These drums are often overlooked as overly complicated and fussy. Whilst this is true to some extent, you will probably have gathered I do prefer these soundwise over a Supra for the extra bit of cut they can give from the longer wires. Despite being designed for orchestral work they are quite happy being used for full volume stuff too. Getting rid of snare wire buzz can be a chore on these drums, and this help page is basically the knowledge I've learnt from trial and error. Firstly check the snare wires are unstretched. After this point it's time to check the mech!

Supra Mech SS Mech
Above: Both both mechanisms had been dropped and bent by one of the previous owners, check the alignment! Needless to say this left the wires all tensioned up unevenly with the snare side head and caused lots of snare wire buzz!

This type of damage is very typical on second hand drums, especially if the guards are missing. If you are buying blind (Ebay etc) then be very careful and ask specific questions. From experience I'd only buy one if I could see unbent guards. The mechanism doesn't take kindly to impacts so any problems often occur from being knocked around on the road! One thing I recently discovered with the guards is they actually ring in sympathy with the drum and although subtle it might come through on a recording. With that in mind I'd personally remove the guards for the take. I don't think it would be noticeable live.

Let's have a look at what to check for on the main mechanism:

1970's Super Sensitive Mech analysed

Above: Here's a 70's SS during a rebuild, I'd corrected alot of minor faults by this stage and here are some things I look out for before cleaning / reassembling:

1. The two forks in the base plate need to be level and unbent.

2. The threaded rod for the adjustment should be perfectly straight. It is actually a press fit into the forked plate so make sure it's rock solid and not loose.

3. The thread in the plastic lever should be unstripped and the lever not snapped in any way. The weakest point in this plastic piece is the slotted hole with the rivet in it at the other end.

4. The sliding snare wire carrier is two plates riveted together. Make sure the bottom plate has right angled corners and is parallel to the top plate for a good fit on the forked base plate. This will minimise rotation of the wires.

Once you are happy the mechs are in good shape the next thing to look at is alignment when mounting the mechanisms to the shell:

Level Mech

Above: Mount the mech level with the snare bed, the holes in the shell do allow some movement and just fixing the mech's on doesn't guarantee level wires! I use the arrowed edge as a reference when doing this.

For a quick check you can do a partial build minus the hoop to see if you are in the ballpark too:

Quick check

If the wires are floating a touch high try mounting the mechs lower by loosening the two screws and pushing down whilst tightening. If one corner is raised re-check tightening the screws hasn't lifted the mech out of level!

That deals with the two bottom halves of the mech. Now for the linkages:

Mech Linkages

Each linkage has two screws, the bottom one adjusts the mech angle and the top one locks the linkage. The quickest way to set these up is to loosen off both lock screws and set the adjusters to tilt the mechs downwards making sure the mech lever is set fully on. Now turn the adjuster to lift the mech upwards until you start feeling a little resistance. At this point tighten the lock screw. Repeat for the other side. Now when you flip the lever up to engage the snare wires fully you can be sure that they are. If you have to replace the linkage as shown on the right make a note of the direction the pivot point is facing with the wires set to off. You'll know if you got it wrong when reassembled because as one mech comes up the other will go down!!! Finally check you have the correct bottom hoop:

Hoop Gates

A - 70's Super Sensitive (note extended depth Snare Gate)

B - 70's Supra

C - Early 60's COB Supra type (extended gate but narrower and squarer profile than A)