This is a very difficult dilemma. I have a passion for maple snares so I’ve got a predilection to select the maple. But after listening to both demos I am not 100% sure. The maple has all of the warmth and tonal qualities one would anticipate. However the walnut definitely brings a different edge and sound, a bit surprisingly inviting and yet somehow more biting. Especially tuned high as I do.Greetings, ladies and gentlemen:
I'm at the monumental precipice of ordering a Pearl Music City Custom snare drum (a solid-shell work of art handcrafted in Nashville, TN). I've narrowed my options to two wood species: walnut or maple. I'm leaning toward walnut but would like your candid input.
Following are two brief demos. The first features walnut, the second maple. Both drums are 14"x5". Please be so kind as to review these videos and convey your informed impressions. Tell me which shell you like more, and don't be bashful about elaborating. I look forward to receiving your invaluable perspectives.
I can't confirm where the planks get bent, but according to Pearl, each shell is crafted by a single artisan in Nashville. That's good enough to qualify as American made for me.The music city custom line is an overseas shell that is assembled in Nashville, I guess that passes for USA ‘made’ nowadays. They don’t specify their single source so one is left to assume the solid snare line is no different with emphasis on the ‘assemble’ that I keep reading. I watched their video, looks like they cut their edges, drill, finish, assemble but I didn’t see one plank get bent.
That pretty much sums up my interpretation of the two. The maple speaks with clarity at high tunings, whereas the walnut excels in the mid and low ranges. The maple seems sharper, the walnut warmer. I'm liking a darker snare sound these days, so the walnut holds the slight edge for me at the moment.Maple. The ghost notes sound way better throughout the entire tuning range. Down low I prefer the walnut. The maple comes to life up high. From 3:20 to 3:26 there are lots of rim shots. Those sound way better than the walnut. I like the cross stick better from the maple also.
I agree that the 6.5 depth sounds great in walnut. Generally, I shy away from deeper shells because they don't have as much focus as shallower ones, but solid-shell snares are so focused from the outset that extra depth doesn't serve as much of a deficit in that column. Even so, my love for 5" shells is enduring, and I just can't bring myself to betray it. We all have our emotional limits, I suppose.I know you're a 5" depth snare person but I'd be remiss if I didn't try to get you to at least consider joining the 6.5" club. That 6.5" walnut drum is absolutely stunning and has even more of that silky smooth shell tone.
I don't think I'll struggle in that regard. I gave up metal shells some time ago, and I've had my eye on Music City Custom snares so long that once I get one, I suspect I'll refuse to play anything else. I'm treating this as my legacy snare, the one I'll be striking when I fall from my throne at age ninety and slip into eternal peace, presuming I can find a way to stay alive for another forty years.OTOH, after every wood snare I try, I end up back on either brass or aluminum.
Now you're talking, man. My first order of business will be installing a Coated Powerstroke 3 on top and a Hazy Diplomat on bottom. The operation will give me an immediate opportunity to inspect the bearing edges as well. I'm feeling inspired already.I'd go with the walnut too. With your Coated P3/Diplo Hazy combo, that drum would whip at a higher tuning and thud at a lower. Meanwhile retaining its darker qualities.