Custom drum builders obviously love to put the best available hardware on their drums, and when it comes to snare drums, there is an obvious focus on the throw off (I’m old fashioned and sometimes still call it a snare strainer).
This blog will talk about the great throw off debate that has happened in our Minnesota drum shop, and of course has happened in custom drum companies across the country. For the sake of this blog, we will focus on throw offs primarily used by small to mid-sized custom drum builders who have not designed their own. Obviously most major drum companies like Drum Workshop and Ludwig have their game down in this department, although some major companies are lacking (Gretsch, I’m talking to you!). Nonetheless, most custom drum builders are not sourcing from the major drum companies, so we’ll leave them out.
Trick Multi-Step Throw Off
First, let’s talk about the best of the best out there. To many drum builders, the Trick multi-step throw off is the cream of the crop. The Trick throw off is machined from aluminum, is available in several finishes, and has flawless operation. You will find that perhaps a majority of custom drum builder’s adorn their snares with the Trick.
So what’s the downside? Well, the first is cost. A item this thoughtfully designed and machined comes with a price that will add about $60 to the cost of the drum, if the builder simply puts it on at his or her cost (selling at cost is a terrible way to stay in business)! In fairness, the expense is 100% justifiable to some (see below), and I have to say that it’s a pet peeve when people want something exceptional at a low, low cost. The other downside is its bulk that can make getting your snare drum into the case or bag a bit of a hassle. The key word here is a “bit”. If you love the Trick, it really won’t matter much to you. Last, a person could make the case that the Trick is over-engineered, a critique that might reflect a bit of envy.
Dunnet R4C Throw Off
Another frontrunner in the throw off department is the Dunnet R4C. Like the Trick, this throw off has perfect operation, and it unlike others on the market, it swivels to accommodate both right and left handed drummers, and it has a quick release feature to change heads without losing your settings. Cool.
I also think this throw-off is a clear winner in the looks department, with a design that would compliment most any snare drum style and finish.
The downside with this throw off is the same with the Trick, the cost. However, the design and execution makes no compromises, so like the Trick, the cost might be warranted to some.
Inde Strainer / Throw Off
On the up and coming list is the Inde throw-off, which operates similarly to the Ludwig P-85. Well-conceived with smooth operation an a reasonable cost, I see this one popping up more and more.
In the looks department, it is attractive but not quite generic enough to work esthetically on all snare drums. To be fair though, it was designed to be on Inde drums, which look outstanding, and not necessarily to be put on everyone’s snare drum.
As a replacement throw off, the Inde is a top contender with an adjustable mounting option to line up to existing holes.
So what do we use at Twin Cities Drum Collective? What you want of course!
That said, our stock choice is the Gibraltar Deluxe Classic, which has a Ludwig P-85 style of operation that is smooth and efficient. Further, it is relatively compact, and it looks great at a reasonable cost, literally taking thirty to fifty dollars of the price of the snare drum depending on the choice of throw off.
Now it comes down to this…how often do you use your throw-off?
In my punk band Dillinger Four, I have literally never turned off my snares in 25 years! I have had snares with the Trick throw-off, which was basically an exceptional yet dormant feature on my drum. If you rarely use the throw-off, save your money so long as your snare has a well-made one on it.
However, if you use your throw-off often, and you have a preference, then let’s hook you up with what you want! That’s the very definition of custom…making personal choices about the details that matter to you.
Know that at the Collective, we are looking out for both your preferences and your pocketbook!