by Michael Dawson
George Way is a legendary figure in American drum manufacturing. He started his first drum company, Advance, in the early twentieth century and began working with Leedy in 1921, where he had a hand in a number of innovations, including pearl drum coverings and self-aligning lug inserts. Way later moved on to Slingerland and then Leedy & Ludwig before starting another company, George Way Drums, in the mid-’50s. George Way Drums was eventually acquired by Camco, and Way moved on to work for Rogers. In 1962, George took another stab at business ownership, with a venture called GHW. He passed away in 1969.
In 2007, Ronn Dunnett, a great contemporary drum builder in his own right, acquired trademarks for the brand and began building classic-inspired/modern-made instruments in honor of George Way, including the three Tradition series snares we have for review. These drums are available with a birch, cherry, or walnut shell, in 5×14 and 6.5×14 sizes. We were sent 6.5″-deep versions of each.
All Tradition snares come with eight lugs, triple-flange hoops (die-cast and single-flange versions are available at an additional cost), Remo Ambassador heads (coated batter and Hazy bottom), and a super-simple single-bolt Dunnett “beer tap” throw-off, which features a basic lever for engaging and disengaging the wires and a notched snare-tension screw on the butt end. (This throw-off is a modernized version of Way’s 845.) The shells, which come only in natural finish, are similar to the out-of-stock maple/milkwood Way Studio model, which is 4-ply with 4-ply reinforcing rings.
The list price for a 6.5×14 Tradition snare is $795.
Click here to listen to the cherry Tradition snare.
Click here to listen to the birch Tradition snare.
Click here to listen to the walnut Tradition snare.
For more on these snares, check out the complete review in the June 2014 issue of Modern Drummer magazine.