Topic: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"  (Read 15100 times)

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Offline NY Frank

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2008, 02:31 PM »
Start a drum company?  Nah.  It'd be simpler and easier just to take all of the money out of my savings account, pile the cash in my driveway, and set it on fire.  Same results, without the stress and aggravation.  ;)

Nice quote.  And you're probably right.

 :)
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Offline James Walker

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2008, 10:56 AM »
Nice quote.  And you're probably right.

 :)

Don't get me wrong - I'm flattered by the suggestion, but I'm quite happy leaving my drum building activities at the hobby level.  The way things are now, I get to build what I want, when I want - and if I want.  Take some or all of those freedoms away, and a lot of the fun goes out of it.  Plus, to buy parts wholesale (which I'd need to do to make this a profitable venture), there's a big minimum order amount required by the parts manufacturers in Taiwan, as I understand it at least - more than enough to wipe out my life's savings.

Additionally - and this is the biggie - the only way I'd go into the business is if I could simply build instruments the way I want to build them, and then sell them - none of this "tell me what you want and I'll build it" stuff for me.  I don't want to be a generic builder - there are enough of those out there already.  ("I want a ten-ply shell...die-cast hoops...double-45 degree edges...green glitter wrap...tube lugs...Trick strainer..."  Yawn.  Let me give you the names of a hundred other guys who already do that...)

I would want to produce instruments with a defined style and personality - something that would prompt people to say, "What you really want is a Walker snare drum, because..."  You think of a Brady, a Dunnett, a Craviotto...you know what those drums are about before you even play them.  I like instruments built by individuals with their own ideas.  If I could ever get my building skills anywhere near that level, I might consider taking the leap - but that's one hell of a big "if."  I'm probably setting the bar impossibly high, listing builders like that, but that's where I'm setting it, for better or worse.
"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 Todd Norris

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2008, 10:52 PM »
16, actually.  My Brobdingnagian snare drum.

Ah yes, my mistake.  I should have searched out the thread...


They have a good overall sound - somewhere between 24-strand snares and 42-stranders, given how wide the spacing is.  The adjustable center section of strands is a nice touch, and it does allow for some fine-tuning of the snare response, but by itself it's not the reason to buy a set.  I'd use them even if the center section didn't have its own fine adjustment screw.

Cool.  Thanks for the description!


Start a drum company?  Nah.  It'd be simpler and easier just to take all of the money out of my savings account, pile the cash in my driveway, and set it on fire.  Same results, without the stress and aggravation.  ;)

I'll let you know how close you are in that description sometime in the next year or so...

They say the best way to make a million dollars in the drum biz is to start with 2.

Offline James Walker

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2008, 06:48 PM »
Ah yes, my mistake.  I should have searched out the thread...

Sorry, didn't mean to come off as persnickity about the sizes.  I think I'm just jazzed this week that I finally found an old snare stand on eBay that will handle my 16" drums with room to spare.   No more balancing acts!!  ;D

Quote
I'll let you know how close you are in that description sometime in the next year or so...

They say the best way to make a million dollars in the drum biz is to start with 2.

The thing is, judging from your other posts, you've done something I haven't:  you've come up with something unique, something to set yourself apart from other drum builders.  If I could do that - be it a different design, certain shell type, or simply build quality - I might think otherwise about my situation.

Also what kinda sound difference do you get between a stave shell like that and a segemented shell such as a Global shell.

I haven't played any "all things being equal" drums, where the only difference is stave v. segmented design - for example, I don't have a 6x14 cherry segmented shell to contrast with my 6x14 stave shell.  Generally, tho, I find that I tend to categorize my wood shells as "plywood" and "not plywood."  Put a stave/segment/steambent snare drum in front of me, and then put a comparable plywood shell snare, and I can usually tell the difference.  Whatever differences there may be between non-plywood designs is lost on me.  It's quite possible that the difference is there and I just can't hear or feel it.

The important question is. How does she sound ? Say, compared to a 6.5 x 14 mapel.

I just took a half-hour to try and put together a decent sound file to post, and I haven't come up with anything that (to my ears) portrays the sound of the drum accurately (which is why you don't see any links to sound files in this post).  I'll keep at it, maybe try again over the weekend.

I also took out some of my other wood-shell snare drums in similar sizes (6x14 cherry stave, 7x14 purpleheart segment, 6x14 tiger maple segment).  I don't know if it's the ash itself, or any of the other numerous differences between the drums, but I like the ash the best.  (Maybe that's just because it's the newest?)  It seems to have the best balance - it's a cliche to describe a drum as being "pre-EQ'd," but I'm a little bit tempted to describe it that way.  I guess the ash drum is similar to my maple snare, but with a bit more fullness to the sound - it sounds "healthier," for lack of a better description.

Let's put it this way, based on the results so far: 

...if I had to choose between one or the other, I like the ash better. 

...if I were starting from scratch, I'd definitely opt for ash over maple.

..if I already had a maple snare drum, and I wanted to keep it but add a contrasting drum, I don't think I'd bother with ash - it's not different enough to warrant having both on the shelf.

The jury is still out, tho.  I want to give this drum a few months to settle in before I draw any hard and fast conclusions.
"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 Todd Norris

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2008, 11:23 PM »
Sorry, didn't mean to come off as persnickity about the sizes.  I think I'm just jazzed this week that I finally found an old snare stand on eBay that will handle my 16" drums with room to spare.   No more balancing acts!!  ;D

No persnikityness taken!  I just answered without confirming the size by looking at the thread again... 


The thing is, judging from your other posts, you've done something I haven't:  you've come up with something unique, something to set yourself apart from other drum builders.  If I could do that - be it a different design, certain shell type, or simply build quality - I might think otherwise about my situation.

That's exactly the thing.  If this gizmo works well, then yes, we have a viable shot.  If not, then your description of setting fire to the money in the driveway is right on.  Trying to make a living making drums is a long shot at best.  We'll find out soon enough. 

Offline James Walker

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2008, 02:15 PM »
Well, they're not the greatest, but I've cobbled together a few sound files.

 http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/jtpco_ash/jtpco_ash_low.mp3]ash snare, low tuning
 http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/jtpco_ash/jtpco_ash_middle.mp3]ash snare, medium tuning
 http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/jtpco_ash/jtpco_ash_high.mp3]ash snare, higher tuning

There's not much of a difference between the "higher" and "medium" tunings (I did the higher tuning, then tuned the drum low, then brought it back up a bit), but I thought I'd go ahead and include both files.  There's no EQ on the sound files - just my usual signal chain (small diaphragm OH mic', into my old Mackie mixer, into my computer).  Truth be told, I'm starting to sour on the idea of online sound files - what you hear isn't exactly what I'm hearing in the room, which is a reflection on my lousy engineering skills.  Really, all it shows is, "yes, it sounds like a snare drum."  But, I thought I'd share them anyway.

I've made some slight changes to the drum.  Previously, the drum sounded a little bit fuzzy, with too much sustain in the fundamental tone (which, as far as I can tell, was contributing to the fuzziness in the snare sound).  It also only seemed to sound good if I cranked both the heads, which IMO is a sign that something's wrong with a snare drum - not that there's anything wrong with cranked up snare drums, but if a drum has to be up there in order to sound good, something's off.

I went back and rounded off the outer bearing edge on the batter head side, changing the edge from a "double 45" cut to a "roundover/45" edge, and that really helped to focus the drum.  I also added a small (3/8") vent, 1-1/2" down from the batter head.  Both moves seem to have helped the drum.  I may do the same "roundover" treatement on the snare side bearing edge, but it's more likely that I'll just leave the drum alone for a while before I do any additional modifications.  I've found that brand new snare drums (with wood shells, at least) need a little bit of time to settle in.
"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 Louis Russell

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2008, 04:15 PM »
"The last snare drum I'm going to build"

Each time I see this topic I grin!   ;D

I like the low tuning the best!
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Offline NY Frank

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2008, 07:41 PM »
A vote here for - the medium tuning sound.

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Offline Chip Donaho

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2008, 08:16 PM »
I like the low tuning the best!
So do I....   ;)   But then, I've got an aweful sound card....  ::)
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Offline James Walker

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2008, 09:00 PM »
Thanks, guys.

After posting those files, I ended up taking the drum down to my workbench again, and I rounded the reso side edge, same as I did to the batter side edge.  There was another definite improvement in the sound of the drum - not as drastic as changing the batter side edge, but noticeable.  Overall, this is a decidedly different drum from what it was 24 hours ago.  I may try my hand at some new sound files, to see if the differences I'm hearing make their way "to tape."

Anyway...live and learn:

1)  So much for my "let's try a snare drum with a rounded batter edge and sharp reso edge" idea.  :-[

2)  The next time someone tries to convince me that bearing edge shape doesn't make a difference in the sound of a drum...   ::)  ::) 
"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 VickHick

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #30 on: January 11, 2008, 10:43 PM »
Well James that is one more mighty fine sounding snare drum you got yourself there.  I see what you mean, even with the drum tuned up there is like an underlying lower register thing there. I think it's great.  Some people may not like it.  I think you are like me.  You play most of your music low volume with small sticks and small jazz and bop kits.  I love small kits, would never go back to a big one.  A lot of times playing small kits it is very hard to get a good full snare sound playing soft with small sticks.  James I think this snare drum you have just built here just might do the trick.  It sounds just about perfect to me.

I also wanted to add.  You said you was having some problems recording your drum and getting a good sound.  Check out Drumsmith.com. I've seen you on there before.  A guy just posted yesterday I think some stuff he recorded with one of those Zoom H2's.  For just 200 bucks that was very impressive stuff.  I'm even thinking about getting one of them now after listening to that.  You should check it out.

I'm still trying to get hold of Matt for my next shell.  Any suggestions ?  I'm going to have to look at Ash now.  What about Cherry, Walnut, Cocobola, Purpleheart ?  And yes it's going to be 6x14 and for low volume for my gospel group.  You are the snare drum Guru ?  I await your reply!!!!!!!

  

Offline Chip Donaho

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2008, 12:46 PM »
What about Cherry, Walnut, Cocobola, Purpleheart ?  
One of my 4 sets is a Cherry Mapex set. I use a Craviotto snare with the set because it's a snare drum that sounds great with all my sets. Just the same, that set sounds great and I would never diss a Cherry set again.   ;)
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Offline James Walker

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2008, 01:34 PM »
Quote
I'm still trying to get hold of Matt for my next shell.  Any suggestions ?  I'm going to have to look at Ash now.  What about Cherry, Walnut, Cocobola, Purpleheart ?  And yes it's going to be 6x14 and for low volume for my gospel group.

I've never played a cocobolo snare drum, although I've heard that drums made of that wood sound fantastic, and it's one of the prettiest species of wood I've ever seen.  If you're going to go with Matt, however, keep in mind that (IIRC) he has stopped using cocobolo, since it's on the endangered wood species lists, and he only uses woods that he can obtain from environmentally-friendly sources. 

I think I mentioned earlier in this thread, that my monkeypod snare (Global shell) really impresses me with its fullness in low volume/low velocity playing situations.  It also looks great, and for anyone concerned with the environmental impact of their choices, it's plentiful.  That having been said, cherry and walnut are great choices as well.

Talk to Matt, tho.  The last time I checked, he has 180 different wood species listed as options on his web site.  He might suggest something that you or I have never thought of before.  At one point, I had asked him for suggestions, and he mentioned pecan would be good for lower-volume situations.

(I always wanted to try a mesquite shell.  I don't know what its sonic properties would be like, but my workbench area would've smelled great while I was working on it!)  ;D

I also wanted to add.  You said you was having some problems recording your drum and getting a good sound.  Check out Drumsmith.com. I've seen you on there before.  A guy just posted yesterday I think some stuff he recorded with one of those Zoom H2's.

Thanks for the thought, but the problem wasn't my equipment, it was room acoustics and mic' placement.  I recently reorganized my drum room, and I ended up putting the drums over in a corner with a fairly low ceiling.  As a result, I think I was getting some phasing problems with reflections off of the walls and ceiling.  I was able to minimize the problems with some careful mic' placement.
"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 Todd Norris

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2008, 07:29 PM »
I've never played a cocobolo snare drum, although I've heard that drums made of that wood sound fantastic, and it's one of the prettiest species of wood I've ever seen.  If you're going to go with Matt, however, keep in mind that (IIRC) he has stopped using cocobolo, since it's on the endangered wood species lists, and he only uses woods that he can obtain from environmentally-friendly sources. 

Yeah, many woods are getting harder to get, and in some cases, even if you can get it, one might consider passing due to possible extinction...

(I always wanted to try a mesquite shell.  I don't know what its sonic properties would be like, but my workbench area would've smelled great while I was working on it!)  ;D


I've been curious about mesquite as well.  It's supposed to be very hard and dense.  I live where I could probably go gather dried up mesquite logs without a problem.  I'd love to cut some logs into staves for some shells...

Offline Mark Counts

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2008, 04:41 PM »
Thanks, guys.  :)

As to the "last snare drum," that's basically true, believe it or not.  I don't build to sell (maybe if someone had bought that tiger maple snare I've posted here a few times, I'd think differently), and I'm having a heck of a time coming up with new twists on snare drums to try and justify adding another one to my collection.

James,
Do you still have this Tiger maple snare? Where can I view it?  I must have missed it somehow? Your new snare looks absolutely Gorgeous.
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Offline James Walker

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #35 on: January 13, 2008, 06:11 PM »
James,
Do you still have this Tiger maple snare? Where can I view it? 

6x14 Global Drum Company tiger maple segment shell:



"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 VickHick

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #36 on: January 14, 2008, 02:25 AM »
James I had been trying to get hold of Matt at Global and was having some trouble.  Last week he finally sent me an Email and said he was having some very bad back problems and had not been able to work lately.  Matt was suppose to get back with me, but I still haven't heard from him.

 The reason I had thrown the Cocobola wood out as a possibility.  I collect duck calls and several of them are made from cocobola wood.  It makes a great sounding duck call so i figured it would probably make a good sounding drum also.  Have you ever heard of Osage orange or Bodock.  It is called by both names.  I have several calls made out of this wood also.  The other night I saw Vaughncraft had some Osage shells on there site.  They even had a set of shells for a bop set.  Osage is a softer wood than Cocobola, but harder than Mapel I believe. 

  Just checking to see if you have ever heard any drums made out of osage orange.  I know the wood has good sound qualitys and if the drum would be anything like the duck calls that kind of wood produces.  It would have a great low end with a good mid range and be very nice and crisp on top.  Sounds like a pretty good drum Huh ? 
Now you done mentioned it a couple times.  I know i'm going to end up having to get me one of them Global Monkeypod Shells in a 6x14.  Thank goodness i don't actually know how to build one myself.  YET!!!!

Offline Louis Russell

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #37 on: January 14, 2008, 09:09 AM »
  Just checking to see if you have ever heard any drums made out of osage orange. 

Years ago my grandpa asked if anyone made drums from that same wood.  We used it for corner post in the fences and it last forever when placed in the ground.  Around here it goes by one of three names, Osage Orange, Bois De Arc, and Horse Apple.  It is a very elastic wood.  Now you got me to wondering all over again. 
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Offline Mark Counts

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #38 on: January 14, 2008, 09:51 AM »
6x14 Global Drum Company tiger maple segment shell:

That snare drum is gorgeous. I sent you a PM.

Years ago my grandpa asked if anyone made drums from that same wood.  We used it for corner post in the fences and it last forever when placed in the ground.  Around here it goes by one of three names, Osage Orange, Bois De Arc, and Horse Apple.  It is a very elastic wood.  Now you got me to wondering all over again. 
Louis,
Is it the same thing as a Hedge Apple?  The way you said very elastic reminds me of Gum.
My drum builder that I bought my snare from said that Gum looks like Walnut but is very springy and does have good properties for a drum.
                      Nutty
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Offline James Walker

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Re: "The last snare drum I'm going to build"
« Reply #39 on: January 14, 2008, 10:43 AM »
James I had been trying to get hold of Matt at Global and was having some trouble.  Last week he finally sent me an Email and said he was having some very bad back problems and had not been able to work lately.

I haven't had any reason to contact Matt in recent months, but I do recall that in the past, he has had issues with his back.

Quote
Have you ever heard of Osage orange or Bodock.  It is called by both names.  I have several calls made out of this wood also.  The other night I saw Vaughncraft had some Osage shells on there site.  They even had a set of shells for a bop set.  Osage is a softer wood than Cocobola, but harder than Mapel I believe. 

I've never worked on, built, or played a drum made of osage orange, but Greg Gaylord has a very positive review of it on his web site:
 http://www.drumsolo.cc/snare_drums/snare_gallery/Osage_orange/osage_orange.htm]http://www.drumsolo.cc/snare_drums/snare_gallery/Osage_orange/osage_orange.htm

Quote
Now you done mentioned it a couple times.  I know i'm going to end up having to get me one of them Global Monkeypod Shells in a 6x14.

As you've read, I'm very happy with my monkey pod snare.

IMO, the big thing is that you're looking at shells built by Matt at Global - his workmanship has always been top-notch, in my experience, regardless of the tonewood he uses.  That's more important than picking a certain tonewood - altho the choice of shell material can make an audible difference, being the "icing on the cake" in terms of getting exactly the drum one is looking for.

That snare drum is gorgeous. I sent you a PM.

Thanks - a reply has been sent.  :)
"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

 

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