MAPEX Armory Snare Series – The Dillinger
We pry open the weapons cache and review the arsenal of Mapex Armory high caliber Snares
by Dendy Jarrett
ARMORY ARSENAL INTRO
Mapex recently introduced a series of five Armory snare drums, each with its own distinctive look and sound. The series has both metal and wood models, and the "Armory" name is definitely appropriate.
The wood models, like the Dillinger, feature the SONIClear™ bearing edges, while the metal models feature the same bearing edge found on the Black Panther™ series of snares (a slightly rounded 45 degrees). If you purchase one of the Mapex Armory kits, it comes standard with one of the five Armory Snares called The Tomahawk. (I’ll review this drum in a future installment.) And in an ingenious move, Mapex has a "trade in program" that I'll cover at the end of this review.
The Dillinger is the third snare I’m going to lock ‘n’ load in the series.
To appreciate the significance of the “Armory” grouping, consider some history. In the Daisy Cutter review, we explored the “daisy cutter bomb” and the significance it held in war-time arsenals. For The Exterminator, we looked at the P-51 Mustangs known as The Exterminators that escorted the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-24 Liberator groups.
There's an equally significant history with this drum, but this was more homegrown and sinister. We’ll discover why this drum could be public enemy number one.
— Public Enemy Number One
Dillinger was a notorious American gangster and bank robber during the Depression era. Sadly, his first robbery occurred when he couldn’t find work because of the Great Depression, and this lack of work led to a divorce and much strife in his life. While fleeing from the first robbery he was recognized by his priest, who reported him to the police. Trying to help, his Father convinced him to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence (perhaps even a slap on the wrist), but instead the judge threw the book at him and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. That time in prison led Dillinger to embrace the criminal lifestyle; and, after nine years in prison, he was released at the height of the Great Depression. With no prospect of work, he turned to bank robbery to survive. And in an ironic twist, each time he was captured, he managed to escape. It is said that during the heyday of this Depression Era outlaw, he was the most notorious and stood out as the most violent of his peers (Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Bonnie and Clyde). In other words, this was one bad dude!
Not only did he rob banks, he also robbed four police stations during his outlaw reign. In the first police station robbery he stole and began to use Tommy Guns. These guns were legal only for use by police officers, so Dillinger became synonymous with the weapon.
Dillinger was so sinister and brazen that it led to J. Edgar Hoover’s establishing a more sophisticated weapon against organized crime, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). So you can see why Mapex would choose to name a drum Dillinger so that it could be referred to as "public enemy number one."
— Musical Assault
The Dillinger is a 14” X 5.5” 6.85mm 8-ply Maple Shell that can handle all musical assaults but will deliver just as much in return. For most drummers, a 14” X 5.5” snare drum will be their “go to” drum that could be appropriate for most types of music. And as you would expect, this drum delivers the "crack" of maple that all drummers love. Unlike Mr. Dillinger, this drum is quite handsome. The outer maple ply is a highly-figured maple and has a walnut stain finish — a great-looking drum. The tone is bright, as you would expect from maple, but balanced. The SoniClear™ edge technology really shines through in this drum, allowing a strong fundamental pitch that is as lethal as one of Dilliger’s Tommy Guns.
The tube lugs add some classic simplicity to the drum's overall appeal, and this drum comes with a highly polished chrome finish on the hardware. The throw-off is smooth as glass to operate, and uses Mapex's Vertical proven design with the Piston Strainer. The snare wires are premium stainless steel with brass end-plates. Finally, the drum comes standard with the Remo® USA Coated Ambassador® Batter drumhead, which is yet another bonus you wouldn’t expect on a snare in this price range — nor would you expect the high level of quality that's characterisitic of much higher-priced snares.
Earlier in the review, I mentioned an ingenious “trade in program” Mapex recently launched: if you purchase an Armory drum set that comes standard with the steel Tomahawk snare, you’ll have two weeks after your kit purchase to test the snare. If you already have a steel snare or prefer a wood drum, or any one of the other five Armory Snares, you simply fill out an easy form and ship the snare back. The return form lets you swap it for another Armory Snare. I really believe this may be an industry first.
Dillinger's undoing was the fact that he became predictable and systematic. The FBI learned his patterns and from there he was found and, during an effort to escape, was shot and killed. Ironically, the predictable and systematic qualities of the Dillinger Snare are what make it a "killer" snare — and one that will likely become your favorite "go to" snare.
As you decide what you need in your war chest of drum gear, take the time to put the Armory Snares through their paces. They truly are "high caliber"!
Harmony Central Looks At The Mapex Armory Snare Series:
Mapex SoniClear Explained:
Mapex Armory Series Drums:
Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Director of Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.