Topic: Building my first snare drum and I guess I am finding out I have many???  (Read 16107 times)

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Offline Mark Counts

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I have always played 14in.  by 5 1/4in. maple snare drums.  I have found a shell maker that is showing me a 14 by 5 1/4 steam bent Walnut shell.  He asked me if I want walnut rings or maple rings?  He is now asking me what size snare drum shell I want him to make. Do I want to go deeper or shallower or stick with what I am used to? I know nothing about hardware but I know I want quality, not cheap? The company I am talking to is, http://wittpercussion.com.

I know there are several of you that tinker with drum building.
Any advice would be much appreciated?
                          Nutty
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Offline Todd Norris

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Hey Nutty, welcome to the wonderful world of custom snare drums.  Be prepared to be amazed, confused, and mostly just a lot lighter in the wallet. 

I can't claim to offer anything significant on your depth question, but I do recommend starting slow and investigating the wood types, thicknesses, depths, bearing edges etc. before plunking down the cash.  There's a couple of websites that I've seen that offer some written description of how different woods sound.  Bart's article on the front page offers some suggestions for wood types. 

As you know, the common theory holds that the deeper drum can offer more volume, deeper tone and more flexible tuning ranges.  Of course, that's just one variable in the drum equation and other options may highten on lessen those effects. 

When I built my custom jobby earlier this year, I stuck with what I tended to like in other drums - 5.5" depth.  It was a bit of a crap shoot since I didn't have a plethora of bubinga drums to try. 

The hardware is an interesting question.  Try drummaker.com or bestdrumdeals.com for lugs and strainers.  I also like Egodrumsupply.com products.  The price variance can be quite large, especially for the strainers.  you can go very inexpensive, say $15 up to say $70 for the Trick or Ego.  I have the Trick and it's, well - TRICK!   ;D

For some wood sound descriptions, try this   http://rhythmkingdrums.com/1woods.htm]http://rhythmkingdrums.com/1woods.htm  That's the guy that made the shell in my avatar. 

Hope that helps!  I'm sure James Walker can help too. He was instrumental in helping me get started in the custom route. 

Offline Mark Counts

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Hey Nutty, welcome to the wonderful world of custom snare drums.  Be prepared to be amazed, confused, and mostly just a lot lighter in the wallet. 

I can't claim to offer anything significant on your depth question, but I do recommend starting slow and investigating the wood types, thicknesses, depths, bearing edges etc. before plunking down the cash.  There's a couple of websites that I've seen that offer some written description of how different woods sound.  Bart's article on the front page offers some suggestions for wood types. 

As you know, the common theory holds that the deeper drum can offer more volume, deeper tone and more flexible tuning ranges.  Of course, that's just one variable in the drum equation and other options may highten on lessen those effects. 

The hardware is an interesting question.  Try drummaker.com or bestdrumdeals.com for lugs and strainers.  I also like Egodrumsupply.com products.  The price variance can be quite large, especially for the strainers.  you can go very inexpensive, say $15 up to say $70 for the Trick or Ego.  I have the Trick and it's, well - TRICK!   ;D

For some wood sound descriptions, try this   http://rhythmkingdrums.com/1woods.htm]http://rhythmkingdrums.com/1woods.htm  That's the guy that made the shell in my avatar. 

Hope that helps!  I'm sure James Walker can help too. He was instrumental in helping me get started in the custom route. 
Thank you Todd,
I am going for the Steam bent walnut.  He had a few more choices of woods like tiger maple and a few others but I want something in walnut.
I think I may go with the 5.5 just for a little more depth and after talking to the shell manufactor the shell has 45 degree bearing edges and I think I am going with the maple rings too.  He said that putting walnut rings makes the drum sound more like acrillic but a bit warmer.  He said the maple rings make it a warmer sounding drum. I am buying the shell through Wittpercussion out of Ohio.   I have communicated with James a few time via PM. He has responded to the Wittpercussion PM and said he didn't have any experience with Wittpercussion but had heard good things about them. So far the company has responded well and is very happy to make me anything I want.  I am going to talk to them about what I want today.
Ian at Wittpercussion also said he can get great deals on hardware so thank you very much for giving me several sources to check out so I will have some comparision.  You were talking about how much it got into your wallet.  Originally I was watching a Craviotto walnut used snare drum on Ebay that probably sold new for $1500 to $2000.  I could have bought it for about $500. I desided to take this route instead.  It is something that I can call my own. In the past few years I have gotten more into my music than my hunting. In fact, because I am so involved in my music, I just plain don't have time to hunt.   I am selling off a few guns that I used for Turkey and deer hunting. I am sure I will get more use out of this snare. 
Thank you for your great advice and good luck on your drum company.
Any advice or opinions at this point is very welcome since this is all new to me?
                                 Nutty
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

Offline James Walker

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He asked me if I want walnut rings or maple rings? 

I don't know how much of an influence the wood used for the re-rings will have on the drum.  If you're worried about mixing maple and walnut, don't.  I've got a walnut segment shell snare with maple counterhoops, and the drum sounds great.  Either way, tho, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.  There's a difference (to my ears) between walnut and maple, but they're not that far apart.  It's not like you're mixing a really hard wood (purpleheart or bubinga, f.i.) with a really soft wood (poplar or willow, f.i.).  I don't think it'll have much of an impact on the overall sound of the drum - maple hoops might make the drum a shade brighter, but nothing drastic.

The other issue is cosmetics - do you want the re-rings to match the rest of the shell, or do you like the contrasting look?  Some guys have a preference, others don't.  Even on this count, tho, you're just about the only person who is ever going to notice it - nobody else is ever going to see the re-rings while you're on a gig.

Quote
He is now asking me what size snare drum shell I want him to make. Do I want to go deeper or shallower or stick with what I am used to?

Are you planning to invest in more snare drums like this, or do you think it'll be a one-time event, getting a steambent shell?  If you're looking to get several drums, give yourself room to get another size without going to extremes.  If you get a 5.5x14 or 6x14, you're right in the middle - great if you're looking for a single snare drum to cover a lot of situations, IMO.  (6x14 remains my favorite snare drum size, FWIW.)  If you want to go with two drums, maybe go with a 5x14 to start, then go with a 6.5x14 with the next project - something along those lines.

Quote
I know nothing about hardware but I know I want quality, not cheap?

There are lots of good options, whether we're talking about egodrumsupply.com, or the various WorldMax retailers (drummaker.com/shop, amdrumparts.com, drumfoundry.com, etc.)

General advice?  When it comes to the shell, ask lots of questions of the builder.  Any shell builder worth his salt will not only be able to present options to you, he'll be able to tell you in simple terms how much of a difference - if any - each of these options will have on the sound of the finished drum.  Don't be shy about asking your builder for more information. 

Ask him for his recommendations, too.  Nobody will have more experience with Witt Percussion shells than Mr. Witt.  Maybe he'll say, "If you're looking for a single versatile drum, my customers have generally been the happiest with ____________..."  Don't feel like you have to reinvent the wheel when designing your drum - draw upon the experience that the builder has amassed over the years.  It's your first time designing a custom snare drum, but it's not his first time.
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

Offline Mark Counts

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Thank you for the advice James,
This will be my primary snare drum but no I am not going to stop with one.  (My wife doesn't know that yet). I have collected so much stuff over the years I think it is time to sell a few things off so I will have some funds to work with.  I may even sell my 3000 Paiste 18in. Nova China. I would also like a piccalo snare so I may take this one to 6in. deep. This is what I am trying to make my mind up right now. You are right about talking to him about building my first snare.  He has offered to help me anyway he can and I really like that kind of service.  I am sure what I do reflects towards his product and I am sure they take pride in what they do.  So this is good for me and them. He also knows that I am a part of this forum to so he knows that the experience I have with them will be known by many drummers.  That is just plain good for buisness.  Word of mouth goes a long way when all feedback is positive. I'll call him today and see if I can't get at least the shell worked out with him and get some ideas on hardward and the look and sound that I want.  I will report back as to what I come up with.  Thanks again James.  In this department, you are da man 8).
                        Nutty
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

Offline Mark Counts

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 ;D. I ordered the shell today.  14X6 Steam bent Walnut with maple rings/edges and beds.  Also he is going to mark my hole layout for free when I figure out what hardware I want.  Very nice people to work with.  I guess I am going to buy the hardware through him.  He said to find what I want and let him know and he would save me some money. So far I am very happy dealing with Wittpercussion.  He said he would walk me through the whole process.  I don't think I could ask for more 8).
                         Nutty
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

Offline Todd Norris

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;D. I ordered the shell today.  14X6 Steam bent Walnut with maple rings/edges and beds.  Also he is going to mark my hole layout for free when I figure out what hardware I want.  Very nice people to work with.  I guess I am going to buy the hardware through him.  He said to find what I want and let him know and he would save me some money. So far I am very happy dealing with Wittpercussion.  He said he would walk me through the whole process.  I don't think I could ask for more 8).
                         Nutty

Nice!  Please be sure to post pics etc when it arrives.  Can't wait to check it out!  It's very satisfying designing your very own drum isn't it?  The joy of putting together my custom jobby is what partially inspired my buddy and I to pursue our own custom shop - but with a twist...   ;)

Offline Mark Counts

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Nice!  Please be sure to post pics etc when it arrives.  Can't wait to check it out!  It's very satisfying designing your very own drum isn't it?  The joy of putting together my custom jobby is what partially inspired my buddy and I to pursue our own custom shop - but with a twist...   ;)
Sounds great Todd,
I will try to take pictures of it when it arives and as it is coming along. 
I need to think about what type finish to put on it too.  I don't know about satisfying yet, that depends on what I can get it to sound like.
I do have a few snares to compare it to and one of them I really like.
I would love to be able to afford keeping Earthtone drum heads on this one but I just can't see it. I will probably stick to the Fiberskyn3FD Powerstroke3. It seem to give me the tone that I like.  Now I will be able to compare Walnut to Maple and one piece to ply. It is exciting ;D.
                                Nutty
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

Offline Mark Counts

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After ordering my Steam Bent Walnut shell and looking at parts and checking out, http://wittpercussion.com  , I am considering caving in and just letting Ian Witt build what I want for me. I am an amature and he is a reputable drum builder. Check out his web site.  It will cost me more but I will get it right.  I love the idea of the finish that breaths and I am not sure I can do that? I am talking to him this afternoon to see what my options are. I am looking at a 6 X 14 Walnut in the Deluxe model.
                              Nutty
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

Offline Mark Counts

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 ;D. Well, I just had to report back again.  I just got off the phone with Ian Witt and this guy is great to deal with.  I have elected to go with him doing the drum.  He gave me a very fair price and advised me to a point.  Asked me what sound I was looking for.  I made a few special requests and he has been absolutly wonderful to work with. He has already bent my shell and the drum should be delivered in the next 3 weeks.  He told me that when I receive my drum I can be as picky as I want and send it back as many times as I like until it is right. I have never had a company tell me that. I picked the batter head and he told me that he would play the drum for at least an hour before shipping it to make sure his product is what it is supposed to be.
I don't think I can beat the deal or the service for a Steam Bent Walnut snare with all quality parts anywhere but I could be wrong. I will take pictures when I receive it and post them. Thank you James and Todd for your advice ;).
                                 Nutty
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

Offline Mark Counts

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Well, after doing some more research and finding more out about Walnut and different woods.  I have switched the order to a different type of wood.  I talked to Ian Witt and he told me that walnut is really on the bottom of his list of favorite woods.  Walnut is the most dence wood.  It would sound something like Bonhams Vistalite Snare if that makes sense? So, He is building me a snare out of Steam Bent Birch. In a few weeks I will take some pictures and show it on this thread.
                      Nutty
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

yankeeboy13

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If I'm not mistaken, I believe that birch is a very versatile wood in terms of pitch (equal lows, mediums, highs) so that would probably be a good choice for a main snare?


Congrats on the entire deal nutty, hope it comes out great. 

Offline Mark Counts

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If I'm not mistaken, I believe that birch is a very versatile wood in terms of pitch (equal lows, mediums, highs) so that would probably be a good choice for a main snare?


Congrats on the entire deal nutty, hope it comes out great. 
My new kit came with a multi ply birch snare and I really love it.  The key to this new snare is single ply shell.  He is trying to recreate the Slingerland Radio King shells of the 30's and 40's. www.wittpercussion.com.  Go to his "about us" page. There is more to this story but all in good time ;).
                                 Nutty
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

felix

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I think that is cool you went with birch.  The walnut Gretsch snare I like so much just had a walnut veneer IIRC.

I like the 6" depth you went for also.

wow, a steambent solid piece of birch- I bet it sounds awesome.

What kinda throw and hoops did you get?  Did you pick out any wires?

Where the heck is James.  I must have said something stupid again.

Offline Mark Counts

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I think that is cool you went with birch.  The walnut Gretsch snare I like so much just had a walnut veneer IIRC.

I like the 6" depth you went for also.

wow, a steambent solid piece of birch- I bet it sounds awesome.

What kinda throw and hoops did you get?  Did you pick out any wires?

Where the heck is James.  I must have said something stupid again.
Hi Felix,
According to Ian Witt, When you go to a single ply shell, it makes your drum sound deeper than a multi ply shell by an inch or two. I almost went to 6.5 but he told me that it might be over powering to go that deep.  The hoops are going to be made of birch too. The wires are going to be a 20 strand Puresound snare. I will tell you more in a PM.
                                       Nutty
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

Offline Mark Counts

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I think that is cool you went with birch.  The walnut Gretsch snare I like so much just had a walnut veneer IIRC.

I like the 6" depth you went for also.

wow, a steambent solid piece of birch- I bet it sounds awesome.

What kinda throw and hoops did you get?  Did you pick out any wires?

Where the heck is James.  I must have said something stupid again.
One more thing, James hasn't posted since June 9th?? Not sure why??
                           Nutty
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

felix

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Someone said something to him he told me.

It was that "Nutty" guy.  He said he was fed up with all the PM's about how to build a snare, what wood is better, questions etc.

Jeez, one of my only friends here and you had to scare him away.  THANKS MARK!!!

Gawd.

Offline Mark Counts

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Someone said something to him he told me.

It was that "Nutty" guy.  He said he was fed up with all the PM's about how to build a snare, what wood is better, questions etc.

Jeez, one of my only friends here and you had to scare him away.  THANKS MARK!!!

Gawd.
I can be a bit scary at times and even get under some peoples skin.  At least I didn't ask him how to hold my sticks or tune a drum.  James did give me some good sound advice.  He told me to talk mostly to my drum builder, he would be the expert at his craft and his shells.
I didn't mean to scare him off.  Thank Felix for the guilt trip!!
URK,
               Nutty
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

Offline Mark Counts

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I talked to my drum builder and my snare should be here by the end of next week.
I will take some picks and post them here when it arives with an opinion of what it sounds like in comparision to what I am used to playing.
                                  Nutty
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

Dave H.

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I have a 6" X 14 GMS single ply snare that I love! Ryan Payne that works at The Drum Center of Indianapolis built the maple shell. That is the best made & sounding single ply shell I have seen or heard bar none. Ryan will build you what you want & his prices arent to bad.
 I got the snare with GMS made in their shop tube lugs & their made in house strainer for just over $700.00. See what Slingerland gets for a Radio King
                                                       Dave Huffman

 

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