Building Dialtune: The Snare Beds

Building Dialtune: The Snare Beds

Snare Beds: The Midnight Fix 

In the world of drum making, especially for a small team like ours working out of a garage, the road to innovation is filled with unexpected challenges. Our journey to perfecting the dialtune snare bed profile is a testament to this, marked by a night of stress and a surprising turn of events just before NAMM—a key moment for us. 

The Eve of NAMM 

The night before the 2019 NAMM show we found ourselves in a predicament that threatened to derail the unveiling of the very first dialtune snare drum to the world. As we went to assemble the drums that were going to be the centerpiece of our booth at NAMM, it became clear that the drum shells, crucial to our presentation, were unusable due to a serious issue with the finish. In desperation, we turned to a couple of old, raw drum shells that were collecting dust in my dad's garage. It was less than ideal, but it was our only shot to present something we could be proud of at the show! 

A Family Effort 

With just a few hours to spare, all we had to work with was a router table with a single 45-degree bit, an old belt-driven drill press, and a handheld rotary sander. Typically, our shells are precision drilled on a CNC machine, but this was not an option. We had worked so hard to get to this moment and I was about to go into a full-blown panic. 

Enter my dad, who, in a moment of necessity, became an unsung hero of our Dialtune story. If my dad has a super-power, it is his ability to remain calm in the most stressful of situations. With his help, we were able to get the shells hand drilled and the bearing edges finished. The final step was to add the snare beds. Without a jig, we were left with only the orbital sander for this critical step. The snare bed profile I was used to would not be possible with this method. 

Not wanting to mess up the only shell we had left, I closed my eyes and turned over the drum shell and sander to my dad. Using just the orbital sander, he crafted the snare beds. This wasn't about perfection; it was about getting it done with what we had. His makeshift solution was crude but effective, shaping the snare beds that would soon surprise us all. 

The Unplanned Success 

Fast forward to NAMM, our drum was an absolute hit. You know us for our ability to tune on the fly and speedy head changes – but drummer after drummer focused feedback on the sensitivity and response of the snare wires, something we hadn’t anticipated. It turns out that the depth and width of the snare beds that my dad achieved with the orbital sander ended up being the perfect match to our unique pulley system hardware. It allowed the snare wires to sit just right against the reso head, giving the drum a lively crack, while maintaining sensitivity all the way out to the very edge of the head. It was a moment of realization for us: sometimes, the best solutions come from the most pressing needs and the simplest tools. Thanks dad!  

 

Since the 2019 NAMM, we've launched both the makers series, and our now staple drum, the 6.5 x 14in Dialtune snare. We've refined our manufacturing process and are working with some of the best manufacturing partners in the industry. One of the challenges we had was to figure out how to achieve the same snare bed profile that my dad accomplished in the garage, but to produce it with precision and at scale. With the current version of our Maple snare drum, we have achieved this!

 

Reflecting on the Journey 

This experience, stressful and improvised, highlights what Dialtune is all about. We're not just drum builders; we're a team that believes in solving problems and making the best out of every situation. Our journey to that NAMM in 2019, with all its ups and downs, shows that innovation can come from anywhere—even a dusty old garage in the eleventh hour. 

For us, and hopefully for our fellow drummers, it’s a reminder that in life, like in music, the unexpected can sometimes lead to the best outcomes. Learn to breathe and stay calm under pressure, like my Dad. Improvise. Make the most out of what you have. Your breakthrough could be just around the corner. 

The snare beds, born out of a late-night fix, now stand as a key feature of our drums. Cheers to making it work, no matter what!

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