Gretsch Ash Soan Signature Snare Review

Gretsch Ash Soan Signature Snare

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The Gretsch Ash Soan Signature Snare is a stunning drum from Gretsch made in collaboration with the famous session musician Ash Soan. It’s a premium snare drum, being made from highly sought-after Purpleheart wood and producing tones that work in many settings. It has many of Gretsch’s best design features, making it a great snare to add to your arsenal of gear. 

Gretsch Ash Soan Signature Snare

Key Features

  • 9-ply purpleheart shell
  • 12” x 7” size
  • Lightning throw off
  • 4mm die-cast hoops
  • Double 45-degree bearing edges
  • Natural wood finish

89/100

Ash Soan has been using a version of this snare drum for many years. He recently partnered with Gretsch to produce more models and make them available to the public. Ash Soan is one of the most in-demand drummers in the world, and he designed this snare drum to tackle any gig. 

It’s a versatile snare drum, and its unique size gives it a sound that you won’t find from many other snares. Purpleheart is a premium wood to use for shells, further boosting the quality of this snare drum. 

Along with the die-cast hoops, double-bearing edges, and Gretsch Lighting throw off, you’re getting a professional snare that exudes quality. However, is the Gretsch Ash Soan Signature Snare a good option for every drummer? Let’s find out as we look closer at all the features. 

Gretsch Ash Soan Signature Snare Ratings

Sounds

Build Quality

Playability

Finish

Value

Gretsch Ash Soan Signature Snare Sound Quality 

The purpleheart shell is the main contributor to the sound of this snare. Purpleheart gives drum tones that are very rich, and you’ll distinctly hear that here. The snare is also widely responsive, reacting just as well to soft strokes as it does to loud ones. 

The unique thing about this snare is its size. The diameter is 12”, and the depth is 7”. 12-inch snares are fairly common, but you won’t find too many with as deep of a depth. The deeper shell allows this snare drum to be tuned lower than most smaller snares, and that adds to its versatility. 

You get a very strong rimshot sound thanks to the die-cast hoops, making the snare perfect for playing strong backbeat grooves on large stages. You get plenty of volume from it when you need it, but it’s also responsive when you play softly. 

When it comes to tuning, the snare tends to sound far better in mid to high tunings. There are a few nasty overtones in lower tunings, but you can counter those with some muffling. Even though the larger depth makes the snare deeper, you won’t be able to get a seriously deep tone from it as you would from a 14-inch snare. 

With no muffling, the snare thrives with tighter tuning. I love the tight crack it produces at a high tuning setting. It’s punchy but not harsh enough to be overwhelming. Adding a bit of muffling will tighten up the cracking sound, even more, when needed. 

Gretsch Ash Soan Signature Snare Build Quality

The Gretsch Ash Soan Signature Snare features many of Gretsch’s top-quality build features. 

The die-cast hoops are the first feature to pay attention to. They’re heavier than standard hoops, giving the snare a more premium feel. Even though it’s smaller, it still feels very solid. 

These hoops are paired with double 45-degree bearing edges. Bearing edges are where the drumheads connect with the shell, and the ones on this snare are designed to distribute the tones very evenly. 

They ensure that the snare is easy to tune and that your tuning settings stay in place for extended periods. 

Something about this snare that you’ll find different from others is that the throw off and nozzle to tighten the snare wires are placed on separate sides of the shell. These typically come as one lever, but you get slightly more control here by having them separated. 

The Lightning throw off is incredibly smooth, allowing you to make quick adjustments in the middle of songs. There’s nothing too fancy about the throw off, though. I find this a bit disappointing considering that other snares of this price have throw offs with multiple features. 

Gretsch Ash Soan Signature Snare Playability

The snare is very versatile for the most part. You can easily use it in a variety of different musical settings, and it will sound amazing. 

You get a strong cracking tone from it, meaning it would perform better in funk, pop, and hip-hop settings, though. Any style that is very energetic and needs a high-pitched snare would be ideal. 

This makes it an excellent snare drum to have in a recording studio. Studios always have an assortment of snare drums, and this is a perfect addition to bring out when you need a rich snare that pops. 

With the snare not sounding as good when tuned lower, there are certain styles where it wouldn’t be your best option. If you’re looking for a thick snare drum that has a deep thud, you won’t be able to get that sound with this one. The diameter is too small to get that needed extended resonance. 

Another concern with this snare is the cross-stick sound. With the diameter only being 12”, you won’t be able to get as strong of a cross-stick as you would with larger snare drums. This is because the sweet spot of your stick is too far up the shaft to strike the rim. 

Gretsch Ash Soan Signature Snare Finish

The Gretsch Ash Soan Signature Snare only has a single finish, which is the purpleheart wood that it’s made from. You get a natural wood appearance that is dark purple. The finish looks very controlled and elegant, and the color of the die-cast hoops complements the color nicely. 

The big downside here is that you don’t have any other options for how the snare drum looks. This is typically the case with signature snares, though. Purple isn’t a color that easily fits everything, and that’s what sets this snare apart from other natural wood finish snares in terms of visuals. 

While this is something that could turn a few drummers off from it, I don’t think it’s something to worry about. Sounds are a lot more important than looks, and this snare sounds too incredible not to consider because it doesn’t fit the aesthetic of your kit. It may just grow on you!

Gretsch Ash Soan Signature Snare Value 

This snare is quite expensive compared to most other 12-inch snare drums on the market. 

Purpleheart wood is quite rare, and you’ll mostly find drums from boutique companies being made with it, as well as a few expensive options from DW Drums. 

The sound quality and usability that you get from this snare make the price worth it if you can afford it. However, there are many more economical alternatives out there that are better options to go with for most drummers. 

It’s understandable why Gretsch would put such a high price on this snare drum, but it lowers its competitiveness. $900 is a lot to pay for a snare drum when you could get a professional one that is $500 and a lot bigger. 

You can also get the DW Collector’s Purpleheart snare for a slightly lower price, and it has standard snare dimensions. 

Overall, the high price tag is the biggest hurdle that this snare drum has. It has excellent value, but I’d suggest it to a lot more people if it didn’t cost so much. If you’re comfortable with the price, then you’ll be happy with an amazing snare drum that offers an incredible amount. 

Verdict

The Gretsch Ash Soan Signature Snare is a great option to consider if you’re either a fan of Ash Soan or you want a popping snare with rich tones. 

Its unique size makes it highly appealing as a snare drum to add to a collection. You can pull it out whenever you need something that snaps but still has plenty of tonal depth to it. You could also easily use it as your main snare drum for most settings. 

Ash Soan has recorded hundreds of albums in his professional music career, and this snare drum was his go-to option for several of those. It’s a fantastic studio snare, as the purpleheart shell’s tone gets picked up by mics beautifully. 

This isn’t a snare drum for everyone, though, especially considering the high price tag. It’s ideal for professional drummers or studio producers. 

Just note that the cross-stick sound isn’t very strong due to its size. It’s not the most optimal snare drum if you play in quiet venues where cross-sticks are your main way of striking the snare. 

What Comes In The Gretsch Ash Soan Signature Snare Box?

  • 12x7 Drum shell
  • 20-Strand snares
  • Lightning throw off
  • Remo drumheads

Gretsch Ash Soan Signature Snare At A Glance

Pros

  • Rich tone from the purpleheart shell
  • Great option for several different styles of music
  • Small size makes it ideal to use as a side snare
  • Die-cast hoops boost the overall quality of the snare

Cons

  • Very expensive for a 12” snare drum
  • Cross-sticks don’t sound as strong as they would on larger snares
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