Mapex Black Panther Fastback Snare

Look out all you gospel and r'n'b drummers

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.

Hands on

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.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars

Chrome-plated lugs. Generous body.


Nothing of note.


Sweet tones, nice finish, great for gospel and r'n'b.


Honey maple stain

Drum Shell Material

5.1mm maple ply


Glossy Lacquer

Snare Lugs


Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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