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  1. Registered User

    Join Date
    Aug 2020

    Default MCX Snare shell uneven?

    Was curious to get the thoughts of others on here. Been drumming for close to 30 years recently bought my first all-maple snare about a year ago, a Pearl MCX masters custom, which I chose based on reviews, demo vids and price point (a little north of $400). And I loved the look (a whitish, champagne sparkle, which matched my existing kit pretty well).

    It came with a coated ambassador and I liked it, but I use coated CS dot, so after the Ambassador wore out I put one of those on and damn did that drum sing! I really liked it -- the attack, the resonance and especially the "pop" it produced. It really cut through. But I play classic rock and my band felt it was too high pitched and also too loud for the smaller venues we play, so I picked up a new snare side head (Ambassador Hazy) and went to 30 strand snares and figured I'd go for a lower tuning.

    To my surprise, when I took the bottom head off for the first time, there were very obvious dips in the shell on each side where the snare strand goes. It's on both sides so I figured it was by design, but the problem is that the new bottom head I put on has "crinkles" in it right there unless I tighten it *very* tight. As said, when tuned that way, the drum sounds great, but in trying for a looser/lower tuning to get a fatter/deeper sound.... I can't. The bottom head crinkles and any attempt at tuning sounds like garbage.

    Pearl already confirmed what I pretty much knew, that this was by design to help the snares rest completely flat on the snare side head, but (a) I've never seen that before and (b) every other snare I've owned that didn't have those dips had no issues with the snares resting flat. So it seems to me Pearl "solved" a problem that didn't exist and in the process, created a drum that sounds great when tuned high, but can't be tuned low, which is what I need. I always thought rule #1 for good tuning is making sure the shell is even and the drum head rests completely flat on the shell, which is clearly impossible with this design.

    Anybody else run into this issue? Do most wood snares in the mid and upper price point have this "feature"? Most of my snares through the years have been metal (brass) and the only wood snares I've owned have been birch Tama StarClassics that came with a kit, none of which had these "dips". Maybe it's more common than I'm thinking but I'm pretty disappointed that I'm stuck with using a very tight bottom head tuning on my new snare...


  2. Registered User

    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    West Virginia, USA


    This is not my video, but it explains things better that I would be able to:


    Join Date
    Dec 2015


    Those dips are called snare beds, nearly every snare has them, wood or metal (unless they use something like a parallel/free floating mechanism). They allow the snares to have better contact with the snare head without choking the drum out.

    As for the wrinkles in the head, snare reso heads are loose by design, and meant to be tensioned high, if you want a lower more thuddy snare sound, its the batter head you need to be tuning. I'd reccomend tuning the batter to medium and the reso to tight, get an even tension all round, then taking the 2 tension rods nearest where your left hand rim shots on the batter side, and detuning both completely to just finger tight/a 1/4 above it. That may put a couple of wrinkles in the batter head but will give you a big, fat 70's snare sound. (discussed by UK Studio legend, Neal Wilkinson)
    Pearl, Natal, Ludwig, Tama, Slingerland, Premier, Arbiter Drums
    Zildjian, Sabian, Zyn Cymbals

    Roland, Dauz, FAT KAT and Koby Electronics, and loads of Percussion

    5 Kits and 11 Snares, and I still don't have enough!

  4. Playing since 1976

    Join Date
    Sep 2012


    Snare dips... I like it.
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