I bought a Ludwig Supraphonic 400 snare drum to go with my Witt Percussion drum set which is a steam bent American black walnut set. It consists of a 20″ bass drum, 14″ floor tom and 12″ rack tom. It is my primary jazz combo set. Often, it is my “go-to” drum set. I was looking for a jazz combo snare drum with a shallow 5″ x 14″ shell. I wanted an around “go-to” snare drum.
So I looked at several drum manufacturers and shell materials. Wow! They are now making shells out of wood that I had never even heard of. But after serious consideration, I went with a Ludwig Supraphonic 400 Anniversary Edition. It has a chrome-plated, seamless beaded aluminum shell. The only shell modification that I made was to replace the stock Ludwig P-85 with a Ludwig P-86 Snare Strainer.
What should a snare drum sound like?
The phrase: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” immediately comes to mind. I grew up with Ludwig snare drums – particularly the 400 and the 402 (6.5″ x 14″) models. And most of the jazz and rock records I listened to used a Supraphonic 400 in the studio. I guess what I think a snare drum should sound like is still based on what a Ludwig 400 sounds like. Supraphonics are like the Shure SM-57 microphones of snare drums – dependable, reliable, and the comparison standard. Now I have lots of other snare drums. Including a very rare 1959 Ludwig 401 all brass snare drum which I still love. I will continue to use different snare drums for different musical settings.
But when I want a bright responsive snare drum sound, a Ludwig Supraphonic 400 can not be beat. It is like my favorite pair of jeans. They may not be the most stylish. But they just feel and fit right.