Want your input on steel snare drums.....

johnwesley

Silver Member
I've played bronze, brass, and copper but for some reason never thought of steel. Maybe because their prices are so low I figure they must be more beginner drums. Many of them apparently are student drums or maybe their price point is the reason many are marketed as student models. I've seen high end, high priced steel snares too. Not looking to spend a lot of money so I'm wondering what you think about steel. Sound wise, brand, etc. I'm inclined toward Premier, Pearl and maybe a Slingerland festival. Thoughts???
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
Go the whole way, and get a Keplinger/Ayotte Stainless Steel snare in either 13 or 14 diameter, from my seat these are great sounding steel snare drums that are very exciting and therefore fun to play. Very simple design that somehow over delivers sonically. These are my goto snares for guitar bands. I prefer them fitted with steel hoops not wood fitted with a evans power centre batter.

Make yourself smile.......
 

Treverer

Junior Member
Kepplinger, Beyer,.... There are excellent steel snare drums on the market and they are definitely not only for beginners!
 

OSDrums

Well-known member
There are these cheap student models which are cut down in costs as much as possible. No need to jump on these of course. But there are excellent sounding snare drums with steel shell worth to be tried: Pearl Ian Paice Signature, Pearl 1st Gen Free Floater, Tama Starphonic Steel... just to name a few.

I owned a Sonor Artist 14x5 Steel snare which was probably the loudest snare I ever played on. Sold her soon... I got a Pearl Free Floater 14x6.5 Steel together with my Pearl BLX set back in 1988 which I play since then regularly. I have exchanged the batter hoop to a 3 mm DW True Hoop which sounds excellent on this drum. My goto live snare for larger stages! Sound techs love her!
 

Fritz Frigursson

Senior Member
Yeah I think steel is actually a nice material but its reputation as a high end drum material is long gone since every cheap metal snare is steel and there are no aluminium, copper, brass or any other metal snares in that range.
 

Soulfinger

Senior Member
I can vouch for the cheap Pearl Sensitone. Great drum, very sensitive indeed, great sound. Can´t go wrong for 130 bucks new.
The Ludwig Supralite is very nice as well.
Gretsch Brooklyn COS - killer drum!
 

sacco

Senior Member
About a year ago, through Facebook's market place, I happened upon a Tama King Beat with parallel thow off that was sold for the equivalent of about 90 USD. The snare was pretty used, but I told myself that in the worst case scenario I could keep the two die cast hoops. Anyway, after I gave it a good clean, the drum is back to its former glory (well, almost ...), and I'm extremely satisfied with it! I had never used steel snares either, and I thought, mistakenly, that they could be a bit stiff and not very expressive. Actually this King Beat is (i) very powerful, (ii) very precise and (iii) very warm even when tuned up pretty high, and that's what surprised me the most! The drum is easy to tune, easy to play and has an excellent response. The only problem is that it is not easy to find replacement wires, and it would be time to replace the ones currently in use. Maybe one day I'll publish a specific thread about the recovery of this drum.

Tama King Beat 2.jpg
 

Frosticles

Silver Member
Have played a few very nice steel snares over the years. Particularly like the 1st generation Pearl Free Floater, The Yamaha Stage Custom 14x6.5 10 lug & my current "Steely" a Premier 1036 14x6.5 10 lug :)
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
They are, again, another tool in the box. Maybe you like them. Maybe you don't. Maybe you have a need for their sound. Maybe you don't. I have 2 steel snares. One is a Tama Royalstar (that came with a $200 Royalstar) I bought a while ago. I'm not sure how it compares to other Tama snares of it's day (Imperialstar, King Beat, etc), but it's not a bad sounding snare. Do I use it? Not so much, because I fell into possession (re: free) of a Pearl Chad Smith Signature snare. And that thing is everything I would ever want, in a rock'n'roll snare.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
About a year ago, through Facebook's market place, I happened upon a Tama King Beat with parallel thow off that was sold for the equivalent of about 90 USD. The snare was pretty used, but I told myself that in the worst case scenario I could keep the two die cast hoops. Anyway, after I gave it a good clean, the drum is back to its former glory (well, almost ...), and I'm extremely satisfied with it! I had never used steel snares either, and I thought, mistakenly, that they could be a bit stiff and not very expressive. Actually this King Beat is (i) very powerful, (ii) very precise and (iii) very warm even when tuned up pretty high, and that's what surprised me the most! The drum is easy to tune, easy to play and has an excellent response. The only problem is that it is not easy to find replacement wires, and it would be time to replace the ones currently in use. Maybe one day I'll publish a specific thread about the recovery of this drum.

View attachment 93810
That's a good looking drum. Thanks for the info.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I can vouch for the Ludwig Supralite. Build quality is very good and it sounds great. Lots of size options too.

I've played (and been impressed by) the older generation of the Yamaha Stage Custom snare. I'm sure the newer one is also a solid choice and if you want that size it's a great price.

Tone wise I find steel to be very direct. It doesn't have the sweetness you hear in bronze, the musical ringyness of brass, or that airy tone of aluminum. But it is bright and has a lot of cut, which makes it great for live playing.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I'm not much into steel snares, but when I head the Gretsch Brooklyn steel, it's gotten me rethinking the option. I really thought they had confused the COB for the steel, but nope! That snare surprised me, and priced well too.
 

makinao

Silver Member
I have 14x5.5, 12x5, and 10x5 steel Pearls. They are happy and rumbunctious, have all kinds of odd overtones. and are fun to play. Just get one with a reliable throw, triple flanged hoops, your choice of single ply heads, and let it rip!
 

charliedrummer

Senior Member
I've been wanting to get a piccolo snare drum and keep seeing the imported Ludwig 3x13 steel shell snare for under $85 in my online searches. Seems like it might be worth a try for the price.
 

dwsabianguy

Senior Member
I had a Premier steel snare that sounded great, but I sold it because I didn’t need it. And last summer I picked up a Sonor D454, which has a seamless ferromanganese shell, which sounds great at all tunings. Sort of like an Acrolite started powerlifting. Wasn’t too expensive either.
 

Lennytoons

Senior Member
I had a Premier steel snare that sounded great, but I sold it because I didn’t need it. And last summer I picked up a Sonor D454, which has a seamless ferromanganese shell, which sounds great at all tunings. Sort of like an Acrolite started powerlifting. Wasn’t too expensive either.
I have 14 snare drums including one steel over chrome. It sounds great, very loud if you want it to be. I put a controlled sound head on it and I wouldn't hesitate to gig with it. It's a 70s Pearl btw. I think I paid $75 for it.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
Basically, my understanding is steel shells are loud. Great for getting "past" those Hi Watt and Marshall amps when gigging. My Pearl phosphor bronze is pretty loud too but not overwhelming. Guess I'm just going to buckle down and buy a steel for $100 or less to give it a try. BTW, I had a custom aluminum shell made. 5mm thick and cast rather than spun or rolled and welded. That snare drum was LOUD. Ended up selling it because it just overpowered everything including cymbals.
 
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