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.
You may also want to see: Fixing Difficult Snare Drums and Aquarian Drum Heads