All of the drums I’ve picked up in recent years have been used – due mostly to my interest in vintage gear and the seemingly endless number of great drums that pop up at the local drum shop or online.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I have purchased one new drum in the past 26 years. And it’s not surprising that it’s also one of my favourite snare drums.
I saw this Dunnett Model 2N brass snare at Dave’s a couple of years ago and basically fell for it instantly. I pulled it off the shelf and was immediately struck by how heavy it is – at around 14 pounds, it is probably the heaviest drum I own.
I know sound is subjective, and truth be told, I usually prefer wood shells to metal. But there was just something about this drum right from the start – I tapped it a few times and loved how responsive it was. And while some will argue that drums don’t have a physical “feel”, I really liked how this drum “felt” when I played it – the way the sticks came off the head, the ease of rim shots, the clarity of the sound from the edge to the center.
When I bought it, I said there was some magic to this drum, and after a couple of years of playing it, I still feel the same way. Maybe it’s the heavy brass shell, maybe it’s the fact that the bearing edges are straight (not flanged), or it could be the eight tube lugs. Maybe it’s the wide snare beds, or the 42-strand snares. All of it just comes together to create a really great-sounding drum. And the R4-L throw-off and Hypervent are nice, innovative features.
While you often see these Dunnett drums with an antique brass finish, Ronn Dunnett called this one “pipe burn blue” (a little reminiscent of the Joyful Noise TKO tailpipe finish). Having spent a lot of time polishing the chrome finish on my other metal snares, it’s nice to have one that doesn’t need much care and feeding – in fact, it’s supposed to tarnish more over time as it picks up fingerprints and smudges. And it does look quite different depending on how the light hits it. The photo below (which came from the official Dunnett feed) does show a blueish hue around the bead.
Ronn signs each of the drums he makes and gives them a name. This one is called “Dog River” – a nod to Corner Gas, perhaps, from a guy who was born in Saskatchewan.