British company Natal have a been a little quiet of late, but our latest delivery of six Pure Stave snare drums suggests that they're about to crank things up again. Here we have 14"x5.5" and 14"x6.5" sizes in walnut, ash and maple.
First impressions are that the drums are incredibly well built, the natural finish lending an air of class to each monster 3/4" thick stave shell. Each drum packs 2.3mm triple-flanged chrome hoops, Natal's own three-position Tri-Throw snare strainer (that we've not loved in the past), Natal's now recognisable sun lugs, and True-Tune tension rods that give the feeling of reliability.
Compared with ply shells, stave shells require less glue which allows the drum to resonate more freely, as does the vertical grain of these particular drums, and our first impressions back up the science. Each drum works consistently well across a wide tuning range and between the maple, walnut and ash there is something slightly different on offer for every taste. We've grown accustomed to the sound of well-built maple shells, as these are, so it's the walnut with their darker tones and the dry sounding ash that caught our attention most. Both models could be cranked and powered into, or knocked back and dealt a light touch without any trouble.
Considering each drum will set you back just £249, you're looking at a very reasonable price for a stave shelled snare that could easily become your workhorse drum.
Watch our video to see how the different sizes sound at different tunings.
For a full review pick up issue 244 of Rhythm, on sale 30/06/15.