Real quick: Check out the September issue of DRUM! Magazine to see my review of the Paiste Masters Collection.
I hate to do this twice in a row, but, much like the Istanbul OM Crash, the subject of this week’s review was also given to me as an unreasonably generous gift. While I know the drum’s background isn’t particularly relevant to the review, I would feel terrible if I skipped the story.
I’m going to try and condense this down to Reader’s Digest size.
I worked at a restaurant on a college campus in Florida for several years. I met lots of really incredible people, and made friends that I’ll be lucky to keep for years to come. When I finished school and decided to head north, one of my coworkers took up a collection to put a little cash toward a going-away gift. As another of the employees had experience building drums, they suggested the money be used for a custom snare.
When the work was finished, everyone signed the inside of the shell, and they surprised me with the drum around the time I moved. I had no idea it was coming, and it’s one of the most extraordinary things that’s ever happened to me. I hope all of this doesn’t sound crass or braggy, but it was something that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.
The drum in question is a 14×6” 10 ply maple snare built by Brandon Kinch and Rusty Kent at Cherry Bomb Custom Drums. Finished in a matte red stain with a pearl inlay around the middle, the snare is equipped with dual 45° bearing edges, 2.3mm steel hoops, tube lugs, a Trick 007 throwoff, Puresound Custom wires and four ¼” vents with broad steel grommets.
At first glance (after I got over my fairly embarrassing emotional reaction) I was struck by how simultaneously modern and classic the drum looked – the photos simply don’t do it justice. From the subdued wood grain to the sleek, clean lugs to the throwoff that looks like a spare part from MIR, I thought the guys at Cherry Bomb did an excellent job putting together a very beautiful, timeless snare.
Despite the Cherry Bomb snare’s seemingly universal appeal, the sound does cater to a more contemporary vibe. With four one quarter inch vents, the drum speaks with a sharp, dry crack that feels most suitable for loud rock – an excellent choice for cutting through a din of ear-piercing guitar.
While that outrageous crack is plenty satisfying, (I hate to say this) I found the drum lacking substantial tone. I like a snare with a fair amount of body and maybe a little ugliness around the end of the note. Unfortunately, vented snares often lose a lot of body because the air inside evacuates the drum very quickly, dramatically reducing sustain.
Because I had no interest relegating this drum to limited duty, I solved the problem by purchasing a few brass pipe caps from a hardware store, and sealing the vents from the inside. The grommets Cherry Bomb used on this snare drum have a threaded insert that extends into the shell, so capping the holes was a breeze.
Since I’ve had the drum, Brandon and I have discussed reversing the grommet placement and shipping the drum with the same caps, offering players the option of adjusting the vent of each drum within seconds.
With the three caps in place, the drum is a total monster. Topped with a reverse dot, the Cherry Bomb snare is huge and stadium-ready, but it really shines with a Remo Vintage Ambassador. Crisp, sensitive and dynamic with an enormous tuning range, I’ve used it in just about every situation imaginable and it’s never let me down. Equally capable of producing a fat, round smack and tight funky pop, I bring it to every performance.
I can only hope that the information in this review and the attached images and video have piqued your interest about Cherry Bomb Custom Drums. I was fortunate enough to receive this drum as a gift, but after playing it for many months, I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase it outright.
If anyone involved in the construction of this drum reads this review, I hope that I’ve adequately expressed how much it means to me. I don’t think I’ve ever been so humbled by anything. Sorry to be weird and emotional about it, but it really is the nicest thing that’s ever happened to me.
Special thanks to big Will, Brandon and everyone involved.