> > > BeatIt Test: Dixon Gregg Bissonette Signature Snare

BeatIt tests the Dixon PDSSG654CS-GB-CR snare drum

Dixon is a manufacturer of high quality drum kits and snare drums (as well as hardware). We have already presented several snares from this brand, all of which were of very good quality and sounded great, while the Chris Brady signature model particularly attracted our attention. This time around, let us, together with drummer Tomasz Mądzielewski (Mrozu, Ania Karwan, Lion Shepherd), take a closer look at the snare drum bearing Gregg Bissonette‘s name on it.

dixon gregg bissonette tomasz żaba mądzielewski

Gregg Bissonette is a session and live drummer, who has been professionally active for over 30 years and has worked with such popular and established acts as: David Lee Roth, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Toto, Steve Lukather, Pat Boone, Electric Light Orchestra, Carlos Santana or Ringo Starr & His All Star Band. He has also played on soundtracks to such TV and cinema hits as “Friends“, “American Pie“, “American Pie 2” czy “Payback” starring Mel Gibson. Gregg is also a renowned educator, who has released two classic instructional drum videos: “Private Lesson” and “Playing, Reading & Soloing with a Band“. We are dealing with a serious player, so let’s see if the snare drum is just as good.


Here are our impressions:

  1. The packaging and finish

The snare drum, bearing the symbol PDSSG654CS-GB-CR and sized 6.5″ x 14″, is equipped with a drum key and a Remo CS Coated drum head with a Dixon logo. Let’s face it, even a top-shelf snare doesn’t need a USB cable, battery or a charging station. An instrument of this sort is supposed to be durable and sound good. It won’t hurt if it looks nice either and this one looks stunning. Its hammered brass Black Nickel finish shell makes a really good impression.

2. The product

The tuning rods and the lugs work flawlessly. As we used a head different than the one put on by the manufacturer (WS Classic Coated), we can even say that there was more grease in the tuning rod bushings than necessary. However, that’s not something we should consider a disadvantage. Better too much than too little… We have no negative comments regarding the throw-off mechanism and the snares. All the mechanical parts function without any problems.


3. The test

For dampening, we used the Dixon PAMF 1623 and the snare was tuned in the following fashion:

  • Low tuning – pitch D (no snares)
  • Low tuning – pitch D (with snares)
  • Low tuning – pitch D (with snares and muffler)
  • Mid tuning – pitch F# (no snares)
  • Mid tuning – pitch F# (with snares)
  • Mid tuning – pitch F# (with snares and muffler)
  • High tuning – pitch A (no snares)
  • High tuning – pitch A (with snares)
  • High tuning – pitch A (with snares and muffler)

Microphones used:

  • Bayerdynamic M99 (Dixon Artisan Maple Bubinga bass drum)
  • Shure 545 SD (snare top)
  • Audix i5 (snare bottom)
  • Earthworks TC 30 (overheads)
  • Prodipe (ambience)


Here is what testing drummer Tomasz Mądzielewski had to say about the Dixon PDSSG654CS-GB-CR snare: “A great brass-shell snare that is very universal and works in all tunings. It can easily be used in many different styles (funk,rock,jazz). When not dampened, the snare produces a nice, clean sound with no unnecessary overtones, the shell resonates in a good way. When tuned low, it produces beautiful, warm and soft low tones.

Sound engineer Przemysław Wejmann‘s opinion: “This snare’s attack is powerful but not overly explosive at the same time. I liked this feature in combination with the broad dynamic range. I would say this Dixon sounds very warm, even wood warm. It’s a wonderful instrument!“.

Here are the impressions of BeatIt’s editor Marcin “Viking” Leitgeber: “I had a session at Perlazza Studio a few weeks after we recorded the test. I decided it would be a good idea to take the Dixon Gregg Bissonette signature snare to the studio and make a blind test using three of my personal instruments, i.e. a 6.5″ x 14″ Yamaha Brass, a 8″ x 14″ birch shell Pearl and a 6″ x 14″ maple shell OCDP. The basic premise was I was gonna record using the one that sounded best. The Dixon PDSSG654CS-GB-CR won because of its broad dynamic range, i.e. it responded very well at all levels of dynamics while the ghost notes seemed even a bit too loud when playing. Of course, when listening back, they were exactly as loud as they should be.

4. Summary

If there is anything we could niggle about concerning the Dixon PDSSG654CS-GB-CR snare, it would be the fact that a top-class instrument like this could come with a bag as a nice bonus for the buyer. Otherwise, we see no disadvantages to this snare drum. Even the suggested retail price of PLN 2420 (about 575 dollars or euros) shouldn’t give anybody a heart attack considering the product segment it sits in. Gregg Bissonette has absolutely no reason to worry about his reputation here.

Producer: http://www.playdixon.com

Distributor in Poland: http://soundtrade.pl

SCORE: (5/5)



  • very well crafted
  • great design/look
  • broad dynamic range in all tunings
  • versatile, good for many music styles
  • reasonable price


  • no bag