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SPIRIT 6.5x13 Ironwood Solid Snare Drum

SPIRIT 6.5x13 Ironwood Solid Snare Drum

Mark Polis - July 2002

I just spent quite some time over the last day or two really getting to know the 6.5x13 SPIRIT snare drum owned by Nick "soulbelly" Amoroso. Nick so graciously sent me the drum, (and I in turn simultaneously sent him my Canopus Zelkova for his perusal - we'll await his report).

Review SPIRIT 6.5x13 Ironwood Solid Snare DrumWell the Spirit drum is GORGEOUS. It's made of Ironwood, a wood so dense (and heavy) that it makes even Jarrah and Sheoak (also from Australia) seem like balsa wood!!!! The wood has the same tonal appearance & hue as bubinga, without all the figuring. It's done in its natural, reddish brown matte finish.

The inside of the shell is hatchmarked with a chisel, apparently to break up the sound waves - I'm not sure of the physics there.

The bearing edges look to be about 45 degrees, and are moderately rounded, in contrast to most of today's drums with sharp edges. The Spirit logo is branded onto one of the side panels. There's a vent opposite that, with a thick, chromed grommet. There are eight tube lugs, having a unique and appealing design, and attached with a single post which is insulated from the drum with a leather washer. The strainer is a black NickelWorks - today's industry standard. 16-strand Puresound wires.

The heads Nick had on it were Aquarian Texture Coated and Aquarian Classic Clear snare side. Nice die cast hoops with cutouts for the snares - no bridge. That was sorta nice, because I think you could actually change snare side head without removing the snare wires.

OK, now I'm going to be brutally honest. Remember that this drum goes, I believe, in the vicinity of $1,000.00 - correct me if I'm wrong.

The drum is very potent, as I expected it would be. It is a fabulously well crafted drum, and very attractive as I've stated, etc., but not at all for me - remember, that I'm coming more from a jazzer's standpoint than Nick is, though. The shell is just TOO dense for me, yielding up a sound almost as
if it's made from a hard, compacted resin plastic, if you get my drift. It had oodles of "crack" and bite to it, no doubt. It'd work fine in a loud venue for projection. But there was no real warmth to this wooden drum, and the snare sound never "married" the shell sound.

I also missed a certain pinpoint articulation without snare buzz, that I couldn't seem to pull out of the drum, even at higher tensionings of heads, snares, etc. The drum lacked that fat tonal underbelly and gutsiness that I'd demand from a 6½" depth shell. In contrast, the Zelkova gives you that in spades.
I also think the Spirit people should fashion their bearing edges sharper, but I wonder then if the edge would be prone to chip easily owing to thebrittleness of the dense ironwood.

I would also suggest a thinner made (less dry sounding) batter head such as an Evans coated G2 or a Remo coated Ambassador or even a coated Diplomat if laying into the thing isn't the idea.

All in all, a real piece of craftsmanship, but I favor the Zelkova, hands down.

Nick, I sincerely thank you for giving me the opportunity to try out your snare drum. Forgive my critique, I'm trying to be "subjectively objective" for potenial buyers of these rather expensive instruments. I'll be VERY interested in hearing what you have to say about the Zelkova.

Review SPIRIT 6.5x13 Ironwood Solid Snare Drum
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