Signature snare drums fall into two categories. There are those designed with all-rounder sessioneer hot shots, such as Steve Gadd, and those created in conjunction with big name band dudes like Joey Jordison. The first type tends to be restrained in appearance and quite mainstream in terms of sonic appeal, the latter (because they're the brainchildren of wild, crazy rockers) are more likely to sport outlandish finishes and be built to odd dimensions. Just like this one...
When offered the opportunity by Pearl to come up with his ideal snare, there was no way that Pantera/Damageplan/Rebel Meets Rebel belter Vinnie Paul was going to deliver anything but an eye-grabbing, ear-shattering drum sporting features that reflect his own larger-than-life persona. Snakeskin finish and spikes on a 14"x8" snare? It couldn't belong to anyone other than Vin.
Big, bad and bold
The size of the Vinnie Paul snare should come as a surprise to no one. Vinnie loves big drums after all - his toms run 14", 15", 16", 18", his kicks are 24"s and every drum is as deep as it is wide. The 8" deep drum here is the biggest in the Pearl snare line-up, as you would expect, but what you might not expect from one of metal's premier drummers is a choice of maple shell when he could have had cast iron or milled steel instead.
But Vinnie's a big fan of wood shell snares and so his new drum has a six-ply maple shell complemented by Pearl's widely used triple-flanged Superhoops and that cracking finish.
Sharp dressed drum
The snakeskin design is the perfect aesthetic treatment for this drum, as are the spikes on the tube lugs, although a word of warning - these are sharp enough to be painful if you grab the drum awkwardly so watch out! But you probably wouldn't want to be without them all the same.
As far as its sonic character? Well, what do you expect? This is a fearsomely beefy beast when tuned at a medium-ish tension, with a very pronounced upper mid-range thrust that bulldozes its way through crunchy rhythm guitars, just as Vinnie needs it to. And yes, it's super loud, although its full potential on this front is only revealed when you really drive the stick into the head.
It would be surprising if more than a small percentage of players have the forearms to work it at full pelt for more than about three bars. Vinnie is a big guy who can do justice to a snare this size - the rest of us will only scratch the surface of its voluminous ability.
That's not to say this is quite a one-trick pony, however. Pearl has actually done a great job of making Vinnie's drum capable of commendable sensitivity - the batter head responds well across its entire breadth and ghost notes are easy to come by, particularly when the head tension is increased. Having said that, it's never going to be first choice for a funk snare, and don't even think about doing jazz gigs with it.
They wouldn't even allow those spikes through the door...
This is a textbook signature snare. Completely in keeping with the character of its associated artist, it oozes personality and sounds monstrously impressive.