The WHY?!? snare thread.

User avatar
Odd-Arne Oseberg
Posts: 993
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:04 am
Location: The physical plane.

The WHY?!? snare thread.

Postby Odd-Arne Oseberg » Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:39 am

Since getting a bit of gear discussion and having that 3 snares thread a while back, I thought it would be interesting to have a thread, not about what drums, but really getting into why. I know guys who have one snare(but 5 kits :o ), some with two snares, some who have a bunch, some who are brand loyal, some who couldn't care less…..

Why did you choose the snares you did? Why do they work for you? Do you care? Do you not care? How do you set them up and why.

General influences, concepts and inspirations:
So I’ve been an electric guitar player for the last 27 years. I’ve been through all sorts of styles and phases. Mimiking players I was into a bit, some for a few weeks, some for many years. There are two important points that sort of helped me define my type of sound. In a time before everything just worked out of the box, all guitar players seemed to go through the phase of getting conscious of the midrange control on their amp. It was all Metallica style scooped mids regardless of the type of tone one was going for, mainly because bringing up the mids sounds strange when playing alone and can make it a bit harder for beginning ears to play. I really first got focused on this because of an interview I read with Jerry Donahue around ’93. Still a lot of how I approached things was from a sort of technical and theoretical perspective relying less on my ears and not really knowing what I wanted. When I went to players’ School in ’99 I got a regular strat with passive single coils and there started a process which sort of had it’s peak when I went to see Karizma in Oslo in 2000. Standing right in front of Mike’s amp and hearing not just a typical overdriven or distorted tone, but truly how the woody chracter of his guitar cut through. It was truly just a few simple tricks and then the rest is in the hands. This made the electric guitar more of an acoustic instrument to me. Even though I never developed my chops on the saxophone like I did on guitar I always came back to it, probably a lot because of this expressive quality was missing. This is also why I’m not really that into the piano for myself.

There are certain records that have been more important to me than others. Mike and Vinnie play on many of them. Document is one for sure, but so are Joni Mitchell’s “Wild things Run Fast” and Robben Ford’s “Supernatural.” All records with a drum approach I can appreciate and Robben’s record has truly just the most beautiful sounding drums on it. Here starts the Gretsch interest. That tone and that warm character that also seems to cut through most types of music. Clear and distinct, but not in the way at all. A dynamic personalizable voice. Though there are many types of the same constructions with different brands they really are different. There are a few I like and very few I'd like for myself. There is a Ludwig sound, there is a Yamaha sound(those Absolute Hybrids sound nice and are a different animal), there is a Pearl sound, a Sakae sound. DW's are strange. Everybody seems to love them, and yet I've never play even one drum that spoke to me. Toss sounds great on Mike's Live 2000 album, amazing drumming, which offcourse is as much or more about the guy holding the sticks as anything, maybe Bob's API's, but other than that, I don't get it.

I use coated Ambassador batter and Hazy Diplomats as well as 20-strand Puresound (I think Custom Series) on everything that I’ve changed. Some still have stock wires. I have been playing a lot of snares with pinstripes on them though and it's an interesting alternative to that little piece of gel I often use.

So here we are.

Yamaha 4x14 Colaiuta Signature:
This was my first snare drum after the one that came with my Catalina kit, that I actually sold today. I knew it was Ltd, I was a Colaiuta fan and after talking to some drummer friends who had tried them back when they came out, it seemed like a smart buy. I’ve seen some crazy prices for it lately, but I really paid only a few hundred for it and it is mint. It’s probably the drum I play the least now, but it’s my only piccolo, so it will probably stay forever. Sidestick is great, but I think that of all my drums.

Longo 5x14 walnut:
There’s a definitive Vinnie connection to this. It’s the drum people were sort of talking about. To me it’s just so different from all my other drums. Singly ply drums have a certain trait with that balanced tonal character at all dynamic levels, lots of overtones, very complex. This makes it not the greatest choice for most things for me. It's almost too much. It does sound great in lower tunings though and if I crank it way up I even feel I can mimic almost a kind of modern metal shell thing, that I’m not really a fan of, well enough. It doesn’t really work in small rooms for me, but I brought it for a Christmas show last year in a big auditorium, where it worked great. There was a scene where they shot a pig for dinner in that play and a solid rimshot on this drum really did the job. It’s the loudest drum I have. It needs room to breathe and sound it's best. It’s easy to see how a 12” version of this would be a smackin’ aux snare.

Ludwig 5x14 Black Beauty w/die cast hoops:
This was just a good deal. It already had matching die cast hoops on it. It’s one of those drums I guess one is supposed to have. I sat down and played some west coast hits with it and there it was. I use it mostly for orchestral stuff which is most of what I’ve been doing the last couple of years. My Pustjens sticks and a piece of moongel that I take on and off and I can do it all with this thing. It just works. It’s also the choice for the Indie mallet, rods, brushes, broomsticks thing. I like the Ludwig better than many other offerings. Even if it's very even and pretty there is that warm upper midrange "growl" and character I miss with others I've heard. That Gretsch tom/Landau strat thing that cuts through in just the right way. I have no idea why it's different.

Gretsch 5x14 USA Custom Colaiuta Signature:
This thing has been on my mind for a long time. Even long before I started playing drums. The reason is that back at university I used to go to the library and watch that ADAA Steve Gadd DVD all the time. You could really hear the sound of the drum, as with all the others musicians as well, and it just stuck with me. When I got it, the tone was there instantly. I don’t know how or if it differs much from a regular 5x14 USA Custom snare. I just like it. Curious about the thicker shelled version.

Gretsch 5x14 brass Colaiuta Signature:
This is my only novelty drum. It was cheap and I got it. Not sure if it was in production as this or not. Basically a 4160 with white paint on it, which dries it up considerably. I’ve played some older COBs that also seemed to be a bit drier than mine. I have a friend who use pinstripes on everything. Sounds a bit like that, but obviously not quite the same spectrum that's influenced.

Gretsch 5x14 4160 COB:
Supraphonics are the classics. I tried both when I got my brass drums. I guess I’m just a Gretsch guy. Works for me.

Gretsch 5x14 Hammered Brass:
Heavily used by Vinnie lately. Both the Gretsch and the Ludwig versions when he was with them. That was the inspiration. I looked around though and found it was really a favourite and slightly surprisingly to any drummer who tried them. The slightly dried more complex lower overtones just seem to work and sound a bit fatter in most rooms. Easily one of the best buys and allrounders out there. They’re cheap and sound great. I’ve noticed though that the older ones have more and smaller hammerings, so it would be interesting to hear the difference. Anyway. What little I do play out I generally use this and it gets a lot of compliments. It’s both pleasing and cutting. Looks cool and is easily replaceable.

Yamaha Club Custom 5,5x14 6-ply kapur.
Very open and sensitive. Seems like what I was hoping for. Surprising amount of bottom end. I had a specific intention for this, but it's certainly not a one trick pony. Good for funky stuff, maybe not the best for really heavy back beat. At least not how it's set up currently. Came with flanged hoops, but I'll invest in some wood hoops at some point to experiment. Once again this is sort of a Vinnie and ooops they don't make them anymore, have to jump on it NOW kind of thing. I'm not so much in the know. I've just watched that Steve Jordan vid countless times, did a search a few times, they seemed to not really be in production. What's up with that? Steve Gadd had a whole 6-piece with wood hoops on some show. Then I saw Vinnie had one, what type of music he was playing with it, it was there in the pile the at the Eisenberg session, too. hmmmmmm.... Thin shell, hard wood. Cutting, but not too bright. Might exactly fit my purpose and right now I feel confident it will.


And my little TSS offcourse:

As for the three snares:
Really. I could live happily with just 2. The Vinnie sig and hammered brass. There’s a limit to how deep they can go, but the Vinnie drum can go plenty low and fat enough for my general taste. Really low, it's the Longo. Now, they don't cover that open sensitive BB thing offcourse which is where the Club Custom will hopefully find it's place as a versatile wood option.

There are 2-3 more really distinctive voices I would like to have and that's it. I'm not a famous recording drummer. I don't need tons of snares for those situations. If I had tons of disposable income some day I'd explore the AK copper, bronze and hybrids as I think those sound truly wonderful. If I had the responisibility for an Orchestra I know where I would go shopping. The Noble and Cooley solid plys also sound impressive, but really....

Basically, what's missing is some Slingerland goodness and a swingy thin wood hoop with claws someting. I think the first 12 will probably just be another Longo walnut. Makes sense. Don't know about a 10 yet. I've tried some I didn't like and there are several I don't know where to go to try out.

Are there any isolated clips or vids of those 7x10 Bradys that Jeff liked. I guess Vinnie has one, too. Anyone try a 5x10 of those?
Last edited by Odd-Arne Oseberg on Fri Oct 16, 2015 12:40 pm, edited 8 times in total.
Julián Fernández
Posts: 1325
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:55 pm

Re: The WHY?!? snare thread.

Postby Julián Fernández » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:04 pm

I like gear, but I don´t think of it as I used to... Actually, for casual gigs I´m more into playing house kits and making them sound as good as possible. I have a couple of the snares I once dreamed about. Can´t complain really. Hopefully will add a couple more and be done with it... :mrgreen:
User avatar
Odd-Arne Oseberg
Posts: 993
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:04 am
Location: The physical plane.

Re: The WHY?!? snare thread.

Postby Odd-Arne Oseberg » Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:03 pm

All about the less is more and making it work, but snare and an minimum of cymbals always come. You never know. 5 year old heads and snares that can't be fixed. House kits are often Stage Customs around here, the main local store tends to push those, which are actually really good, after I've spent half an hour getting all the tape off. :lol:
User avatar
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:44 pm

Re: The WHY?!? snare thread.

Postby thewikiman » Tue Oct 13, 2015 7:01 am

I love gear. My best friend is a drummer and we talk about it all the time. It is SUPER important to some people to tell everyone else how little they care about gear - and I get how the guru master musicians are all about getting sounds out of anything, man... It's all about their touch.

But for me, not a guru master, I get really enthusiastic about a nice sounding drum.

I own five snares, of which two get used all the time. I once resolved to never sell any snares I owned, but financial necessity took care of that. I like to have different snares to perform different roles - my trouble is when a snare sounds great, I just want to use it for everything. The roles never work out like I hope.

So an old 13 x 5 snare I never play, I just keep for sentimental reasons. First decent snare I owned, loved it. My Yamaha Erskine 10 x 4 I bought for a live drum & bass band I was in in the early noughties. I still sometimes use it as an aux. I have a Pork Pie 12 x 5 Maple which is great for how cheap it was, which is cranked up for that Carter Beauford / Aaron Comess type sound. I never actually gig with it though.

I have the Gretsch Vinnie sig which is nice, and I use it maybe one gig in 4.

Then I have a Rock & Whiskey 14 x 5.5 hammered copper. I really wanted the dryness of a copper snare, and I didn't own any deeper snares. I tried a million out in a shop and fell in love with this one completely. It's absolutely fierce and fantastic fun to play. Responsive, and with such a crack when you want it. It's versatile, and so good I just end up wanting to use it all the time, hence the other snares don't really get much action.

If I won the lottery I have a wishlist of about 8 snares that I'd buy right away. On the I'd Hit That podcast you sometimes hear drummers who've been through their 'gear frenzy' phases and have now stripped down to one core kit, maybe 3 snares, and sold the rest. I hope I never get there! Gear brings me joy.
User avatar
Paul Marangoni
Posts: 1518
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:39 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: The WHY?!? snare thread.

Postby Paul Marangoni » Tue Oct 13, 2015 7:15 am

I love drums, but as far as I'm concerned, no one has built the perfect one yet. For a snare drum, it has to sound good, obviously, but more than that, it has to be built with quality components that can withstand years of use. Most snare strainers are a complete joke that require considerable effort to adjust as well as to install/replace snare wires. I honestly can't believe that a better system hasn't been developed. So for me, it's all about the quality of construction, quality of components (lugs, fasteners, strainer system, etc.), and the snare bed. I'm really getting tired of buying drums and then having to modify them further myself.

The Ludwig Supersensitive snare drums are really nice, but those wires are expensive to replace.
Jazz Martyrs
User avatar
Posts: 75
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:14 am

Re: The WHY?!? snare thread.

Postby Cymbalfeltfetishist » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:30 am

I know a lot of people that LOVE talking about gear. Maybe Im snobby, maybe Im not, but it bores me sometimes. People go on and on how awesome sounding this or that is, and then I hear it and it sounds like rubbish - to ME. Sound is very very subjective. Why would I care what other people play and why?? ha ha. Well....I only care when Im buying something new, I am meticulous when Im purchasing something new. I do as much research as possible...think it all through...over and over and over again.

But guess what? I pretty much sound the same no matter what I chose to play. I have this sound, this resonance in my head, and I try to get that out of my kit - snares, toms, cymbals etc etc. I hit the drums according to that sound I hear in my head. For example, with snare drums, if it goes out of tune for whatever reason or Im putting new heads on them, I have to hear a certain ring, a certain crack, a certain buzz according to whats in my head. To change the sound slighty, I play different snares drum sizes. But even still, I think my snares sound the same - more of less. No matter what drum Im using, I still need that buzz, that crack etc etc. I guess that is bad in a way...I sound the same no matter what Im playing. Or you can argue I have my own voice, I dont know.

Well you wanted to know - even from a nobody like me, what snares Im using....

6.5x14 George Way Aero aluminum - I wanted a deeper snare than I usually play. I heard Carter Mclean play this one and wow it sounded so good. What did I do? I tuned it up pretty high and I dont think it sounds as good as Carter's, damn it. My fault. This one has a great great ring to it.

5x14 Gretsh Brooklyn COB - I heard Carlock with this one. Wow does it ever sound good. High crack, nice ring and resonance. I always wanted Copeland's famous Pearl COB Jupiter, but I couldnt find one. The Gretsch is really really nice - I play this one a lot right now for gigs. Lots of compliments on this snare

7x13 Yamaha Steve Jordan - I use the shit out of this one too. High crack. Very tunable at all ranges. I took off the Yamaha snare strainer and put on a Trick. NIce. Again, lots of positive feedback on this one.

4x10 Yamaha Birch - Just a little side snare. It was cheap. Dont use it too much now. Does the job though.

5x14 Ludwig Acrolite - It was cheap and I heard how versitile they were. I still have it, but don't use it.

Snare drums I want? I'll be honest, I DO NOT like the sound of DW drum kits - toms mostly....but some of the snares Ive heard sound GREAT. Very impressed. So maybe one day, Ill buy the Neil Peart one they made for him...I just can't justify spending that money though...but maybe one day. I like the George Way Studio maple snare a lot. Some of the Dunnets sound amazing. I'm pretty happy with the snares I have and pretty much cover what I do at this point. These other snares are just icing on the cake.
User avatar
Odd-Arne Oseberg
Posts: 993
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:04 am
Location: The physical plane.

Re: The WHY?!? snare thread.

Postby Odd-Arne Oseberg » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:19 am

I definetly struggle with snares wires. Probably part of the reason I leave the reso on for a while.

I can think of a few ways to make adjutmets easier, but it would make for a strainer that was maybe a bit overkill for the average crowd. The Sonor Dual Glide sort of solves one of the issues, I guess. At least it opens the door. Individual adjustment like a symphonic multi strainer does another. There are ways.

I've never been into gear for any other reason. I just want the basic suitable alternatives for the music I want to do. I'm almost done. With guitar I am done more or less. A nice strat, small pedalboard and 3 amps I feel represent the best according to my taste in their categories.

All I miss snarewise is a 12", a 10" and a couple of representatives of an old classic.

Snares are at least possible to discuss. Cymbals, apart from knowing what exists, gets pontless.

When I get old and bored I can even make it a hobby to find a DW drum that I like.
User avatar
Posts: 1106
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:41 am

Re: The WHY?!? snare thread.

Postby Pocketplayer » Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:37 am

House Drum is fine...I guess, but lesson learned. Did an outdoor gig plating covers for a festival
and snare head split. That was fun...trying tuning a small tom in the middle of Runnin' on Empty
to make it sound like a "snare"...than looking for any kid in the audience that lives close by to run
home and grab his snare.

I just spent a day watching some great vids on tuning and getting my favorite snare sound. Some
VERY good stuff and as perfect a fit I could wish for. The snare does matter as does the room...
outdoors is a different animal entirely.

I am not a tech head, but do like anything related to tuning. This is something I want;
tune bot

If I show up to a gig with this sound, I'm good! lol
Jeff Porcaro Groove Master
Julián Fernández
Posts: 1325
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:55 pm

Re: The WHY?!? snare thread.

Postby Julián Fernández » Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:27 pm

Dealing with strainers and stuff... I was excited about my vintage Supra that I just got and I took it right to the gig. Half way through the thread holding the snares in place just cut in half leaving me with a nice tom-sounding snare... :mrgreen: Hopefully I had this other snare near and one of the guest singers help me made a quite-seamless change... haha, good times...
User avatar
Posts: 1158
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 3:38 am

Re: The WHY?!? snare thread.

Postby langmick » Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:28 pm

I always bring a second snare. I have as my main one now an old 80s Ludwig Rock Concert snare. Great sounding drum, tuned kinda loose with a CS reverse dot coated.

Too damn many horror stories.

2 thrones
2 snare stands
2 snares
2 hat stands
2 rides
2 bass drum pedals

Plus, it gives me a chance to change out the snare for something different if I feel like it.

Return to “Drumming Chat”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests