Sakae 14" x 6 1⁄2" maple snare review

Another fine snare from the Japanese builder

  • £535
The maple shell (right) is 6-ply/7.1mm and finished in snazzy Gold Champagne lacquer

MusicRadar Verdict

This snare is expertly made, full of original design features and sounds superb.


  • +

    Hugely powerful. Well-made. Ideal for those looking for a heavyweight snare.


  • -

    Not much.

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Though only emerging recently as a brand, Sakae has been manufacturing drums for nearly 90 years, building Yamaha's high-end ranges for over four decades before finally going it alone. Here we're looking at a 14" x 6 1⁄2" maple snare.


This shell is 6-ply/7.1mm and butt-jointed with diagonal seams and almost perfectly round, deviating by a mere 1mm. Bearing edges are accurately cut at 45° with a small backcut and the shell interior has been lightly sealed.

"It's the drum equivalent of a heavyweight - maybe a little less nimble than metal-shelled equivalents but staggeringly powerful"

The Gold Champagne finish - one of a total of 27 lacquer options - is a deep sparkle achieved by incorporating huge metallic flakes into the lacquer.

This complicated finishing process has been executed flawlessly, making for a stunning looking drum. Sakae's tube-style Union Lugs - claimed to minimise interference with shell vibrations - are fitted and number 10.

Sakae offers two different types of hoop and the snare is supplied with Righty Halo hoops, which are 2.3mm thick, triple-flanged and turn outwards, conventionally.

The alternative Mighty Halo hoops turn inwards in the style of vintage hoops. Either option can be specified and there is no price difference between them. The drum also features not one, but two oversized airholes.

Hands On

Unsurprisingly the maple in this snare makes for a pleasingly dry and deep sounding drum. The note is thick and wide, and from the first tap it's clear it harbours arena-sized aspirations.

It's the drum equivalent of a heavyweight - maybe a little less nimble than metal-shelled equivalents but staggeringly powerful.

Hit with a 2B it responds with a throaty bark that ensures that beats barge onto the barline while fills resemble an explosion in a timber yard. Overtones are present, but rather than being an integral part of the overall sound are more of an extra layer of colour.

Tuned just above mid-tension it sounds absolutely huge; venturing higher, the note sharpens but the depth remains. Cross sticking is rewarded with a crystal clear response, aided no doubt by the Righty Halos.

Rimshots, meanwhile, would leave any wig-wearers in the vicinity clutching their heads whilst frantically searching for their missing hairpiece.