How to buy artist signature snares
Not all drum companies offer signature snare drums, although the trend is on the up and it does seem an obvious ploy. Along with the ride cymbal, the snare drum is usually the most recognisable part of a drummer’s sound and adopting your hero’s snare should at least give you a leg-up towards mastering their signature beat.
It’s quite a big commitment for a company to invest in a radical signature snare design, so it’s perhaps not surprising that only the bigger companies - like Pearl, Yamaha and Tama - have a wide selection. Some designs are pretty far out - they probably wouldn’t have been thought of had they not been specified by the picky artist in question. Of course, this is how it should be, and shows just how personal the snare drum is compared to the rest of the drum kit.
In other instances, a signature snare may simply be a tweaked version of a standard model, which you could buy more cheaply without the name (Neil Peart’s 30th anniversary DW Edge, for example).
Remember, though, that it’s not just the instrument itself that gives your drumming hero their particular signature sound. It has just as much to do with the way they hit their snares, tune them, and what head combination they use. Not to mention the considerable talent and ability they bring to it…
Next page: 5 best artist signature snare drums
ddrum Travis Smith
A genuinely different signature drum at a tempting price. The 14"x7" shell is a heavyweight 15-ply mix of birch and basswood, which gives a bitingly powerful crack. The 18 vent holes and the die-cast hoops make for a focused and dry sound with phenomenal attack.
Sonor Danny Carey Snare
A 1mm thick bronze shell measuring a fairly monstrous 14"x8". Triple-flanged 2.3mm hoops are teamed with Artist Series lugs. More open tone than you might expect from such depth. A simple yet nicely-styled and executed snare that does Danny’s tasteful playing style justice.
Tama Stewart Copeland
Recreates the unmistakable Tama snare Stewart used on the classic Police recordings. It has a chromeover- brass, 1.5mm shell, with a diecast top hoop and steel mighty hoop beneath for high tuning, enabling Stewart’s snapping, edgy beat.
Pearl Chad Smith
An unpretentious snare that kicks ass and looks good, with black nickel-plated steel shell with 2.3mm SuperHoop II’s, minimum contact lugs and Gladstone-style vertical pull strainer. The combination of medium depth and steel shell means a versatile drum, sensitive but loud....
Yamaha Steve Jordan
Our top pick! Mr Funk Steve Jordan’s 13"x6 1/2" maple snare has an old-school thin four-ply maple shell with thick six-ply reinforcing hoops for that classic ’60s sound. The non-plated snare wires add to the dirty, wet sound of the snare. What’s more, Steve insisted on environmentally friendly wood, finish and adhesives. Very cool indeed.
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