Uninformed Drummer Dad | Snare Question

ChappyEight

Junior Member
Hoping you kind folks might be able to help me straighten my head out a bit on snare drums such that I can purchase a neat one for my son for Christmas.

Long story short, the boy just turned 11 and has been playing a kit since he was 7. He just got selected, as a 6th grader, to his 7-8 grade school jazz band. As a reward, I thought it might be cool to get him a nice snare that he could use in place of the school kit snare and have for a long time. The school snare is fine for what it is, but I just want to reward his hard work.

So, that in mind, his current personal snare is part of his full home kit which is a Gretsch Renown 5x14 (maple). From my limited research, it seems that a lot of wood snares are used for jazz type music and metal snares more for rock. Problem is, his school jazz band plays both jazz music and rock music. I'm wondering, do I pick up a nice metal snare for him and then he can use his Renown otherwise? Do I pick up a different dimension wood snare or just a "nicer" snare (if that's even a thing)? Better yet, is this a stupid idea and I should just buy the 16" crash he's been wanting?

I'm not looking to spend money just to spend it, but this dude has put in the work since the time he was 7 to make this jazz band and he beat out a couple 8th graders to do it. But, sadly, I'm lacking in percussion knowledge.

Any advice is welcomed and appreciated.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
If his current snare is a 5x14” Renown, that’s a GREAT snare already, and it will work well for jazz and rock, and just about anything else. While I applaud your willingness to reward his drumming progress, to me it doesn’t sound like a new snare should be the highest priority since his current snare is so nice already. And while I doubt he would have any complaints about this snare, if he does, that’s something that would be easily fixed with new/different heads and tuning.

If you want to reward his hard work and he’s been pining for a 16” crash, I’d recommended getting him the crash instead. Or a really good ride cymbal, as great ride can make a huge difference to any setup.
 

iCe

Senior Member
If your son is happy with the snare, get that crash! I assume he already knows which crash he wants?
About snares... snare drums are generally viewed as the 'drummers main guitar'. I think it's better that when he wants a new snare, to go out and try some different ones himself so he can discover what appeals to him. And there is no rule of thumb that wood snares are for jazz and metal snares are for rock/metal music. All personal preference :)
 

BonsaiMagpie

Junior Member
Take him out to the shop and let him test the crashes with you and then let him test the snares. You can get recommendations from us all day, but he is the one playing it. I will say I get a lot of compliments for my Meinl Extra Dry cymbals and a lot of complaints for my Meinl Pure Alloy Crash :p And from reading here and from what I've seen elsewhere the supra and the Yamaha Recording custom are the lifer snares, but he's the one who is gonna play the thing.
Suprise ruiner though isnt it :ROFLMAO:
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
Hoping you kind folks might be able to help me straighten my head out a bit on snare drums such that I can purchase a neat one for my son for Christmas.

Long story short, the boy just turned 11 and has been playing a kit since he was 7. He just got selected, as a 6th grader, to his 7-8 grade school jazz band. As a reward, I thought it might be cool to get him a nice snare that he could use in place of the school kit snare and have for a long time. The school snare is fine for what it is, but I just want to reward his hard work.

So, that in mind, his current personal snare is part of his full home kit which is a Gretsch Renown 5x14 (maple). From my limited research, it seems that a lot of wood snares are used for jazz type music and metal snares more for rock. Problem is, his school jazz band plays both jazz music and rock music. I'm wondering, do I pick up a nice metal snare for him and then he can use his Renown otherwise? Do I pick up a different dimension wood snare or just a "nicer" snare (if that's even a thing)? Better yet, is this a stupid idea and I should just buy the 16" crash he's been wanting?

I'm not looking to spend money just to spend it, but this dude has put in the work since the time he was 7 to make this jazz band and he beat out a couple 8th graders to do it. But, sadly, I'm lacking in percussion knowledge.

Any advice is welcomed and appreciated.
First off - you are awesome for supporting your son's music pursuits. I can't tell you how cool it is that you're into enough to even hop on the forum and ask a question like this and done research, etc. So cool! (My parents were NOT on board with drums haha - so I got the reverse of this feeling)

The Gretsch Renown snare is great is very versatile - it can do rock and jazz no problem. There's really no rule saying that a wood snare is good for jazz and a metal snare is good for rock, etc...good snares can do both. With the right heads and tuning that should get him through any playing situation!

I would absolutely look into cymbals: Higher end cymbals are a wonderful upgrade....you can get new heads on a drum and tune it: but there's NOTHING you can do about a bad cymbal.

I would look at the crash for sure - then later a nice ride and some nice hi-hats. Or if you're feeling super generous you could even get a whole cymbal pack:



However, that may be hit or miss on his tastes so you cant' go wrong with adding one cymbal upgrade at time (For preference and $$ reasons)


Keep it up man and please don't hesitate to come back here for questions!!
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
He already has a very nice sounding drum, it can handle rock or jazz. A new cymbal or a new set of heads would be more useful. Still, having a kit and two snares isn't crazy at all, it's even a good idea. For instance, you could go for the new Aluminum snare in the Full range line from Gretsch (S1-0514-GP ) to complement his Renown. That way he could pick either one depending on situation or the venue.
 
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I play drums too and am available for adoption🙏🏻.

Kidding aside, get him the crash he wants, that renown is fine for both genres now . You can get him another snare for another upcoming event,.... birthday etc....etc..... . And the Ludwig Supra would be a great choice then. You sound like a great and supportive dad .


And on second thought, I’m not kidding ,...
I AM available for adoption !!!! 😉
 
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jimb

Member
Have to agree. Would imagine The Renown is a very good kit so its really all about top notch cymbals really. And well done for the enthusiasm. I too got the "hell no, too loud" treatment when I was a kid.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
As all said above, a nice cymbal will make his Christmas special. However unless you want him to be just like 9 million other drummers, don't, DON'T get him a Ludwig Supraphonic. There are other snare drums that are better.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Hoping you kind folks might be able to help me straighten my head out a bit on snare drums such that I can purchase a neat one for my son for Christmas.

Long story short, the boy just turned 11 and has been playing a kit since he was 7. He just got selected, as a 6th grader, to his 7-8 grade school jazz band. As a reward, I thought it might be cool to get him a nice snare that he could use in place of the school kit snare and have for a long time. The school snare is fine for what it is, but I just want to reward his hard work.

So, that in mind, his current personal snare is part of his full home kit which is a Gretsch Renown 5x14 (maple). From my limited research, it seems that a lot of wood snares are used for jazz type music and metal snares more for rock. Problem is, his school jazz band plays both jazz music and rock music. I'm wondering, do I pick up a nice metal snare for him and then he can use his Renown otherwise? Do I pick up a different dimension wood snare or just a "nicer" snare (if that's even a thing)? Better yet, is this a stupid idea and I should just buy the 16" crash he's been wanting?

I'm not looking to spend money just to spend it, but this dude has put in the work since the time he was 7 to make this jazz band and he beat out a couple 8th graders to do it. But, sadly, I'm lacking in percussion knowledge.

Any advice is welcomed and appreciated.
A Gretsch Renown should be adequate for all music with proper tuning . We like to spend money on miracle drums rather than spending time on tuning.
 

ChappyEight

Junior Member
Wow, I'm overwhelmed by the response! Thank you all very much for chiming in. Based on the comments, I realize I didn't do the best job of explaining what his current setup looks like and, more importantly, how an ignorant Dad (hi) ended up spending WAY too freaking much for a 9 year-old kid's drum setup (again, he's now 11). I'll try to keep this as brief as possible. I've tried to either answer or address all questions/comments posted from everyone so far in the backstory below. (Which, with apologies, means this will be a long post). I'll also attach some photographs of the two kits I mention in the story below.

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Disclaimer: Please do not feel the need to read all this, it might get windy.

TL;DR - Not rich and not too bright in the past by not doing the proper research and ending up with a ridicuously expensive setup for a (at the time) 9 year-old. Kid is now 11 and playing well, so looking to build on an accidentally already pretty solid gear base.

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Quick history to fill in the gaps above: We live in a suburb of Indianapolis. As you all I'm sure are aware, Sweetwater is in Ft. Wayne, roughly 2 hours away from us. I was on the design team for their new headquarters and subsequent additions (this was all before my son started playing). So, I was exposed to, what I now know, was basically the best of the best equipment. So, my lens was a bit skewed thinking this was just all normal percussion stuff. So, when we told my son and daughter they'd be required to play an instrument but they could pick whatever they wanted, and my son chose percussion, I immediately hit up Sweetwater.

When he started playing at 6 years old, we went with the Ludwig kids kit. He had destroyed the heads (from playing, not jacking around) within 3 months. So, I started learning a bit about heads at that time. The cymbals that came with the kit were junk and immediately bent so at that time I bought him a pack of Zildjian "S" cymbals all in smaller sizes to match the smaller kids kit cymbals. That kit treated him very well and he even played in his 2nd grade talent show (and won) with it. For fun, since he was so young, we added lights and a custom bass drum head to make it "cooler" for when he played in front of his classmates. (Note: The "Rockstar Rhythm" you see on the drum head is the nickname he gave himself at 7 years old, lol.)

Fast forward 3 years to when he's 9 and ready to move away from the kids kit. Once again, I hit up the only thing I know, Sweetwater. I saw the Gretsch Renown kit on sale, had heard good things about Gretsch, and just pulled the trigger. He was serious enough, in that I knew he wasn't going to quit, that I decided to forego the beginner kits and go with what I've been told is a decent intermediate kit with the smaller 20" bass. At this point we had a nice "adult" kit with tiny kids cymbals. Well, thinking "normal size" cymbals were all basically the same price (and moronically not researching), I saved up for a number of months and bought him:
  • 15" Zildjian "K" Light Hi-Hats
  • 18" Zildjian "K" Custom Dark Crash
  • 9" Zildjian "K" Custom Hybrid Splash
  • 22" Zildjian "K" Custom High Definition Ride
I later found out that I had basically just set my 9 year-old up with one of the best (and priciest) cymbal setups I could buy. Doh! 🤦‍♂️

So, he's played on this kit (only thing changed has been batter heads once) for the past two years, which brings us to the present day. You can see the reason he's asking for the other crash is to replace the 14" Zildjian "S". Of course he wants to match the rest of the cymbals with a 16" Zildjian "K" Custom Dark crash... but now Dad knows he doesn't have to go poor to buy cymbals, lol, so we told him he'd either have to save up and buy it himself or ask for Christmas or something. That's why he's asking for that cymbal.

The reason I'm here asking about snare drums is simply because, as a reward for making jazz band early, I thought it may be something that he could swap out when playing school jazz gigs; in other words, use the school's Ludwig kit but swap the snare for something more personal. So, it's not that I'm trying to ignore what he has asked for, it's simply trying to surprise him with something he can use in the activity for which he's being rewarded. I know, probably weird logic.

Now you're caught up. If you made it this far, you're better than me, I almost didn't make it this far!

Again, sincerest thanks to you all for chiming in.
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Attachments: Shot from the end of his talent show set (2017 on the kids kit), two shots of the current setup (ignore his messy room).

Spring2017-talent show_small.jpg

CurrentKit_small.jpg

CurrentKit2_small.jpg
 
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