Pearl Free Floating Snare - Which Generation?


Silver Member
I've been thinking about hunting down an old Pearl free floating snare. Now, I've seen that there are three generations of the drum, as described here:

Basically, the first gen has a bulkier, more adjustable, and possibly more fragile and fiddly throw. The second has a simplified, less adjustable throw. Both first and second gen use longer snare that extend past the edge of the shell. The third gen uses a regular throwoff and standard length snares.

Any major pros or cons to either version? Do the first/second gen require special reso-side hoops to work with the throws? Any real difference between sound or playability? Anything to look out for when shopping for one?


Platinum Member
The biggest downside with the earlier generation FF's is the need for a case big enough to house the snare mechanism.

I have a first gen. FF with the hex lugs and a newer third gen. with the standard strainer and wires. All in all they are very similar drums in that, other than the snare mech. all hoops etc are the same and are interchangeable from drum to drum. The difference between first and second gen. is purely aesthetic......hex lugs vs round lugs.

I always had problems tuning the first gen. it's an angry bitch of a thing with horrible squeeling overtones, that requires the use of a super thick Emperor X head to tame. But I've heard many and it doesn't seem to be an inherent problem with all of them.....just specific to mine. Shame you don't live in Melbourne......I'd sell it for a very christian price to a fellow DW-er.


Platinum Member
All the older free floaters I've seen have had snare side hoops with a larger rectangular bracket around the slot for the snare cord/wires to pass through:

I've always wondered if that was necessary, and if regular hoops would cause any issue. if I had've bothered to take the bloody things out of the cases, that glaring little oversight would have been obvious. Of course they do!! Disregard my ramblings on the reso hoops.

Just had a good look at both drums......The extended wires definitely fit through the 3rd gen hoop with regular sized snare wire slots. Those massive square brackets do seem like overkill to me.


Silver Member
I have a 1st gen snare, and it's pretty finicky to operate. I like the design of the other two generations better. I'll bet they're a bit easier to work.
1st gen also is a lot easier to deal with with shorter wires. It took forever to dial it in with the long ones.


Senior Member
I own two of the second generation free floating is a 6.5x14 brass that I converted from a 5" deep FF. The second one, my first FF, is a 8" deep maple drum. Both have the extended wires and I have had no problems with either drum. They both have the simpler snare strainer as well as an adjustable butt plate. I have had the 8" drum for almost 14 years now.

Hoops will interchange as well. The brass drum as Pearl superhoops while the maple drum has die cast hoops. Both of these drums were my "go to" snares when I gigged.