Piccolo snares for rock. Bad idea?

Austen

Junior Member
Good day, people. I'm new here. This is my first post on this forum, so I'd like to say hello to everyone before asking my question.

Alrighty, so! I'm pretty new to drumming. I got a cheap kit about three months ago and I've been playing basically every day. I started on bass, then moved to guitar, now I'm learning drums. I'm teaching myself the same way I did with bass and guitar- hours of practice a day.

Now, I mentioned my kit was cheap. That means I paid $140 for it from an online ad. The toms sound really good for that price-- my friend who's playing Pearl masters was actually jealous of my floor tom. Haha. But... the snare sounds like crap. Now, I've been looking at a Piccolo snare. Mapex has a 13x3.5 and I absolutely LOVE its tone (and at $99, who wouldn't love its price?), but that's piccolo dimensions, isn't it? I play mostly rock and/or metal, and I haven't heard of guys using piccolos in those genres. I love the tone, but I'm not sure if it'll be audible or sound good while playing heavier music. I'm mainly a bassist, and with bass, a good tone on its own normally sounds horrid (if it's not totally inaudible) once an overdriven guitar starts going, and I'm not sure if snares will be the same. Like I said, I love this snare on its own, but I've never heard it in a mix. I've never heard a piccolo in any rock or metal, so sound clips would be great if possible.

I know the end decision is up to me, but I'd really like some opinions from real drummers before I make that decision.


Thanks for any and all help and opinions!
-Austen
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
As always, taste dictates mate. I never really liked my piccolo in a pure rock setting. Just not enough "bark"/bottom end/balls for my liking. But loved it in a funk/rock type thing I also had going on at the time. That said, there are guys who'll see it differently. There's a forum member here by the name of Keep It Simple and his piccolo sounded excellent in a rock setting and he used it for a good long while before opting to switch it out.

Piccolo's certainly aren't as common in a rock setting, but that doesn't mean that guys don't use them with great effect either. All in all, I favour a deeper snare for rock, but that's just me. If you wanted to play it "safe" I'd recommend a 14x5 or 14x6.5 snare.....but then again, if you really dig the piccolo sound, then there ain't nothing' wrong with that either.
 
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DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Piccolo snares have never really been my cup of tea, but that's not to say it won't work.

Dave Lombardo has used (and maybe still does) a small Piccolo snare in Slayer. So if it can work in a top metal band, I don't see why it couldn't work for you.

The Chris Alder signature snare drum is 5.5 x12.

I'm sure there are some other examples of hard rock/metal guys playing piccolo snares as well.
 

Sundstrand

Junior Member
I used only a piccolo snare for 2 different rock bands I was in and whenever I jammed with friends from '07 to '10. Was a nice loud crack and definitely got quite a bit of attention at gigs.
 
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plangentmusic

Guest
I agree that the piccolo has a nice crack but lacks "balls." A deeper drum can be tuned high and crisp but if you tune a piccolo low, it tends to flatten out. A 5" seems to be a nice compromise and even a 6.5 can have a sharp snap to it.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
I played in a couple of rock/metal bands in the late 90s. Our drummer had a piccolo snare, and I noticed from watching the other bands we were playing with that they were all the rage.

It's not whether or not it will work, but whether or not you will make it work. If you like the sound of it, play it and play it well...
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I agree with Caddy. And the another question would be, "what's your definition of rock?" Obviously there are all kinds of rock music, and sometimes funky sneaks into rock. If you make it work, I'm sure you could use anything you want. I shoe-horn my drums into all kinds of styles and no one ever tells me I have the wrong equipment for any given gig. Except for other drummers.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Purely my opinion, I wouldn't do it, but then again, I hate the piccolo snare drum and will never own one. Eww yuck. I can't even play a 5" deep snare for more than 5 minutes, there's just not enough body there.

But hey, if it trips your trap....
 

kettles

Gold Member
I think the main thing to consider is - will it work well with your kick sound? Those two should complement each other, in a way that you desire. You can have them sound like brothers or you can have them sound like different species from different planets....
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
Joe Morris uses one of our piccolo snare drums. It's a 13" x 4" bubinga stave with bubinga segmented hoops. Here's a totally dry recording of a quick jam Joe had with his bass player & guitarist. This is an honest recording, & I hope you agree, this drum is anything but "thin". Ok, not rock, but I'm sure you can "transpose" the sound :)

I've used piccolo drums in rock, & they work well for me, but that's the sound I wanted. If the material calls for a deep & low/loose sound, then a piccolo won't do it for you, no matter how well made it might be.
 

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Naigewron

Platinum Member
The previous drummer in one of my band used a DW piccolo snare for many years. I'm not personally a fan of them, but he really made it work. Maybe he would have had an even better snare sound with a "proper" snare, but I can't point out any specific flaw in the sound he got from it.

It boils down to what you like. Piccolos can be great for that tight, short crack, but if you like fat backbeats you're probably better off with a deeper snare.
 

zap1789

Junior Member
I think the main thing to consider is - will it work well with your kick sound?
I dare say this is the best advice so far in this thread.
I don't think it matters what music you're playing, what matters is that your kit sounds right as a whole. If the piccolo snare compliments your kick, go for it, and if it doesn't then it's possible that you can alter your kick sound by changing to a different type of beater, or even just changing or re-tuning the heads.
But like Kettles said, the way that you want the drums to complement each other is totally up to you.
A piccolo might not work straight up, but with some effort you could make it work.
 

bigiainw

Gold Member
Joe Morris uses one of our piccolo snare drums. It's a 13" x 4" bubinga stave with bubinga segmented hoops. Here's a totally dry recording of a quick jam Joe had with his bass player & guitarist. This is an honest recording, & I hope you agree, this drum is anything but "thin". Ok, not rock, but I'm sure you can "transpose" the sound :)

I've used piccolo drums in rock, & they work well for me, but that's the sound I wanted. If the material calls for a deep & low/loose sound, then a piccolo won't do it for you, no matter how well made it might be.
That "little" drum sounds huge! I would have said it was a 14x5 from the sound it produces.

thatn said, the only thing i would be concerned about is if you play unmic'd- the projection isn't likely to be as good as with a bigger drum. If your usually mic'd up, there should be no problem.
 

Austen

Junior Member
keep it simple, thanks for that clip. That sounds awesome! It's got way more balls than my current 5x14 snare. I have definitely decided I'm going for it.

And regarding my kick, I haven't even re-headed it since I got it, so I'll definitely change it up a bit and get new heads to make it work.

Thanks!
 

Sundstrand

Junior Member
A very dead, clicky sounding kick drum and a ear splitting pop was my sound for a couple years. The combination worked very well in live situations.
Glad to hear you're giving it a go. Maybe some audio from you sometime?
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Go for it.
If you're on the lookout for an inexpensive, smaller Mapex snare, I got one of these a couple weeks ago:
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Mapex-Steel-Piccolo-Snare-Drum-106541782-i1822611.gc

Pretty impressed with it considering the price. Little niceties like plastic washers between the lug bolts and the rim, super shine with a nice looking chrome badge, nice sounds anywhere from trashy loose, to crackin' tight, with just a bit of ring to it that can be easily tamed.
Seems a lot of people don't like that size, and you'll pay a bit more for snare specific heads in that size, but for a low budget, decent sounding snare, it's about the best deal going right now.
 
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