We were sent two Outlaw snares to review with Modern Drummer, an eight-lug 6×13 in “chestnut glaze” finish, built from the Wilder timber, and a ten-lug 5×14 in “reborn blueberry,” reclaimed from a nineteenth century home that was torn down in 2013. Both drums feature chrome tube lugs, triple-flange chromed steel hoops, a Dunnett three-position roto-style throw-off, an Evans G1 Coated batter and Snare Side 300 bottom, and PureSound snare wires (twenty strands on the 13″ drums and sixteen strands on the 14″). The stave-style shells of these drums are thick and cut with sharp bearing edges. The exteriors of the shells are painstakingly finished to maintain a rustic look and textured feel that hearken back to the buildings from which the drums are built.
The 6×13 has one of the original nails in the shell, and the vent is actually a 1″ bolt hold. The 5×14 drum has a cool-looking blue/chestnut finish on the inside and outside of the shell that was applied meticulously by hand to match the weathered look of the building from which it was build. Outlaw’s .125″-thick “forest guard” metal badges are modeled after the shield worn by the U.S. Forest Service, which was established by Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 to preserve the country’s natural wonders. All of these features combine to give Outlaw snare drums a world-class appearance with a lot of history and vibe.
Sonically, both drums were bright and snappy with strong articulation and nice snare response. The 13″ turned out to be the more versatile of the two. It sounded very lively and popping tuned very tight, while a medium tuning brought out an open, all-purpose voice. Lower tunings produced a fat and punchy sound with a nice pitch bend in the sustain. The 5×14 had a similar overall tone, but it performed best at medium and lower tunings, where the natural brightness of the thick pine shell was counter-balanced by the depth and punch created when the heads were at a lower pitch. Even detuned all the way, this drum still had a strong, sizzling presence. No muffling was required on either snare during our testing.
Outlaw also uses smaller pieces of reclaimed timber to make wooden bass drum beaters, and custom snare racks are available. Drum collectors, take note!