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6×14 Jaguar XJS Snare

A one-of-a-kind drum cast from the inlet manifolds of a 1975 racecar.

English company Provenance has carved a unique niche in the collectors market, offering high-quality snare drums built out of reclaimed materials from retired high-performance machines. With a stated mission to build the ultimate historical musical instruments, Provenance is careful to preserve some of the iconic look and feel of the original object while also delivering highly musical tones.

We’ve reviewed a Provenance snare made from a fighter jet and another one constructed from the side panel of a VW work van. This month we’re checking out a 6×14 8-lug drum that’s been sand-cast from the aluminum inlet manifolds of a 1975 Jaguar XJS V12 racing car. The shell has a unique subtle sparkle that the company says was an unexpected result of the casting process. The snare came with eight chrome tube lugs, a Dunnett R4 multi-position throw-off, 2.3mm triple-flange steel hoops, Puresound Custom 16 wires, and Aquarian drumheads (Textured Coated batter and Classic Clear snare-side bottom).

The shell is lathed on the outside to ensure a smooth surface and a perfectly round diameter, but the inside is left rough from the casting to help break up the internal sound reflections for a slightly drier tone. The bearing edges are rounded to increase body and resonance, and the snare beds are modeled after those found on classic American drums. The Jaguar XJS drum came with authentication materials that included “proof of origin” data comprising photos and info on the car from which it was made.

Aluminum snares are some of the most used and universally beloved drums of all time. The main difference between rolled and cast shells is that cast versions usually have greater volume headroom and a more robust, powerful tone, plus the potential for increased sensitivity at lower volumes, depending on how the edges are cut. This 6×14 cast-aluminum drum had a wonderfully open and resonant voice with well-balanced overtones and a smooth, even decay. It didn’t ring forever, so I could play it unmuffled to capitalize on its vibrancy without the overtones becoming too prominent. Medium and higher tunings produced a strong, powerful “bark,” while lower tunings brought out a punchy attack and increased low-end energy that translated great on studio recordings. Snare response was crisp and controlled across the entire tuning range and from the edge to the center. While there are plenty of talking points about how this snare went from speeding around a racetrack to cracking rimshots, the story would be meaningless if it didn’t sound great. And it does.

Michael Dawson