Cask Drum Craft
Block- and Segment-Shell Snares
by Nick Amoroso
Dense, gorgeous drums that sound as good as they look.
The Cask Drum Company is a boutique manufacturer out of Post Falls, Idaho, owned and operated by Micah Doering. He sent us two snare drums for review.
The first has a 6.5×14 block shell made from a hand-selected piece of lacewood and bubinga inserts. As Doering explained to me, the lacewood proved to be quite a challenge during construction because its deep grain pockets drank twenty-two coats of high-gloss clear coat. The shell is .625″ thick and features solid bubinga inserts that accent the badge. The shell features an inside 45-degree bearing edge and a round-over back cut. The drum is fitted with black chrome hardware and black die-cast hoops, which further add to its elegant look. The tube lugs are beautiful complements for this drum.
It could be an illusion caused by the grain of the wood and the joins of the blocks, but the shell of the lacewood snare looks somewhat like a barrel on the outside. The blocks seem to meet at an edge under a sea of lacquer. The shell is gorgeous, and no attention to detail has been overlooked. The deep pockets of grain reflect the clear coat in a striking manner.
At a medium tension, this drum has a pleasing, thick tone. The lacewood shell lends a dry, controlled tone. Ghost notes are a pleasure to play, and when struck in the center of the head, the drum gives off a fat, woody crack. I cranked up the tuning a bit and found that the thick throatiness remained intact. This drum has a wide tuning range with a lot of fatness. It sounds thick at all tunings, doesn’t become flabby when tuned down, and can go quite high before choking.
Although the lacewood drum is responsive, it seems to be missing some wire sensitivity at low volumes. I also found that its rimclick was just slightly metallic sounding. Yet I got a strong, guttural knock that was full of pleasing overtones when I laid into the drum with rimshots. List price is $799.
The second drum is a 5.75×14 beauty featuring a thick segment shell made with a whopping 240 blocks of South African bloodwood and American maple. This drum is perfectly made and features ply-maple hoops with a bloodwood outer veneer. The top hoop also features a black walnut star inlay. The staggered single-point gold lugs are offset to accentuate the spiral look of the shell blocks.
This drum knocked my socks off. It has a crisp, woody bite that makes its presence known without being overbearing or painful to the ears. I played this snare on modern country gigs over a couple days, and it sat perfectly within the music. Tuned down, the tone got swampy and fat, but the drum never lost sensitivity. It choked just a little at high tension. Rimclicks were woody and sweet, and rimshots were thick and authoritative. Snare sensitivity was excellent, even at the lowest volumes. And the wood hoops helped reduce the drum’s overall weight. List price is $1,350.