How versatile are STEEL SNARE DRUMS?

rmandelbaum

Platinum Member
The Ludwig LM400 is the most recorded snare in history. I use mine for, Rock, Blues, Soul / R&B and Country, I am sure many Jazz players use them as well.

 

Class A Drummer

Pioneer Member
Our school drum set has some ludwig snare drum and its amazing. It works for funk, jazz, and rock.

So in other words... Yes they are versitle (atleast most of the ones ive played w/).
 

DrumART Jim

Member
The Ludwig LM400 is the most recorded snare in history. I use mine for, Rock, Blues, Soul / R&B and Country, I am sure many Jazz players use them as well.

Hmm... The LM400 (Supra Phonic) series isn't steel at all -- it's seamless spun aluminum with a chrome plating (Ludalloy). I'm pretty sure that Supras are always aluminum, but there are many Ludwig historians about who could tell us for sure. I think the 300 series are steel.

As with anything, versatility depends on the drum. I'd put my wood-hooped Ayotte-Keplinger up against anything in any musical situation (seriously), but it's probably not the first "steel" drum you'd think of. That said, generally steel drums have more volume, bite and ring than other drums, so they're not as versatile as something like a Supra or many wood-shelled drums.

At least, that's what I think. :)

If you're looking for the most "bang-for-your-buck", you can not go wrong with a used Supra or even a Ludwig Acrolite. These are pretty widely regarded as the most versatile drums for that (or any) amount of money.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Untitleddrummer, when you hit the drum it doesn't play in a certain style, you give it that style. Style isn't dependent on the drum, it's dependent on the player. In other words you can play any style of music on any drum. It's just sound waves moving, whether it came from a steel or aluminum or wood or brass drum is inconsequential, right?
 

mandrew

Gold Member
I have an Acrolite, and have played supras. Incredibly versatile, but not because of aluminum, which I love. You can change the sound by varying head tension, changing head types, snare type, as you would any drum. They just seem to sound great with whatever you ask them to do! An LM400 (or 402), with right head, tuning and snare selection can be awesome for responsive brush work. It can excel for playing standard rudimental solos, and drive a big band or rock group. they are tremendous for salsa music also! The secret is how you set it up, the same as how a pipe organ player pulls the stops. You do have to do your part correctly, though.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I agree with larryace on this one - it's the drummer way more than the drum.

I have a Tama Steel Mastercraft (8056) which to me is the quintessential rock snare complete with 6.5" depth and die cast hoops. But that never stopped Elvin Jones from using one (I don't know how often he did, but I've seen at least on pic of him on one). Great snare.
 

radman

Senior Member
+1 more for the drummer over drum.

For years, I played my beloved Tama steel drum for both rock and jazz. In later years, I switched the heads between gigs - for jazz gigs, the fiberskyn dried it out a bit. It was a loud beast, so I did have to be careful.

.... and no, it didn't make me sound like Elvin ... unfortunately .... ;-)
 

uniin

Gold Member
my tama 14x6 starphonic steel is probably the only snare in my arsenal which i can use in any situation....
 

radman

Senior Member
I should have mentioned, my Tama snare was from '87. Generically labelled an "Imperial Star", I never knew if it was a Mastercraft or a King Beat ... or ...?

It has the snare that extends past the rim edge. And it weighs more than the rest of the kit combined. :p Is that the same as yours, MikeM? It is a fantastic drum.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I've got a chad smith snare that I pulled out of retirement for live gigs and stuff.. It's definitely a very piercing metal, cuts through the whole band, and this particular snare has a very distinct sound which is great if youre in the mood for it but I would love to replace it with an aliminium snare. I've played deeper metal snares that were alot easier to bear though.

I watched Terepai Richmond play with Dig last night and he was using one of these famed lm402's.. He did everything with that snare, just adjusted tuning between songs but he is an amazing player.

I say yes but steel isn't my favorite metal.
 

cornelius

Silver Member
Years ago, after playing a 402 for a while - I went through a wood and brass only phase - no more steel/aluminum. But after owning a bunch of nice sounding snares I always found myself coming back to a regular ol' steel shell. I picked up a '71 400, which for some reason sounded much better than my 402 (which is one of the last of the Chicago era keystones from the 80s). Played a steel Dunnett, and now I've moved onto a steel Keplinger. I really dig this snare, it does all of the great things all of my old drums over the years could do, all in one drum... The best thing about a good steel drum is they sound good in any room, under any mic...
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I should have mentioned, my Tama snare was from '87. Generically labelled an "Imperial Star", I never knew if it was a Mastercraft or a King Beat ... or ...?

It has the snare that extends past the rim edge. And it weighs more than the rest of the kit combined. :p Is that the same as yours, MikeM? It is a fantastic drum.
That's about the same year as my 'new' one. The one I had before was from '83, but they're mostly the same (only difference with the late '80s models is that they were never drilled for a tone control knob). If it has the parallel-action strainer it's a King Beat. If it's the Roller Glide, then it's the Mastercraft. Both have (or originally had) wires that extend out beyond the bearing edge, both generically say Imperialstar on them, but both use the same shell and hoops so will sound about the same. Mine has the Roller Glide (with newer shorter wires). I wouldn't say one's better than the other and, just based on what I've seen on eBay, the King Beats don't sell for as much. Only reason I didn't want a KB was because it wouldn't fit in my snare case.

You're right, that sucker is heavy as all giddyup and sounds amazing! (and I'm not normally a steel fan)
 

Sterfry95

Member
No drum is versatile if you can't play.
I second that comment. Snare is all about personal preference. There is a reason they're's so many different metals, woods,etc for snares. I personally prefer steel, copper, or maple. Metals give you more of a cracking aggressive sound. As maple is deep and warm and gives you more of a jazz sound. Most people use metal for heavier styles and aggression. Maple is more for sensitivity and tone (exactly what jazz drummers are about). Shell usually depends on your preferences, what are yours?
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Until about a week ago when I bought my first maple snare in over 15 years, I played steel snares exclusively. I played the same steel snare at low-volume cafe gigs with brushes, in theater gigs with light sticks, in church worship teams, at high-volume club gigs, outdoor festival shows, backing a doo-wop choral group, at blues jams, backing a latin group... Nobody ever complained about my snare not "fitting in". *ME*, on the other hand...
 

radman

Senior Member
Thx MikeM. Indeed, I looked into and confirmed the same info as you mention. I do have a KB (and a case to fit...lol). Too bad for me they seem to be less coveted than the MC's.

That said, I have no plan to sell it, it is the only steel snare I have (or need) and I can't imagine a better one.

Cheers!
radman
 

Dirtysticks

Senior Member
Steel snares are very versatile. I just got a Tama SLP Sonic Steel 6.5x13 ( brushed nickel over 1.2mm steel shell) and it is a great drum. I tuned it up from really low all the way up to really tight and it sounded great across the whole tuning spectrum. It especially sounds great with a Remo X14. Really meaty and punchy, but with a cutting crack and metallic bite. I used it at a gig just now where we did cover songs from jazz, R&B, funk, soul, to rock and it sounded great all night. Great projection and cut. I like it midrange with the pop and yonder one would expect from a 13" drum but still with great tone. With the X14 it wasn't even overly ringy. This drum is definitely versatile.

My other steel snares are the DW knurled nickel over steel 5.5x14 and Tama King Beat 6.5x14 and they are also both very versatile and they can project like none other.
 

Attachments

Top