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04/29/2003 Entry: "The Bearing Edge Review"

The Bearing Edge Review

It's finally here. (http://billyrhythm.com/drums/snares/be.jpg) I didn't tell anyone here (or any message board) that I ordered it. I wanted to see how well the process would go first. You know, so I could give you all a faithful representation of went actually went down.

I won't go into the ordering process too much. But let me say this: if you want a Bearing Edge snare drum, be prepared to wait. I paid in full, with the idea that my eight week wait would be cut down to four. I STILL waited 14 weeks. Also, Kevin's communication skills are a little weak, IMHO. Once you get a dialogue going, he's ok. But in between, there are no updates. No "This part is back ordered" kinda thing. Once you can get him on the line, he's ok, but it can take a week for him to respond to an email. I would advise you to buy one of the snares he sells on ebay--that way, the snare's all made, and you can have it in a few days. If you simply must custom order one, be forewarned.

Now the review. I ordered my drum in 6 7/8" deep by 14". I had him put Bubinga veneer on the outside AND the inside. (He usually only does one side.) I ordered olive ash burl hoops, and a clear and brass Nickelworks strainer.

Construction: The drum was finished in a high gloss Italian polyester finish. Italian? Polyester? Beats me. The drum is drop dead gorgeous. He also offers a satin finish. I've read of a couple of owners who've had their veneer on a satin finished drum go south on them. I think the gloss looks good, and it is better for protection.

Bearing edges were sharp, with what looks to me like a 45 inner, and a more obtuse outer. The bubinga veneer was spotless. The olive ash hoops had some imperfections in them. There where a couple of knots, and it appears that the width of the veneer on one end was not wide enough to cover the width of the hoop. So on the other end, a tongue was cut protruding out, so it filled in the gap on the other end. It really just means the seam is not straight--it looks like and upside down "L." It's not really noticeable, and certainly not from a distance. And, due to the nature of wood, and not knowing what olive ash burl looks like in general, I wasn't very concerned. (The hoops, by the way, are guaranteed for life.)

The drum hardware is as simple as it is beautiful. Machined brass. Yummy! I ordered mine with 10 lugs. That way, if I ever want to put metal hoops on this drum, I can. Now, the tube lugs don't have inserts, and brass is quite soft, so be careful when putting tension rods in. But, since you'll be using claw hooks instead of hoop ears, getting things lined up will be a breeze. And who rushes through a head change on an instrument of this quality? I won't! And this is my first snare with a Nickelworks strainer. I see what all the buzz is about--this is the smoothest, slickest, and most dang-nambnest strainer I've ever used. I used to like Gladstone style vertical strainers best, but this one has really got me. Pricey, yes, but if I can find a good deal, I may retrofit some snares.

Sound: This is the deepest drum I've ever owned. (Well, not quite. I do have a 12" deep Ludwig stainless marching snare, but that never gets on a stand.) I ordered it deep as I wanted something fat. And boy did I get it! This baby wants to be tuned low. It will go high, but I'm a believer in a drum having a resonate frequency (or two) at which the drum will have its fullest tone. And for me, and this drum, it was low. If was a little lower in pitch than my Pearl Masters Burl Mahogany (http://billyrhythm.com/drums/snares/mahogany.jpg). That drum is 6 1/2" deep, and has reinforcing hoops.

I've also read that the wood hoops play a big part in the sound. Metal hoops introduce high end resonances to drum sound. Without the metal hoops, rimshots take on an entirely new sound. On the Mahogany, the base note was deep, but smacking the die cast rim introduces high end sparkle. On the wood hooped BE drum, there's an extra SPANK. Or better, extra THWOOK. It's got some extra hardness, and little extra sharpness, but the overtones are very much like that of the drum itself. It's very pleasing. Also really cool--the hoops are made so they cover the aluminum "flesh" hoop of the drum head. It really cleans up the lines, and keeps everything tidy.

Downsides. Well, wait time, one. Sensitivity is a little strange. I have no problem getting snare response, even at low volume. But sometimes, ghost notes get mushed together. Of course, on a 7" deep drum, you don't expect the same snare response as a 5" COB cranked pretty tight. But this snare won't be my primary funk snare. But then, I didn't buy if for that.

Sum up: A very good looking, good sounding snare at a good price. Be ready to wait, but I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Replies: 1 person has rocked the mic!

Hi Billy,

(couldn't find a place to respond to your "Ghost" pages, so replying here)

Great to see the "Ghost" pedal being featured. I've used a Ghost exclusively for over 30 years, and absolutely love it! I've never had a mechanical failure, and was able to get both speed and precision out of it like no other pedal I've ever tried. When set correctly, it will produce double and triple taps like no other pedal. Hint on the setting of the springs: once you've got the pedal dialed in, mark the position on the outer ring, opposite the spring tension release. When folding, press in on the spring release, and let the springs relax their tension. When setting up again, merely press the spring release detent, and dial them back in. Worked every night, different city, for years!
I treasure my pedal, figure it's the best thing ever made. Thanks again for spotlighting this fine piece of machinery!


Posted by Garry @ 05/02/2003 11:54 AM EST

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