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Thread: beaded vs. unbeaded snare shells

  1. #1
    KAALEL is offline Newbie
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    beaded vs. unbeaded snare shells

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    I read somewhere that a bead in the shell adds strength. I may be ordering a metal snare from
    Conaway custom drums and the unbeaded shells are just a bit cheaper.

    Does anyone know if there is a significant difference in sound between a beaded
    shell and its comparative unbeaded shell?

    What other differences might there be?

    Any help would be apreciated. Thank you.

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    andycerrone is offline Banned
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    I've only went out to try the difference between the two once, and when I did, you can tell a big difference (or at least in my opinion) between them. I always felt insecure playing an unbeaded shell, like I felt like I couldn't rely on it. Maybe because I was used to my kit and my beaded shell, but I just didn't like it. When you're going for something that you plan on holding onto for a while, don't be afraid to spend a little more to be sure you'll be happy.

  3. #3
    jaykeMURD's Avatar
    jaykeMURD is offline I sit on you.
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    That's why I stay away from metal snares.......er- drums for that matter! Wood shells all the way!

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    brandrum is offline Jesus Loves me.
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    I'm not really sure if it's a matter of strength....I think it has more to do with volume and overtones....but I could be completely wrong....My G-brass is unbeaded...I love that damn snare!!
    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  5. #5
    PhilGood's Avatar
    PhilGood is offline Juice box hero
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    Its a gimmick! Well, except when Ludwig does it. So, ...no its not a gimmick persay. I'll have a beer and think about this while I enjoy the sound of my maple snare, which I never have to worry about how it sounds...

    I'll get back to ya.... (sip)

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    Tim Brown's Avatar
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    Well, I don't think it's a gimmick necessarily, but think about it - it's a piece of metal - for the bead to really make enough of a difference, the shell would have to be thinner and weaker than the drumhead.

    Which is going to break first, the head or the shell?

    I have an 8"x14" brass free-floating snare by Pearl that is without a bead, and the shell is very thin - I have always put quite a bit of tension on it - and I've never had a single problem with it.

    Structurally, I understand the purpose of the bead, but it's not necessary.

    I mean, if it were for sound, they would make the whole shell "beaded" - it would just be a series of "beads".


    Tim

  7. #7
    PYRRHO is offline Senior Member
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    Guys...the bead on a metal drum is not a gimmick; as you've heard, it strengthens the shell. The bead is not unique to drums, but a common practice for a great many metal cylinders. The technique is so common that many slip-rollers, the machines designed to roll sheetmetal into circles, have a special groove incorporated just for creating the bead. The same slip-roller also creates the bend we call the bearing-edge. While the bend does serve as a good bearing-edge, it's real purpose is again...strength. The metal is stiffened at these bend-points, and it helps the drum hold its shape under pressure. Without the beads, many drums would distort when the heads are under high tension.

    On thicker metal shells, say...1.5mm+...the bead isn't needed, but on the traditional thin-gauge stuff...a good idea.

    BTW - all other factors being equal...no. There is no significant difference in sound; not unless the shells in question are thin enough and tuned in such a way that the unbeaded shell distorts. In that case, the unbeaded shell may go out-of-round a bit, possibly making it more difficult to get a good sound, but generally...no. No significant difference in sound.
    Last edited by PYRRHO; 05-06-2006 at 04:26.

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