Pork Pie Snare Drums Tested!

The sound is a big, exciting interpretation of great ’70s rock snares, with its own character mixed in. A drummer could do a lot worse, for example, than to pick this drum to emulate the delivery of a player like John Bonham. The thin acrylic shell helps to give the drum more bite than maple, while the larger depth gives the sound an inner punch and strength. The steel wires and brass ends of the snares add a touch of brightness and snap for a really full flavor.

Playing this drum can feel pretty darn good. Go to town with slowhand trash fills, and the sound of the Piglite seems to bring out deliciously old-school qualities in your toms. Likewise, nailing this snare in the pocket again and again is a real joy. For a big sound that’s musical without being overpowering, with a dose of old-school thrown in, this drum would be an excellent choice.

14" x 7" Bullet Hole Vent Snare Drum

“Clown puke” are the words that Pork Pie itself uses to describe the hardware on this visually ballistic 14" x 7" snare with multiple vents ($1,050). And by multiple, we don’t mean two or three extra holes — my count came up with 72 holes drilled in an arrowhead-type pattern through the 8-ply maple shell. You want ventilation for your snare drum? You got it.

Surrounding the edges of these holes is a silver glass glitter finish. Hues like bubble gum pink and bright blue abound on the powder-coated hardware, giving this big snare drum a carnival atmosphere. If you want something with visual impact behind the subtle flair of the Piglite, here’s your drum. Even the most demanding extroverts should find this snare meets their criteria for arresting presentations.

Due to the much faster and more complete rush of air outside all those vents, the response of the drum is very dry. While the size can allow the Bullet Hole drum to achieve big volumes, the drum is also noticeably crisp and sensitive at very soft volumes. Many snare drums seem to “mush up” when played at pp or ppp, but this drum remains precise at the small end of the volume scale — surprising for a drum that comes off like such a big brute.

Hit it hard, and you’re the Hammer of Thor, very strong and cutting. The same steel/brass snares as the Amber Piglite add a nice bite and attack to the drum. It’s a big sound with some high-end attitude thrown in, as sharp, clear, and well-controlled tones ring out ever so briefly above a distinctive, punchy sound.

The large outrush of air did seem to translate into less rebound for the stick, however, so I noticed my arms and wrists getting fatigued a little more quickly if I was doing a lot of fast, single-stroke playing. The holes also give an interesting side-benefit: they (don’t laugh) serve as a snare-powered air cooling system. Tap the drum or wallop it, and a cool-feeling dry puff of air soothes your knees and lower thighs (provided you’re wearing shorts or a skirt). Hey, anything helps under those hot lights!

This is a drum that feels good whether moving fast or bringing down a large pocket landing on 2 and 4, and would bring welcome definition and foundation to many a rock and pop record. What’s more, striking the Bullet Hole is just extremely satisfying — once you start playing it, you don’t really want to stop anytime soon.

The Verdict

Beyond solid craftsmanship, unique designs, quality sounds and good value, these Pork Pie drums bring an intangible sense of excitement straight to the player. For drummers, studios, and/or producers looking to add a new sound to their arsenal, any one of these snare drums would be well worth a look.

Specs

Model: Pork Pie “Little Squealer” Snare Drum
Size: 12" x 5"
Price: $500
Shell: 8-ply maple
Finish: Ebony satin
Heads: Remo Coated Ambassador (top), Remo Snare-Side Ambassador (bottom)
Features: Black chrome hardware, triple-flanged hoops

Model: Pork Pie Amber Piglite Snare Drum
Dimensions: 13" x 7"
Price: $660
Shell: Acrylic
Finish: Amber
Heads: Remo Coated Ambassador (top), Remo Snare-Side Ambassador (bottom)
Features: Brass/chrome-plated tube lugs, brass-end snares

Model: Pork Pie Bullet Hole Vent Snare Drum
Dimensions: 14" x 7"
Price: $1,050
Shell: 8-ply maple
Finish: Silver Glass Glitter
Heads: Remo Coated Ambassador (top), Remo Snare-Side Ambassador (bottom)
Features: Dozens of vents, powder-coated hardware, brass-end snares

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