Having never owned a wooden snare and already owning two vintage metal snares (one steel, one brass), I fancied dipping my toe into the wooden snare waters without spending too much cash. I decided to try the Millenium maple snare based on the reviews and of course, the price!
Less than a week after ordering the drum arrived and I had mixed opinions, it was a bit rough around the bearing edges and inside, looked like it needed some fine sanding and yes, like a previous reviewer said, it requires a new batter head straight away as the one supplied isn't good quality. The wrap isn't the greatest fit, mine's a bit wrinkled around the snare strainer and isn't stuck down very well at the overlap. Other than that it's a great looking drum, the whole circumference gap in the shell gives it a unique look and the lugs/nut boxes and hardware are all solid if unspectacular.
Before playing I decided to fit a single ply 10ml coated reverse dot head and whilst I was fitting it removed the reso head as well so I could sand smooth the edges and interior, this immediately gave it a better, more finished, look.
After reassembling at home I took it to band rehearsal where I could give it a proper tune and try out. I gave it a medium to high tune and wow, this thing has a lot more volume than I expected! It has a really nice warm pop to it and cuts through loud guitars very well. I added a small blob of damping gel to get rid of some overtones. Rimshots sound only ok but I'm spoiled by die cast hoops on one of my other snares, it's fairly sensitive but sounds best when hit with a bit of force.
Overall it's an amazingly good sounding snare drum for the price and has relegated my other snares to second and third choice. I'm toying with the idea of removing the wrap and fitting die cast hoops, but that's probably overkill for a drum as cheap as this!
In conclusion, if you want a good sounding cheap wooden snare and don't mind doing a bit of tidying up then buy one, they're worth every penny.
Now and then there are products, like this snare drum, that prove you can get great value for little money! It sounds great and is pretty strong/durable considering the bashing that it's been through in the short time that I've had it for!
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