Dixon have certainly come a long way with their premium and signature series drum kits in recent years. Most noteworthy of them all would have to be the range of Gregg Bissonette signature drums that include a couple of kits and two different snares. This month I got to unbox Dixon’s 14” by 6.5” signature brass snare drum. This is one of the two Gregg Bissonette signature snares available now from Dixon, the other being a steel shell of the same size, but after hearing this one, I am pretty certain I got to play the better of the two.
The first thing that struck me about this was that it didn’t have the weight to it that I was expecting. When you think of a brass snare, you usually consider it to be a very thick shell that carries a lot of weight and so delivers a very specific sound. This was quite different in that it has been constructed of a thinner sheet of hammered brass that has a mottled look to it from the hammering patterns, and results in a lighter drum due to the reduced amount of brass in the shell. The ten lug design features tube lugs for a nice clean look in a chrome finish and the triple flanged hoops serve as a great balance for the overall construction. I really love the feel of the snare release lever, it has a great handle and a smooth action that was combined with the ability to adjust the snare wire’s tension from both sides on the adjustable butt plate, so either hand can change the tension.
The lighter weight of this drum made me want to think it was going to be lacking in tone somewhat, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. This drum is a monster and has every bit of thump and punch to it when tuned low. There is plenty of body to the sound and a good amount of sustain from the shell without ringing out uncontrollably. When tuned higher it gets a great snap to it that really cuts through the mix, and it goes even further when you tune it right up. This snare ends up sounding like a cross between a timbale and a piccolo snare, especially when the snare wire is disengaged. It has a ripping snap to its tone that allows it to be used as a second snare for great effects should you wish, or tuned lower for a real meaty sounding thump that would be right at home in any rock outfit. You’ve got to hand it to the team at Dixon, they have gotten this one right and it’s now easy to see why a drummer of Bissonette’s calibre is happy to put his name to it.
Hits and Misses
Lighter than expected build
Great range of tonal variety