Rocket Shells snare drum

Purchasing, restoring, and upgrading a used Rocket Shells snare drum unleashes a carbon fiber cannon.

By Darin Soll

I should listen to Rythym Dog--he has been right about every piece of advice he has given me. "Get the Aquarian Super Kick II--best bass drum head on the market." Agreed. "Don't buy cymbal packs--you will regret it." Check. "Paiste cymbals are worth the money." Yep, they are. "Check out Rocket Shells drums--they sound great." Again--true statement.

Rocket Shells 8x13 carbon fiber snare drum
Rocket Shells 8x13 carbon fiber snare drum:
Lightweight and powerful
Rocket Shells drums utilize carbon-fiber over core shells. They now focus on manufacturing shells rather than complete drums, but I was able to find a used Rocket Shells C-900 8x13 snare drum on eBay for $250. The hoops were bent and scratched up, but that's an easy fix for a drum that retails for $800. I threw away the old hoops and heads and cleaned up the shell and lugs. New Evans Power Center reverse dot and Hazy 300 heads and a set of 2.3mm WorldMax chrome hoops from my friends at'm not a big fan of dark-colored hoops--and I have essentially a brand new Rocket Shells snare drum!

Wow--this thing is a cannon. I tuned the snare side to 400Hz at the lugs, and batter side to 284Hz at the lugs, giving me a 3F note. A lot of body with very little overtone ring, and a decent rimshot, too. You can see this tuning along with Tune-bot tunings for other snares in Tuning drums with Tune-bot.

If you get a chance to pick up a Rocket Shells snare, listen to Rythym Dog--do it.



  1. Glad you like it!

    Mine is a 13 x 7 and current head choices are Remo coated Emporer batter and Remo Ambassador snare. I have had this snare since 2001 and it quickly became my main guy. Years ago I dubbed it "Big Black".

    Never had a reason to change the hoops (guess I just take care of it better!) and have found that this head combo can do just about anything...
    I have "put it in the dirt" and made it sound like an '80's power ballad snare and tweaked it so high it's a picc (actually sounds better than my Ludwig Super Classic 14 x 3!)

    I'm suprised many more artists are not using's great live and in the studio, a simple SM57 is all you need to make this drum sing (although I have had numerous mic's on it)

    Two other things I like about Big Black; rimeshots are killer and I get lots of comments on it's looks...

    Glad to see your enjoying it!

    -Rythym Dog

  2. An update on the tuning of my Rocket Shells 13x8 snare drum...see recent blog post "Getting the right sound out of your snare, part 2" for more details.

    After experimenting a bit with higher tunings on my Rocket Shells snare, it is currently tuned to 3A as a higher-pitched side snare option for my drum kit. At 3A, the lug frequencies on this drum are 364Hz on the batter side, and 400Hz on the resonant side. This does not conform to Tune-bot's recommendation to tune snare drum resonant lug frequencies a perfect fifth (1.5 times), perfect fourth (1.33 times), or major third (1.26 times) higher than batter lug frequencies, but it does heed their warning to not exceed 400Hz at the lugs with thinner snare heads.

    3A is a higher tuning, but well within the range of the shell of this snare. It creates a great crack for modern pop music!


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