As my drum collection has grown in recent years, a few themes / families have started to emerge. There’s the classic Ludwig section (Black Beauty, Jazz Festival, Pioneer, Acrolite, various Standards), the Japanese section (80s and 90s Tama and Yamaha), the Canadians (Dunnett, new George Way and Ayotte), rounded out by a few deals that were just too good to pass up.
And while about half of the drums in the collection are metal, I do have a strong preference for wood shells. Which is why I was so excited when this Noble and Cooley solid shell maple snare popped up for sale on a popular drum forum.
N&C traces its history back to 1854, and in the past few decades has established itself as one of the world’s great drum companies. One of the things they’re best known for is their steam-bent, solid shell snare drums, which are now available in a variety of materials (maple, birch, beech, cherry, walnut, oak, tulip).
And while I usually prefer natural wood finishes (their tulip snares are particularly beautiful), the green sparkle finish really sold me on this drum. I’m a sucker for green drums in general, and this finish (not a wrap) looks amazing when paired with N&C’s brass lugs and snare hardware.
The build quality, as you might expect, is phenomenal. The snare throw-off is simple to use, the bearing edges are perfect, and it tunes up effortlessly. The die-cast hoops also focus the sound, making it a very articulate drum.
Like any high-end, hand-made musical instrument, these snares aren’t cheap. Nor should they be – these are hand-made, high-quality drums made using a labour-intensive process and exceptional materials. This used drum cost about as much as a nice new vacuum cleaner – guess which one I prefer spending time with.
I know that at some point, most of the drums I’ve picked up will have to find another home. This one, though, will be one of the last to go.