DW Drums Concrete Snare Drum
By Dendy Jarrett |
DW Drums Concrete Snare Drum
Concrete ... for real ...
by Dendy Jarrett
DW (Drum Workshop) began as a drum school in 1972, and in 1977 they purchased tooling from Camco Drum Co. to reintroduce the 5000 bass drum pedal. Since then, history has been made for 40+ years. They produce the majority of their drums at their facility and drum plant in Oxnard, California, and have become one of the world's top drum companies.
So imagine my first thought when I found out Drum Workshop (DW) was releasing a series of concrete snares…had they hit their heads on the concrete? Two questions came to mind — is it heavy, and how can concrete hold up on the road?
Interestingly, the "concrete" is really made from ground soapstone and a proprietary polymer mix. It's then cast into a seamless, extremely durable 5.5mm thick shell. As you would expect, the drum is heavy, but not as heavy as you might think. It would, however, rank in weight with DW’s Edge series, a bell brass shell or any stave snare drum. The bearing edge is cut at DW’s standard 45° with a slight back-cut.
The shells are poured and cured just like you would expect with concrete. Once cured, they're polished to a visually appealing natural satin luster. Because it's concrete, each shell has a unique appearance (as you might experience with custom wood types). The one I received reminded me of the results you would get if you sliced a granite rock in half: lots of surface characteristics. This guarantees you a “one of a kind” snare by default (like getting your very own signature snare).
These concrete snare drums normally feature a satin hardware, but they recently added chrome hardware. The drum I received has the chrome, which I much prefer. The drum features DW’s True Tune hoops, and DW’s coated Ambassador by Remo — coated top, clear bottom.
The DW Concrete snare is offered in three sizes:
• 14” X 5.5”
• 14” X 6.5”
• 13” X 7”
A sound foundation
The drum I'm reviewing is the newly released 13”X7” drum. I have an old copper metal-shell snare drum this size, and it is a favorite.
My questions of weight and durability were answered, and the DW Concrete Snare passed with flying colors. Then came the question of sound. How could concrete (notorious for not being acoustically friendly) measure up? Could it make for a sound foundation?
I'm happy to report that this snare drum was amazing. The best description would be a hybrid sound of a great metal snare and the characteristics of wood all rolled into one. If I tuned this drum high (cranked it), the sound was curiously dry — I didn’t have to use any type of muffling or sound control. If I wanted the “ring” of metal, I simply played at the halfway point between dead center and the edge of the drum. I should point out that I've played the 14” concrete snares and they are drier in nature than the 13”. The 13” has a deeper shell, hence a bigger sound chamber. Some may prefer to dampen this.
The drum's volume was stunning. If you've ever played a true bell brass snare, you know how loud those drums can be. A bell brass drum would bow down before this concrete snare! It is (to quote John Good) “a shotgun.”
A pillar of success
The best way to describe this drum is “different,” which I mean in a good way. I am an open-minded person, but I did go into this review with some reservations, but his drum crushed those worries. The finish is extremely durable and will stand up to a constant jack hammering of drumsticks. The weight is, while heavy, not unreasonable.
I preferred the dry sound this drum produced and found it very appealing. If you are looking for LOUD, then this drum is the king. I came into this review wondering if concrete could make for a sound foundation. The conclusion is that the DW Concrete snare is a pillar of success.
To Purchase the DW Concrete Snare Drum: (Street Price around $768.85 - $850.00)
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.