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Help a non-drummer buy some snare drums
Old 30th January 2009
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
strat+ac30's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Help a non-drummer buy some snare drums

I play guitar, bass, piano & keys, kazoo and I sing...but haven't conquered drums yet. (You have NO idea how badly I want to, though!)

I know a fair amount about drums from friends and recording experience but not enough to really know what to look for in a used snare. I've done research and have already decided on two different snares: a Pork Pie Big Black 6.5x14 and a Ludwig Acrolite.

(I'm only buying snare drums because 1. They are one of the most important sounds on a record IMHO and 2. Most drummers I've recorded in the past have used wood snares and I just don't like that sound as much. When I get more space/cash I'll be back to ask about kits.)

So, two questions:
(1) What do I look for in a used snare? (in terms of quality, condition)
(2) What size Acrolite would provide the most versatility? Should I go 5x14 or 6.5x14?
Old 31st January 2009
  #2
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
What kind of music are you playing? If you are playing jazz, then I would suggest going for the 5" Acro, but if you are playing rock I think you'll find the 6.5" more to your liking.

As for your other snare, you need a wood (preferably maple) snare somewhere in the mix. My personal favorites are a Ludwig Classic Maple, an Ayotte or a Yamaha Maple Custom.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
gwailoh's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chunkaway ➑️
you need a wood (preferably maple) snare somewhere in the mix.
The OP though says that he doesn't like wood snares, so, that doesn't seem to be his interest right now.

strat+ac30: the Pork Pie BB is a great drum with lots of tuning range. I know you're asking about how to buy a used one, but is a new one out of your budget? They're not that expensive, and offer really great bang for the buck.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwailoh ➑️
The OP though says that he doesn't like wood snares, so, that doesn't seem to be his interest right now.

strat+ac30: the Pork Pie BB is a great drum with lots of tuning range. I know you're asking about how to buy a used one, but is a new one out of your budget? They're not that expensive, and offer really great bang for the buck.
True, but if you are going to buy several snares, you really owe it to yourself to have a wood one. Plus, I don't think you can just write off all wood snares away since the sounds can vary so much.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
strat+ac30's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chunkaway ➑️
True, but if you are going to buy several snares, you really owe it to yourself to have a wood one. Plus, I don't think you can just write off all wood snares away since the sounds can vary so much.
I'm not by any stretch writing off wood snares. There's some incredible sounds out there.

It's all about options. I'm the recordist, not the drummer...if I don't have a brass Black Beauty-ish snare, I feel like my hands are really tied because they have a flexibility that other snares (IMVLEAO - in my very limited experience and opinion) don't have.

In other words, the pain of wanting a maple/birch/oak snare but having a brass snare is far less than the other way around. This actually happened on my last project, when the drummer had a beautiful-sounding Yamaha Musashi oak snare but the songs/arrangements were really calling for something else. The classic case of the recorded drums sounding incredible in solo - it really is a nice snare - but requiring a TON of work in the mix to keep the right balance of depth/crack.

To gwailoh: the $250 price for a new Big Black wouldn't kill me by any stretch, but buying used might allow me to get a BB + a used Acrolite for the same price.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
If you're going with the 6.5" Big Black.. go with a regular 5" Acrolite - the combination will cover a wide range.

You should be able to find an Acro for under $100 used pretty easily.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
drumzealot's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I have an early 70's 5 x 14 Ludwig Supraphonic (not brass) I'll sell for $130 shipped (assuming you're in the USA). It's in great shape with almost new heads (remo coated ambassadors - very typical for snare).
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
strat+ac30's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by drumzealot ➑️
I have an early 70's 5 x 14 Ludwig Supraphonic (not brass) I'll sell for $130 shipped (assuming you're in the USA). It's in great shape with almost new heads (remo coated ambassadors - very typical for snare).
Tell me more about it
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by strat+ac30 ➑️
Tell me more about it
Nothing more to tell - that's a REALLY good deal on a snare that you'll never need to trade up from. Grab it! Now! (I already have a 5" supra, or I would steal it out from under you). Even if it were pitted and ugly, it's a steal at that price.
"-)
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
strat+ac30's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by biggator6 ➑️
Nothing more to tell - that's a REALLY good deal on a snare that you'll never need to trade up from. Grab it! Now! (I already have a 5" supra, or I would steal it out from under you). Even if it were pitted and ugly, it's a steal at that price.
"-)
Yeah, there probably isn't much more to tell if you're familiar with Ludwig snares. Unfortunately, I'm not...yet heh so I was curious about what made a 70s snare different from different years, what the shell was made of if not brass (I believe it's ludalloy?), condition, even color though I could really care less about color.

I did a little research and it seems the brass supraphonics are the expensive/collectable ones, but all varieties sound killer. I could care less about rarity...I just want a drum in good working condition that sounds nice.

Drumzealot, I'm sending you a PM. I think I'd like to buy your drum.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by strat+ac30 ➑️
Yeah, there probably isn't much more to tell if you're familiar with Ludwig snares. Unfortunately, I'm not...yet heh so I was curious about what made a 70s snare different from different years, what the shell was made of if not brass (I believe it's ludalloy?), condition, even color though I could really care less about color.

I did a little research and it seems the brass supraphonics are the expensive/collectable ones, but all varieties sound killer. I could care less about rarity...I just want a drum in good working condition that sounds nice.

Drumzealot, I'm sending you a PM. I think I'd like to buy your drum.
Good choice. They haven't really changed the Supraphonic, Supersensitive or Acrolites much since they went to Ludalloy.. the Supra is touted as 'the most recorded snare drum in the world' and it's not an exaggeration. When you hit a Supra or Acrolite, you just kinda go 'oh yeah - THATS what a snare sounds like'.

They're easy to tune (low and fat, or high and tight) and the strainer works great. Throw a coated emperor on it and crank it up.
"-)
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Moderator
 
Trev@Circle's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by drumzealot ➑️
I have an early 70's 5 x 14 Ludwig Supraphonic (not brass) I'll sell for $130 shipped (assuming you're in the USA). It's in great shape with almost new heads (remo coated ambassadors - very typical for snare).
Holy sh*tmoly! That's a bargain!
Old 6th February 2009
  #13
Lives for gear
 
drumzealot's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
It's was made in 1970 and has the blue/olive badge.
Sounds great. I'll miss it.
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
cajonezzz's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
In my very biased opinion you are finished when you get your collection down to these basics:

Ludwig supra 400 5.5x14
Ludwig supra 402 6.5x14
Ludwig bronze 6.5 x14
Maple 5.5 x14 ( many out there, just try a few)
Black beauty 6.5 and 5.5 .. new models are fine, sound 99% like the old ones.
The above drums, with a few head combos, some rings/gell for tweaking set ups.. will get you through 99% of situations.

If i had to have a desert island snare, it would be the first two. and I'll take the basic alum shell before a COB. I've owned, and do own a ton of boutique snares, and i gotta say with rare exception, under microphones-- ludwig just got it right-- and still do.

my two cents.

cz
Old 17th February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
My 6.5" Black Beauty is a great drum and can be tuned in many different ways. My 5" Acrolite is a lot more picky about how it's tuned, I have to crank it pretty tight to get it sounding good. Yamaha also makes great snares, but most of them are pretty expensive too
Old 19th February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Grumblefoot's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I really dig my Pearl free floater 6.5x14 maple best part is you can have multiple shells for this drum which switch out to give you endless options.
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