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1-Ply / Stave Snare Drums
Old 15th August 2019
Here for the gear

1-Ply / Stave Snare Drums

I gotta Jerry Seinfeld this: what’s the deal with 1-ply/stave snares? I usually see them listed at twice the price of snare drums built with multiple plies.

It seems that multi-ply snare drums would require more labor in steam-bending and gluing 6 or more plies, and would deserve a higher price tag than a stave. The stave snares I’ve seen are usually twice as thick as most snares (twice the wood), and are made in smaller batches (rarer). Still, the markup seems overblown. It comes across as a marketing gimmick: overspend to feel like you have a superior product.

What’s the volume and tone like for 1-ply snares? Their greater thickness should theoretically have a higher-pitched fundamental note than most snares, yet warm and fatness seem more desirable and more easily achieved with a thinner multi-ply snare.

Old 15th August 2019
Gear Addict
Suspects's Avatar

Sure - if you want to get technical about it; "1-ply" and "stave" denote two different construction techniques for snare drums. "1-ply" or solid ply (or solid shell) denotes a flat, single piece of wood slowly bent into a shell, generally using steam to assist in the bending process.This is a very slow and laborious process, and requires careful inspection of the board being considered for voids or imperfections that could literally explode while under pressure. Craviotto and Noble & Cooley are masters of this process. A "stave" snare is constructed like a wine barrel, using blocks of wood (generally something like 32) that are doweled together, with some glue, to create a circular drum shell. And you are correct, stave snares generally are constructed from rather thick blocks and can be quite heavy. Where you are not correct, is in your comments on conventional ply drums; the individual plies are rather thin (1/8"-1/16") and don't need to be steam bent to be constructed, also they are generally machine sprayed and can be "layed up" fairly quickly. In fact, the process is not that much different from creating a fiberglass boat hull; it's done in layers. The problem with conventional ply drums is the amount of glue used; every ply is sprayed. Glue can act as a damper and can reduce the vibration and resonance of a snare drum shell...

Dave/Suspect Studios
Old 15th August 2019
Lives for gear
octatonic's Avatar
I have a DW Super Solid (1 ply) where the shell and re-rings are CNC routed out of a single piece of wood.
It is the woodiest of my wood snares but it has such amazing crack as well as thump.

I preferentially use it as my live snare, previously I've used an LM402, Black Beauty and DW BNOB.
My second favourite snare is a DW Edge.
It is much, much heavier than the Super Solid- louder than anything I've ever used an I tend to keep it for recording only.
Old 16th August 2019
Gear Guru

Originally Posted by octatonic View Post
I have a DW Super Solid (1 ply) where the shell and re-rings are CNC routed out of a single piece of wood.
hard to beat that, conceptually anyway.

maybe plant a tree and force it to grow around a mold of a snare drum.

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Old 16th August 2019
Here for the gear

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Old 19th August 2019
Gear Maniac

Multi-ply snare drums are generally less labor intensive and less costly to produce than the solid wood drums. Also, it is not hard to find some multi-ply shells that cost 2x or 3x the price of other multi-ply snares, so we already know the cost of a drum isn’t 100% due to its construction method anyways.

You are also incorrect in assuming that a thicker shell necessarily means a heavier shell. Density of the wood and other construction materials also has a huge effect on the weight and sound. You could have super thin shells but with big heavy hardware or reinforcement rings that affects the shell’s resonance by adding mass and restricting movement.

Warm and fat sounds are possible in all kinds of drums, including some that have no wood at all. I’ve never seen anyone make the argument that wood snares are incapable of getting warm and fat tones because wood shells are thicker than metal shells.
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