Introduction

A 12 inch snare drum is to a drummer with a small drum kit, what a cordless drill is to a carpenter. (or maybe a 9 mm to a marksman?) – One of our most crucial tools. We love them for their convenient size and distinctive snappy tone and hate them for their limited target zone. Cross-sticking is do-able but challenging. This year, there are more to choose from than ever. We’ve attempted to round up all but the most elusive models in this 2015, 12″ Snare Drums Roundup. Note, we have chosen to exclude models not available in North America. Listed more or less in order based on general availability. The most common brands at the beginning and the longer down the page we get, the more exotic the products get. All prices listed are in USD and rounded to nearest $10. Click any image for a larger version.

Pearl

Wood Firecracker

List Price: $260

Pearl Wood Firecracker
Pearl Wood Firecracker

Street Price: $150

Shell: 8-ply Poplar

Depth: 5″

Lugs: 6

Finishes: Ebony

 

Steel Firecracker

List Price: $240

Street Price: $140

Shell: 1 mm Steel

Depth: 5″

Pearl Steel Firecracker
Pearl Steel Firecracker

Lugs 6

Finishes: Chrome

Manufacturers Description:

“When you’re ready to add sparks to your playing, the first thing to do is add a FireCracker snare drum. As the name implies, these explosive drums deliver huge sound from a small package.

Light the fuse and stand back!”

 

Maple Soprano

List Price: $680

Street Price: $380

Shell: 8-ply Maple

Depth: 7″

Pearl Maple Soprano
Pearl Maple Soprano

Lugs: 8

Finishes: Natural

Manufacturers Description:

“These versatile drums can be used for secondary effects as well as be used as a main snare drum. They’re available in a range of sizes to complement any musical style.”

Website: http://pearldrum.com/

 

Gretsch

Brooklyn Series Steel Snare Drum

List Price: $400

Street Price: $260

Shell: 2 mm Steel

Depth: 6″

Gretsch Brooklyn Steel 12"
Gretsch Brooklyn Steel 12″

Lugs: 6

Finishes: Chrome

Manufacturers Description:

“The Gretsch® Brooklyn Series Chrome-over-Steel snare drums are the latest additions to the Brooklyn snare drum series. The drums feature knurled 2.0mm thick chrome plated steel shells. With highly polished chrome lugs, Lightning throw-off, butt plate and Gretsch “302” 3mm/double-flanged hoops, every drum comes complete with 20-strand snare wires and Gretsch Permatone drum heads. Due to the thick shell, the snares produce a sharp, crisp attack with a full body sound. The “302” hoops add the power needed to cut through any musical setting while retaining sensitive musical tones.”

 

Mark Schulman Signature

List Price: $490

Street Price: $330

Shell:9-ply Maple

Depth: 6″

Gretsch Mark Schulman Signature Snare
Gretsch Mark Schulman Signature Snare

Lugs: 10

Finishes: Gloss Natural

Manufacturers Description:

“The Mark Schulman signature snare drum is a staple in the Gretsch® snare drum line-up. Fit with die-cast hoops, 42 strand snare wires and 45-degree bearing edges, these drums produce a powerful high-end crack that is needed for Mark’s demanding playing style. The versatility and durability of these drums is proven by the use and abuse on stages with Cher, Foreigner and P!NK. The 9-ply maple shells are adorned with precision inlayed bubinga stripes and a high gloss finish that brings out the natural beauty of the shell.”

Website: gretschdrums.com

 

DW

Collector’s Series

Note; In addition to the standard offerings listed here, any Collector’s, Classics and Jazz series snare can be custom ordered in 12X5 or 12X6.

List Price: $900

Street Price: $580

Shell: 10-ply Birch or Maple

Depth: 5″

DW Collector's Series Birch
DW Collector’s Series Birch

Lugs: 10

Finishes: Virtually Limitless

Manufacturers Description:

“Crafted from select Heartwood Birch and personalized in any California Custom Shop finish, The Collector’s Series Birch snare drum provides all of the attack and bright tonality you’d expect from birch. The 10-ply shell without reinforcement hoop is loud and open, with a higher midrange that’s perfect for a variety of musical situations. A 60-degree bearing and host of DW high-end features make the Collector’s Birch a must for any serious snare drum collection.”

Website: http://www.dwdrums.com/

 

Liberty Drums

Inlay Series Snare Drum

List Price: $780

Street Price: $650

Shell: 15-ply Birch

Depth: 7″

Liberty Drums Inlay Series
Liberty Drums Inlay Series

Lugs: 6

Finishes: Natural, Two-tone, Two-tone swirl, Mahogany Band

Manufacturers Description:

“The Liberty Drums Inlay Series snare drums are truly unique. Available in box or thin line inlay variations such as swirl or straight. They are unique instruments that sound as good as they look.

We make our own shells ply by ply in a cross-laminated formation which produces super strong and resonant shells. All other wood types are available on a custom basis. Our inlay snare drums are made of Finnish Birch which sonically speaking delivers solid, punchy, focused, tight cutting, pre EQ’d rich, raw, powerful, full bodied sound.”

Website: http://www.libertydrums.com/

 

DrumCraft

Series 8

List Price: $490

Street Price: $290

Shell: 8-ply Maple/Birch

Depth: 6″

DrumCraft Series 8 Snare Drum
DrumCraft Series 8 Snare Drum

Lugs: 6

Finishes: Natural, Four Standard Colours

Manufacturers Description:

“DrumCraft series 8 wood snare drums are the working horse in every setup made from either 8-plies Siberian Birch or North American Maple these fine instruments react to every players style the way he wants. Their stylish looks with the satin lacquer finish and satin chrome HW underpins the technical perfection in design. But more than that it is about sound control. Whether you prefer ultra low fat tuning or the short high pitch attack of side snare – it’s all there.”

 

Series 7

List Price: $500

Street Price: $320

Shell: 8-ply Maple/Birch

Depth: 6″

DrumCraft Series 7 Snare Drum
DrumCraft Series 7 Snare Drum

Lugs: 8

Finishes: Liquid Chrome, Liquid Lava

Manufacturers Description:

“DrumCraft Series 7 drums are based on the award-winning premium quality Series 8. Each Series 7 drum features sturdy polycarbonate wrapping and stunning hardware. One of a kind DrumCraft German engineered satin chrome shell hardware. Every part, bracket, joint and memory lock is designed to incorporate the slick and simple design. Not to distract from the two essential points with drums – YOU and how you want to setup your drums to accommodate your STYLE of playing. DrumCraft Series 7 drums are available in Birch or Maple wood construction, Liquid Chrome or Liquid Lava finish, and in a variety of sizes.”

Website: http://www.drumcraft.com/

Tama

Metalworks

List Price: $240

Street Price: $140

Shell: 1.2 mm Steel

Depth: 5.5″

Tama Metalworks 12
Tama Metalworks 12

Lugs: 6

Finishes: Black Nickel

Manufacturers Description:

“Slightly thicker 1.2mm shells allow the Metalworks steel shell snare drums to perform at their maximum potential. Six different sizes provide choices for a wide range of applications.”

 

Mike Portnoy Signature

List Price: $690

Street Price: $450

Shell: 1 mm Steel

Depth: 5″

Tama Mike Portnoy Signature
Tama Mike Portnoy Signature

Lugs: 6

Finishes: Hammered Flat Black

Manufacturers Description:

“Mike Portnoy’s signature snare drums feature a unique three-way snare strainer that offers additional sounds without the hassle of switching snare drums.”

 

Simon Phillips Signature “The Pageant”

List Price: $1000

Street Price: $650

Shell: 7-ply Figured Maple

Depth: 5″

Tama Simon Phillips Signature
Tama Simon Phillips Signature

Lugs: 6

Finishes: Natural Grey Stain

Manufacturers Description:

“His Pageant maple drum completes Simon’s snare drum arsenal.”

Website: http://www.tama.com/

 

Pork Pie

Little Squealer

Pork Pie Little Squealer
Pork Pie Little Squealer

List Price: $500

Street Price: $180

Shell: 8-ply Maple

Depth: 5″

Lugs: 8

Finishes: Ebony Satin Natural

Manufacturers Description:

“What Body!”

Website: http://www.porkpiedrums.com/

 

Taye

Stainless Steel Snare

List Price: $260

Street Price: $150

Shell: Stainless Steel

Depth: 4″

Taye Stainless Steel 1204
Taye Stainless Steel 1204

Lugs: 6

Finishes: Polished Stainless Steel

Manufacturers Description:

“Stainless steel offers a special kind of tone and timbre, while at the same time, it gives you that sensitivity and response that metal snares are known for. They also have an impressive wide and dynamic tuning range. Tune them down for a big and thick snare sound, or tune them up for some of that aggressive bite.”

Website: http://www.tayedrums.com/

 

ddrum

Vintone Arbor

List Price: $220

Street Price: $220

Shell: Alder

Depth: 7″

ddrum Vintone Arbor
ddrum Vintone Arbor

Lugs: 6

Finishes: Natural

Manufacturers Description:

“The warmth of alder wood is well matched with this fireplug of a drum. Excellent pop and control. Great as a side snare or main snare. No snare collection is complete without a 7×12, and no drummer should be without the classic low-end voice of alder.”

Website: http://www.ddrum.com/

 

Billy Blast

Honduras Mahogany Side Snare

List Price: $150

Street Price: $150

Shell: 8-ply Honduras Mahogany

Depth: 6″

Billy Blast Honduras Mahogany Side Snare
Billy Blast Honduras Mahogany Side Snare

Lugs: 6

Finishes: Natural Gloss

Manufacturers Description:

“This beautiful 12” x 6” 8 ply VSS Keller Maple Shell Snare drum, has a high gloss Honduras Mahogany Finish with all Slingerland style hardware. It gives you that unique Pop sound that you need for Power Pop, Dance & Hip Hop with a striking appearance That is sure to please. “Another One of Billy’s favorites” You can bet this one will make a statement.” 

 

Blue Pearl Snare Drum

List Price: $160

Street Price: $160

Shell: 8-ply Maple

Depth: 6″

Billy Blast Blue Pearl Snare Drum
Billy Blast Blue Pearl Snare Drum

Lugs: 6

Finishes: Blue Pearl Wrap

Manufacturers Description:

“This beautiful 12” x 6” 8 ply VSS Keller Maple Shell Snare drum, has a high gloss Blue Pearl Finish with all New Slingerland style hardware 2.3mm hoops, Chrome snare throw-off, 16 strand snare.”

 

Green Sparkle Popcorn Snare Drum

List Price: $150

Street Price: $150

Shell: 8-ply Maple

Depth: 6″

Billy Blast Green Sparkle Popcorn Snare
Billy Blast Green Sparkle Popcorn Snare

Lugs: 6

Finishes: Green Sparkle Wrap

Manufacturers Description:

“The bottom head is a Evans Hazy snare side 300 and is 3mils thick, has a wide dynamic range that will focus the sound of the snare. The top batter head is an Attack Drum Head. Made of two plies of coated Mylar and bonded at the collar to dampen both high overtones and overall resonance.”

Website: http://billyblastdrums.easystorecreator.com/

 

Sakae

Maple Effect Snare Drum

Sakae Maple Effect Snare Drum
Sakae Maple Effect Snare Drum

List Price: $500

Street Price: $350

Shell: Maple

Depth: 5.”, 6.”

Lugs: 6

Finishes: 28 different lacquer and wrap finishes

Website: http://sakaedrums.com/

 

Sonor

Artist Birch Snare Drum

List Price: $1440

Street Price: $850

Shell: 12-ply Birch

Depth: 5″

Sonor Artist Birch Snare Drum
Sonor Artist Birch Snare Drum

Lugs: 8

Finishes: Natural Gloss

Manufacturers Description:

“A 12 ply Birch shell with 12″ x 5″ size gives this snare drum a crisp, bright sound with plenty of attack. Whether using it as the main drum or as a side snare drum, the high pitched rim shots and sensitive response of the stainless steel wires ensure perfect sound performance. Ideal for the short breaks in drum ’n’ bass, hip-hop or electronic pop.”

 

Gavin Harrison “Protean” Signature snare drum

List Price: $NA

Street Price: $700

Shell: 6-ply Birch

Depth: 5

Gavin Harrison "Protean" Signature snare drum
Gavin Harrison “Protean” Signature snare drum

Lugs: 8

Finishes: Black Semi-Gloss

Manufacturers Description:

“We called the drum ‘Protean’ because it’s versatile and you can change the features very quickly to get a sound that will be musically right. I wanted the look of the drum to be able to fit in with any drum set. It has a sleek Art Deco look about it with a classic black satin finish.”

Website: http://www.sonor.com/

Mapex

Black Panther Phantom

List Price: $470

Street Price: $300

Shell: Hybrid, 2-ply Birch, 1-ply Walnut

Depth: 5″

Mapex Black Panther
Mapex Black Panther

Lugs: 8

Finishes: Transparent Fade

Manufacturers Description:

“Did you hear that? This unique Birch and Walnut hybrid shell resurects your ghost notes to keep your beats alive.”

 

MPX Steel Hammered Snare Drum

List Price: $260

Street Price: $130

Shell: 1 mm Steel

Depth: 5″

Mapex MPX Steel
Mapex MPX Steel

Lugs: 6

Finishes: Hammered Chrome

Manufacturers Description:

“The Mapex MPX Hammered Steel Snare Drums are the ultimate in all-purpose, affordable snares. The steel delivers a balanced tone with crisp highs, a focused mid-range, and fat lows while the hammered dimples produce a drier sound while maintaining a solid metallic crack. The vailable sizes and tuning range allow the drum to perform well in an extreme range of styles, from light rock to heavy metal.”

 

Black Panther Fastback

List Price: $470

Street Price: $300

Shell: 5.1 mm Maple

Depth: 7″

Mapex Black Panther Fastback
Mapex Black Panther Fastback

Lugs: 8

Finishes: Sienna Burst

Manufacturers Description:

“Get in or get out because this snare ain’t waitin’. A high tuning range and deep shell delivers a dry, dark tone with some pop.”

 

Black Panther Warbird

List Price: $650

Street Price: $400

Shell: 6-ply Maple/Walnut

Depth: 5.5″

Mapex Black Panther Warbird
Mapex Black Panther Warbird

Lugs: 8

Finishes: Satin Walnut Stain

Manufacturers Description:

“Possessing a mix of fury and deadly precision, this drum delivers an intense, dark punch when tuned low and an explosive pop when cranked high.”

Website: http://mapexdrums.com/

 

Yamaha

Metal Snare Series SD-2240

List Price: $350

Street Price: $190

Shell: 1.2 mm Steel

Depth: 4″

Yamaha SD-2240
Yamaha SD-2240

Lugs: 6

Finishes: Chrome

Manufacturers Description:

“Steel shells have the brightest tone of our metal shell snare drums. The SD-2240’s small diameter shell has a high pitch that pops but the 4″ depth still has some body so the drum doesn’t sound thin. This is a versatile drum that works well as a main snare or as an auxiliary drum”

 

Metal Snare Series SD-2255

List Price: $320

Street Price: $220

Shell: 1.2 mm Steel

Depth: 5.5″

Yamaha SD-2255
Yamaha SD-2255

Lugs: 6

Finishes: Chrome

Manufacturers Description:

“We applied our new metal shell manufacturing process to an all-new Steel shell to create a drum with a bright tone that really cuts thru.”

Website: http://usa.yamaha.com/

 

Natal Drums

Hand hammered Series Snare

List Price: $610

Street Price: $420

Shell: 1 mm Steel

Depth: 5.5″

Natal Hand Hammered Series
Natal Hand Hammered Series

Lugs: 8

Finishes: Nickel, Copper, Dark Copper, Dark Chrome, Old Bronze and Dark Bronze

Manufacturers Description:

“THE STUNNING HAND HAMMERED SERIES IS HAMMERED ENTIRELY BY HAND TO CREATE THAT WARMER, LOWER TONE THAT’S SYNONYMOUS WITH HAMMERED SHELLS. Hand Hammered metal snare drums feature a 1mm thick steel shell with an impressive plated finish. Each shell is hammered entirely by hand creating that warmer, lower tone, synonymous with hammered metal shells. The lower fundamental tone pitches hammered snare drums between wood and flat metal.”

 

Brass

List Price: $620

Street Price: $430

Shell: 1 mm Brass

Depth: 5.5, 6.5″

Natal Brass Snare
Natal Brass Snare

Lugs: 8

Finishes: Clear Lacquer

Manufacturers Description:

“Brass not only makes an excellent main snare, but also makes an interesting add-on snare, in a smaller diameter, for more dynamic snare work.  Featuring a fantastic clear lacquer finish, the 1.0mm brass shell is available in depths of 4″ piccolo, for that brighter, snappier sound, and 5.5″ & 6.5″ depths for fatter, lower end tones.”

 

Bronze

List Price: $650

Street Price: $450

Shell: Phosphor Bronze

Depth: 5.5″, 6.5″

Natal Phosphor Bronze Snare
Natal Phosphor Bronze Snare

Lugs: 8

Finishes: Gloss

Manufacturers Description:

“BRONZE IS A LOUD, DRY SOUNDING DRUM SIMILAR, TO BRASS, ALTHOUGH WITH A MORE CONTROLLED, MUTED TONE; IT HAS SIMILAR TONAL CHARACTERISTICS TO WOOD.”

 

Maple Snare

List Price: $550

Street Price: $380

Shell: 7-ply Maple

Depth: 5.5″, 6.5″

Natal Maple Snare
Natal Maple Snare

Lugs: 8

Finishes: 16 different lacquer and wrap finishes

Manufacturers Description:

“MAPLE HAS A PROVEN RESONANCE WHICH RESULTS IN BRIGHT TOP END WITH ENHANCED LOWER-MID FREQUENCIES.

This affords greater balance between resonance and volume making Maple a versatile material and is often described as warm sounding due to its wide ranging frequency response. Maple snare shells are seven ply American Maple and feature sixteen high gloss lacquer and sparkle finishes.”

 

Maple Stave Snare

List Price: $860

Street Price: $590

Shell: Maple Stave

Depth: 5.5″, 6.5″

Natal Maple Stave Snare
Natal Maple Stave Snare

Lugs: 8

Finishes: 4 different lacquer finishes

Manufacturers Description:

“BUILT IN ENGLAND, NATAL STAVE SNARE DRUMS ARE A LIVING LINK TO DECADES OF EXPERTISE IN CONSTRUCTING CONGAS. UTILIZING MANY OF THE SAME CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES, AND USING QUALITY TONE-WOODS, NATAL STAVE SNARES DELIVER POWER AND RESONANCE WITH EXCELLENT DYNAMIC RANGE.”

Website: http://nataldrums.com/

Summary
Article Name
12″ Snare Drums Roundup
Description
Comprehensive 12" Snare Drums Roundup. Complete with pictures, prices, specs, comments, value and finishes. All major and not so major brands represented
Author
CompactDrums.com
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