There are very few times in life where a beauty just drops into your lap. Yes, even with my wife I had to work for that to happen lol.
Yet, with snares I always find myself looking and searching for great deals and great quality.
Well, I was gifted (which I later traded for my 1971 Ludwig Supraphonic) with a gem called a Pearl Free floating Maple 6.5×14!
What is a free-floating snare? Well, I’m glad you asked because until I was able to really dive into this drum I had little knowledge of it myself.
After doing some digging on some forums and websites I found the perfect explanation for this unique system.
Let’s Start off with a little history on this type of building.
The first company to ever put out the free floating system was a brand named CB700. CB was one of 30 other brands apart of a division of Pearl that was introduced in 1961. This was in an effort to get into west coast music stores and cash in on the craze of Rock and Roll that was blowing up in the United States at the time. You can check out more information about CB through this article.
From a few articles and forums that i read, it was said that Pearl and CB700 shared the same warehouse early on. We now know that CB was a division of Pearl drum, so that makes sense.
Since this is true, it allowed Pearl to license the system early and I’m sure test it as a CB-700 product before putting it on the main stream market as a Pearl product.
This statement I made before finding out the above information does not hold any weight now because again CB was a division of Pearl Drums. (Additionally, if a contract was made between these two companies it disbanded CB-700 from making any more of their models because of the rights now being owned by Pearl.)
This is of course are all information from all the Facebook groups, forums and articles I have comes across. This information does still create a really good story that can get the juices going about how this all went down. There are things still unknown………………………………..
Well besides that, lets get into what is the free floating system is.
According to the Pearl drummers forum, which are compiled threads slightly edited from people answering questions, gives a great explanation of how this Free Floating system works.
The forum states,
“The Pearl Free Floating system is unique in that it allows the top and bottom heads to be tuned separately. This is accomplished by creating a metal device that includes the bottom bearing edge, lugs, and tension rods.
Various shells can be placed in this device as long as they have their own top bearing edge. Shells of different sizes (depth only) can be used by changing the tension rods, and in some cases, the lugs. The lugs on piccolo depth drums are very short.
You can add a bigger shell by simply using longer tension rods, but this will not be as stable as if you replace the lugs with a longer version. A big shell cannot be replaced with a much smaller shell without replacing the lugs”. (1)
Additionally, Pearl had a great explanation of this system as well.
“Pearl’s Free-Floating snares remove all hardware from the shell, allowing the player to change the shell as easily as a head. The throw-off, lugs and other hardware are part of the special edge ring which holds the drum and heads together. Available in copper, brass, steel, aluminum and maple with shell depths of 3.5″, 5″, 6.5″ and 8″. In 2011, the copper and brass models, as well as the 8″ shell depth, were discontinued. Also, the aluminum shells were discontinued”. (2)
What they did not say in any of the forum’s was that the bottom edge ring is 1.5″ deep. This means that your depth is the shells plus the 1.5″ that is already there.
With that information in mind, the tones and sounds you could get out of this way of drum building are endless. You could have a full arsenal of shells with different kinds of top bearing edges and lugs for different sizes! Just like each player has his or her own voice, so does this drum system provides different ways to express your unique voice.
In my situation, I was lucky enough to have the shell be in amazing shape and only have a couple of knicks and knacks. This gives me more time to replace both batter and snare side heads and add new straps for the snare wires. Also did some TLC to the skeleton of the snare and simply cleaned the hoops and tension rods.
In conclusion, I hope this short article has helped you understand a little more of this free-floating system. It was a blast to take apart and it’s only a matter of time before I fix something else. Until then, keep researching and never stop learning!
3) Drum Forum
Photos were taken from Pearl Drums website.