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  1. Paiste-oholic

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    Default On Alex Van Halen's snare sound on the early VH stuff...

    Just thought a few people here might like this...

    Been going through old Modern Drummers when I ran across an interview with Alex in the October, 1983 issue. He doesn't mention what snare he used on the debut VH LP, but for VH II and Women and Children First he used a 6 1/2" Super Sensitive snare with a Remo Black Dot head and minimal muffling. He used a rosewood snare on Fair Warning and 1984. I'm assuming that's the RW snare that Tama made at the time as he also used some of their hardware.

    I always loved his snare sound, just thought some of you might've wondered like I did how he got it!

    In the same issue, he was asked this question:
    "Why do you crash on a ride cymbal?"

    "It's the 20" Medium, and I picked that up from the old Beatles records when Ringo would get that layer of sound. It fills it up. I think it gives it a nice texture. Of course you can't do it on all songs, but there's an appropriate place and time for every little part. I just ride the crash to the point where it sounds like a wash and the use the left hand for accents."

    Riding a crash might've been out of the ordinary back then, oh how things have changed.
    Last edited by Stranjluv101; 12-29-2012 at 11:37 PM.

  2. Registered User

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    Yeah, who knew that crashing a ride was so unorthodox? I'm of the opinion that Alex's signature snare sound had much more to do with how the engineers and producers recorded and mixed the drums. I believe a lot of studio magic went into getting that sound. Type of drum likely had little to do with things.
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  3. rockin' all the way

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    I'm not particularly a fan of his snare sound on their first albums.
    Although I like the songs, the snare sounds too much processed and lacks body.
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  4. Less is more

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    wait....is he talking about riding a crash? or crashing a ride? seems to be a mixup there ....

  5. Paiste-oholic

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    AVH rides a crash.

  6. Registered User

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    Quote Originally Posted by chilledbongo View Post
    wait....is he talking about riding a crash? or crashing a ride? seems to be a mixup there ....
    Al does a lot of both. He Rides his 20" Medium, but he also really lays into his 24" Ride as well. If you've ever tried the telephone poles that are the AVH Signature sticks, you'll see that laying into any ride with those sticks will cause massive wash build up.

  7. Brain Bell Jangler

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    I suspect he also tunes the snare reso higher/tighter than the batter by a good bit as well. (by 3rd interval or so, at least).

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  8. Registered User

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    OK, everything that has been mentioned so far is spot on from what I can remember from reading different articles thru the years on Alex's snare sound.
    I do recall that he used a batter head on the bottom side and black dot and sometimes silver dot on the batter side. He also kept the batter head cranked tabletop tight.
    He applied tape in a large triangle on his batter head during live shows. (you can get a look at it if you hit pause during the jump video.)

    I have never read anything on the tension of his snare side head. He coined his snare as the brown sound which was latter taken to describe his brothers guitar sound.
    He said the brown sound is when it sounds like your hitting on a hollow log.

  9. Registered User

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stranjluv101 View Post
    Just thought a few people here might like this...

    Been going through old Modern Drummers when I ran across an interview with Alex in the October, 1983 issue. He doesn't mention what snare he used on the debut VH LP, but for VH II and Women and Children First he used a 6 1/2" Super Sensitive snare with a Remo Black Dot head and minimal muffling. He used a rosewood snare on Fair Warning and 1984. I'm assuming that's the RW snare that Tama made at the time as he also used some of their hardware.


    Most likely he was playing the SS on the debut as well. Looking at live pics from the first tour, it looks like he's playing the SS.

    Riding a crash might've been out of the ordinary back then, oh how things have changed.
    Riding a crash wasn't the norm then, but it was nothing new either. In the article Al cites Ringo as his influence for riding the Crash. Keith Moon was also one of his major influences.

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