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6×14 Poplar Prestige Snare

A solid, steam-bent beauty with a fat, old-school sound.

The Prestige series is Virginia Beach–based custom shop RBH’s line of single-ply, steam-bent snares that are crafted by hand out of premium North American lumber. These drums are finished in hand-rubbed oil and wax to preserve and accentuate the natural, unique grain pattern of the timber. (Decorative inlays and exotic veneers are available for an upcharge.)

For the Prestige series, RBH uses solid-brass single-contact tube lugs, which connect at the lower third of the shell, as well as a Truck GS007 multi-step throw-off, 2.3mm steel triple-flange hoops, Puresound wires, and Remo heads. Bearing edges can be cut round, to forty-five degrees, or a combination of both, and the shell is reinforced with solid-cherry rings. Each RBH snare comes with a soft case.

Prestige drums were originally offered in maple, cherry, walnut, and ash, but RBH recently added poplar to the mix. We were sent a 6×14 poplar to review. (Other size options include 4×13, 5×13, 6×13, 4×14, and 5×14.) North American poplar is less dense than most other hardwoods used for making drums, which often results in a deeper sound with a softer feel. This drum thrives in the medium-to-low tuning range, where it produces a big, fat tone with open, even, and controlled overtones, and has a dense snare response that’s reminiscent of the darker sound you get from an old colonial marching snare. While it’s designed primarily for drumset applications, I could see symphonic percussionists making great use out of the Poplar Prestige as well. With a touch of muffling, it transforms into an excellent classical snare, with great articulation, dynamic response, and musicality. And for studio drummers looking for the perfect snare to provide a big, deep sound for mid-tempo roots rock or down-tempo moody tracks, this is one to put near the top of the list.

Michael Dawson