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6×13 Heartbreaker Series Snare

The crème de la crème of one of Australia’s finest tonewood connoisseurs.

Fidock (“fye-dock”) is a boutique manufacturer from Australia that specializes in handcrafting high-end stave-shell drums with rare Aussie species like blackwood and myrtle. Part of the company’s Limited Edition series is the Heartbreaker lineup of snares built from premium-grade, air-dried figured blackwood (called fiddleback) that’s hand-selected in the temperate rainforest of Victoria and cured over a period of five years.

These unique drums feature standard Fidock specs, including slightly rounded 45-degree bearing edges, sculpted reinforcement rings, a 6–7 mm shell wall, eight tube lugs, a Trick multistep throw-off, a Remo Coated batter head (either Ambassador or CS black dot) and Ambassador Hazy bottom, and matching blackwood hoops. The drums are carefully finished with hand-applied orange-flake shellac to ensure that the natural look and open tone of the timber remains intact.

The main difference between the Heartbreaker series and Fidock’s standard blackwood snares is that Heartbreaker staves are cut from a single tree, and only the first 1.6 meters are used, so the wood is denser and the grain is much tighter. This results in a more focused sound with fewer overtones and a slightly higher note.

Our review Heartbreaker snare is 6×13, which in our opinion is the ideal size for a Fidock drum, for a couple of reasons. First, the wood hoops add about 1.5″ of width to the diameter. Having reviewed the company’s 14″ offerings in previous issues, we found that not every snare stand can expand wide enough to accommodate that size with the wood hoops, whereas the 13″ Heartbreaker fits any stand.

Secondly, Fidock’s drums tend to have a very open tone that accentuates the mid and lower-mid frequencies. If you favor a warmer, woollier sound, as well as lower tunings, then the 14″ models are a great choice. They have an earthy, Love Supreme–meets-rope-drum quality that’s very satisfying to a “vintage” aesthetic. The 6×13 Heartbreaker, however, possessed all of that natural, tuneful goodness, plus the ability to produce a stronger and more deliberate pop at higher tunings. The denser blackwood used in this drum has a good balance of slightly pingy highs, barking mids, and punchy lows, which are naturally EQ’ed as you go from tight to loose tunings. We didn’t have to use any muffling on this drum, even in the often-troubling low-mid tuning range.

The matching wood hoops, which are designed to withstand powerful strokes, elicited rich, thick rimshots. Very loud rimshots did cause minor denting, but, as the company suggests on its website, “to correct any indentations from stick hits, heat a domestic iron to very hot, place a wet clean cloth over the area, and press the iron down to generate a good amount of steam. The steam will swell the fibers back into place.”

Michael Dawson