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Keplinger Snare Drums - Stainless Steel vs. Black Iron


The Keplinger Story

Gregg Keplinger is a rare hybrid of drumming talent and percussive artisan. After finding a 1930s Ludwig 6.5x14 steel snare with an otherworldly tone, Gregg was inspired to improvise and innovate his own snare drum. Sourcing stainless steel from an industrial pipe manufacturer in Seattle, Gregg set to building the first of many custom snare drums.  Thus the "Keplinger" vision - for hefty metal-shell snares, and percussion with an industrial personality - was born.

The Keplinger Sound

You may not know about Keplinger Snare Drums, but you probably know their sound.  Gregg worked closely in-studio and on stage with a young Matt Cameron during Soundgarden's "Superunknown" glory days and continued on with Matt to work with Pearl Jam. That unmistakable crack on many of Matt’s most famous tracks - that’s the Keplinger sound!

Keplinger Steel Snare Drum - 14x7

The Keplinger Shootout

Gregg’s snare drums became most well-known when he worked primarily with stainless steel. Today, Keplinger snare drums are sourced from all kinds of alloys.  For our latest snare drum showcase, we focused on our 2 best selling Keplinger metal snare drums - Stainless Steel and Black Iron.

Steel or Black Iron?

The Keplinger Steel snare drums project the legendary “crack” that is so familiar from Matt Cameron’s recordings .  Both 7 inch and 5.5 inch drums are exceptionally sensitive despite relatively underwhelming stock snare wires. The steely overtones are heavy, smooth and very pleasing to the ear. They are bright, but with a smear of darkness that give them a remarkable complexity.  And yes, they are loud af.

Keplinger Steel Snare Drum - 14x5.5

Keplinger Black Iron snare drums share similarities with their steel siblings - just darker.  These drums are MEAN. They have an uncanny low end projection and a built-in reverb sound that is unique.  The 4 inch Black Iron snare has a huge tuning range, and sounds great tuned down low or cranked high. The 8 inch model is an absolute BEAST that sounds like an evil church bell.

Keplinger Black Iron Snare Drum - 14x7

We are super-impressed with all 5 Keplinger Snare drums we currently have in stock.  Each one would make an incredible studio workhorse.  They would also be right at home on any (large) stage, we just recommend you get a roady to haul it around for you!

Get Your Metal On at Drum Center of Portsmouth!

Surprisingly versatile 14x4 Keplinger Black Iron Snare Drum

We are huge fans of Gregg’s snare drums.  They are not made to be admired for their aesthetics.  They are no-nonsense instruments meant to be wailed on.  There are many boutique builders, but very few legendary studio sounds.  Keplinger is one of those sounds. Get yours at Drum Center of Portsmouth!