A snare drum is the core part of a modern drum kit. You can call it as the brain of a drum set which helps to add that unique sound.
As a whole, the type of snare you choose will define a lot about the sound you will produce.
So, whether you want a single or multiple snare drums to complete your drum set, below is a detailed guide that will help you get your hands on the best one.
All you need to do is work around your budget and pick the best out of the best.
Table of Contents
- 1 22 Best Snare Drum Review
- 1.1 Ludwig LB416BT Black Beauty Brass on Brass 5 x 14 Inches Snare Drum
- 1.2 DW DRVB0814SVC Black Nickel Over Brass Snare Drum
- 1.3 MAPEX BPBR465HZN Black Panther Series 14 x 6.5 Inches Sledgehammer Snare Drum
- 1.4 Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 14×5.5 Snare Drum, Cranberry Red
- 1.5 Spaun Acrylic Vented Snare Drum Coke Bottle 13 x 5.5 in.
- 1.6 Tama S.L.P. G-Bubinga Snare Drum 14 x 6 in.
- 1.7 Ludwig 8×14 Black Magic Snare Drum
- 1.8 ADM Student Snare Drum Set with Case, Sticks, Stand and Practice Pad Kit
- 1.9 Ludwig Supralite Snare Drum 14 x 6.5 in.
- 1.10 Mapex MPX14 inch x 5.5 inch
- 1.11 Pearl SK910C Educational Snare Kit with Rolling Case
- 1.12 MPX MPBW4350CDK 14-Inch Snare Drum, Black
- 1.13 Pearl S1330B 13 x 3 Inches Black Steel Piccolo Snare Drum
- 1.14 Ludwig Steel Snare Drum 14 x 5 in.
- 1.15 Pearl MUS1455M224 Modern Utility 14″x5.5″ Maple Snare Drum
- 1.16 Gearlux 5-Piece Drum Bag Set for 12″ Tom, 13″ Tom, 14″ Snare, 16″ Floor Tom, 22″ Bass Drum
- 1.17 Pearl VPX Snare Drum Black 14×5.5
- 1.18 MAPEX MPML4800BMB MPX Series Maple Snare Drum
- 1.19 Mendini by Cecilio 13 Inch 3-Piece Kids/Junior Drum Set with Adjustable Throne
- 1.20 GP Percussion SK22 Complete Student Snare Drum Kit
- 1.21 Mendini by Cecilio Student 14-inch Snare Drum Set
- 2 How to Choose Good Snare Drum
22 Best Snare Drum Review
After days of research our team has put together 22 of the best snare drum which will give you the best playing experience with their sharp, crispier and fuller sound. Grab a cup of coffee, rest back and take your time to read our honest reviews.
Ludwig LB416BT Black Beauty Brass on Brass 5 x 14 Inches Snare Drum
One of the main reasons for the success of the Ludwig brand is none other than its legendary Black Beauty snare drum! This one is made of simple folded copper to form a seamless drum, after which it benefits from a superb nickel plated finish.
It delivers a literally inimitable warm sound! In terms of dimensions, it has a diameter of 14 inches and a depth of 5 inches. It also includes a P85 Supra-Phonic trigger, 10 shells and a 2.3 mm triple mire circle. With its excellent response whatever the volume, the Ludwig LB416 Black Beauty clearly proves that it has its place in the top of the market!
- One of the best and premium quality snare drums by Ludwig
- Durable and user-friendly
- Brass on Brass style which makes it stand out from competitors
- Very expensive
DW DRVB0814SVC Black Nickel Over Brass Snare Drum
DW has been a popular manufacturer of drums and other music products. Its DRVB0814SVC model is a very popular one mainly because of its design and nickel over brass feature. It produces the classic studio brass snare sound which is amazing.
Overall, it has a metallic tone engraved all over the body and is bright with cuts all around which gives it the strength and durability.
- Nickel over brass design
- Professional yet classic studio brass snare sound quality
- Bright, metallic and durable
- No drawbacks
Ludwig LM402 Smooth Chrome Plated Aluminum 6.5 x 14 Inches Snare Drum with Imperial Lugs and Supra-Phonic Strainer
This SupraPhonic snare drum from Ludwig can be heard on many famous tracks. Measuring 14 x 6.5 and featuring a chrome finish, it delivers rich sound and a crispy attack.
This SupraPhonic Metal is equipped with a P85 Supra-Phonic release, 10 shells and 2.3 mm metal straps. Made in the United States, this snare drum has a chrome aluminum drum, which makes it strong and protects it from corrosion.
Finally, note that the Ludwig SupraPhonic Metal LM402 can be used in many styles, from jazz to metal, on stage or in the studio.
- Performance guaranteed
- Jazz to metal mixture for a great experience
- USA made chrome plated
- Crispy and solid
- Lugs are satisfactory
MAPEX BPBR465HZN Black Panther Series 14 x 6.5 Inches Sledgehammer Snare Drum
Mapex called on experts to develop this signature snare drum. Matt Halpern (Periphery) put his signature on the “the Wraith” snare drum from the Black Panther series. The drum is made of 1.2 mm thick brass and its size is 14 x 6 inches.
These technical characteristics ensure a dry and sharp sound, where ghost notes are clearly heard, whatever the volume played. Another interesting feature is the presence of nine ventilation holes for the ventilation of the drum, which amplifies the dry effect of the sound. This snare drum allows Matt Halpern’s energetic playing technique to be reproduced without any problem.
The Wraith” models are equipped with “Sonic Saver Hoops”, which, thanks to a special profile, ensure more sensitivity and response to each rimshot. Additional advantage: your chopsticks will wear less quickly. The 45 degree chamfers allow optimal transfer of resonance between the skin and the drum.
The Black Panther cylindrical stamp release is mounted on the snare drum to ensure stable stamp tension. The finish is black with a matt effect, also called “Stealth Black”. The drums are equipped with Evans Level 360 skins specially selected by Halpern.
- Unique design and texture
- Made from high quality materials to last longer
- Bright, loud and open sound
- Made from steel
- No drawbacks
Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 14×5.5 Snare Drum, Cranberry Red
Want to rock on stage with outstanding performance? You need to try the Yamaha stage custom birch snare which comes with a durable birch shell and whopping ten lugs for better tuning and sound quality.
It features hi-gloss lacquer finish along with 45-degree bearing edges which ensures an unrivaled and professional sound quality.
- Made from all-birch shell
- Ten lugs for fine tuning
- Outstanding finish
- 45-degree bearing edges for an unrivaled sound quality
- Snare doesn’t come with muffler
Spaun Acrylic Vented Snare Drum Coke Bottle 13 x 5.5 in.
Spaun is a unique snare drum which is made from Acrylic material. You can literally see through it because of the transparent material used. It is properly vented and this helps to produce a unique voice which is loud, crackling and dark.
- Unique design made from acrylic material
- Properly vented for a great sound
- Crispier and crackling
- Reasonable price
- No drawbacks
Tama S.L.P. G-Bubinga Snare Drum 14 x 6 in.
This limited edition snare drum belongs to the Tama Sound Lab Project (S.L.P.) series. It is especially suitable for music styles requiring power. Measuring 14 x 8 inches, this snare drum delivers a deep, dark and complex sound.
The shaft of this clear is made from 10 plies of walnut for a relatively thick. To obtain an optimal resonance, these folds are assembled according to the cross mode and the fittings result in a minimum contact with the barrel.
The snare drum features ten-hole Sound Arc straps for good attack, precise tone and stable tuning. For more power, it is equipped with a relatively large stamp displaying 30 carbon steel strands.
This professional snare drum is suitable for many styles. Finally, note that it is available in a limited edition, so few copies are available.
- Durable shell with 12-ply construction
- Bubinga material with quilted bubinga outer ply
- High quality steel hoop
- Starclassic lug
- No drawbacks
Ludwig 8×14 Black Magic Snare Drum
One of our favorite picks of Ludwig was its black magic snare drum. It comes with a nice and crispier design which is built to focus on tight projections. The beaded black nickel over brass shell with matching die cast hoops and tube lugs really helps to produce a nice sound.
You will love its black magic chrome plated mixture which gives it a unique design and makes it stand out from others on the market. Overall, it is a nice and durable snare drum which will help to produce an unrivaled sound.
- Helps produce tight and crispier projections
- Cast hoops with tube lugs for better sound quality
- Black color and chrome plated
- Accentuated with quality tube lugs
- Wrong description by manufacturer
ADM Student Snare Drum Set with Case, Sticks, Stand and Practice Pad Kit
A beginner quality snare drum that will help your kid to improve his skills. It comes nicely packed in proper padded case with a stand for the snare. Inside the bag you will find sticks to play the drum.
Both the stand and snare are made from steel with the drum constructed with hairline nickel finish for an outstanding performance and responsive sound quality.
- Limited one-year warranty
- A perfect beginner chrome plated snare
- Comes with pad case sticks and stand
- Hairline nickel finish for better response
- Stand is too short
Ludwig Supralite Snare Drum 14 x 6.5 in.
Another beauty from Ludwig is there chrome plated over brass snare drum which features tube lugs. It has an exotic design and comes with 1.5mm beaded steel shell along with 2.3mm triple flanged hoop for an outstanding sound quality.
Its brass snare wires are durable and the 5mm beaded steel shell provides you with better and wide range of tuning with an overall rounded stack.
- Chrome plated with chrome over brass tube lugs
- Beaded steel shell
- Triple flanged hoops
- Brass snare wires
- Sometimes rings too much
Mapex MPX14 inch x 5.5 inch
With a natural finish and chrome hardware the Mapex snare drum offers you a high quality sound. It features a maple shell which helps to deliver a warm, crispier and fuller sound. Its 14-inch x 5.5-inch size makes it perfect for all playing styles
The hoops around it are 2.3mm which come with solid rim shots and easy on the hands. Moreover, the Remo heads batter along with snare offers you a quick and easy tuning.
- Maple shell
- High quality and durable built
- 3mm hoops with solid rim shots
- Remo head batter
- Limited life time warranty
- The bottom skin of the snare if of poor quality
Pearl SK910C Educational Snare Kit with Rolling Case
Pearl SK910C is a very compact snare drum with a heavy duty built. It features a 14” Gladstone style practice pad which gives you a nice angle to hit the drum.
For your convenience it comes with a heavy duty snare stand as well which is easily adjustable to a certain degree for a perfect playing angle.
- High quality steel snare drum
- 14” exclusive Gladstone style practice pad
- Heavy duty snare stand
- 5A wood sticks
- No drawbacks
MPX MPBW4350CDK 14-Inch Snare Drum, Black
The MPX MPBW4350CDK from Mapex is made from 7.2mm poplar shell which is nicely wrapped in a black finish. It comes with proper steel flanged hoops along with chrome hardware which will help you tune your snare better and thus produce a crispier sound.
Its REMO UC head are coated with batter and feature clear snare sides for better sound quality and overall tuning.
- 2mm poplar shell with black finish
- Steel flanged hoops
- Chrome plated hardware
- 5 year limited warranty and 1-year warranty on finish
- Wood quality is just ok
Pearl S1330B 13 x 3 Inches Black Steel Piccolo Snare Drum
Pearl is a popular manufacturer of some of the best drums in the world. The S1330B is one of their finest snares on the market and very affordable as well. It has a very compact design with plenty of snap.
You will love the black lacquered and steel touch it has along with chrome plating all over the sides. This not only provides durability but also nice tuning for deeper, crispier and dark sounds.
- High quality design and durable construction
- Compact and affordable
- Comes with black lacquered steel drum
- Doesn’t come with sticks
Ludwig Steel Snare Drum 14 x 5 in.
Ludwig has tons of snare drums and drum kits which will help you produce exceptional quality sound anytime and improve your skills. This steel snare is a unique model on the market. The reason is its stylish chrome plated design and a durable steel body.
Surely this adds a lot to its overall weight but the sound it produces is on a whole new level which you have never experienced before. The large hoops on the side and quality beads will help you tune it better and thus play better.
- Steel and chrome plated snare
- High quality loops for better tuning
- Crispier, deep and dark sound
Pearl MUS1455M224 Modern Utility 14″x5.5″ Maple Snare Drum
The Pearl Modern Utility series is for drummers looking for a simple yet robust snare drum. Measuring 13 x 5 inches, this snare drum is manufactured with six maple plies, for a thickness of 5 mm. The result is a sound that suits many styles. In addition, it features CL Bridge shells, triple bridle rings and a SR700 stamp release, while Pearl has opted for a matte Natural finish and chrome fittings. Versatile, it will fit into any configuration, whether as a main snare drum or as a second snare drum.
Enjoy the quality of each element of the Export series from Japanese battery manufacturer Pearl and use this snare drum alone or add it to your set! Based on Pearl’s Superior Shell Technology, made from poplar and mahogany wood (6 layers of wood), this snare drum (diameter: 14 inches, depth: 5.5 inches) will give you a very rich sound and optimal resonance. Also note that the EXX1455S / C31 comes with Remo striking and stamp skins.
This snare drum, from the Pearl Decade series, is the result of 10 years of development. It is distinguished by its maple casks, while remaining affordable. This 14 x 5.5 inch snare drum is made from 6 plies of wood for a thickness of 5.4 mm. It has a Satin Black Burst finish. It is designed for Decade Maple battery kits, but can also be used with other brands of batteries. This snare drum will also delight percussionists.
To improve the sound, it is equipped with modern chrome hardware. It has Triple Flanged circles associated with eight shells and sixteen tie rods, to ensure the tension of the skins. And thanks to the SR700 release, the twenty strands of the SNW1420 are easily tensioned to the right tension. Finally, note that this snare drum is delivered with Remo skins.
- High quality 6-ply all maple SST shell
- CL bridge lug with thin matte lacquer finish
- Smooth SR700 strainer
- 6mm triple flanged hoops for better tuning
- Slightly expensive
Gearlux 5-Piece Drum Bag Set for 12″ Tom, 13″ Tom, 14″ Snare, 16″ Floor Tom, 22″ Bass Drum
A compact drum which comes with nice storage and protection. It is a great kit both for starters and intermediates and includes a 12” Tom, 13” Tom, 14” snare, 16” Floor Tom and a 22” Bass drum for a price just under $100.
The bags include proper carry handles for ease of transport and have 10mm foam padding inside for maximum protection from those unexpected bumps while you carry your stuff around.
- Durable and affordable
- Properly padded for maximum protection
- Comes with handles for easy transportation
- Multiple sized bags included
- Bags are pretty small and have to be tightly zipped
Pearl VPX Snare Drum Black 14×5.5
The Pearl VPX Snare Drum is a popular model on the market which helps to deliver a very powerful punch with a super aggressive attack which will fire up your performance in no time.
It is compact in size and comes with long hoop for proper tuning to drum the finest quality sound. Overall, it is powerful and delivers the results it promises.
- Adds a powerful punch to your overall sound
- Add aggressiveness to your performance
- Crispier, deep and dark
- Durable built
- Hardware is pretty cheap
MAPEX MPML4800BMB MPX Series Maple Snare Drum
Mapex called on experts to develop this signature snare drum. Matt Halpern (Periphery) put his signature on the “the Wraith” snare drum from the Black Panther series. The drum is made of 1.2 mm thick brass and its size is 14 x 6 inches. These technical characteristics ensure a dry and sharp sound, where ghost notes are clearly heard, whatever the volume played. Another interesting feature is the presence of nine ventilation holes for the ventilation of the drum, which amplifies the dry effect of the sound. This snare drum allows Matt Halpern’s energetic playing technique to be reproduced without any problem.
The Wraith” models are equipped with “Sonic Saver Hoops”, which, thanks to a special profile, ensure more sensitivity and response to each rimshot. Additional advantage: your chopsticks will wear less quickly. The 45 degree chamfers allow optimal transfer of resonance between the skin and the drum. The Black Panther cylindrical stamp release is mounted on the snare drum to ensure stable stamp tension. The finish is black with a matt effect, also called “Stealth Black”. The drums are equipped with Evans Level 360 skins specially selected by Halpern.
- Pitch black color
- Chrome plated hardware
- Durable design and lightweight
- Easy to carry around
- Snare head quality is satisfactory
Mendini by Cecilio 13 Inch 3-Piece Kids/Junior Drum Set with Adjustable Throne
Another great drum kit on our list is the Mendini 5-piece drum kit. This drum set can be described as “the complete package” because it is equipped with everything you need for the beginning, and it is for children from 2 and 5 feet up to 5 feet tall. The drums come with 2 Tom Tom drums measuring 10″ and 8″, and it also comes with a 16″ bass drum. Additionally there is a 10 inch snare drum and a 12 inch floor tom. The cymbals include a 10″ crash cymbal, an 8″ Hi Hat cymbal and an adjustable throne to sit on. This kit also includes the bass pedal and a range of drumsticks.
This drum set is easy to assemble in a few hours, and the kit contains complete instructions. This is quite impressive, as there are drum sets that have no instructions but on the Internet. This way parents are protected from the pain of searching for information on the web with this drum set. This Junior Drum Kit is available in different colors, including black, blue, light red, deep red, silver and green. In addition, you receive a one-year full warranty and guarantee your children several hours of fun.
- Perfect kit for youngsters
- Comes with snare, bass drum and mounted tom
- Cymbal included
- Round padded height adjustable drum throne
- May be too small for some kids
GP Percussion SK22 Complete Student Snare Drum Kit
In case you have a teenager interested in learning how to drum, or if your child who is a drummer has grown more than his junior drummer, the Rise of Sawtooth Student Drum Set is a great upgrade drum set for older or more experienced children. Without buying a complete pro drum kit, this drum set offers everything your child needs to continue learning and improve his drum skills without the price tag for buying a more expensive drum set.
This excellent little kid’s drum kit comes with two Tom Tom drums measuring 12″ and 13″, a 22″ bass drum and a 16″ floor tom. You will also receive a hi-hat cymbal and a 14 inch snare drum. In addition, you will receive a cymbal stand that can accommodate a 15-inch Crash Ride cymbal and a 14-inch Hi-Hat. It also comes with hardware for the bottom drums, Tom drums. This drum kit also includes a series of drum sticks and a drum button to adjust your drum sound.
While some drum kits for kids are equipped with lighter drumsticks to help you buy heavier drumsticks as your kids grow, this great drum set already includes these drumsticks and is really impressive. This drum kit also contains the throne, which is bigger than the typical children’s drums. In addition, this drum kit is available in different colours, including black, red and blue, and all of them look exceptionally good and beautiful.
So, if you are in the market for a drum kit for your teenage child, include the Rise of Sawtooth Full-Size Student Drummer Kit in your shortlist. This drum set is an excellent deal and will certainly give your little drummer several years of fun and entertainment.
- Comes with 10 lugs
- Double brace stand for better stability
- Bag and drum key included
- Practice pads with drumsticks
- Drum color not as advertised
Mendini by Cecilio Student 14-inch Snare Drum Set
Another excellent drum kit on our list is the RockJam 3-piece Junior Drum Kit, which is the ideal set for small children between 3 and 7 years. This drum set is not a complete kit, which means that it does not include all the drums you will probably see in other sets.
For a small child, however, this is an excellent way to get them to play the drums without being overwhelmed. The drums come with a 14-inch snare drum, a 10-inch tom drum and a 16-inch bass drum. It also comes with a 10-inch basin. Each stand comes with this kit, which is great, as some drum kits are not equipped with the necessary hardware to start playing immediately.
This drum kit also includes a drum throne and can be set to continue to be useful to your child when he or she grows up. This set also contains a number of drumsticks. This junior drum kit is available in various colours, including blue, black and red. It can also be easily assembled in a few minutes.
Undoubtedly, this drum set promises several hours of entertainment and fun for children, and parents will enjoy watching their children become music lovers. Regardless of your children’s age, they can learn to play the drums. The noise they normally make will soon become music.
Although this drum kit does not come with every component that you are likely to see in a full drum kit, more pieces can be added over time to accommodate your child’s growing talent. Buying musical instruments is always a good investment, and this 3-piece drum set from RockJam is a perfect set for smaller children.
- A perfect 14-inch student snare drum
- Compact and lightweight in design
- Comes with drumsticks
- Padded soft case for carrying your snare
- Lacks the crisp in sound
How to Choose Good Snare Drum
The snare drum is one of the most important elements of a drum set, and the quality of its manufacture, as well as the materials used, can have a considerable impact on the sound it produces.
Below we have discussed in detail the characteristics, materials used and differences between each type of snare drum to make your choice easier. We will discuss how the different materials that make up the drum, as well as the skins used, affect the sound of a snare drum, and to what extent each one more or less resembles a style of music.
In addition, we will talk about snare drum feet and drumsticks, and discuss hand positions and the best “grips” used by drummers.
Although manufacturers have used a wide variety of materials (including acrylic, fiberglass or carbon), the majority of snare drums today are made from wood or metal. Since most drums are made of wood, the snare drum is often the only metal drum in a drum set.
Some drums are manufactured from a combination of wood (hybrid drums) or with an outer ply of a different wood for aesthetic reasons. The inner fold of a drum is the one that will have the most influence on the sound of the drum, followed by the intermediate folds; the outer fold has very little impact on the final sound of a drum.
Types of Snare Drums
Here is an overview of the most used materials in snare drum construction, as well as their own sound characteristics:
One of the most famous woods is maple, used in the construction of high-end snare drums. Maple is known for its warm, low-frequency sound and has a very balanced mid/high frequency distribution. The sound is clear and supports a very wide tuning range, so a maple snare drum is very versatile.
The work is a very dense and long-lived wood. It has a more aggressive and brilliant sound than maple, with a very good projection. Its bass and treble generate a good depth/attack balance and ensure a very good sound projection.
Beech is as hard as birch, but its tighter grain generates stronger basses than birch. Beech gives the snare drum a thick, maple-like sound. If you are looking for the power of birch with a sound close to maple, beech is a good alternative.
Oak is a very rigid wood offering incredible durability and projection. It is a very good alternative to the usual materials used for drums, offering a good presence and a lot of low frequencies for a very round sound all the same.
For 50 years, mahogany was the standard wood used for barrel construction. Nowadays, this very expensive wood is less widespread, which is a pity. Its oversized bass favors a warm and very rich sound, which gives vintage drums their “little something” extra, and its mediums bring more punch.
Poplar is a wood that grows very quickly and offers average rigidity for the barrels. This softer wood has been used for decades in battery construction, and often fits between the more expensive and aesthetic inner and outer wood folds. It has a sound similar to more expensive woods like birch and mahogany.
The lime tree (Basswood)
Lime is another soft wood that grows very quickly. Many drummers find similarities with maple or mahogany. It is often chosen as the inner and middle fold of drums because it is really cheap and sounds good.
The most striking features of steel snare drums are their brilliant sound, long sustain and very pronounced rim-shot. If you play a lot of rim shots and need to pierce through a very loud music, you need to try a steel snare drum. It is also for these reasons that Reggae drummers often prefer steel to have a sharp and brilliant sound.
Brass snare drums offer the attack of metal snare drums but with a warmer sound. The rim shots are clear and precise, and contrast well with the loudest music.
Aluminum offers a penetrating sound with a lot of attack, yet drier and with less sustain than steel or brass snare drums, reducing the need to mute the sound.
Copper snare drums are often chosen for their deeper bass and slightly darker, warmer tone than steel or brass snare drums.
Although more often used in the manufacture of cymbals, bronze is gradually becoming very popular for high-end snare drums. The sound is deep and warm and more felted than copper or steel.
Materials and construction
In general, wooden snare drums produce a warmer sound than metal ones which are more powerful and brilliant, with more harmonics, although some snare drums are exceptions to this rule.
While the materials of a drum play an important role in its sound, the thickness of the drum, its depth, its diameter, the angle of the chamfers, the type of circles used and the manufacturing process are also responsible.
Finer drums tend to have a fatter, warmer sound with a low note, so it is often better to choose thin toms. Thicker drums project sound better, have a higher note and are more powerful. If you want more projection and a higher fundamental note for your snare drum, for example for Reggae, take a thick drum.
If you prefer a warmer sound and you don’t need power, for jazz for example, a finer barrel will certainly suit you better. Metal drums are generally thinner than wooden ones, partly because the material is stronger but also because thick metal drums are very heavy.
The depth of a snare drum also influences its sound. Larger drums are more powerful, which is why parade snare drums can approach the size of a tom stand. If you need volume, a large, deep barrel will provide it.
However, choosing a very large snare drum may not be necessary if you are using a microphone. A smaller snare drum will usually have a more precise attack and a more slamming sound but will quickly choke under a powerful shot.
The diameter of a snare drum affects the pitch of its note. 14″ snare drums are the most commonly used. Smaller snare drums are much sharper, and are generally less powerful and brighter. If you play hard, the skin will look harder. It is also becoming more and more difficult to get a satisfying cross-stick sound on snare drums under 13 inches.
The tone is the characteristic of snare drums; it is responsible for the crisp sound they produce. Twisted strands of wire are clamped against the resonance skin to vibrate when the snare drum is struck. Any note produced by a snare drum is the addition of the sound of the drumstick hitting the upper skin and the sound of the scratching tone on the resonant skin.
The tension of the patch against the skin, the material and the number of strands used all have a great influence on the sound of a snare drum.
Number of Strands
Stamps are available in all sizes from 8 to 42 strands. Most snare drums are mounted with 12 or 24 strands, connected to two metal plates that are attached to the snare drum trigger with string or plastic tape.
The more strands there are, the more the tone influences the sound of the snare drum, the fewer strands ensure a purer drum sound. Generally, the more strands the crisper and brilliant the sound.
Although using more strands improves the articulation of the snare drum, they can attenuate or even completely choke it. Changing the tone of a snare drum is one of the cheapest ways to radically change its sound.
Type of strands
Most stamps are made from spiral twisted wires, creating a crisp, brilliant sound. The most common stamps are made of chrome steel. In the past, stamps were made from animal casings pressed against the resonant skin.
The gut stamps had a very matte and dry sound compared to metal stamps. Today their sound is imitated with plastic stamps, and it is still part of the compulsory arsenal of any orchestral drummer.
Many different materials and casting processes are used to create stamps such as steel, bronze, or different alloys coated with varnish or chrome. Some manufacturers have started to produce stamps with different strands of strings, guitar strings, braided strands or with different twists. Their sound tends to be more matt and dry than that produced by chromed steel stamps.
If you loosen the timbre, the sound of the snare drum will be duller and the strands will vibrate more (buzz). This is very useful if you play a lot of crushed rolls or want to reduce the articulation and make the sound less brilliant, for slower songs for example.
On the other hand, the tighter the tone, the brighter and more articulate the sound, which is better for fast songs or if you play a lot of rudiments. The tone tension adjustment is very fine and it’s up to you to experiment to find the one that’s right for you. It is also usual to adjust the tension of the timbre differently depending on the song played during a concert.
Scottish band drummers use a special snare drum design with a second stamp mechanism under the drumhead inside the drum. This produces an incredibly articulate and brilliant staccato sound. However, most snare drums today use only one patch below the resonant skin.
In Latin music, the timbre is often disengaged to produce a sound similar to timpani. Many drummers also choose this solution to get a deeper sound when playing with brooms.
Snare drums are usually more expensive than a tom of the same size made from the same materials. This is essentially due to the mechanism that activates the timbre and regulates its tension: the trigger. There are many different types of triggers, but the simplest are the most common.
Until recently, parallel action triggers were considered the top of the line. These allowed the stamp to be engaged on each side of the case at the same time, via a link system passing through the drum.
But this system is not as popular as it was in the past for many reasons: it requires a much longer stamp that extends beyond the edges of the skin and therefore involves a larger case to protect the snare drum. These systems also tend to be very bulky, complicated and easily damaged, while adding an additional hardware cost, for an almost inaudible sound difference.
Today most triggers only engage on one side. This is much simpler and does not require an oversized cover. They are also much cheaper to produce, although some “Custom” models can reach surprising sums. They have a lever that tilts to the side of the snare drum or moves 90 degrees away from it while releasing the stamp.
A clamping screw allows a very precise adjustment of the timbre tension. On the opposite side of the snare drum there is a fastening bridge that holds the patch in place. When trying a snare drum, make sure the trigger operates silently and without acronyms. If not, go on your way.
You will probably have noticed that the bottom circle of a snare drum has two small openings on each side, called loops, which allow the stamp to pass through. Moreover, you have certainly noticed that the lower edge of the barrel is slightly more dug at this place (stamp bed).
This allows the patch to rest perfectly against the resonant skin. Without this detail the strands would not vibrate correctly, whatever the voltage applied.
Having the right drum snare can definitely help you go a long way in improving your skills and producing better and high quality sounds.
We have played our part by providing you with our honest reviews. It is your turn now to pick the best out of the best.
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