Topic: Building a Snare and I need opinions!  (Read 2704 times)

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Ben Ringer

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Building a Snare and I need opinions!
« on: July 06, 2012, 12:21 AM »
I have custom kit on the way from Dark Horse Percussion but I didn't order a snare with the kit. I wanted to get a really personalized snare. I'm really picky when it comes to the sound of my snare.

I play ska so my kit is tuned to sort of mix rock and jazz. My snare I keep tuned tighter than average on the batter side and about average tuning on the resonant. Pretty much tuned as a punk snare (tight batter, loose resonant). I like to have a high pitched attack that cuts through with a nice amount of power and depth in the drum. I currently use a 13" x 7" pork pie lil' squealer. I can pull the perfect tone out of it but the drum goes out of tune like nothing (has to be tightened up every 3 songs while I'm playing a show) and frankly the extreme amount of vents isn't very realistic for recording, not to mention each vent adds another piece of metal to the shell.

What I'm thinking of building is a 13" x 7" beech stave snare with a double 45 bearing edge and of course puresound snare wires. I am ordering the shell sanded with edges, snare beds, and drilled and then hardware from somewhere else. I'm just staining and assembling it. I can't find a place that supplies both items exactly how I want them and at a reasonable price.

I like the size of the drum because the diameter really gives the drum the pop while the depth of the snare keeps it from getting too high pitch.

I chose to go with a stave shell due to the natural wood sounds. I've spent many years trying to find the sticks I like the most because I like to hear the wood tone of the sticks come through in my sound. I don't want a ply snare because the glue cuts out the tone. I've read the steam bent (1-ply) shells make the wood a lot higher pitch due to the extreme bending and pressure. And lastly, the solid shells are just really pricey though I'm sure they sound amazing!

I'm thinking beech wood because maple doesn't seem to get a nice enough crack for the attack but birch doesn't seem to get any warmth in the sustain. It's my understanding that beech will the the crack on the attack and have a fair amount of warmth in the sustain.

I decided the double 45 bearing edge because that will give the most of the wood's tone and add that little bit more depth to the drum, getting close to the tone of maple without loosing the high cracking attack like birch.

Does this seem like a proper combination to achieve the sound I'm looking for? I've done a ridiculous amount of research but want to get some opinions of all these different options being together on one drum.

Bob Dias

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Re: Building a Snare and I need opinions!
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2012, 11:15 AM »
I have built many snares in my lifetime. There are three basic kinds: Metal snares, standard ply snars and snares that are not ply (single steambent, stave and segmented). Of the three types, you can likely tell the difference between the three major groups, and maybe even subdivide the metal snares (SS, brass, copper, aluminum). However, as for ALL the wood snares, I think the type of wood is too often overhyped. For these it is more about head, edges and tuning; especially with a stave/segmented drum, where the shell is usually more than 1/2" thick. Back in the good 'ole days, when everything was 3 ply with re-rings, the material mattered, maple vs. mahogany. However, today? not so much. You get a bigger/better crack from stave/segments because of the thicker shells. my advise is to go with a wood you like to look at. Cherry is dense and beautiful, ash makes for nice drums, as does burl maple, bubinga, etc. They all are great. And I really think only my dog could tell the difference (but he's not saying). I would go with the following: a stave or segmented shell of ANY wood (ash, maple, bubinga, cherry...etc), 45 degree edges with a 1/4" round over (I like a slightly softer sound, hence the round over. also easier on the heads). Lugs that match the kit you ordered (or not), some triple flanged rims and a Trick Strainer. cap it with an Aquarial studio-X coated head and a hazy snareside, shallow snarebeds (~1/8") and some puresound wires. It should last a lifetime. and be useful for nearly every genre of music. Next biggest hype: any particular snare sound for any particular genre of music...heads/tuning...heads/tuning...heads/tuning.

 ps...don't stain it. just let the shell manufacturer do the finish. Unless you a pro wood worker, they will do a much better job.  Also, the 13x7 size is 13x7 segmented bur maple is fantastic, however, I also built a 13x4 stave ash that  had a nearly perfect sound...