Should I get a Steel snare?

Quai34

Junior Member
Ok so, as a follow up on the thread "I guess I don't like "Ring", I said I thought Steel snares were too ringy for me but I realized the May one I have is a basic one with a wrap around it that is suoer muffled to the point that the sound is more a "Poop" that a real "Pop/ring".
So, I like the sound of the Dunnet Steel snare on the music intro of DCP store and I like the sound of the Steve Gadd steel snare. Anyone who have played them? Or could propose a steel snare that has a ral good ping to it? See my list of snares in my signature to give you an idea what I like.
 

Neal Pert

Well-known Member
The Dunnett stainless steel is a great drum. No idea how different it'd be from your aluminum.

The other drum I'd look into very seriously is the British Drum Company's Nicko McBrain Talisman drum. I just heard one at Nicko's shop in Manchester and I can't stop thinking about that sound. And it's a pretty understated look--classy and well-designed and very solid, detailed craftsmanship.

It was a drum I probably wouldn't have even put a stick to if it hadn't been for the encouragement of the guy at the shop. But it was just one of those snare drums that could go onto any gig at all.
 

fobz

Active Member
Steel snares are great, but make sure you actually like the sound. Brass and aluminium are warmer and more versatile. Steel snares will generally have the harshest, most cutting tone. This can be great if it's a quality snare but make sure it's actually what you want.
Keep in mind that the difference between seamless metal snares and cheaper models is going to be night and day (I've A/B'd a few by the same manufacturer and the difference is insane - focus, balance and quality of overtones, etc.)
 

sacco

Senior Member
Brass and aluminium are warmer and more versatile. Steel snares will generally have the harshest, most cutting tone. This can be great if it's a quality snare but make sure it's actually what you want.
I agree in principle, but I would like to relate a little personal experience. Some time ago I found a 5" steel Tama King Beat snare drum, in acceptable condition despite its age. After cleaning it up well and replacing the old ultra-beaten heads with Remo Ambassadors (coated top), I played it with different settings for quite some time, and to my surprise with any kind of tuning the drum proved to be warm! Of course I expected it to be precise and powerful, but I was very surprised that it was that warm!
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
If it’s nickel plated I can enjoy it but steel is my least favorite metal. If you want steel with less ring then I would go for a deeper drum as they tend to be a bit darker, and if you want to kill the overtones just place something like fabric or a napkin over the edge of the batter head.

But fk steel, get a brass drum.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I'm always amazed at how steel snares from different makers can differ sooo much! If I had to pick a steel snare right now, it would be the vintage Slingerland with a Pinstripe on the batter head I played at Nelson's in Nashville about a month ago.
 

jda

Well-known Member
I tried - took a shot- on a used Mapex once because it was chrome 6.5 had tube lugs and looked the part.
Lasted about 3 weeks before getting craiglisted- and sold fast- not my cup of tea but it was an inexpensive drum
 

John Q. Drummer

Active Member
Watching this thread because I find myself also considering the purchase of a steel snare drum. I was originally looking at the Yamaha RC Stainless Steel, but I’ve allowed myself to widen the list of available options to include snares like the aforementioned Ludwig Supralite and possibly a Dunnett. (I’m also considering a titanium shell snare. I posted about that a couple weeks back.)

Having something brighter sounding is appealing to me. Can always tone down the brightness whereas you can’t make a darker, duller sound more bright, acoustically speaking.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I tried - took a shot- on a used Mapex once because it was chrome 6.5 had tube lugs and looked the part.
Lasted about 3 weeks before getting craiglisted- and sold fast- not my cup of tea but it was an inexpensive drum

I played a Mapex Tomahawk snare once.





Once.
 

jda

Well-known Member
It was one of these


"Yea that looks like a Gretsch-Gladstone. Let's give it a try." was my optimism; maybe a little, high.

k8hlccaplot9hq1upost.jpg

it was $70 at the time used.
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
I really like steel-shelled snares. I have owned several by Peace, Mapex (2), and Pearl (2). Peace and goodwill.
 
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kdh

Junior Member
Check out Honest Abe steel snares.
 

cornelius

Silver Member
Metal snares have been my goto for a while now - I love the response at all dynamics.
For steel in particular, I have a 6.5x14 raw Dunnett and a 5.5x14 Keplinger. These two drums sound very different than what most people expect from a steel shell. I wouldn't call the Dunnett warm, but it's definitely not harsh or overly bright - the thin shell has a real smooth sound that reminds me of my old brass Rogers Powertone. I like how wide the ranges are for both tuning and snare tension. The Keplinger is a heavier, 3mm shell and also has a very wide tuning range. This drum has a little more complexity and at times can sound woody. Both drums can get a really fat, full tone - the Keplinger even more so.

I've learned firsthand from these drums that shell design can be just as important as the material used.
 

Ron_M

Senior Member
Pearl makes a quality steel snare. The older ones with the extended wires are really nice. Wish I still had mine. The 3x13 steel piccolo is on my list.
I agree. I have a Pearl M-514D 6.5x14, and it's far from loud/over-ringy. It's well-behaved, with a reasonable amount of ring (or not, using the internal muffler), nice sensitivity, and good stick response even tuned low. The parallel mechanism is excellent because of the simple adjustability (to height and tilt of wire set). AND you can get them fairly cheap. In fact, there's one up on e-bay with a low starting bid. Shipping's a bit high, and it will need a proper wire set (15" will work):
Pearl M-514D
 

calan

Silver Member
Q: Should I get a Steel snare?

Tama Star Reserve Plain Maple 14X5, Star Reserve Solid Sedan 14X6.5, Starphonic Maple Mappa Burl 14X6, SLP G-Maple Zebrawood 14X7, Chrome over Steel 14X6. Sonor Benny Greb signature 2.0 Brass 13X5.75. INDé Single Ply Steam Bent Cheery 14X6.5. Dunnet Modeled Aluminium 2N 14X6.5. Summit Single Ply Steam Bent Walnut 15X8/Floor Tom, Purpleheart 14X6.25 and Mahogany/Beech/Mahogany 14X8. Mapex Black Panther Walnut 30th Anniversary 14X6.5, Black Panther Shadow Birch/Walnut/Rosewood Veneer 14X6.5

The flippant part of me says that if you can’t make things happen with that selection, you don’t need any snare drum, be it steel, uranium, or dark matter.

The pragmatic part of me says yes, that steel may be a slightly different metallic voice, but your palette is already broad enough that you should be able to further differentiate drum sounds with heads and tuning. This forum can’t agree on what individual snare drums sound like when played, but we can agree on what they sound like when not.

If you just want to collect cool drums, get right to it. There was a point earlier that the typical rolled and welded thin shell that is used on entry level models (probably all from Reliance) is not a full representation of what steel is/can do, and if you want the experience of what something like a Keplinger does, the simple experience of playing quality instruments can be a fun dragon to chase.
 
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