Canadian cymbal maker Dream initiated a unique recycling program several years ago in which it collects broken or unwanted instruments from customers and cuts them into interesting special effects. The Re-Fx model we have for review this month, which was designed in collaboration with endorsing artist Scott Pellegrom, is the Naughty Saucer.
The Naughty Saucer is made from recycled cymbal alloy and is available in one size (14″). It features a 5.75″ center hole and provides an assortment of sounds when placed on drums or cymbals, depending on how you play it. When asked about the vibe he was after when working with the folks at Dream to create the Naughty Saucer, Pellegrom explains, “I was looking for the ability to be raw and organic but get a fat, industrial sound from the acoustic kit. It’s a crossbreed of a stacker, mute, and white-noise effect.”
The obvious application for the Naughty Saucer is on top of a snare; it fits perfectly within a 14″ hoop, and the bow in the medium-weight bronze lifts the saucer off the drumhead a bit so it doesn’t completely deaden the drum. You can also place the disc on top of or inside the hi-hats, or you can hang it from a wing nut so that it rests on and rattles against a cymbal. There’s no right or wrong way to use this funky instrument. As Pellegrom says, “It comes in handy for creativity but also for the jobbing drummer. It’s something—along with the Crop Circles—that’s always in my cymbal bag.”
My favorite use for the Naughty Saucer is on top of cymbals, where it transforms any crash or ride into a trashy-sounding stacker. You can hang or remove it in seconds, so you don’t have to have a dedicated multi-cymbal stack in your setup if you only use it for certain songs. The Naughty Saucer allows the bottom cymbal to resonate a bit more than it would if you stacked on a China or second crash, and you can get a variety of textures and overtones depending on whether you hit the cymbal, the saucer, or both at once.
When you place the Naughty Saucer on a snare and strike just the bronze ring, you get you a piercing industrial sound that reminded me of the junkyard-type tones Michael Blair made famous with smoky-voiced singer/songwriter Tom Waits. Hitting the drum without also smacking the saucer produced a tight, dry sample-type snare.
To achieve a gritty, lo-fi hi-hat sound, place the Naughty Saucer on top of the top cymbal. Or if you want a more muted yet trashy tone, put the disc between the cymbals so that it rests on the bottom cymbal. I found that either application worked best on 15″ or larger hi-hats. Lastly, for more resonant, gong-like tones, try suspending the saucer from a piece of wire and hanging it from a boom arm. If you’re looking to add some industrial-meets-electronica sounds to your kit, pick up a Naughty Saucer. It sells for about $85.