Looking into a "gigging" snare...


Senior Member
I'm about to go on the road with my band next month, touring Europe for 12 days straight. At the moment I'm really considering getting a new snare for this tour, that is either A: smaller than the two I have (Tama Starphonic Bronze 14x6" and a Pearl Masters BCX 14x6,5") or B: a snare that weigh less. Preferably both though. Reason is we are traveling a lot, by boat, train and tour bus... I might even get the snare inside my big travel bag, if I find a snare that's smaller than the ones I have.

Money is not what I have the most of at the moment though, so I'm considering something on the cheaper end of the snare spectrum. The style I'm playing is melodic death metal/thrash, so it should be able to handle high volumes even if it's a smaller snare. The ones I'm looking into this far:

13x6,5" Natal Meta Series Brass Centre Hammered (Link)
13x5,5" Mapex Black Panther, Cherry Bomb (Link)
13x6" Gretsch Signature Mark Schulman, 9 ply maple (Link)
Or I could maaaaybe stretch the price mark a bit and get:
13x6,5" Yamaha Recordig Custom Brass (Link)

I feel both of my snares are a bit on the heavy side, especially the Starphonic. I have thought of a 14x5" or 14x5,5" as well, as these are a bit more easy to choose from/better availability:

14x5" Pearl Sensitone Elite Phosphor Bronze (Link)
14x5" Mapex Black Widow Maple, 5,1mm (Link)
14x5,5" Mapex "The Dillinger", 8 ply maple (Link)
14x5,5" Natal Mappa Burl Maple (Link)
14x5,5" Tama SLP Quilted Bubinga/Birch (Link)
14x5,5" Pearl Masters Complete, 6 ply Maple (Link)

I'm sorry for all the different suggestions here, but as you can see I have a job to narrow down the choices here... I would ideally want something good enough to handle gigging, preferably stay in tune for most of the time, and deliver a good, cracking snare sound. I don't like steel snares, but maple, birch/bubinga, brass and bronze are probably some of my favorites

If you have some suggestions, let me now. Right now I'm just very uncertain if I should just let it go, bring one of the snares I already have (and have a bag for) and be done with it. Thing is though, I also have to bring my cymbals, pedals, throne and everything else I need for a big tour. And as mentioned, it will be some transitions between the different means of transportation on this tour, which also means I must do some carrying. So it's tempting to save some luggage space/weight, if I'm able to...

Thank you for taking the time :). Oh, and I used mostly the same store in the links here as they had most of the ones I've been considering... So, sorry about the "advertising" :)
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Gold Member
All right, you asked the big question, and if you have spent much time here, you know what's coming, so let me just get it out of the way . . . . . .

LM400, a great 14x5. There I said it, let the rocks fly!

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Then, if you're like me the Gretsch equvalent, the 4160

............or a Full Range Hammered Brass, which I consider the most versatile snare around. Cheap, too.


Platinum Member
Pearl Sensitone Elite black over Brass 5x14"s are great projectors - look for the previous version, used.


Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Make sure it is a inexpensive snare in case you lose it, drop it or it gets stolen.
The audience will never see it while you are playing. And melodic death metal (I love the sound of that) will probably cover up most of the tone of the snare drum. All you need is a loud crack!



Platinum Member
I agree that an Acrolite or LM400 Supra would have an easy to dial in tone and lighter than brass or bronze to boot.

I know that you specifically mentioned NOT liking steel, but I have to say that the Supralite is both cheap and plentiful, available in whatever size you prefer, but doesn't have the harsh tone of a cheap steel shell.


Platinum Member
I agree entirely:
Supraphonic or Acrolite or Supralite.
Agreed. There is also a cheap snare that I never thought I would have in my collection, but I'll be damned if it didn't sound great. The Chad Smith signature from Pearl. Loved the throw, they sell cheap, and it's light as well. I got one with a large lot of drum gear I purchased, and although I sold it, I got it to sound awesome.


Senior Member
Thanks for the replies! It would probably be wise to look into the used market to get something a bit better for the money, but at the moment it's not very many interesting deals in the norwegian market, at least no snares that fills my criterias. I could buy from ebay but with postage and VAT on top of that, I usually end up with thinking it's better to buy new. I don't have that much time to wait around for a good used deal to come up either.

As far as Ludwig goes, even though I know they make great sounding snares, I've had bad experience with the hardware on the ones I've used before (Supra Aluminium and Bronze). At least in the hard hitting style we play, I've had to constantly re-tighten the tuning rods, sometimes after each song. It might be just bad luck with the ones I used, but I've heard stories with other drummers around as well, in metal bands. I'm sorry if this sounds like complete bullsh*t to you, but I just feel more safe with a new snare from, say, Tama/Pearl/Mapex, with newer hardware (if I went with Ludwig, I'd have to buy it used) that at least to me seems more geared towards heavy/hard hitters. I've got a ton of respect for Ludwig snares though, they definately sound great.

Thanks for the advice about going as cheap as possible, though I'm insured against equipment loss/damage/robbery on the road so it should work out even if something bad should happen. It makes sense that as long as the snare have good enough crack, it would work in a live situation with that type of music, so I might opt for a cheaper solution. Then again, it's that hardware question again, if it will stand up against heavy music, daily. And that's why I'm trying to find something a bit better than the cheapest snares available, yet still not too expensive... It should at least have 2.3mm hoops, or die-cast.

Captain Bash

Silver Member
Given the type of music you are playing I would recommend the Pearl ultra-cast, these are lightweight but still with a solid cast aluminium. The 14x 5 is pretty light wt. but can hold its own against a wall of guitars. It has more body and much nicer feel then the LM400. Really strong snares that can be picked up fairly cheaply given the actual quality.


Senior Member
Thanks for the replies! I'm looking into the 14x5" Sensitone Aluminium and 14x5" Mapex Black Widow at the moment, the Sensitone being almost 120$ more expensive. So I'm not sure if it's really worth it. I found the previous version of Phosphor Bronze as well, about the same price as the Mapex, but I don't think I want two bronze snares, as long as I'm starting to build a small snare collection I'd rather go with a different material. Will see if I can find a brass Sensitone as well!


Platinum Member
I think as long as you avoid the low end Sensitone that shipped with the Vision drumsets you'll have a great snare. They're great workhorse drums no matter what shell material you go with.

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Yeah. Ludwigs aren't necessarily cheap in Norway. Nothing is cheap in Norway, except talk, but European things and things coming direct from Asia are going to be more competitively priced. Dollar's been strong for a good while now compared to our currency, sable way higher than I can remember it being in my lifetime.


Senior Member
Try a Yamaha Stage Custom Steel...I played one at GC not knowing what it was or the price (price tag was flipped and snare label wasn't visible) and was blown away!!!!! I was expecting it to cost $500 not $99!!!!


Silver Member
Pearl Sensitone Elite black over Brass 5x14"s are great projectors - look for the previous version, used.

...and I third this! I got mine because I wanted the Black Beauty sound, but I didn't want to worry about gigging an expensive drum.
It's fantastic. Really wide tuning range, big sound, possibly the most versatile snare I own. Nice cut, real punch, and reasonably priced if you can find one. Not as light as a Supraphonic of course, as it's brass, but I love it.


Silver Member
I think this would be a good substitute for an Acrolite/Supra, at least in our corner of the world where the coveted Ludwig snares are hard to find and invariably overpriced when you do!
I have this exact sensitone, and it's a good substitute even in my corner of the world where acros and supras are plentiful.

In fact, I purchased after selling a 70s acro that sounded wonderful, but the throw off would lose tension mid song, not to mention the tuning stability issues (even if somewhat minor).

The sensitone is rock solid, and I doubt most people could tell the difference, especially when you factor in the variables of individual players. It sounds good across all tuning ranges and it's incredibly light (thanks, aluminum), it's easily replaceable, and it doesn't cost a fortune.

It's an ideal workhorse.