Your "go to" snare



After years of changing snares, selling, buying, I now only have 5 (well, only 3 proper ones) and yet I almost only use one of them.

It does everything, sounds great at all tuning levels, all dampening levels, all snare tensions, all heads, all sticks, all mics, lots of body, lots of crack, lots of top end. I still haven't found one situation where it doesn't excel.

It is a quite beat up Sonor Artist Steel. I bought it for £300 on ebay and then got a further £50 discount when i noticed the bottom bearing edge had a little dent in it (where it had clearly been dropped) - yet this bargain is easily the best snare I've ever played, keeping my Prolite 14x6 diecast and Pearl Omar Hakim snares almost obselete which are only brought out for specific occasions.

So what's your "go-to" snare?

(assuming lots of black beauty responses - I want to know why)


PS apologies if this has been done before, I'm relatively new to this forum


Platinum Member
Right now, I have the following:

Pork Pie 13" x 5" USA maple (matches my drum set)
Pearl Masters 14" x 5" maple
Tama Rockstar 14" x 5.5" steel shell
Pearl 14" x 5.5" steel shell
Ludwig Centennial maple 13" x 5.5" (I think)

I have three kits that I actively play: one is at church, one is in their cases ready to gig (it's actually set up in a studio right now), and one is in my practice room/basement. If I had it my way, I'd buy two more Pearl Masters maple snares just like that one I have at church, and I'd put the rest of my other snares in storage. It does everything that I need it to do and more. That Ludwig Centennial is a very, very close second.
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Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I like these kinds of threads.

I have 5 snares now, all of which I love dearly, but the go-to, the one that gets the gigs is the 14 x 6.5 Pork Pie BoB. But for practice, I use the 14 X 6.5 Ludwig Element Birch. My Acrolite is in storage right now, and my brass 14 x 4 Slingerland Buddy Rich snare sounds amazing, but I never have enough room for a piccolo side snare. It's the perfect side snare. Maybe someday... The old Aluminum Gretsch was my go to for 20+ years, but now it just sits around. I can't get rid of it because I've had it since I started drumming back in the early 80's. I've recently took the hoops off it and swapped hoops with my Element Birch snare, which made the Element Birch even more awesome.

Well, that's my snare story...


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I have a LOT of snares (100+) but only 3 get 99% of the action on my local gig, all 6.5x14 Ludwig in no particular order:


'80s Supra, pitted.

'60s COB Supra w/orig brass hoops and heavier lugs. It started as a super-sensitive, and was re-drilled for a regular throw and butt - a common conversion back in the day - so it doesn't possess as much value being a player's drum.

On tour I've been using the same Black Beauty since 2007, which lost its clear coat years ago and has an attractive gun-metal patina.



Platinum Member
Until recently I only owned three snares, and my 6.5x14" Mapex Sledgehammer (hammered brass shell) got the majority of the attention from me. It has a great sound and tunes low or high. My new Joey Kramer snare (thanks again, Rotarded) has been the star of my snare stable the last few weeks, though. It's got a bit more bark and bite than the mellower Mapex. I think 6.5" brass shells are pretty much me.


"Uncle Larry"
I have 3 - 14 x 7 snares that see gig action:

Guru Ash steambent
Guru Padauk segmented
Guru Walnut segmented

The Holy Trinity

Kind of predictable.
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Red Menace

Platinum Member
For gigs I have been using my ugly 402 Supraphonic. It delivers a consistent "rock" sound, plus I like the internal muffler for close mic'd situations.

I also have an Acrolite that lives at my church gig. I love the sound of an aluminum snare that is cranked to high Heaven. I think I might even like the Acro more that the Supra right now. It is a little dry, not too dry, responsive and a good attack when I need it.

Bruce M. Thomson

Gold Member
That is a really nice drum the Sonor.
I also went through a buying selling phase however now that I am slowing down a bit I decided to keep just the one and that is the Ludwig 61/4 Black Beauty. Same as you it does all I need, if I desire a change of some sort there are plenty of heads out there that will do that for me.
Had I not been able to purchase the drum at a great price I would have opted for the Acrolite.


I'll usually take two drums with me to a gig or rehearsal, a 5x15 Legacy and a 5x15 Supralite, and use the one that sounds better in that particular room. I would like to get a 5x15 Black Magic too, and that way I would have all the tunings/tensions covered. I would keep the steel drum loose and baggy, the wood drum medium, and the brass drum cranked. I don't tighten the basket on my snare stand, the drum just sits in there, so in 5 seconds flat I could switch one out for another.


Platinum Member
For years it was an 80s 6 1/2"x14" hammered bronze Ludwig.

Lately I switch between a 7"x14" Eames-shelled custom drum built by Craviotto in the 80s (for jazz gigs), and a Solid brand (also Craviotto- an early company of his) 5 1/2"x14" single ply maple drum (for funk gigs).

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
My go-to snare is a 1927 Super Ludwig. It is a chromed brass shell.
It has a Ludwig P86 strainer, brass single flange hoops with clips and tube lugs.

I don’t hit a lot of rim shots for my back beats. This snare provides a nice loud crack when hit in the center.
With an undampened Evans G1 coated batter head it has just a small amount of those ringing over tones. Perfect !



Silver Member
1952 Gretsch Round Badge Snare. Shell was stripped by me and painted by my daughter when she was 6. It was re-cut and assembled by The Modern Drumshop (NYC) right before they closed down forever. I replaced the stick chopper top rim with a 2.3mm triple flange (rim shots).

Every band member, soundguy and studio engineer loves this drum - works in any genre.

There's some serious mojo in old Gretsch snares, something I can't describe.

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
My "go to" snares are two from Tama. One is the Tama SLP Vintage Steel 14x5.5, the other is the Tama SLP Classic Maple 14x5.5. Those two snares are each perfect allrounders.

Which one I use depends rather often than not on the location/stage. I talk to the sound engineer and he will tell me: steel or wood. Some stages just don't work so well with a metal snare, and in that case I gladly pull out the maple snare. And vice versa. Both can be tuned up really high or really low, can ring lively or be dry like a good Martini, both work well with all musical styles that I play and deliver tremendous ghostnotes.

Just a few weeks ago, I also purchased the SLP Vintage Poplar Maple. A bit more special (not as loud as the others, a bit more compressed, "vintage"-sounding) but it will be played often, 'cause it's a really nice snare.


Platinum Member
Is this not simply becoming a bragging competition for who has the oldest, or rarest, or most expensive, or most desirable snare?


"Uncle Larry"
Is this not simply becoming a bragging competition for who has the oldest, or rarest, or most expensive, or most desirable snare?
That's one way to look at it. I like hearing about others main squeezes. I like to see how many people prefer wood over metal, or no preference, just the right fit. Kind of like talking about your honey.


Is this not simply becoming a bragging competition for who has the oldest, or rarest, or most expensive, or most desirable snare?
Not really. The Supralite I mentioned is a $200 snare drum. The Legacy is a $500 drum, but you can find them used for $300. Neither is rare, old, or overly expensive.


Junior Member
My 'go to' snare is a 14 X 6 Noonan Stave shell in natural maple, with tube lugs and Yamaha alloy hoops. It does it all beautifully, and gets used 80% of the time.

Down to 4 snares including this, and the others are:-

Ludwig Black Beauty 14 X 5
Noonan aluminium 14 X 6.5
Noonan padauk stave shell 14 X 5

I feel I can cover all bases with this versatile selection. Thick Stave shells work really well on snares, to my ears.