Topic: what drum???  (Read 1651 times)

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Imitator

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what drum???
« on: May 02, 2005, 10:22 PM »
Hi everybody!
I think, theres a great topic for discussion. Some questions are worrying me and maybe somebody else. The problem of choice is very great, especially if you have no much experience.
The most difficult is choosing the snare drum. There are great many of sizes, shells and so on.
So lets stop on some milestones.

The shell.
The basic question – wood or metal is easy to solve by determining your music style. But! Theres some new kind of shells on the market today – composite shells. It is – acrylic, fiberglass and carbon fibre. Does anybody has the experience of playing this shells and how can you characterize its sound. Besides I dont even guess whats the sonic difference  of these shells?

Wood shell. Almost everything is clear with maple and birch. But whats with exotic woods? As for me I cant get the whole point of ordering rare wood drum without knowledge of sonic characters of particular wood. Of course, some kind manufacturers, especially custom drum builders are always ready to explain you every difference. Lets thank them a lot.

Metal. These are the most discussible topics on the web. The first point is how does shell thickness effects its sound. Some players says that thinner shells had wider sonic range. But why theres an opinion, that if you like brushwork you should play +3mm thick shell? The second point is the material – brass, copper, bronze, aluminum, steel, titanium….Last two of this list become the most popular shells. But whats the character of titanium shell. The price of such drum is great, so theres not much players who own one. Opinions Ive met were subjective – somebody like titaniums because their drum heroes plays them, somebody says "boooo" because of the price.

 Id like to find some piece of truth and think that well have much fun here  

Chip Donaho

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Re:what drum???
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2005, 11:41 PM »
It comes down to you and what you like to hear. It is of no point to go through many discussions of woods, metals, etc, as it's been layed out several times. The knowledge comes down to reading, listening, and playing various drums. Then making your choice on those findings and cost factor.
The key word is " listen", and learn through playing. Even experienced players have a hard time telling differences until they develope an ear for such things. That takes years of playing and learning. But the bottom line comes down to "I like that sound".....  You can discuss all the materials involved and their specifics, but without an ear for such things a snare drum is just that, a drum. There have been many inexpensive drums and materials that I've liked the sound when properly set up. I have some expensive drums that I love the sound of. But it took many years of playing out with musicians to learn that. Dig through the many discussions on the site and you will find your answers. If you have no experience it would be pointless to get into top drums until you have the ear to tell. It's obvious you've been reading, or you wouldn't ask these questions. I don't know what else to say except develope your ear. And that takes playing a lot of different drums.   :-\    Welcome to Drummer Cafe.     ;)

Imitator

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what drum???
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2005, 02:20 AM »
Of course I have some experience. I've been playing drums for seven years - it's not so long as may seem, but it's enough to catch sound difference. And have grown out of regular drums.
The drum market development is great. Especially its custom branch. There's no argue, that prices of custom drum builders are also "custom" ;). So everybody's trying to make the right choice. The choice for himself. Some drum builders shows that their drums doesn't worth such sums of money. Because their marketing policy os perfect and lots of drumplayers will swear that "xxx" drums are the greatest piece of art they ever seen and heard.
I wish I'll make the right choice by understanding the experience of yours

James Walker

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what drum???
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2005, 07:26 AM »
And have grown out of regular drums.

How so?  What is it about "regular" drums that you find lacking?

Imitator

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what drum???
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2005, 09:15 AM »
The point is in the drum construction. Custom drums are handmade and  well design. Regular drums chokes sometimes. Shell vibration is far from what you're dreaming about. If you have the opportunity to listen to the drum or its samples be sure, that you'll get the asme sound or very close to it. There's no such guarantee with "factory" drums (imho)

James Walker

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Re:what drum???
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2005, 09:15 AM »
The key word is " listen", and learn through playing. Even experienced players have a hard time telling differences until they develope an ear for such things. That takes years of playing and learning. But the bottom line comes down to "I like that sound".....  You can discuss all the materials involved and their specifics, but without an ear for such things a snare drum is just that, a drum.

There are so many elements that combine to produce the sound and feel of a given snare drum - while IMHO most if not all can have an effect on the overall sound of a drum, I find it tough to organize or categorize drums according to any one (i.e., "all birch snare drums sound this way" or "all maple snare drums sound that way.")  Even once one develops an ear to hear the difference between certain drums, or to hear that there's a difference between, for instance, two different shell materials, it can be very difficult to identify the actual shell material.  At least, I know that I have great difficulty identifying a snare drum's shell material just from listening - I won't speak for anyone else.

Hell, who am I kidding - "difficulty?"  I can't do it at all...

I've got an experiment.  I took some sound files of my snare drums, and I've uploaded them to my server.  Granted, we're dealing with some sonic limitations (the mp3 format, my skills as a "recording engineer," etc.), but I'm curious to know if anyone can identify the shell materials of the following clips:

•  http://www.malletjazz.com/cafefiles/snaredrums/01.mp3]clip one
•  http://www.malletjazz.com/cafefiles/snaredrums/02.mp3]clip two
•  http://www.malletjazz.com/cafefiles/snaredrums/03.mp3]clip three
•  http://www.malletjazz.com/cafefiles/snaredrums/04.mp3]clip four
•  http://www.malletjazz.com/cafefiles/snaredrums/05.mp3]clip five
•  http://www.malletjazz.com/cafefiles/snaredrums/06.mp3]clip six
•  http://www.malletjazz.com/cafefiles/snaredrums/07.mp3]clip seven

The drums heard above are all 14" in diameter, and in depths ranging from 5.5' to 6.5".  Shell materials include acrylic, fibreglass, maple, birch, mahogany, and brass.  All were recorded the same way - SM57, thru a Mackie board, into my computer, no FX or EQ.

Anybody want to take a guess as to what's what?  (I've got the answer key here, and I'll post the shell materials if anyone is curious.)

James Walker

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what drum???
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2005, 09:22 AM »
The point is in the drum construction. Custom drums are handmade and  well design. Regular drums chokes sometimes.

I still don't understand what you mean by "regular" drums.  Do you mean major "brand name" drums (Pearl, Tama, Yamaha, etc.)?  Or are you talking about multiple-ply shells vs. stave, segment, or single-ply wood shells?

In the sound files I posted above, there are seven different drums.  Three are drums produced by major manufacturers (Ludwig, Pearl, Yamaha), and four were assembled by me using "custom" shells.  I know that I can't identify which is which from the sound files, and I frankly don't agree that custom drums are always superior to mass-produced drums.  There are some outstanding brand-name drums on the market (in a variety of price ranges), and some of the "custom" drums on the market are poor or mediocre at best.

Imitator

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what drum???
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2005, 10:29 AM »
I'm absolutely agree. Custom drum differs, but what makes the drum custom. Not the fact that they are handmade. And not the exotic wood of the shell. Its character makes. I've seen some nice looking expensive drums, but they don't have any difference (i mean better or worse) with good yamaha or pearl. And I don't really think that tama, yamaha, pearl, dw etc doesn't worth being played. They had the character. But different than Brady or Dunnett.

P.S. (off topic) You're nice man to talk with. Thanks for the discussion opportunity  ;)

Imitator

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what drum???
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2005, 09:37 PM »
I give up :) Not only of experience lack. There are several reasons. The first is tuning. Someone likes hi tuned drums, someone's not. I've heard maple snaredrum tuned in two ways - the sound was very different. The second - to the shame of mine I never had the opportunity to play acrylic and fiberglass drums, so I don't even guess how does they sound like

James Walker

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Re:what drum???
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2005, 10:32 PM »
Well, since nobody else is going to take a guess...

•  http://www.malletjazz.com/cafefiles/snaredrums/01.mp3]clip one  - 14x6 tiger maple segment shell
•  http://www.malletjazz.com/cafefiles/snaredrums/02.mp3]clip two  - 14x6.5 1960s Ludwig (mahogany shell)
•  http://www.malletjazz.com/cafefiles/snaredrums/03.mp3]clip three  - 14x5.5 acrylic shell
•  http://www.malletjazz.com/cafefiles/snaredrums/04.mp3]clip four  - 14x6.5 Pearl Masters Studio (birch)
•  http://www.malletjazz.com/cafefiles/snaredrums/05.mp3]clip five  - 14x6.5 Yamaha "Manu Katche" (brass)
•  http://www.malletjazz.com/cafefiles/snaredrums/06.mp3]clip six  - 14x5.5 maple shell (single-ply steambent shell)
•  http://www.malletjazz.com/cafefiles/snaredrums/07.mp3]clip seven  - 14x6.5 Tempus fibreglass shell

If someone reads this and thinks, "How the hell was I supposed to know that?", well...that's the idea - you're not.

Quote
I've heard maple snaredrum tuned in two ways - the sound was very different. The second - to the shame of mine I never had the opportunity to play acrylic and fiberglass drums, so I don't even guess how does they sound like

I think that's my point.  While maple certainly has its tendencies as a tonewood (compared to birch, walnut, cherry, etc.), I don't think there's any one single "maple snare drum sound."  Likewise, I don't think there's a single "fibreglass sound" or "acrylic sound."  For example, I've got four snare drums built on Tempus fibreglass shells.  All sound decidedly different, because other components (hoops, heads, wires, shell depth, etc.) differ between each of the drums.  Exact same shell material, but yielding decidedly different results.

FWIW, I've found that with some of these unusual snare drum shell materials or designs, that the differences aren't so much in the sound (EDIT:  I should say, more specifically:  not so much in having a specifically identifiable sound), but rather, they're manifested in terms of dynamic range, sensitivity, tuning range, etc. - things that may be more readily noticed from the player's perspective, rather than the listener's perspective.

Drumodad

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Re:what drum???
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2005, 11:09 PM »
Imitator,here is a suggestion for you ,and its only a suggestion.Build you own snare!Find out by trying,which shell material you like best. You could get a  shell and all the parts you need online.Have them drill it and do the edges.Put it together,outfit it with some sweet heads,tune it up and pop,I bet it will be your favorite snare for as long as you play!Why/ Because you built it. Hey,why havent I done this?I`m outta here!

Chip Donaho

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Re:what drum???
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2005, 11:25 PM »
Tonight I was at a country jam....The set used was Yamaha birch with a maple Yamaha snare. I grabbed my Birdseye Craviotto and brought it in. After it was all done the owner of the drums said" Hey, how come your maple sounds so different than mine?" "It plays different too." The difference was night and day.....Same size, same top head....The Craviotto was a solid shell vs a ply shell, and of course the snare strand choices and cost. But yet, no one drummer could explain it. But the sound and playing qualities were very different. My only explanation was, "It's everything that makes it up. From the wood to the lugs, to the heads and strainer." Every little detail makes it different"....Bottom line, everyone loved the Craviotto.....Little did they know it cost more than his whole set. But give me some time, snare choices, etc....I could have made that Yamaha sound close. Not the same but close. Out of 5 drummers, 2 of us knew the sound differences.... It comes down to, at what level has your ear and experience developed to. One guy said," Your drum was easier to play." It wasn't easier, you could just hear every little thing you're doing on the better quality drum..... You either played great on it or it showed every little mistake.    :-\

felix

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Re:what drum???
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2005, 12:58 AM »
Awe James I wanted to play the game.  You will have to do that again.


That being said, if all things were even I think I could pick out a craviotto from most wood snares.   I think if there was a brady jarrah block and a craviotto next to each other I could tell the diff.  

I don't think I could tell the diff between a noble and cooley and a craviotto, but I could tell the diff between a craviotto and a sonor... probably a yamaha also.  I would have a hard time telling a craviotto from a fibes or a gretch I think- but I don't own either.

It would be fun trying, that's all I know.


felix

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Re:what drum???
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2005, 01:01 AM »
Also Imitator- your needs dictate your snare drum.  Lots of guys like different snares for different things.  The reason "why" is not always as easy to explain and can be subjective.

Imitator

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what drum???
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2005, 02:14 AM »
Felix and Drumodad!
You're right. Each of you have a rational approach to the question. But sometimes you, I and maybe all of us are dreaming about one snare drum. With which we shouldn't think about carrying several snares for different styles or special effects. As addition to my opinion about brand snares - there are some exceptions. Black Beauty for example.

 

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