Maple/Brass Hybrid Snare
A powerhouse drum combining the spray and bite of hammered brass with the warmth of maple.
When I first started playing, choices for snare drums were a bit more limited than what you see in today’s marketplace. Over the past few decades, manufacturers have begun looking outside the box with shell materials and have even started combining different materials. Today, you can find drums made of everything from wood and metal to fiberglass, acrylic, and carbon fiber, with all kinds of things in between and many of those materials mixed together.
Into the fray comes SJC, with a beastly 8×14 hybrid drum that combines a 6.5×14 hammered beaded-brass center section and 12-ply, 1×14 maple edges with a bird’s-eye maple outer veneer. The drum is a first of its kind for SJC, made in collaboration with top Los Angeles drummer and tech Mike Fasano.
The snare came to me fitted with a Remo Coated Emperor X double-ply batter, an Ambassador Snare Side head, die-cast hoops, a Trick throw-off, a set of 20-strand snare wires, ten tube lugs, and a huge badge that floats above the shell. Whoever used the drum before me had set the top head quite loose, and right out of the box it had a fat, pleasant “boosh” sound with a lot of meat but still a bit of cut. This round tone would work very well with brushes or rods.
The drum had plenty of bark and snap at higher tunings, but I felt that I was playing on a tabletop, due to the combination of the 2-ply head and die-cast hoops. But it loved a medium tension with the 2-ply head, offering a fuzzy, pingy growl that I enjoyed quite a bit.
I swapped out the Emperor X batter for a single-ply coated head, and the drum immediately opened up. Fatter, brighter, more snare response, more…everything. Overall, this snare proved to be more versatile with the single-ply batter head, and it had a powerful, commanding bark at all tensions. I’ve always been a fan of metal shells that have a center bead, because of the pleasing distortion that’s added to the tone. So to have that, plus a hammered shell to dry out the sound just a bit and maple edges to warm everything up? Great drum! The list price is $1,150.