In era of the American Civil War, snare and bass drums were made in a wide range of sizes and had a variety of hardware options.  We have based our own “Contract Drum” and our recommendations on period antiques that we either own or have worked on.

Presented here is a selection of suggestions for this time period, but please bear in mind that these are only suggestions – there is too much information available to be comprehensively summarized in this space, and the degree to which the drum is made suitable for you as a contemporary percussionist while maintaining aspects of authenticity to the period is something to be considered and discussed as we work with you to design your drum.

See Liberty Model Drum Home for additional information on materials specifications.  These suggestions represent modifications to the Liberty Model.

Shell Size
The most commonly recognized snare shell size is the “contract” size, 16” diameter x 12” deep, but deeper shells and both larger and smaller diameters are also commonly seen.  We recommend 16” x 12”, 15” x 12”, any “square” dimension, and 17” x 14”.  The diameter of the bass shell is typically large relative to its width, e.g., 14” wide x 26” diameter.

Snare Strainer
The strainer is a bronze hoop-mounted strainer with a leather anchor, reproduced from an original piece.

Snare Gut
is 4 strands of natural snare gut (8 crossings).

For snare drums, we recommend the iconic heart-shaped tab ears, which we make in natural color leather.  Options include staining the tab ears a darker color, or substituting Liberty ears.  For bass drums, we recommend the Liberty ears for strength; options include using the tab ears.

4 strand linen rope or ¼” spun dacron rope is standard.

Remo Fiberskyn 3/EMP combination, or calfskin heads as an option.

The standard carry for these snare drums is a brass D ring mounted with leather keepers; the Liberty carry is an option.  Bass drums are made with 2 Liberty carry hooks.

additional optional hardware
Neither legs nor rim guards are historically appropriate for this era, but may be chosen as an option.  Rope hooks are often seen in this time period, and are available as an option.

Hand Painted Artwork is optional.
The “Contract Eagle” on a blue field for infantry or a red field for artillery, or variations on that motif,  is the most familiar artwork for these drums.  Other art can be custom designed. (link to PHOTO GALLERY)

Tack Designis optional.
We offer a simple, period “Contract Tack” design; other designs are also available. design