Not long go, we received yet another parcel from drumstore.pl – an importer and distributor for numerous drum and percussion brands. This time round, it contains two snare drums from the freshly rejuvenated Polmuz brand, which premiered in late 2019. Naturally, being Polish, we were more than happy to take a closer look at the instruments.
We are testing a 13″ x 6.5″ Polmuz Tulipwood Snare Drum
1. The test
Having unpacked the instruments, we were itching to get our hands on them. Once we’d had our way with them, we set off to our top secret special-purpose room, where we took a few still shots and sank our teeth in them to make the video.
2. Basic specification of the snare drum tested here:
- Producer: Polmuz
- Model: TL-S1365-IBR
- Material: Tulipwood
- Shell: 6 plies (6.9 mm)
- Colour: Natural, matte brown w/ inlay stripe
- Finish: Lacquer
- Size: 13 ” x 6.5″
- Hardware: Chrome
- Heads: Evans G1 Coated / Polmuz (clear, single ply)
- Snares: PureSound, 20 strand
- Lugs: Tube Lugs
- Tension rods: 8
3. Product and sound
The 13″ x 6.5″ Polmuz Tulipwood snare is an instrument that is triply interesting to us. Firstly, it proudly boasts a shiny badge of a brand which contributed to educating young drummers in Poland under the communist rule. Polmuz was a state-owned company founded in the 1960s with its factory located in Warsaw. They went out of business in the late 1990s. We must say that the quality of those products always left quite a lot to be desired. In 2018, the DrumStore team decided to breathe new life into the brand by purchasing the rights to the Polmuz name. Secondly, the snare drum tested here is made from tulipwood, which is not commonly seen material in our country. Thirdly, one does not often encounter snare drums made by Polish manufacturers with a 13-inch diameter.
It is the right moment to state that the quality of the craftsmanship in this instrument in no way resembles its communist-era predecessors, and today a snare drum with the Polmuz logo is in no way inferior to those from the competition who keep offering constantly new instruments and technological solutions. The edges of the shell are waxed, and expertly cut at a 45-degree angle while the bearing edge is nicely rounded to ensure proper contact between the head and the body as well as some serious attack. All the accessories (tube lugs, throw-off, strainer, badge) are chrome-plated and look very tasteful in combination with the natural, minimalist, lacquered finish (the lacquer is matte and colourless) with a nice inlay stripe as icing on the cake. The tension rods work smoothly and hold tight. Only when we tried some seriously high tuning, did we encounter a certain level of resistance from them. The throw-off, the maker of which is unknown to us, works efficiently, and the snares respond well to strokes at all levels of dynamics.
Since we have used the word “strokes”, we feel it is high time to discuss the sound. We tested the 13″ x 6.5″ Polmuz Tulipwood snare drum using three types of tuning achieved with the help of a Tune-Bot device:
- A (third octave, 319 Hz on the batter head and 398 Hz on the batter head)
- G (third octave, 266 Hz on the batter head and 398 Hz on the bottom head)
- E (third octave, 229 Hz on the batter head and 343 Hz on the bottom head)
In each case, we played the instrument with the snares idle and strained, with a dampening drum head on, with a wallet placed on the batter head for the same purpose, and we presented the cross stick sound.
The attack displayed by the snare drum is very pleasant to the ear, and the dynamic range is wide enough for the instrument to successfully render ghost notes and all tremolo notes. The sound is warm, with a slightly ringing tail when undampened. Dampening produces a very intriguing, noticeably focused, dryish effect. The snare drum is quite loud and focused, even without dampening (although, of course, the latter gives more control over decay). We would venture to say that the sound characteristic is rather funky. A pleasant and relatively loud cross stick must also be considered an asset. When tuned low and with an inverted drum head put on top of the batter head for dampening effect, we were close do deadening the instrument’s sound (but not quite), and we really liked this approach as the snare maintains some life without losing its tonal warmth. High-pitch tuning with no dampening is perfect for such music genres as: Funk, R&B, Reggae or Pop.
This instrument is not as stylistically versatile as the 14″ x 7.5″ Sycamore snare we have also tested because its 13-inch diameter will probably not satisfy cannonade maniacs (let us not forget that the Joey Jordison signature snare from Pearl is made from steel). Its sonic possibilities (good dynamics and attack in each tuning), in turn, are very satisfactory. Even diehard metal heads should be able to squeeze something out of it if they use it as a secondary snare on their kits.
OUR RATING: 5/5
- Warm sound
- Decent dynamic range
- Interesting almost deadened sound
- Evans heads included
- Beautiful look
- Tension rods tend to resist when trying to tune very high