by Michael Dawson
Founded by Southern California–based drum tech/builder Sahir Hanif in 2002, Masters of Maple began as a custom company that manufactured its own ply shells, with a special emphasis on exotic timbers. These days the company also offers a range of metal-shell drums, including the three 6.5×14 snares we have for review here: the vintage-inspired nickel-over-brass Black Ugly and the super-hefty, cast Bell Brass and Copper.
Masters of Maple’s take on the highly coveted nickel-over-brass shell begins with a rolled 1.2 mm sheet of high-grade German brass that’s brazed for optimal stability. The shell is then torched to “ugly it up” and create a one-of-a-kind patina finish. The Black Ugly comes standard with 2.5 mm brass triple-flange hoops but is also available with heavy-gauge single-flange brass or triple-flange copper hoops. (We were sent versions with triple-flange brass and copper hoops.) You can choose between vintage-style brass beavertail and solid-brass tube lugs, and the drums are offered with eight or ten lugs. Trick Multi-Step throw-offs and twenty-strand snappy snares are standard. The edges are folded over to 45 degrees. The street price is $850.
Click here to listen to the Black Ugly with brass hoops.
Click here to listen to the Black Ugly with copper hoops.
Bell Brass and Copper
Masters of Maple’s 6.5×14 Bell Brass features a super-heavy (18.5 pounds) 3 mm solid brass shell, with chrome-over-brass hoops and solid brass tube lugs, a Trick Multi-Step throw-off, and PureSound thirty-strand wires. The shell is torched similarly to the Black Ugly to give the drum a well-worn appearance. Cast in the same molds as the Bell Brass, the 6.5×14 Copper drum shares the same basic features (3 mm shell, chrome-over-brass lugs and hoops, PureSound wires, and Trick Multi-Step throw-off). List price is $2,000.
Click here to listen to the Bell Brass.
Click here to listen to the Copper.
For the complete review of these Masters of Maple snares, check out the March 2014 issue of Modern Drummer.
Check out a video of the Black Ugly with brass hoops below: