Natal Limited Edition Aged Bronze Snare Drum
By Dendy Jarrett |
This “phat”-sounding snare boasts a refined British pedigree and attention to detail
By Dendy Jarrett
Natal isn’t a drum company that pops into the average US drummer's mind when they are discussing drums with their peers, mainly because it's a relatively new brand in the US. However in England, the company has been around for quite some time. Conceived in 1959 but founded in 1965, Natal was the first company to make fiberglass congas. Matter of fact, John Bonham can be seen playing one of their infamous splatter finish congas in pictures while on tour.
Their entry in the US market came almost 3 years ago. And slowly but surely, they seem to be gaining traction.
The Natal Limited Edition Aged Bronze snare drum is quite a striking drum in appearance. It seems as if the drum has possibly been around since 1965, but indeed it is new. This 14” x 6.5” snare drum is a rolled 1mm solid-steel metal shell drum with a very distinctive bronze finish; it reminds me of a well patina'd copper penny. The drum shell is double-channel beaded to give it a more vintage appearance (i.e., there are two concave grooves that run around the circumference of the shell on the top and bottom right below the top rim and above the bottom rim).
Most steel drums I've played in the past are pretty bright, but not this bad boy. The bronze finish leaves a very nice and dark “take that” punch.
The drum was well tuned when it arrived, and I had only to adjust it to taste. It tuned up high nicely as well (actually really high, and it even sounded great tuned up), but sounded best in that “sweet spot” midrange punchy rock tuning.
The drum features 2.3mm chrome hoops. The lugs are a very sexy oblong round lug with Natal’s Suncrest logo on the face of each. The drum has Natal’s ‘Tru-Tune’ tension-rods that help prevent lugs backing off of their tuning due to vibration. It also incorporates Natal’s well-implemented wire snares, which are attached with a very stout woven black snare ribbon that has the Natal name embroidered on it. But the crème-de-la-crème on this drum (outside of the sound and look) is the throw-off.
Natal has a patent on a three-way throw off and it's pretty slick. There are the traditional on and off positions, but a third position offers a "sloppy" snare sound - the result is a "New Orleans shuffle" sound that I really like.
The drum’s attention to detail and quality match the way it sounds. It's distinctively British, and obviously assembled with the level of pride one would expect from a proper British Range Rover or Rolls Royce. This drum is available in the 14" x 6.5" version (as reviewed), but is also available in 14" x 5.5", 13" x 5.5", 12" x 5.5", and 10" x 5.5" sizes. Note that sizes below 14" x 6.5" don't have the double channel grooves around the shell.
Ironically, despite the level of quality this drum won’t break the bank, thanks to an MSRP of $680 and a street price of $469.99.If you're looking for a solid ‘phat’ snare that will give you a great sound for the investment, the Natal Old World Bronze is hard to beat … no wait … (you know what I mean!). I recommend it highly.
Dendy Jarrett is the Editorial Director and Director of Communities for 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.