What's the best material?

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Mcrp
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Post Wed Oct 04, 2006 2:45 am

My new project will be a snare drum making operation.
I was wondering that what would be THE best material for a wooden piccolo snare? Birch? Maple? Whatever? And how thick?
What is the difference in sound projection between all these materials?
Dale
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Post Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:24 am

Mcrp wrote:My new project will be a snare drum making operation.
I was wondering that what would be THE best material for a wooden piccolo snare? Birch? Maple? Whatever? And how thick?
What is the difference in sound projection between all these materials?


There's no best material. Any fine wood will give a good sound. Maple is warmer than birch but is cooler than mahogany.

The thickness depends on what you want. A thinner shell is more resonant than a thick shell, but wont give as much projection. It all depends on what sound you want to go for.

Someone told me about a drummers forum that dedicated to drum manufacturer. But my old brain was unable to retain that information. I think the drummer who plays with Weird Al runs it. But I really don't know.
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paul89
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Post Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:25 am

I have similar problem with piccolo snare :) I'll want to buy Pearl Piccolo Snare 13x3 , but I don't know what sound will be the best for me (Steel, Birch or Maple). I need sound to reggae music (short, loud ,spot and concentrated sound) :) Please for your opinion... Thanks :)
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Dale
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Post Wed Oct 04, 2006 11:25 am

paul89 wrote:I have similar problem with piccolo snare :) I'll want to buy Pearl Piccolo Snare 13x3 , but I don't know what sound will be the best for me (Steel, Birch or Maple). I need sound to reggae music (short, loud ,spot and concentrated sound) :) Please for your opinion... Thanks :)


Years ago I owned a free floating Pearl piccolo. I had three shell types. maple, steel and brass. It was a very nice little drum. I used it on loads of gigs. One of these may suit you.

I'd reckon a 14" is a better drum than a 13" because it has less limitations. You get more tuning range with a 14" piccolo. At least that's my opinion.

If you want a drum that is versatile, I'd suggest a brass shell. It has a mix of both elements found in wood and steel shells.
I don't know what I'm talking about!

"Don't play FOR people. Play WITH people."
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paul89
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Post Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:08 pm

Hmm... You got round me :) Certainly I'll buy 14"x3.5" snare ,but I don't know : Brass or Maple :) Probably I'll buy Brass snare :) It's more versatile. Thanks for your opinion about..
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Post Tue Oct 10, 2006 7:46 am


There's no best material. Any fine wood will give a good sound. Maple is warmer than birch but is cooler than mahogany.


This is true but your sound descriptions are little inaccurate. Maple has the most overtone of the 3 woods you mentioned. On a simple 3 band EQ meter graph consisting of basic highs, mids and lows, maple would rate about a 9 of 10 in the high end frequencies while American birch would be fairly level in highs mids and lows around a 5 of 10 while true mahogany (Honduras Mahogany), not the commercial stuff more correctly called Luann or Philippine mahogany which is almost exclusively used in the drum manufacturing industry as "Mahogany" will produce about a 9 of 10 in the low end frequencies and a 5 in mids and about a 3 or 4 in highs.

This is only comparison of 3 woods. If you were to get a solid wood shell from Vaughncraft, SMD or JTPco you could literally choose whatever wood (or sound) you wanted.

Either way you go it is astronomically worth getting a solid wood shell over a plywood shell. The sound is so noticeably different you will wonder why you didn't do it a long time ago.

The thickness depends on what you want. A thinner shell is more resonant than a thick shell, but wont give as much projection. It all depends on what sound you want to go for.


This is also very true. With respect, again please allow me to expound upon your statement a little bit. Thinner means deeper and more resonance and thicker means more volume and less resonance along with a higher pitch. True, what we are actually saying is that more mass means higher pitch and less ability to sustain the vibration of the initial strike and visversa. The only issue with that rule of thumb is in snare drums. This rule has less and less impact on snare drums, especially smaller snare drums like piccolos because the thing is usually tuned up very tightly impeding what is actually "resonance" anyway. The thick/thin/high/low rule is perfect for toms and bass drums but since snare drums are usually built for "crack" and projection and since snare drums are used for rim shots and hard beats, and since the sound characteristics of the snares vs toms/bass are so different, the expectations of what the instrument is required to do is drastically different to.

My first question to you would be why do you want a piccolo in the first place? Not that piccolos are not cool but most people want a piccolo for sensitivity and projection that they are not getting from a standard size snare drum. Thats why the invented piccolos, to get the snare wires closer to the batter head. The thing you sacrifice in a piccolo is tone and body and an overal distigising sound (most all piccolos sound almost the same). A solid wood drum offers everything you would want in a piccolo; awesome sensitivity for jazz and brushes, crack that sounds like a rifle shot, tone, body, articulation...you name it...a solid wood shell, especially a stave shell in something like a 5.5x14 or a 6x13 is about the most versatile drum you can own in my humble opinion as as a 12 year professional drum maker and fellow drummer.


Someone told me about a drummers forum that dedicated to drum manufacturer. But my old brain was unable to retain that information. I think the drummer who plays with Weird Al runs it. But I really don't know.


Weird Al's drummer is Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz. Here is is website http://www.bermudaschwartz.com I used to see him online on http://www.drumwrap.com a long time ago. He's a pretty cool dude.
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downshifter99
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Post Tue Oct 10, 2006 3:56 pm

Birch = Loud(massive projection)
Maple = Warm(good projection)

Someone else said it already: There is no"perfect"wood.
It's all in what you expect out of the drum,how you play it,ect...

Go from there.

I peronally say maple(and crank the batter head tight)...A pic ought to project/cut through any music.

Hell my14 X 4.5 sounds just like a pic...(it's all in the tuning!).
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ROCKET SHELLS SKETCH
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Post Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:40 am

Rocket Shells Carbon Fiber the sensativity is great the snap the crack!i own 1 in a 14"x6" the projection on this beast,i use this drum in recordings/live i have 8 diffrent snares and this 1 does it for me. :D


the pearl Crabonply Snare is Nice to :D
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