Our gear is the tools of the trade. Like any craftsperson we don’t use all our tools on every job but we still need them available. Who knows when a gig will come up for Conga, Djembe or Cajon? It least that’s what I tell myself.
Also like most other drummers, I love snare drums. Snares are most our essential tool. It’s one piece of our kit we simply can’t go anywhere without and arguably the one piece that signifies you as a player. Your sound. So, finding a snare (or snares) that you love is a very special and personal thing. I look for a drum that expresses something about me. I want a unique sound, maybe a unique look, and I want quality. Plus of course, I also want something that other drummers will envy!
For a geek like me (and let’s face it, you are one) the proliferation of custom drum builders over that last couple of decades has been very exciting. Hand built and often totally customised snares can be sourced from around the globe, the Far East, USA, Australasia, South America all have custom drum builders making quality instruments, more often than not using locally sourced exotic woods creating drums that reflect the uniqueness of their origin.
Here in the UK our indigenous woods include (amongst others) Ash, Beech, Oak, Birch, Maple, and Mahogany, all of which are suited to drum shell manufacture. Your choice depends on the sound characteristics and look you are seeking.
DSP Drums are a custom snare builder owned by Dave Page and based in South Benfleet, Essex a somewhat inauspicious commuter town between Southend and London.
Dave started making drums for himself about seven years ago and, being rather good at it, soon found there was a demand for his creations from fellow drummers. In my opinion people like Dave are one of the things that makes our industry so special. Dave makes drums with passion, pride, creativity and craftsmanship. Each DSP snare drum (Dave only makes snare shells) is made by hand by Dave from start to finish and is completely unique.
These are primarily stave drums made from Birch, Beech, Oak, and Mahogany or a combination of woods. Recently Dave has also been experimenting with incorporating resin into the wood to create a very unique look and resulting in a slightly higher, brighter, more focused tone. DSP’s first and currently only endorsee Jed (Wolfie) Pearson of the band Follow Deep helped design his own. The result is pictured, a stunning Idigbo (African exotic hardwood) stave creation with a “soundwave” resin insert.
DSP make drums using only reclaimed woods. It means they are environmentally friendly and contributing in their small way to a sustainable planet. Hardware is sourced from various suppliers around Europe, notably from Germany. Cheaper alternatives could undoubtedly be sourced further “east” but Dave prefers not to compromise, which is evidenced in the finished product. This attention to detail and (frankly) love for his craft can be seen in each drum he makes. They are clearly not mass-produced and that means you get a look and sound that is unique to you. Ask Dave to build you a drum to order and you can have a hand in the design process. Choose your woods, hardware, finish etc and create something special to you.
You can buy a DSP snare drum off the shelf (when available) from around £295.00. If you have looked into the price of bespoke drums, you’ll know what incredible value for money that is. Most custom snares range from £500.00- £1,000.00 and in some cases more.
For the future DSP are looking into adding metal snares to their current offering and the possibility of full kits somewhere down the line. For now however, Dave is happy to make special one off snares for unique musicians. Just like you.