Pearl Vinnie Paul VP-1480 Signature Snare Drum

New to the Pearl snare drum line in 2007 comes the addition of a custom Vinnie Paul signature snare. As an original member of chart-toping metal bands such as Pantera and Damageplan (as well as his latest group, Hellyeah), Vinnie’s influence can be readily heard among today’s young metal players, and building a custom snare to meet Vinnie’s performance requirements is no short order. Topping out at a tall, eight-inch height and wrapped in faux snakeskin, Pearl has delivered an instrument that clearly exemplifies the intense nature of Vinnie’s mighty performances behind the drum kit.

Category Value Rating
Features 25% 3 stars
Usability 25% 2.5 stars
Sound 30% 3 stars
Documentation & Support n/a  
Price 20% 3 stars
3.6 stars or better: Outstanding, WIHO Award
3 stars or better: Worth considering
2 stars or better: Suited to specific needs
1 star or less: Not recommended

This personalized beauty is finely constructed with its massive depth, a very interesting (and alluring) finish, an enormously immense sound, as well as some custom-made accessories. Although this drum is intended primarily for the heavier players around the drumming world, there is no doubt this is a nice, worthy addition to any rock drummer’s arsenal of snares if the excessive height doesn’t make its installation within your kit a challenge.


Arriving well packed, the Vinnie Paul signature snare came equipped with typical warranty information, a Vinnie Paul picture-postcard, and a custom Pearl drum key. After removing the drum from the box and then its protective bag, one can’t help but notice the alluring (perhaps, slightly comical?) finish of the drum. The finish is a thick wrap featuring a snakeskin design covering the entire outer surface of the shell! In addition to the finish are custom “spiked” tube lugs with stainless steel tension rods surrounding the drum.

Perhaps the most definitive feature of the drum, though, is its deep eight-inch height. There really aren’t many 8”x14” snare drums – this is one monster piece of equipment. Team all those characteristics up with a six-ply, 100 percent maple shell and it’s no wonder why this drum has a great amount of power, muscle, and projection wrapped up into one sound.

Also included are ten-lug Superhoop II’s (Pearl’s latest version of a 2.3mm steel, triple-flanged hoop) on both sides of the drum, a standard snare butt-plate, and Pearl’s SR-017 vertical pull strainer. An attractive Pearl Signature Series logo badge with Vinnie’s personalized signature stamped into it finishes the beautiful appearance.

The snares themselves are the S-022N model snares and come equipped with sturdy string rather than plastic tabs or felt straps for tensioning. The interior contains a traditional wood finish with attractive black-colored screws to attach the tube lugs. In addition, the drum came equipped with a Remo Coated Ambassador top head and a Remo Clear Ambassador snare-side bottom head.


The behavior of the drum was simple and didn’t require too much specialized attention. The usability and tensioning of the throw-off was trouble-free, the adjustment of the snares between the butt-plate and snare throw off was typically standard, and tuning the drum was rather effortless. Actually, it was quite fun to explore how wide of a tuning range a drum of this size had!

However, as a result of the excessive height of the drum, adjustment & set-up issues may be a real challenge for players who like to sit low, and not all snare stands can be lowered to a suitable height (Pearl’s S-1000D will do the trick). Given our personal preference for kit setup and choice of hardware, we found it challenging to set the snare drum at a comfortable height.


The analysis of this drum was performed in a consistent manner with all of our previous snare drums tests – each range (from lowest to highest) was closely examined to get a good feel for the diverse (or not) range of sounds possible from the snare drum.

Beginning with the lower tuning range, the drum produced a big, bulky sound and a loud and full tone. To our pleasant surprise, there was good control of excess snare buzz, which is often present when a drum is tuned significantly low. However, this low range produced a great amount of ring and additional “twang” from the drum. Often times, ironically, metal drummers have a tendency to seek a low, “fat” tuning to their snares. In this case, the drum may produce a perfectly appropriate sound in this range if muffled properly to control the ring.

Tuning the drum up to the medium range produced a very pleasing, well-rounded sound with great volume and tone. This range particularly showcased the broad power delivered by this signature snare. Fortunately, there was less “twang” here than in the lower range, though it still contained a bit of that excessive ring. Quite possibly, the ring would be less noticeable in a gig situation, but you might find it, perhaps, to be somewhat invasive in a studio recording.

The high range yielded similar positive characteristics from the previous range with the addition of a very strong “crack” and even more volume. It surprised us to hear a drum with such deep dimensions produce such a good punch and pop! Again, the presence of the ring, though further diminished, still existed.

The Vinnie Paul signature snare proved to be quite versatile sonically, especially given the sizeable depth of the drum. However, the consistency of the ring throughout each range was a concern and would have to be monitored in both live situations (where it may be tolerable) and studio situations (where it will probably need to be tempered).

Documentation and Product Support

As mentioned in the opening statement, the Vinnie Paul snare arrived with appropriate warranty information, but no other specific or definitive paperwork relevant to the drum.

There is a decent description of this drum on the Pearl website and varied information can be found throughout other sites on the Internet. As with other major manufacturers in the drum industry, additional product support, warranty information, and documentation can be easily obtained through their website or direct contact with the company.


The Pearl Vinnie Paul signature snare (MSRP $479) can be purchased for approximately $300 retail. Though signature snares tend to be a relatively expensive purchase, the Vinnie Paul snare is a reasonably priced drum, especially given its size, specialized finish, sound versatility, and 100 percent maple shell. It is priced favorably compared to other signature models both in and out of the Pearl Drum company.

The Pearl S-1000D stand (MSRP $179) is designed to accommodate deeper snare drums such as this.

Contact Information

Pearl Drums

Evaluation Short-List
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