It’s one of the cool things that can happen at NAMM. You turn a corner and run into a first-time exhibitor in a microscopic booth showing off an idea straight out of left field. That happened this year when we stumbled upon the Acoutin Custom display. This fledgling snare builder talked our ear off about Interlock series snares, which feature a shell cut horizontally into three interlocking sections. All tensioning hardware is positioned on the center section, allowing the two outer bits to be swapped, which enables users to easily increase or decrease the depth of the drum as well as change out shell materials. Will the idea catch on? Hard to say, but it is nifty.
Happy 30th to the old geezer at Brady
Once again handmade in the Australian outback by the lovably grizzled Chris Brady (pronounced brahee-dee), Brady Drums came roaring back to life last year with a booth brimming with lip-smacking snares made of tongue-twisting wood species. This year Brady proudly showed off its 30th Anniversary snare, made from Australian myrtle constructed in the company’s famed block style. Limited to just 30 drums, each is available only in 14" x 6.5" size, comes adorned with a custom mother-of-pearl badge, and is autographed by the wild man himself.
You can have the best of both worlds with DW’s new Super Solid Edge snare
We were shocked — shocked — to see that DW had introduced a bunch of new snare drums … not! Indeed, the great Yankee juggernaught unleashed five new models sure to make the most jaded drummer swoon. The shell on the new Solid Stave snare drum is made just like a conga and is available in Ebony Stain lacquer over ash, Walnut Stain lacquer over Siam oak, and Natural lacquer over red oak. The Vintage Steel snare features a thick-gauge steel shell finished in a new vintage-y pre-aged process, and is available in a copper or brass finish over steel. You can now have Neil Peart’s “Snakes & Arrows” snare in your collection, available in bubinga with sycamore inlay, walnut with sycamore inlay, and birdseye maple with walnut inlay. Plus, the company further explored the possibilities of its Edge design with a Super Solid Edge model (based on last year’s Super Solid launch) and a Top Edge snare, which kind of speaks for itself, don’t it?
Hole-y smokes! GMS lands on a new venting trick with the PVS system
The brainiacs at GMS are obsessed with venting. Be glad. After experimenting with the concept of symmetrical, resonant venting for years, they’ve landed on the Perimeter Venting System, which features a series of 0.195" channels drilled in line with each lug at the base of the shell. This channel is formed by a hole drilled up from the bottom bearing edge that connects at a 90 degree angle to another hole drilled into the side of the shell. The company claims the innovation leads to increased volume, focus, and a slightly compressed sound. Find out for yourself.
Gretsch knows that while you shouldn’t fix something that ain’t broke, you can still make it better — especially when it comes to the company’s snare drum lines, which saw significant upgrades this year. Keep your eyes peeled for a new Satin Ebony stain finish to Gretsch’s Full Range Maple snares (list price: $460–$615). The company also added 14" x 6.5" ($1,399) and 13" x 6" ($1,140) models to its Solid Aluminum snares. In addition, Gretsch displayed the new Stanton Moore Signature series snare, a beautiful 14" x 4.5" model built from a single ply of birdseye maple finished in an elegant natural gloss (list price: $1,875).
Steel was the deal at Ludwig, where the company introduced Black Magic Stainless snares, featuring a 1.5mm stainless steel shell, black nickel tube lugs and appointments, and 2.3mm power hoops, available in 14" x 6.5" (list price: $464.94) and 14" x 5" ($432.47) sizes. In addition, the company launched the new Jim Riley Signature snare, designed for the ever-smiling Rascal Flatts drummer. It features a 1.5mm stainless steel shell ornamented with laser engraving, and is available in a beefy 14" x 8" size ($642.20).
With a dramatic flourish, Mapex completely retooled its extensive Black Panther snare drum line, scrapping all previous designs while introducing 14 all-new models with newly designed finishes and appointments. You’ll want to take a close look at the handsome hardware, which includes two new lug types (a shield style and tube option), piston-style throw-off, “Sonic Saver” hoops that bridge the gap between flanged and die-cast hoops, and a new die-cast chrome-plated Black Panther badge. It’s a whole new ball game.
The engineers at PDP continue to explore the majesty of maple within their snare drum arsenal. Look for three new models to grace your local drum shop that all feature 100 percent maple shells and Remo heads. We thought the 14" x 6.5" Woody was the classiest contender, thanks to its retro wood hoops and classic tube lugs. For a bit more ’tude try the new 14" x 6.5" Rat Rod, with its primer black-over-maple look. But if you want to go goth, check out the Blackouts range, with its black-on-black lacquer color scheme, available in 10" x 6", 13" x 4", and 14" x 6" sizes.
Things sparkle and fade at Sakae
Another newcomer, the Japanese snare maker Sakae (which translates into English as “prosperity”) packed its diminutive booth with an impressive array of drums made from mahogany, zebrawood, beech, silky oak, and bubinga. While we had some trouble bridging the language barrier, the company appears to have its own sleek hardware designs, including high-tension lugs, side throw-off, and a distinctive round logo badge. We saw sparkles, fades, stains, and natural finishes and intend to keep an eye on this company.
We just reviewed Sonor’s new Phil Rudd Signature snare drum in the last issue, so there’s no need to revisit it. But we were impressed by the new 14" x 6" S Classix snare, with its thin 5mm birch shell fitted with ten high-tension lugs, 2.3mm power hoops, and finish protectors nestled under all metal parts.
Beautiful bubinga defines the new Brian Frasier-Moore snare from Tama
The Tama name is synonymous with high-quality snare drums, and the company has long turned to its roster of endorsers for new ideas. This year was no exception, with two new Signature Palette snares built for metal monster Charlie Benante and R&B master Brian Frasier-Moore. Benante’s is suitably heavy, with its 14" x 6.5" 1.2mm stainless steel shell, which has a coated black interior to suppress overtones (list price: $569). Frasier-Moore took a whole ’nother tack with a 14" x 5.5" 8-ply bubinga shell with an outer veneer of quilted bubinga accented with mirror-chrome inlay ($699.99).
Q: What is deep, petite, and goes pop? A: This little 13" x 7" number we ran into at the Taye booth
If you want a lot of pop from your snare, check out the new 13" x 7" model from Taye. Available in 10-ply North American sugar maple and 7-ply birch, these powerful little brutes offer plenty of volume and sustain without the aid of reinforcement rings. List prices are $359 for StudioBirch and $419 for StudioMaple. Now play.