Joyful Noise snare drum owners: SURVEY

wcbrown

Member
okay i have had mine since about the middle of October 2012, the jury is still out, i cannot wrap myself around this thing 100%. some days it is marvelous others, like last saturday night, P.O.S.. what are everyone's impressions of these now that most of us have had them awhile..............???
don't get me wrong Curt has been 110% above and beyond the call of duty in addressing the "issues" i had. i understand fully, the pride he has IN his product. who wouldn't? when you consider what he has accomplished with these and the painstaking effort it must have been to make them come about. he is a super human being and great guy, but in the end, i'm the consumer/musician and i'm just not getting my boat floated on a regular enough basis with this.
 

Smatch

Senior Member
okay i have had mine since about the middle of October 2012, the jury is still out, i cannot wrap myself around this thing 100%. some days it is marvelous others, like last saturday night, P.O.S.. what are everyone's impressions of these now that most of us have had them awhile..............???
don't get me wrong Curt has been 110% above and beyond the call of duty in addressing the "issues" i had. i understand fully, the pride he has IN his product. who wouldn't? when you consider what he has accomplished with these and the painstaking effort it must have been to make them come about. he is a super human being and great guy, but in the end, i'm the consumer/musician and i'm just not getting my boat floated on a regular enough basis with this.
If the drum isn't blowing you away then it's not the drum for you. MikeM shares your feelings so you're not crazy or anything. I have a 5x14 Studio Line Bronze and can safely say that's in a tie for the best sounding and feeling drum that I have owned or played. I actually went through a phase with this drum, where at first I wasn't really that impressed and felt that these drums were just over hyped. Well after a bit of tuning I have it dialed and really don't think I could do without it. For the amount of money that these drums cost the owner needs to be 110% satisfied. If you aren't than I can only surmise that the drum isn't right for you, it's a shame considering the cost but you'll only drive yourself batty trying to convince yourself otherwise.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
okay i have had mine since about the middle of October 2012, the jury is still out, i cannot wrap myself around this thing 100%. some days it is marvelous others, like last saturday night, P.O.S.. what are everyone's impressions of these now that most of us have had them awhile..............???
don't get me wrong Curt has been 110% above and beyond the call of duty in addressing the "issues" i had. i understand fully, the pride he has IN his product. who wouldn't? when you consider what he has accomplished with these and the painstaking effort it must have been to make them come about. he is a super human being and great guy, but in the end, i'm the consumer/musician and i'm just not getting my boat floated on a regular enough basis with this.
I agree that Curt has cut no corners or spared any expense in developing these drums. They are works of art. My conclusion is that they sound best at low to medium-loud volumes. I've been blaming the snare beds for the volume ceiling and choking that I've experienced with mine. For a player with a lighter touch I think they'd probably do great, but I'm not usually too light with the touch so mine frustrates me. Kind of ironic for a 6.5x14 brass drum called "TKO Scorched Tailpipe Brass", doncha think? ;-)

I'd be willing to bet that this drum with a "barely bed" would be everything I ever dreamed of, but crimped snare beds that are deep and narrow are old-school, which is so much of what they're going for with these - like an old Black Beauty but better in every way. That's the theory anyway and they're sticking with it so they won't make any exceptions regarding its design. I asked Curt about the possibility of doing a shell swap for one with a barely bed, but he and his advisers view such beds as an inferior design used by the big guys as a cost-cutting measure. I even sensed some contempt there. Oh well, mines on the chopping block as we speak.

MikeM shares your feelings so you're not crazy or anything...
... or we're both crazy!
 
Last edited:

steadypocket

Gold Member
If the drum isn't blowing you away then it's not the drum for you. MikeM shares your feelings so you're not crazy or anything. I have a 5x14 Studio Line Bronze and can safely say that's in a tie for the best sounding and feeling drum that I have owned or played. I actually went through a phase with this drum, where at first I wasn't really that impressed and felt that these drums were just over hyped. Well after a bit of tuning I have it dialed and really don't think I could do without it. For the amount of money that these drums cost the owner needs to be 110% satisfied. If you aren't than I can only surmise that the drum isn't right for you, it's a shame considering the cost but you'll only drive yourself batty trying to convince yourself otherwise.
WC, what kind of JN do you own? I think Smatch's response is spot on. My TKO brass is the best I've ever played. Like Smatch's attachment with his bronze drum, I have a similar love affair with my TKO. My soared copper JN on the other hand, while drop dead gorgeous aesthetically, is very finicky. Like your drum, it seems to have good nights in between not so good moments. I need to go back to a 1 ply and experiment some more. My JN single ply maple is another kind of animal. Sweet drum. I've found that all three require experimentation to dial in. Try different tunings and different heads. I know that to Curt and other purists it's sacrilege to try anything other than a one-ply. I love an Evans PCRD on my TKO though so I recommend you play around with other heads before you give up on the drum. Swap out the stock reso as well. Not all stock reso heads are created equal. Fifteen bucks isn't all that much to risk considering what you spent on the drum.
 

wcbrown

Member
i have a beacon bronze 6 1/2 X 14 i favor deeper snare drums. i love BRONZE i had a Pearl Sensitone Phosphur Bronze 6 1/2 i retro fitted with tubes that i really liked, that i gave away to a fellow drummer friend down on his luck for equipment. i don't know, it's just weird, now tonight i set up my kit (still in the bags from last saturday) and re-checked the tension rods with my drum dial ( a controversy themselves). let me just say i tune by ear and tweeking, i've been playing 44 years so i feel pretty confident in my tuning. now back to the drum dial, i use it just to see how consistent the rods are across the board and sure enough, there were two that were really slack ( how did that happen, i'm not a heavy hitter) so i brought them up to the others and POW the "sweetness" returned. i am NOT willing to give up on this drum. i just feel it's a longer learning curve with these, it just DRIVES ME CRAZY from time to time and i have to let off steam, oh i am an old schooler, Remo coated Ambassador, and i am using the Joyful Noise reso ( courtesy of Curt, i stored my originals) one thing i DID notice, and i hope people don't think i'm nuts, i have used the wires with the supplied Puresound cord, and i have also tried them with Ludwig orange cord. i really think i like the response i get back from the Ludwig cord better. i also bought a set of the "German" wires from Drumfactory direct, it is a different response also, even though it is 16 strand like the supplied Puresound, i think it may be the "tunnels" for the cord runners on the "Germans", actually enabling the wires to fit snugger to the head. still playing with that one.
 

Smatch

Senior Member
I agree that Curt has cut no corners or spared any expense in developing these drums. They are works of art. My conclusion is that they sound best at low to medium-loud volumes. I've been blaming the snare beds for the volume ceiling and choking that I've experienced with mine. For a player with a lighter touch I think they'd probably do great, but I'm not usually too light with the touch so mine frustrates me. Kind of ironic for a 6.5x14 brass drum called "TKO Scorched Tailpipe Brass", doncha think? ;-)

I'd be willing to bet that this drum with a "barely bed" would be everything I ever dreamed of, but crimped snare beds that are deep and narrow are old-school, which is so much of what they're going for with these - like an old Black Beauty but better in every way. That's the theory anyway and they're sticking with it so they won't make any exceptions regarding its design. I asked Curt about the possibility of doing a shell swap for one with a barely bed, but he and his advisers view such beds as an inferior design used by the big guys as a cost-cutting measure. I even sensed some contempt there. Oh well, mines on the chopping block as we speak.

... or we're both crazy!
You're not crazy at all. I just traded my Bronze for a TKO for about 10 days and while the TKO is a very nice drum it didn't speak to me the way my bronze does. The TKO's sweet spot is definitely in the lower tunings and it has a sloshy tone to it. My bronze by comparison seems to have a slightly wider tuning range and possesses more dynamic sensitivity and crack than the TKO. Playing all over the head gives me all the colors I could possibly need and the rimshots are so meaty, punchy and full sounding. A friend from another forum, who also has a studio line bronze, described his drum as like punching tone in the face, good description in my opinion.The bronze has a naturally gated tone to it as well, where the brass shell has a bit more ring and a naturally higher overtone. If I didn't just get my Bronze back. I would offer to trade it to you for a little while to see if maybe this drum was more to your liking. I have come to realize that brass is just not a shell material that is ideal for what I like to hear in a snare drum.
 
Last edited:

wcbrown

Member
i prefer the Beacon at a "medium" tuning, high is nice but i think it may be better suited for the 5" drums. i have to say the rims shots are bad assed when this is right.........i am in a blues band and i need that fat snap, as long as it's a "good" night this drum can deliver there is no doubt about that. it is a bit drier than say compared the Pearl Bronze, but it is what i do want, and i like that. i just have to get consistent with it. i have a Worldmax Blackhawg, don't laugh, these are GREAT drums, single flanged, clips and tubes, that i have had for almost 10 years now man, time does fly. it took awhile on this one also, but i have no trouble now going back to my sweet spot on it with a minimal amount of tweeking involved, i guess it's the getting "personal" with a snare, more so, say, than your toms or bass.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I'd be willing to bet that this drum with a "barely bed" would be everything I ever dreamed of, but crimped snare beds that are deep and narrow are old-school, which is so much of what they're going for with these - like an old Black Beauty but better in every way. That's the theory anyway and they're sticking with it so they won't make any exceptions regarding its design. I asked Curt about the possibility of doing a shell swap for one with a barely bed, but he and his advisers view such beds as an inferior design used by the big guys as a cost-cutting measure. I even sensed some contempt there.
That's a quandary for sure. I get where you're coming from, but I also very much appreciate where Curt is coming from too. There's no doubt that a pronounced & fairly deep snare bed may have an affect on ultimate volume in a hard playing application, but such a bed is considered part of the overall design concept for the drum, & it's there to augment the wire response across a range of dynamics. Curt's observation about a gradual & shallow bed (on a metal shell) being easier to make is also true, but it's not a huge cost factor. I can't speak for Curt, but I suspect his view is that there's a ton of snare drums out there that do loud very well, whereas his instrument is focussed on a certain set of characteristics that give his drum a voice of it's own. The moment he conforms to the "norm", his drum just becomes an exceptionally well made generic metal snare, & that detracts from benefits gained from countless hours of testing & research. That view doesn't solve your problem, it just means that this drum may not be for you. Sometimes, the stars just don't align. The very aspects that frustrate you, may be the very aspects that others find deeply attractive.

i just feel it's a longer learning curve with these,
That's quite often the case with instruments that have a defined voice & set of characteristics. Most of us are used to getting the sounds we want from a more generic design. It's what we spent our playing youth doing when we couldn't afford something "better". For many of us, even if we did have the money back in the day, those choices simply were not available to us. Spending time to find the spot where the instrument is happy, is time well spent. If the instrument's "happy" sound ticks the boxes, then great. If not, then it's time to move on.

I'd like to make another related point too. Many expect some of the finer instruments out there to be better versions of more generic designs. This is almost never the case. Major manufacturers design their highest end lines to appeal to the widest possible playing demographic, whereas when you go beyond those lines & invest in something more focussed, those instruments are often spectacularly good in some areas, but less so in others. You move into an arena where the instrument has a defined character. In the case of snares, I suppose the principal is that you have one or two general purpose instruments, then perhaps a few others that deliver a voice the general purpose instruments just can't replicate. Each has it's place.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
I've learned a lot from reading the previous posts esp. the way that "keep it simple" expresses his thoughts. My JNDC snare sounds like it falls right in line with the previous owner's drums. It has a particular 'personality' to it. While the drum obviously can't hide the fact that it is a heavy brass shell, it does capitalize on that sound quality in it's own special way. I've come to realize that no this is not the snare drum for every occasion and that the music should dictate what timbre we choose, not simply always choosing this drum to justify the financial outlay I made.
i.e. There are times when I would rather hear a Ludwig aluminum super-sensitive or a Radio-King style maple shell instead.

I realized that I wanted a drum of exceptional build quality and individual sound characteristics and that's why I asked Curt to build one of these for me. I'm very happy with this drum's ability to speak with tremendous warmth and volume. As Curt Waltrip is fond of saying these drums are not "homogeneous." There is a learning curve involved with finding the sweet spot of head tuning and snare wire tension on his drums.
 

wcbrown

Member
I realized that I wanted a drum of exceptional build quality and individual sound characteristics and that's why I asked Curt to build one of these for me. I'm very happy with this drum's ability to speak with tremendous warmth and volume. As Curt Waltrip is fond of saying these drums are not "homogeneous." There is a learning curve involved with finding the sweet spot of head tuning and snare wire tension on his drums.
well put jeremy, great observation.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
If I didn't just get my Bronze back. I would offer to trade it to you for a little while to see if maybe this drum was more to your liking.
That's a very nice idea and I would happily take you up on any such offer to see how your bronze compared to my brass for myself. Mine's on CL atm, and will likely move to eBay before long, but if it doesn't sell and/or if I get cold feet, I'll let you know and if you're still up for a temporary swap, then that would be awesome!
... but such a bed is considered part of the overall design concept for the drum, & it's there to augment the wire response across a range of dynamics ... That view doesn't solve your problem, it just means that this drum may not be for you. Sometimes, the stars just don't align. The very aspects that frustrate you, may be the very aspects that others find deeply attractive.

...

I'd like to make another related point too. Many expect some of the finer instruments out there to be better versions of more generic designs. This is almost never the case. Major manufacturers design their highest end lines to appeal to the widest possible playing demographic, whereas when you go beyond those lines & invest in something more focussed, those instruments are often spectacularly good in some areas, but less so in others.
I agree completely with your POV on this. Asking Curt to make me a barely bed version of his shell is akin to me asking you for a set of WMP concert tom Guru's.

So then it turns into a game of trade-offs where I need to ask myself whether I need that extra snare sensitivity more than I need a higher volume ceiling.

That's the risk of buying custom drums, though, isn't it? There just aren't enough Joyful Noise snares out there for me to have played one before buying. I made assumptions based on what I knew about these drums, then pulled the trigger on one. I knew they had the crimped snare beds but I had no real feel for what effect that would have. Now I know!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
That's the risk of buying custom drums, though, isn't it? There just aren't enough Joyful Noise snares out there for me to have played one before buying. I made assumptions based on what I knew about these drums, then pulled the trigger on one. I knew they had the crimped snare beds but I had no real feel for what effect that would have. Now I know!
Pretty much goes for any purchase where you don't get to try first, not specifically custom or specialist. Even when you do get to try something out in a store, it may not relate fully to your particular playing context - volume being a prime case in point. This is also where honest audio captures, backed up by non partisan information, is the way to go IMO. It's no substitute for using the instrument for a month or two, but it's a valuable part of the picture. Just a pity more don't subscribe to that kind of service & representation, but it is gathering pace. Every single time without question, we'd rather someone chose not to buy our drums, than do so & regret it. It pretty much means we haven't done our job properly.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
Pretty much goes for any purchase where you don't get to try first ...
Good point.

Every time I've bought a new kit I didn't play the exact kit before buying. Not once. The way I see it, if I'm getting a new kit, I want it in the sizes and color of my choice. I see who has what that I'm interested in, then check out floor models of similar stuff to check for sound character, build quality, hardware functionality, etc. Though not entirely unreasonable, this method does require some assumptions and extrapolations, and is not without risk.

I bought a new set of Tama Starclassic maples where I ordered the kit with the rering option and quickly learned that I don't care for rerings (thanks a lot, Simon Philips! ;-) Also, there have been a number of cymbal purchase made online where I didn't get to hear them first, and was disappointed in what I received.

But for all these disappointments, there has been a lot of satisfaction and I don't plan on implementing any try-before-buy rules anytime soon. Some things are just worth the risk, IMO. The JN TKO was worth the risk, and I don't regret it or think any less of Joyful Noise as a company or the drums they put out. It's just that, like rerings, I learned that I don't like that type of snare bed.

And FWIW, I wouldn't hesitate to gamble on a set of Guru's. That would be a risk well worth taking. Someday, perhaps.
 

Smatch

Senior Member
That's a very nice idea and I would happily take you up on any such offer to see how your bronze compared to my brass for myself. Mine's on CL atm, and will likely move to eBay before long, but if it doesn't sell and/or if I get cold feet, I'll let you know and if you're still up for a temporary swap, then that would be awesome!
I agree completely with your POV on this. Asking Curt to make me a barely bed version of his shell is akin to me asking you for a set of WMP concert tom Guru's.

So then it turns into a game of trade-offs where I need to ask myself whether I need that extra snare sensitivity more than I need a higher volume ceiling.

That's the risk of buying custom drums, though, isn't it? There just aren't enough Joyful Noise snares out there for me to have played one before buying. I made assumptions based on what I knew about these drums, then pulled the trigger on one. I knew they had the crimped snare beds but I had no real feel for what effect that would have. Now I know!
Cool. I just got my bronze back and missed it dearly but if you give me a little while with it I would gladly make a temporary swap to let you see if the bronze does it for you. You're on the west coast correct? I have a friend in Cali with a 6.5x14 Studio Line Bronze that was a little jealous of the temporary trade I just made for a TKO that might be interested. I will see what he thinks.
 
Top