By Johanne James
Let’s talk about one of my pet topics: SNARE DRUMS
Now, I have a collection of twenty-six so far and counting. Twenty-six I hear you ask? What on earth for? You can only play one at a time. Well, let me tell you this, they are as individual as petals on a rose, no two are the same. They are so personal and have their own characteristics; wood shell, steel shell, brass shell or aluminium and depending on the material will determine the sound, tone and volume. I have my favourites of course, but they all get played, not one of them sits collecting dust! I do love the vintage S/D’s as they don’t make them like that anymore. I once saw a Ludwig Black Beauty Super Sensitive on sale for £1.200.00! I thought to myself, now that is not a drum to be played but to be collected as an investment. I can’t justify spending that amount of money on one drum, a whole kit maybe but not one drum? It’s a real shame that someone who will more than likely never get the best out of it, will have it collecting dust and will then wait until the right time and price to make a substantial profit. Some sound and respond so well that they almost play themselves, leaving you to enjoy a pint at the bar. I jest, but in truth they can inspire you to experiment and progress. Some will end up playing you as I once had an S/D fitted with gut snares. They give you nothing, they are flat, dry and don’t even buzz at the said frequency that normal snare wires will dance to. Meaning that if your chops aren’t good, it will expose you. So think before you decide to go down that particular path?
I could go on and on and bore you with the nuances of my collection, but I will tell you that the Ludwig 400, 402 and 400 Super Sensitive are the best snare drums ever made! Also when you are prepared to spend a lot of money for a top of the range drum, you are paying for the name and good craftsmanship, I hope? When you get to that level it’s just a matter of personal preference, as no one will know what you’re playing when you go through a 50k rig with a sound engineer tweeking the hell out of the frequencies. I don’t think your average punter is going to ask “Is that a Ludwig 400 Super Sensitive brass or wood shell he’s playing?” Yeah right!
Thanks for listening and happy playing.