Vintage Snares That Modern Makers Have Failed to Replicate

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I've listened to practically every snare drum on Youtube. There are 2 snare drums in particular that sound so amazing to me, but I haven't been able to find any modern equivalents that even come close. With all the remakes and re-issues out there, you'd think drum companies would jump at the chance to make more money.

The Fibes Fiberglass 14x5.5

Made famous by Buddy Rich. He liked it so much that he refused to play the snare from Slingerland, the company he endorsed at the time. When Slingerland complained he told them "when you make a snare that sounds this good, I'll play it."

Why I think it sounds so good: It's super crisp , super sensitive, minimal overtones, and has an amazing crack with or without rimshots. All while not sounding harsh on the ears.

It has a healthy dose of low end too. Usually you'll get the high end or the low end, but never both in the same drum. This has both.

Sample 1
Sample 2


The 14x4 Ludwig Downbeat

A dry, satisfying woody tone. It has more low end than any 4" depth has a right to have. It sounds like a deeper Ludwig Classic Maple 14x5 or 14x6, but with slightly more clarity and definition and almost none of the overtones.

Despite being dry it doesn't sound choked at all, it still breathes. The dryness is what makes it sound so woody IMO, because the overtones aren't covering it up as much as a Classic Maple would.

Sample 1
Sample 2


1) Is there something I missed that sounds like these snares?
2) What other snares haven't been replicated? But need to be?
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Maybe you should listen to other snares live! instead of relying on YouTube videos, because there you will hear mics and mixing first and foremost... Not the snare as is.
That's very true and definitely a consideration. But without the ability to hear them all in person, I'm stuck doing the next best thing.

I've watched and listened to drum demos so much that I've developed somewhat of a database in my head using extrapolation from all the different videos and recording methods. It's a side effect of the hobby of enjoying drum videos I guess?

I'll compare demos of the same drums recorded by several different people using different methods, and try to account for the room, miking setup, how the drums are played, etc... It's complicated, but it really seems to work for me.

Then I'll go to a drum shop and compare notes with what I've found, and see if my assertions about a particular drum were correct. The more I do it, the more accurate that mental picture becomes.

It took me years to have a critical ear for these things. I doubt it's perfect, but I do feel fairly confident. It's like being an astronomer and being confident that a star is X light years away and made of cheese, without having been there myself.
 

brushes

Well-known member
I've watched and listened to drum demos so much that I've developed somewhat of a database in my head using extrapolation from all the different videos and recording methods. It's a side effect of the hobby of enjoying drum videos I guess?
To be downright honest: I guess you only believe that you have developed that kind of database. The results are so different, from mic to mic and from room to room, that I personally cannot see how it would be possible to develop such a "database". Snaredrums can sound dramatically different from room to room. Add mics to that and a myriad of sticks and different drummers and you are in real trouble.

My take is always: Listen to the snare live if possible and make up your own mind. Hearing a snare is one part. Feeling it, the response, the stiffness or softness, is something that cannot be transported through videos. If checking them out live in a shop/studio ain't possible, use good! online sources (like Memphis drum shop, where all instruments are recorded the same way with the same heads in similar tunings in the same room by the same drummer(s), thus making them somehow comparable) for getting an idea of what kind of type that snare is. More ain't possible IMO.



Quite a bit of different sounding, aren't they?
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I think one of my snare drums falls into the category of unique sounding snare drums. It is my father's 1927 Ludwig Super snare drum. Nickel over brass. It is hard to describe the sound. The best I can do is that it is a very sensitive and controlled sound. I love it. At one point I was thinking about buying a Rogers Dynasonic snare drum. I had a friend who was an expert at adjusting and tuning Dynasonic snare drums. He set it up his best brass Dynasonic next to my Ludwig. To my ear, the Ludwig sounded better.

Here is my 5 x 14 Ludwig and a video, by someone else, explaining how the Ludwig Supers' were built.

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CommanderRoss

Silver Member
There are 2 snare drums in particular that sound so amazing to me, but I haven't been able to find any modern equivalents that even come close. With all the remakes and re-issues out there, you'd think drum companies would jump at the chance to make more money.

The Fibes Fiberglass 14x5.5

Why I think it sounds so good: It's super crisp , super sensitive, minimal overtones, and has an amazing crack with or without rimshots. All while not sounding harsh on the ears.
Is there something I missed that sounds like these snares?
I find the world of acrylic drums fits into this category. Some that have a Vistalite original claim the new version "just isn't the same".
I don't know if there is a newer version of a Fibes kit, let along a snare. But I'd imagine those owning an original would say the same thing about any new version of them.

I feel it's a pride thing of owning an original & nothing new will compare no matter how good it is.
 
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someguy01

Well-known member
Some that have a Vistalite original claim the new version "just isn't the same".
I would 100% believe this to be true. The ability to machine, form, and in general manipulate acrylics has progressed almost an order of magnitude so the imperfections of the originals would be gone. As we've discussed in other threads, sometimes imperfections are what make things "perfect"
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
As we've discussed in other threads, sometimes imperfections are what make things "perfect".
Ludwig Speed King owners come right to mind. The originals develop a squeak over time (as made famous by John Bonham) & those who own one will leave the squeak alone just to relish in the "imperfection" & connection to a classic player.

I for one love the Vistalite, but want one made this year for reasons you mentioned.
 

someguy01

Well-known member
I for one love the Vistalite, but want one made this year for reasons you mentioned.
I do as well. If I had the money at the time, someone was selling the red, white, and blue bicentennial kit on Reverb. That, is the only older one I would want unless someone wanted to gift me Bonham's original.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
To be downright honest: I guess you only believe that you have developed that kind of database. The results are so different, from mic to mic and from room to room, that I personally cannot see how it would be possible to develop such a "database". Snaredrums can sound dramatically different from room to room. Add mics to that and a myriad of sticks and different drummers and you are in real trouble.
I should've mentioned before, I generally disregard drum demos that use close miking. (which is most of them) I agree, miking techniques introduce way too many variables. That's why the majority of the demos I use to compare sounds are recorded with overheads, room mics, or even cell phone videos in some cases. Close miking sounds great, but it's terrible for getting the real sound of the drums, as if you are actually there in the room playing them for yourself.

Even DCP's videos, as good as they are, are not necessarily the best for hearing what the drums actually sound like when you're playing them. They use close miking, EQ and even adjust the levels of each drum to match the volume of the cymbals.

It sounds great production-wise, but it's kinda like a woman putting on makeup. Not necessarily a lie, but not fully representative of reality. I wanna know what the drums sound like when they wake up in the morning. ;)
 
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s1212z

Well-known member
There are so many variables, it can drive one crazy. I recall Simon Phillips talking about his snare sound which is dramatically influenced by the reflection and resonance of the surrounding drums, it's like a natural reverb you would not get otherwise. And wood is an organic material that changes over time.

Was Billy Cobham's Fibes snare during the MO-era similar to Buddy's?
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
There are so many variables, it can drive one crazy. I recall Simon Phillips talking about his snare sound which is dramatically influenced by the reflection and resonance of the surrounding drums, it's like a natural reverb you would not get otherwise. And wood is an organic material that changes over time.

Was Billy Cobham's Fibes snare during the MO-era similar to Buddy's?
Yes, I agree with what you are saying. Drums produce their sound by moving air in a very powerful and acoustic manner. Therefore, every room and outdoor venue they are put in has a different kind of influence on the sound the drum. Even to the point of where you stand when you listen to the drum affects the sound of the drum. So it is reasonable to assume that you would need to use a different snare drum in every different place you play in order to get the exact sound that you are looking for. Consequently, getting the drums to sound the way you want can be very elusive. (A subject for a different thread)


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IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I think one of my snare drums falls into the category of unique sounding snare drums. It is my father's 1927 Ludwig Super snare drum. Nickel over brass. It is hard to describe the sound. The best I can do is that it is a very sensitive and controlled sound. I love it. At one point I was thinking about buying a Rogers Dynasonic snare drum. I had a friend who was an expert at adjusting and tuning Dynasonic snare drums. He set it up his best brass Dynasonic next to my Ludwig. To my ear, the Ludwig sounded better.

Here is my 5 x 14 Ludwig and a video, by someone else, explaining how the Ludwig Supers' were built.

View attachment 98244

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You're right! They haven't recreated those old Ludwig 20s snares as far as I know. At least not ones that cost less than $1000.

2-piece shells are out of style I guess, maybe that's what gave them their special sound? They have a sweet crack and openness and brightness to them, but they're not harsh to the ears. I've wanted one for a long time now.....very pleasing sound!
 
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