Today, a new customer Phil arrived at the shop. He’d driven 100 miles for me to take a look at his early 1960’s Premier Connoisseur snare drum. This drum, to my knowledge, was aimed at the orchestral player; a lovely chrome over brass shell with die cast hoops, art deco lugs and parallel action snare throw similar to the infamous Royal Ace. On the connoisseur, however one can fine tune the tension on each of the snare wires.
This drum had belonged to Phil’s father, and had been taken apart and put together a few times and was missing the small plates that hide the snare wires on each butt end. It was also missing the correct wires. Phil had been using the drum for years, with regular snare wires fashioned to the mechanism via cord and had been using it regularly in this way for years.
A quick rummage out the back and I found some old nylon wires, which looked like replicas of the gut wires from back in the day. These were already attached to some unidentifiable metal end plates, but I soon removed those and I set to work re-wiring this drum for the first time since the original wires were lost. It took a good bit of time to set up correctly, as if the tension on each individual snare wire wasn’t uniform, the lever wouldn’t throw the snares on and off correctly.
Once set up I fitted the end plates, held in place by some tiny screws.
The end result was breathtaking. What a sound. Completely different to what our ears are tuned to expecting when we hear a snare drum, with the buzz of the wires; this was more focused, with a crisp, slean sound. It sounded like a snare drum, but with a more rounded but focused sound to it. Thankfully, Phil loved it, although we agreed it would take some time to adjust to this ‘new’ sound. Standing in the next room, it sounded like a regular COB snare – loud and proud.
Phil was happy. So am I. Now i’m on the look out for more, as I have some of these wires left over. Anyone got one?