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Archetype Series Snare Drum

A versatile, super-thin stave-shell option made from one of the world’s premier tonewoods.

The Archetype series from Hendrix Drums is a high-end line of ultra-thin stave-shell snares. The company claims that the drums, with their exotic woods and world-class hardware, are some of the most versatile on the market. The series includes various wood options, including American black walnut, African sapele, and American black cherry. Our review sample is a 6×14 African padauk ($1,059 street price). We had an incredible time pushing this drum to its limits to hear everything it could do.

World-Class Features

All Archetype snares come standard with a 6×14 shell. The combination of the 6″ depth and the .25″ shell thickness helps to provide responsiveness, sensitivity, and resonance throughout the entire tuning range. All of these drums are available in a polyester mirror-gloss or satin finish and include S-Hoops on top and bottom. The S-Hoop is a rolled-steel rim that provides a great balance between the resonance of standard triple-flange hoops and the solid crack of die-cast, without choking the tone.

Archetype series snares come equipped with other high-end features, such as proprietary solid-aluminum, distance-adjustable chrome lugs, a Dunnett R7 three-position throw-off, twenty-four-strand Fat Cat dual-adjustable wires, TightScrew tension rods, sleeved washers, and vintage-style 30-degree roundover bearing edges.

World-Class Sound

Padauk has been a wood of choice for high-end marimbas for years because of its crystal-clear tone, and it’s favored by African drum makers for its natural resonance. After extensive testing, we discovered that this wood also creates drums with an incredible tuning range. We were able to get eleven unique tunings from this snare with ease, six of which are included in our video demonstration. Regardless of how high or low it was tuned, the drum maintained sensitivity and tone without fail. Even when the head was nearly wrinkled from detuning, we could still get a funky Motown vibe, like what you hear on Steve Wonder’s “Superstition.”

The Hendrix Archetype snare came with a Remo Coated CS batter head with a white dot, which helped to provide just enough focus to the fundamental tone without sacrificing too much resonance. Our review drum favored mid to low frequencies because of its depth and shell type. The tighter side of the tuning range still produced quite a bit of depth and body, which we really enjoyed, although some may prefer a shallower drum for a really high-pitched crack. Yet there’s no doubt about whether this Hendrix padauk drum can handle a wide variety of musical demands—its sound, at any tuning, was just as world-class as its features.

Miguel Monroy