How did we go from 5x14 to 5.5 ?

jaymandude

Active Member
Aren’t most vintage snare that are 5” deep 5 and not 5.5 ? Radio Kings, definitely Ludwig metal drums. Gretsch, almost everybody. Right ?

The first I knew of a 5.5 was Craviotto on 2007/2008. I can’t really remember any company doing that before then. Now it’s everywhere. Personally I prefer the 5, tho I like shallower snares. I’d imagine if you like a deeper drum you like the 5.5.

But this is less about what you like than how we got here.

Who’s got some knowledge bout dis here, or dat dere ?
 
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Stroman

Platinum Member
Aren’t most vintage snare that are 5” deep 5 and not 5.5 ? Radio Kings, definitely Ludwig metal drums. Gretsch, almost everybody. Right ?

The first I knew of a 5.5 was Craviotto on 2007/2008. I can’t really remember any company doing that before then. Now it’s everywhere. Personally I prefer the 5, tho I like shallower snares. I’d imagine if you like a deeper drum you like the 5.5.

But this is less about what you like than how we got here.
IDK, there are a lot of vintage Slingerland snares that are 5.5. IDK when it originated, but 60s at the latest.


And I know you said to focus on how we got here, but I prefer the 5.5 depth. :)
 

jaymandude

Active Member
IDK, there are a lot of vintage Slingerland snares that are 5.5. IDK when it originated, but 60s at the latest.


And I know you said to focus on how we got here, but I prefer the 5.5 depth. :)
Thanks. I don’t know my history that well, just bits and pieces. I think there’s maybe 2 versions of the Ludwig wood drum, and a real Ringo drum is 5.5.

And of course, by the second page it will devolve into what people play without any regard to the question. I’m trying to keep that at bay for as long as possible. It’s so blasé
 

dwsabianguy

Senior Member
I just measured my '59 Radio King. It's 5.5" deep. My Yamaha Manu Katche is also 5.5" deep, and those came out in the 90s, though mine is a 2nd-generation 2000s model. Tama have made tons of 5.5x14 Starclassic snares, starting in the 90s.

So maybe it became widespread in the 1990s.

Personally, a half an inch makes pretty much no difference to me. I've got tons of 5" deep snares, and tons of 6.5" deep snares, and those are pretty different, but compare a 5x14 BB to my Manu and that half inch will be one of the least critical factors in why those two drums sound different.

I will say, from an aesthetic point of view there's something about the 5.5" depth that seems to look a little nicer...
 

TK-421

Senior Member
I've been playing for 40 years, and during that time I've owned a LOT of snares. The vast majority of them were 5.5" deep. It's a standard depth that's been around for as long as I've been playing, probably much longer.

Out of my four current snares, two of them are 5.5” deep (one is a 14” and the other is a 13”). My other two snares are 5x14 and 6x14.
 
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DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
One could easily ask how did we get to 5" when in the 1920's most snares were 4".

But looking through vintage Ludwig catalogs online

In the 1920s most snares were 4" but by the mid-1930s 6.5" and 7" were stock sizes, along with the 5".

It seems snare sizes have, in general, been all over the place over the years.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
One could easily ask how did we get to 5" when in the 1920's most snares were 4".

But looking through vintage Ludwig catalogs online

In the 1920s most snares were 4" but by the mid-1930s 6.5" and 7" were stock sizes, along with the 5".

It seems snare sizes have, in general, been all over the place over the years.

It goes in waves. Remember the 90s, when everyone was using a piccolo snare? Nobody wanted anything deeper than 4”, and some people were using 3.5”.
 

Bozozoid

Gold Member
Maybe the 5.5 was a better middle ground to the popular 6.5. I've owned many 6.5's and for me they are nice but the shallower drum has more crack which I like. Younger I was always torn between the two but now it's the 5.5 I prefer. If I'm hooked on shallow I'm a 4 guy. Out front over the years impressed with a snare sound the shallower 5.5 or 5 was the one that turned my head.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Maybe the 5.5 was a better middle ground to the popular 6.5. I've owned many 6.5's and for me they are nice but the shallower drum has more crack which I like. Younger I was always torn between the two but now it's the 5.5 I prefer. If I'm hooked on shallow I'm a 4 guy. Out front over the years impressed with a snare sound the shallower 5.5 or 5 was the one that turned my head.

I gotta say, I prefer a 5 in a thin shell, or a 6 or 6.5 in a thicker shell
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
We could ask how we got from 16+ inches deep, for that matter. I suspect the answer has to do with portability and playing a "contraption."
 

jda

Silver Member
New (2018) Pearl Session Studio Select wood snare is a 5.5
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Ludwig has been doing 4, and 5 and 5.5 since 1920. 100 years
Slingerland too, and both companies evolve to deeper snares in 30's and 40s, to 6, 6.5 and 7
 

Redbeard

Senior Member
I think it was Bill Detamore of Pork Pie that mentioned one time that the length of the tube/cylinder that shells are cut from was a factor in the depths he chooses. He said something to the effect of each one having 3" left over (when cutting at popular depths like 6.5") but nobody is buying piccolo snares anymore, so he adjusted to not waste that wood.
So I assume there were similar factors historically to arrive at what became popular sizes.
 
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