the thickness of the shell and the weight of the drum and hardware, but that is just an educated guess.

Both drums went to people who were happy with cranking the snot out of them so it worked out I suppose.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
Maybe it's the wood in general? From what I see you are usually playing more rock oriented music and I would think you need a snare that cuts. Regardless of being a bigger drum you could be simply underwhelmed by it's (presumably) warmer nature. I personally could see a birch or walnut shell being a much better option and when in doubt go metal. Solely on the basis of sound and feel, I personally would take even a budget level steel shell over a fancy maple shell any day.

I'm currently going through something similar, I got a new kit that came with a 13x6 maple poplar hybrid shell. While not a super expensive nor custom drum it still is a 'nice' drum for conversation sake and it does sound 'good'... It's just very vanilla and underwhelming. Also when playing live it seems to float just a bit under the mix, even when mic'ed.

Every time I play a wood snare, even a nice one, I still wish it was metal.

exact same thing here. I have really wanted to own/use a wood shelled drum, but other than the Ray era Ayotte 12 ply rock maple 5x14 I used to see in the local drum shop, no wood drum has ever really moved me for my loud playing stuff.

I have a custom made 6.5x14 7ply maple drum that I use for concert band playing and some jazz stuff
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
I'd go with the bearing edge, personally. Have it recut to a different angle & see if that helps. All I can think of is the head isn't seating right & it's causing tuning issues.
Other than this, strip it, keep the hardware & get a new shell from Drum Factory Direct. Then make like the Six Million Dollar Man & rebuild it...better, stronger, faster. ;)
 

roncadillac

Member
@AzHeat 's post reminded me of another one.

Tama SLP Bubinga 14x6. It was a beautiful drum with one of my favorite throw-off/butt combinations, but it was one of the most lifeless drums I have had the displeasure of owning. It had no body to speak of and like the snare I mentioned earlier, it seamed like it was purely head noise coming from the drum. I attribute this to the thickness of the shell and the weight of the drum and hardware, but that is just an educated guess.

Both drums went to people who were happy with cranking the snot out of them so it worked out I suppose.
With the preface that I have been a Tama fanboy for my entire time playing drums, I do think they seem to cater more often to those types of players especially with the bubinga drums. The ones who hit their snare from above their head like they are hammering a nail. It's a shame because their metal and maple snares, even the budget lines, are beautiful and versatile drums. This is why I always argue in favor of their starclassic birch shells, they give you that aggressive tone of bubinga but they are still capable of subtlety and nuance. Honestly the only wood snare I ever owned that I kept around for a long time and actually really enjoyed was a Tama 12x5 birch with sound arc hoops.
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
It's a shame because their metal and maple snares, even the budget lines, are beautiful and versatile drums.
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Agreed. I had both of these Metalworks in 13 and 14 and they were great. The 14x6.5 was shockingly good. Used them for a few seasons of island gigs and sent them on their way after the black nickel hardware became gross. There was a birch Superstar in there at some point that wasn’t bad.

I’m just very content with the Supras I typically use, as well as some old Rogers and Ludwig wood snares.

If I could find a matching snare for my Starclassic Maple kit I’d be all over it. That kit is going down with the ship when I do.
158CD083-F858-42C5-A650-0F69C49F127D.jpeg
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I'm tempted to list it and try to flip it for something similar, but ya know... better. The problem is that the drum was a custom job made just for me. That devalues it a lot and I probably couldn't get a good price for it.

Oh, I smell what you're stepping in now!

Is the builder still around? If so, have him/her recut the snare beds for you or do any work on it. They may do the work for free since you got the drum from them.
 
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