The Man With 40 SnaresNate Brown
How many snares have you owned throughout your life?
Martin: I’ve pretty much kept all the snares that have come into my life apart from the first two drum kits I owned. My first kit was an old 60’s kit with a red sparkle and I was 14. I didn’t realise at the time, and until later on, the importance of the snare drum or else I would’ve kept it.
The same can be said about my 2nd drum kit, a Premier Royale. I traded that kit in for a Ludwig Power Plus, and I have kept the snare from that as initially it held good memories of times with my first band and gigs that had an impact on my future.
So I’d say that with the current snares that I have and ones I’ve passed on to other people, it would be around 40 snares. I sold a couple of snares to two members on OLD. I know one is gigging with his, and he’s more than happy with it.
I also gave a snare to a young colleague I used to work with. I had a duplicate, all be it from an asthethic point of view. I had two Saturn snares of the same size but different colour, and I know that my young colleague would benefit from it more than me so I left it on his desk one morning with a note that said “Once this drum has finished with you, allow it to move on to the next person it needs to help”. It may seem a tad crazy giving a snare away but I had my reasons and so far my friend’s playing and enjoyment of drumming has come on leaps and bounds.
What got you into snares?
Martin: Well for a long time, mostly the 90’s and into the millenium, I had the Ludwig snare and a Pearl Steel Mirror Chrome snare. On a weekend holiday with a girl, we happened to come across a drum store, and I had one of those “Got to buy a drum moments” (the first of many!) and purchased a 13″ Piccolo Steel snare, because it was different.
I didn’t realise the impact of that different snare for a few years until I joined onlinedrummer.com and read many posts and threads about snares and then became aware of the importance of the snare drum’s place in the drum kit.
I went and purchased a Chad Smith snare because I had another “Gotta buy a drum” moment on ebay and then close after that I won a snare drum in a competition run by Animal Custom Drums, and that really got the ball rolling because of the small amount of snares I owned at that time. Each one looked different and sounded different.
In your opinion, what makes a good snare? What makes you say, “I’ve got to have it!”?
Martin: A good snare to me must have the personal factor. I need to make it my own, in a sense, not like any other snare on the planet. Granted I’ve got some basic snares but I do tend to pick rare editions. I’m a fan of Mapex’s Black Panther series and have more of them than any other make.
To me, the asthethic value has to be there too. I like to look at the snares, as well as play them. I do have a few snares that will never be seen on stage at a gig. They are too rare, or the personal value of them to me is too great to risk. I have five Neil Peart snares, all of them from the DW company and much as I love their sound, I cannot gig them for fear of loosing them. I might just buy a duplicate and then I can gig that.
Every snare I own is different. There are no more duplicates. I have wood, metal and acrylic snares. I like to think I have every spectrum covered. My gigging snares are varied too. My most common gigging snare, the main workhorse, is a DW edge snare with a matching DW popcorn. I do have four Animal snares now, and recently asked Carl to build me a Steambent solid wood Cherry shell with gold hardware. That will end up, I hope, being an alternate with the edge.
Has having a selection of snares come in handy at times? If so, example?
Martin: Its been very handy. I’ve had many moments where I’ve been in a position to take a snare drum to suit the venue. That may seem a tad overkill but it is a nice position to be in. I’ve got no kids. I don’t smoke, and I don’t drink. So I save and work hard to be able to buy the snares. I also have a very understanding partner and she’s even pointed out snares to me in shops and online too.
Having a vast collection has enabled me to learn more about snare drums and their construction. Having so many snare drums does have a downside — storage. I have a stack of snares in the corner of my living room. They need to be cleaned as I don’t have a display cabinet and they are then out in the open air and get dusty. I used to have to buy a case or a bag for each new snare but gave up long ago as it got expensive, but now any retired snare ends up secured away in a box waiting for when I can get a display case.
Are there any snares in your collection that you deem “untouchable”? You value them too much…
Martin: I have quite a few that are so very rare that they are untouchable. My Neil Peart collection. I have a Tama Warlord snare (13″) that is one of only 200 ever made. I have an Animal Snare that is the first of its series and thus is so very dear to me that I can’t really take it out of the house.
I spend ages searching for some snares. In all honesty it is sometimes the hunt for the snare that is the most thrilling. I spent three years searching for a Tico Torres (Bon Jovi) snare on Ebay. I refused to look anywhere else. I just hawked Ebay and finally got a 2nd hand one in pristine condition, and I do gig that one.
I bought a Tama Brass snare from a Japanese website because that was the only country I could get that particular snare from. It was a signature snare for the drummer Pat Torpey (Mr Big) and when I had the privilege to interview him for onlinedrummer.com, he showed me his snare and it was such a lovely snare to play that I just had to have one. The hunt and subsequent retrieval of that meant that I couldn’t gig it but I would love to record with it one day.
So most of my collection aren’t doing what they were built and designed to do, but they give me great pleasure seeing them, holding them, and talking about them. I also know that I’m not alone. There are other collectors worldwide with a stronger passion for collecting than I do. I’ve made some good friends and contacts through collecting snare drums. Although expensive, it is a great passion and hobby on so many levels: playing, building and maintaining.
FOLLOW MARTIN’S SNARE DRUM COLLECTION AS HE SHARES EACH PIECE!