Grover Pro Percussion EQlipse “Dual-Apex” Snare Drum
By Dendy Jarrett |
Grover Pro Percussion EQlipse “Dual-Apex” Snare Drum
You'll flip your bearing edge over this drum
by Dendy Jarrett
For years, Grover Pro Percussion has reigned as the serious concert percussionists' "go to" for tamborines, woodblocks, triangles, and mallets. Neil Grover, the company's owner, is a perfectionist when it comes to the instruments he produces...and schooled percussionists are very aware of their high quality. Because his original and main focus is that of concert and symphonic percussion, he is not as well known by mainstream contemporary set players; however, this snare drum may change everything.
Grover has produced symphonic snare drums as part of their offering for a while, with the attention being focused on the finer details, primarily sensitivity and tone. They even have a custom snare drum option for people looking for something specific. Why all of a sudden could this EQlipse Dual Apex™ Snare Drum bring Grover snare drums into the minds of set players? One drum = two bearing edges!
For years, drums (prior to synthetic drum heads) had rounded bearing edges and produced a beautiful warm tone. They had this rounder bearing edge because calf-skin heads couldn't withstand the edge of a sharper bearing edge without tearing. In the late 1950s with the advent of the synthetic drum head, companies started placing sharper bearing edges on snare drums, which caused them to have a brighter or crisper sound. In most cases, they lost the warmer sound of older snare drums. Manufacturers started compensating by making deeper snare drums (which, in many cases, they'd dub 'stadium' snare drums).
Most drummers have their favorite snare drum. Sound is so subjective. What may be the perfect snare drum sound to me may be the worst sound to another drummer. It's really hard to make a claim that something is 'the' perfect sounding snare drum...but you elevate your chances when you invent something that is new and different. Grover has become the first snare drum maker to include two different bearing edges on the same snare drum. Say what? Yes, it's true (and trademarked and patent pending).
Here's how it works. The drum's foundation is a center aluminum hoop that Grover calls the Tone Belt. Their iconic "Bowtie" lug casings are attached to that Tone Belt. But wait ... there's more! Inside this aluminum Tone Belt is a ceramic-coated maple ring. This specially designed ring helps amplify the higher frequencies (think of it like the cone of a speaker).
Coup de Grâce
What sets this drum apart is what sits above the Tone Belt. The upper ring of the maple shell sports two different bearing edges, with one on each side.
One edge is a double 45-degree edge that provides a bright "tighter" sound. This would be great for anyone playing funk or horn music, hip-hop or contemporary top 40. Tuned higher, it provides the "pop" you could expect from a side or popcorn snare. Tuned to a midrange (regular) tuning, it would rival any contemporary snare drum (only a very well built, fine snare drum).
(Double 45-degree bearing edge on the EQlipse Dual-Apex™ Snare Drum)
Take the top head off and flip that upper shell (referred to as the Dual Apex™) ring over, and the other side gives you an old-school, rounded bearing edge. This edge will produce a much warmer sound and rounder tone. If you're called to do a 40s style big band, jazz gig, or to the opposite extreme, 80s or 90s rock ballad rock gig, you'll love the "stadium" sound of this snare. It almost has the aural illusion of having a delay (or echo) on the drum.
(Round bearing edge on the EQlipse Dual-Apex™ Snare Drum)
Crème de la Crème
Aside from the innovative Dual-Apex™ which certainly sets this snare into a league of its own, this drum is simply stunning and nothing but top drawer. When I pulled it out of the box, it spoke "mercedes" all the way. (I'm talking Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gull Wing!) The workmanship and quality are off the chain.
The wood shell part of this drum is a 10-ply cross-laminated maple shell. There is the top part of the shell (Dual Apex portion) which is maple. Next, the middle section is the Tone Belt portion, which is a ceramic-lined aluminum tone ring. And, finally, the bottom portion with the snare bed is another 10-ply cross-laminated maple shell. These three distinct sections are independent from one another until nestled.
The drum features a transparent ebony high-gloss finish over and under the silver aluminum Tone Belt. The Tone Belt has a fine stipple finish that is closer to an argent color than pure silver. The shell's interior features Grover's Pro Sound Mirror™ finish.
The finely machined "bow tie" lug casings are so named because, if you turn them sideways, they resemble a bow tie.
The throw off is a cam-action TRICK throw-off with a milled aluminum housing and chrome (or highly polished aluminum) throw lever. It's been laser etched with the Grover logo. The top of the tension-knurled knob features the Grover Index System, which allows you to gauge tension on the snares more accurately.
Grover is also well known for their precision-crafted replacement snares. This snare drum comes equipped with the Pro SX - sliver wire/bronze cable combo snares, which are medium guage orchestral snares. These produce a dry, yet powerful response, which remind me of old "gut" snares. But the "orchesral" part shouldn't put off contemporary set players, as these snares are designed to capture your ghost notes with accuracy and sensitivity.
The badge attaches to the aluminum Tone Belt. It appears to be a laser-etched aluminum badge affixed with two chromed screws. The back of the badge has a neoprene vibration isolator. It's very aesthetically pleasing and complements the drum.
The drum comes with a Remo Coated Ambassador batter head and a Diplomat Clear Snare side head.
The hoops are 2.3mm power flange hoops.
This snare is available in two configurations:
The G1-EQ-5E is a 5 X 14" shell sizes (This is the size I received to review.)
The G1-EQ-6E is a 6X14" shell size
The sizes being even (5" versus 5.5" and 6" versus 6.5") sizes, I found it refreshing and easy to tune without overt unwanted overtones.
As a snare drum alone and not considering the innovative approach, this drum is a work of art. Because of the gloss transparent black finish and muted aluminum Tone Belt, it would work in any setup without fear of clashing with the other drums' finish. But what makes this drum different is its ability to adapt to your gigging needs. Funk or pop? You're covered. Big band, jazz or stadium rock, you're covered as well. It's important to point out that the drum isn't designed to change "on the fly" — as in, you can't quick change the Apex ring during a set. You'll need to know which sound is going to best serve the gig.
This drum is about "made in America" by fine craftsmen and it shows. It's innovative, and the only single drum to offer two bearing edge choices. However, even if you rarely use the Dual Apex mode more than a few times, the snare drum is simply fantastic (and would be, even without the Dual Apex). No matter your musical preference, be it orchestral, funk, jazz, pop, or rock, this drum is a serious contender for the serious drummer. Owning one is on my bucket list. -HC-
Get to know Grover Pro Percussion
Buy the G1-EQ-5E - 5X14" EQlipse Dual Apex Snare Drum Retail $799.00 Street $599.25
Buy the G1-EQ-6E - 6X14" EQlipse Dual Apex Snare Drum Retail $829.00 Street $629.25
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.