The name Black Panther, conjuring up speed and power allied to velvety sleekness, has been a winner for Mapex over the past decade. Now Mapex has given the entire range an overhaul with 14 brand new models. You can read every Black Panther snare drum review here.
Each drum has either single-ended shield-design cast lugs, or elegantly sculpted twin-point mounted tube lugs. The patented 'Sonic Saver' hoops lie between flanged and die-cast hoops. Recalling the classic Slingerland 'Stick Saver' concept, the top lip of each pressed stainless steel hoop bends over and in, not out as on standard hoops.
The handsome throw-off is a smoothly operating pull-away lever with adjustable strainers at both ends. Micro lock knobs click silently as you turn them for sensitive adjustment of the stainless steel wires. There are several new bearing edge profiles, and capping it all a new die-cast, chrome-plated Black Panther badge.
You can watch a video overview of the new range with Craig Blundell and Steve White below. Scroll down for the full review.
Black Panther Fastback
The Fastback offers another variation on the thin 5.1mm maple shell to go alongside the Black Widow. This time it's a 12"x7" finished on the outside in a honey-coloured antique maple gloss, contrasting agreeably with the 16 single-ended, chrome-plated lugs.
Bearing edges have the 1:9 profile with 45-degree slope right up to the sharp outer edge lip.
At 12" this is two inches under the standard 14" Black Widow, which obviously raises the fundamental pitch of the drum significantly. The 7" depth counteracts this by adding generous body.
Mapex suggests the drum is ideal for gospel and r'n'b - there's a real upper-mid-end thwack that you can only get with this sort of sized drum. It has a real 'pop'. Maple always delivers a sweet tone and the Fastback rides over the top of any groove with its striking contrast between keening rim shots and chattering ghost strokes.
Once again the temptation is to maximise the drum's individuality by tuning high, but try it at mid tuning for attack and warm, plump presence.