To do a really authentic test drive on Rudd’s siggy snare it might be most appropriate to just hit backbeats on the thing and see what it’s like: “One, whack! Two, whack! Three …” But that doesn’t make for much of a review, so I played a lot more than that, even playing some rolls and some (gasp!) jazz with his drum. The Phil Rudd snare’s design is a no-brainer, a solid reissue of good ideas (largely borrowed from Rudd’s fav snare, Sonor’s Horst Link Signature Brass). Ten lugs encircle a 14" x 5", 1mm-thick brass shell plated in chrome. Chrome-over-brass is one of the most enduring snare drum compositions. In fact, it’s a safe guess that many early rock and pop songs that shaped Phil Rudd himself were cut on a chrome-over-brass snare.
Adding to the weight of Rudd’s drum are die-cast hoops, which, in addition to adding weight, focus and “dry out” the sound. Plus, I’d wager that Rudd might pulverize rolled hoops in the course of a week’s gigs, so die-cast it is. I did no pulverizing that night, but did enjoy, at light volume, the classic articulation, pop, and focus of the drum. I also enjoyed the mirror-chromed finish, the smooth fit and clean lines, and the plastic throw-off that actually worked just fine but did not earn any points for silkiness. The drum also features Tune-Safe lugs, designed to avoid detuning while being pummeled. I love the idea, but I did not get to play any really loud gigs that put the lugs to the test.
Rudd’s snare is crisp and defined. Each note is centered, focused, as if it lives in a small little pocket. Off-center, New Orleans–style beats were lovely, still full of snare buzz but with increased ring. Later, on rock gigs, I enjoyed the authority of the drum’s definition, and the power of rimshots. Rimshots are not integrated, but are a couple of clicks louder and more focused. Not quite like two different drums, but close.
The downsides of this snare are the Chinese Remo heads, the less-than-silky plastic throw-off, and the weight. But, yeah, I’d buy one. It’s a really good drum.