Posted by Guest User on 26th May 2016
Let me start this off by saying I’m not some crazy drum collector with a 400 and a 402 from every year (that’s a rant for another day), but I have owned a LOT of different snares over the years. I try to not hold onto too many at any one time, at its peak, my collection reached about 30 snares. These days it's down to 4 (not including my teaching gear), which doesn't sound like much but they cover most bases. That was until I bought number 5...
Meet my beautiful Craviotto 14" x 8" Mahogany snare drum with BB/45 edges. It is a beast. One of those snares that blows your mind before your drumsticks have even touched it. In the sun or under lights you can really see the added sparkle over the white lacquer. It looks AMAZING!
I'm going to compare my new Craviotto to my main snare, a Dunnett 14" x 6.5" 2N Brass. My Dunnett is the number one reason that I don't have many snare drums these days. It truly is a workhorse and its clear to see why Ronn Dunnett, the founder of the company, named this series after a tractor. This snare just gets the job done. Things like black beauties fall by the wayside for me but this one conquers all. Now, my 2N came with CR single flanged hoops and although they are good, I tend to use triple flanged most of the time as I love to rimshot and to me, it just sounds a little nicer and it also doesn't chew up sticks quite as much. Although I must admit, single flanged hoops don't chew up drumsticks as bad as old school “stick-choppers”.
I also love the fact that my Dunnett has a raw shell and it has already started to patina beautifully which I'm know will just keep getting better and more individual over the years.
The 2N being brass is fairly ringy and full of lush overtones that I find give the snare life and energy. Too often people tape/muffle/gel a snare trying to tame overtones, or over tighten snare wires. This is usually because they’re listening to the drum out of context rather than considering it live or within a mix. I personally think that a coated P4 with a dot is the perfect head if you want to control the snare a little. Otherwise, it sings with an ambassador and that way you can always tape up, stick a wallet on, use a Big Fat Snare Drum, add a second upside down head or any other trick you want which will achieve a different sound.
Okay so back onto the Craviotto. As I mentioned before it has BB/45 edges so the batter edge is FAT. Think vintage Slingerland Radio King but modern and just amazing. The amount it focuses the snare is incredible. It dries it out wonderfully whilst still keeping an awesome tone. The reso edge is a more modern 45 degree affair, this means that the snare is super responsive and sensitive at all volumes and I mean ALL volumes. I played it softly and it was great and it still kept all of its tone and didn’t “choke”, like some drums can, when I went for it.
Also the snare beds are super shallow and really wide which I am a fan of and means that I think you could get away with beefing them up to a 42 strand if you wanted without incurring too many problems.
For its first outing, I stuck an Ambassador on and it performed very well. I did find a small piece of gel about the size of a 5p coin helped it focus. I think I’ll be trying a coated CS dot or a P3 on it next. This Craviotto snare drum is so versatile; it can evoke the “vintage drum” vibe and do an awful lot more. Between this and my Dunnett I could probably go down to 2 drums!
What is more important to mention is that it felt great. You know some days, everything floats off you and you can play anything at any speed, well playing this drum feels like that everyday! The Craviotto Custom Mahogany really is a joy to play.
Down points to the snare… Right it’s a bit nit picky but I’m not a trick throw off guy. I like them, and they are very nice and feel smooth but I play a fair few numbers where I have one shot to get snares on or off and I find that a lot easier with a Dunnett R4 than with the trick. Also it being an 8” drum and the strainer being closer to the bottom of the snare, I found for me slightly harder to use, not enough to stop me using the snare for anything/everything, just a personal preference.
As you can probably see from some of the pictures, I use tuner fish lug locks on the top and bottom of all my snares. I often hit hard and the locks help to stop the snare from de-tuning which we all know is super annoying. I’m not sponsored or anything, they are just simple and work.
I have to thank Paul from Drum Shop as he was super helpful guiding me to get this snare which is the perfect one for me. He also helped me order some more things including custom cymbals. I must quickly thank Vic Firth for making the very best drumsticks and the only ones I use and recommend to my students.