6.5×14” Yamaha Stage Custom Steel—Used, sold
Standard, run of the mill budget steel snare. Consistent overtones, but manageable. The primary drawback is the subpar hardware.
Heads/snares used: Remo Ambassador Coated batter, Evans G2 Coated batter, Remo Ambassador Snare Side, Yamaha Stock snares.
5(ish)x13” Pearl Rhythm Traveler (Poplar)—Used
This thing sucks. I used this as my main (and only) snare for around half a year, between selling the Yamaha and having enough money to afford something nicer. Recently I removed the entire strainer mechanism (which was broken) and the bottom head, converting it to a timbale. This drum works fine in a pinch but it really isn’t worth much.
Heads/snares used: Evans G2 Clear batter, Evans HD Dry Batter, Pearl stock snare side, Pearl stock snares
5.5×14” Stewart (Luan/Philippine Mahogany)—Used, Vintage
Absolute trash. I don’t know why I got it. I used this drum at one gig, and it sounded ok, but the strainer gave out not long after.
Heads/snares used: Evans HD Dry batter, Evans Snare Side 300, Tama Snappy Hi—Carbon snares
5×14” Ludwig Supraphonic (Aluminum)—Used
Now this is a real nice snare. Very even sound, with little overtone and extremely sensitive. The only bad thing I have to say about this drum is that the notorious P85 strainer is very clunky, and prone to loosening.
Heads/snares used: Evans HD Dry batter, Evans Snare Side 300, Puresound Custom 20 strand snares.
6.5×14” Tama Swingstar/Rockstar Chrome over Steel—Used, Vintage
Certainly a diamond in the rough, I got this drum for around $35. It has a fantastic rimshot in a big room, with or without muffling, but it certainly lacks in small spaces. I used this drum quite a bit, but the strainer gave out and I had to retire it. However, I recently found a DW Mag strainer/butt plate assembly in a box of random drum stuff at home, and I’m planning on putting that on the Swingstar soon.
Heads/snares used: Remo Ambassador Coated batter, Evans HD Dry Batter, Evans EC Reverse Dot frosted batter, Remo Ambassador Snare Side, Evans Snare Side 300, Tama stock snares, Puresound Custom 20 strand snares, Puresound Super 30 strand snares.
6.5×14” Tama Black Chrome Brass—Used
I had my eye on this particular drum for several months, nearly pulling the trigger on it twice before I ended up buying it, as it sat in a local music shop. When I finally did get it, I used it a bit, but found myself going back to the now familiar sound of the Supraphonic. After almost forgetting about the drum for a while, I decided to get some new heads, and that made all the difference. It became my go to for metal, only recently being dethroned by the nearly twice as expensive S.L.P. Bronze. Visually this drum tries to be a budget friendly Black Beauty, but sonically, it’s much more punchy, and less sensitive. This drum is best muffled, as the brass overtones aren’t particularly pleasant.
Heads/snares used: Evans Black Chrome batter, Evans Hybrid (aramid fiber) batter, Evans HD Dry batter, Evans EC Reverse Dot frosted batter, Evans snare side 300, Tama Snappy Hi—Carbon snares.
4×14” Tama Starclassic Maple—Used
I bought this drum to use with a compact setup, given its size, but quickly realized that it can be used for a whole lot more than the occasional gig. It remains my favorite snare to use in softer settings, but has the capacity to emit an ear splitting crack if necessary.
Heads/snares used: Sonor stock batter, Evans G12 coated batter, Evans Snare Side 300, Tama Starclassic snares.
6×14” Tama Silverstar Mirage (Clear Acrylic)—Used
I got it because it looks cool. I found it has a similar sound to steel, but a bit mellower, therefore working better in smaller rooms. Overall a decent snare, but it would sound much better with die cast hoops.
Heads/snares used: Tama Powercraft II clear batter, Evans G1 clear batter, Tama stock snare side, Evans Snare Side 300, Tama Snappy Hi—Carbon snares, Puresound Super 30 strand snares.
5.5×14” Tama S.L.P. Dynamic Bronze—New
This is by far the best snare I own. And it should be, considering it cost around twice as much as most of my other snares (the Supraphonic being the sole exception). While it lacks the sensitivity the supraphonic has, it more that makes up in character. And volume. This thing is LOUD. Perfect for any type of metal or hard rock, and still passable for most anything but jazz.
Heads/snares used: Evans G1 coated batter, Evans snare side 300, Tama Starclassic snares.