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Old 10-31-2013, 03:51 PM
milkjam milkjam is offline
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Default snare size and the sound.

leaving aside the material used, maple, brass, steel whatever.
how does the size of the snare influence the sound.
i guess shallow gives a higher pitch, is that why piccolo snares are 2 or 3 inches deep ?
but what about 4, 5, 6, 7 or even deeper and how does this balance with the diameter.
12, 13, 14, 15 whatever.
i realise the sound is a combo of depth, diameter, materials, skins, lugs, vents etc but for now i am asking about the combination of depth and diameter.
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Old 10-31-2013, 04:39 PM
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Default Re: snare size and the sound.

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Originally Posted by milkjam View Post
leaving aside the material used, maple, brass, steel whatever.
how does the size of the snare influence the sound.
i guess shallow gives a higher pitch, is that why piccolo snares are 2 or 3 inches deep ?
but what about 4, 5, 6, 7 or even deeper and how does this balance with the diameter.
12, 13, 14, 15 whatever.
i realise the sound is a combo of depth, diameter, materials, skins, lugs, vents etc but for now i am asking about the combination of depth and diameter.
What I've noticed through my personal experience is that the diameter influences the pitch, and the depth influences the 'body' of the snare. If you have a shallow snare, you're going to hear more 'crack' than tone, and vice versa. That's why Piccolos may seem so much higher than a snare with more depth, even though they may be tuned the same. I just got a snare with a 7" depth, and it still has that same high crack when I tune it up high, but you also hear a more full, deep sound that really fills out the tone of the drum. The diameter is really more about your preference (to an extent). I went with a 13" diameter with this snare, because I wanted a higher tuning range, and the smaller diameter fits more comfortably into my setup.
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Old 10-31-2013, 06:57 PM
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Redbeard Redbeard is offline
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Default Re: snare size and the sound.

^What he said.
The size of a snare drum follows the same principles as toms. Diameter affects pitch, and depth affects the fullness of the sound. Also, the shell material is more of a factor on a deeper drum, since obviously there's more material to resonate.
All things being equal, shallower snares are more sensitive/responsive, but of course tuning, head selection, snare wire tension are all factors there.
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: snare size and the sound.

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All things being equal, shallower snares are more sensitive/responsive
Is that typically how it works? My 13 x 7 is much more sensitive than my 14 x 5.5, and it still has the stock wires and heads, as opposed to the Remos and Puresounds on my 14".
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:20 PM
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Default Re: snare size and the sound.

To my ear, a 13x7 is the perfect snare size. It can pretty much do everything, plus it's more comfortable in my set-up. Only drawback is less surface area for brushes, if that's something you do a lot. The new Pearl limited edition steel ($270) and Tama Starphonic black nickel steel ($449) are both fantastic, musical, beautiful sounding drums that sound great at all tunings.
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: snare size and the sound.

Sensitivity has more to do with edges, snare beds, heads and tuning than depth, really. With shallower snares you get more snare sound than drum sound, and that can give you the impression of sensitivity. So if you are after a snappier, snarier sound, go shallow.
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:10 AM
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Default Re: snare size and the sound.

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Originally Posted by wsabol View Post
Sensitivity has more to do with edges, snare beds, heads and tuning than depth, really. With shallower snares you get more snare sound than drum sound, and that can give you the impression of sensitivity. So if you are after a snappier, snarier sound, go shallow.
Agreed. Shallower snares should theoretically respond a bit quicker but IMO the difference isn't drastic.

I like a lot of snare sound and a lot of crack, so I chose Puresound Super 30s on my 13x5" stave Padauk drum, as well as a die-cast hoops (though I'm thinking of switching to s-hoops, or getting a 13x7 segmented or hammered bronze). That, plus my tuning and the great construction, leads to an insane amount of body and crack for such a small snare. I think a larger size of the same thickness, edges, etc. might actually run the risk of overpowering some situations.

Over the years, I've come to think of a shallow snare (like Dirk Verbeuren's) to be sort of like a punch whereas deeper snares (say, Luc Hess's) to be more like kicks (not the drum).
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:20 AM
mandrew mandrew is offline
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Default Re: snare size and the sound.

A lot of attention has been paid to 13" snares lately, but there is the other side of the coin, going wider. There are a number of clips on you tube where drummers are playing some vintage 1920's Ludwig BB that are 15" diameter and 4" deep. They have skin heads, and really sing! That combo was killer for jazz, which was the rage of that day, as well as big band. More area for brushes too.
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Old 11-01-2013, 02:41 PM
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Default Re: snare size and the sound.

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Originally Posted by mandrew View Post
A lot of attention has been paid to 13" snares lately, but there is the other side of the coin, going wider. There are a number of clips on you tube where drummers are playing some vintage 1920's Ludwig BB that are 15" diameter and 4" deep. They have skin heads, and really sing! That combo was killer for jazz, which was the rage of that day, as well as big band. More area for brushes too.
Absolutely. That size is great for that application, but in my opinion, it's not that great for much else, and it's just uncomfortable to straddle a drum that big. I'd rather have the higher tuning range than the lower.
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:13 PM
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Default Re: snare size and the sound.

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Originally Posted by TColumbia37 View Post
Is that typically how it works? My 13 x 7 is much more sensitive than my 14 x 5.5, and it still has the stock wires and heads, as opposed to the Remos and Puresounds on my 14".
The theory is that the heads are closer together, therefore it takes less energy to excite the bottom head/snares. But obviously there are enough factors that affect response so as to destroy any generalizations based purely on size.
Too many exceptions to these "rules!"
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Old 11-03-2013, 03:22 PM
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Default Re: snare size and the sound.

Personally I would never use anything apart from a 14 diameter - the smaller ones sound too "pingy" or choked. But I am old so what do I know lol

In the old days people used a 5 or 6 1/2 depth, and this was largely to do with volume and 'body'. A 6 1/2 depth can be high pitched and crisp (if you have enough snare wires) but it will be louder than a 5.

Don't neglect snare wires. Shallower drums will be more sensitive, but if you want a loud meaty snare drum with snap, then use more snare wires than the standard 20. But some drummers (like Gavin Harrison) prefer a sound with more "drum" than "snare", so it is also down to personal preference. Personally I like the sound of a snappy drum.

Note that Phil Collins (when he was good) used a 6 1/2 drum but with super sensitive (24-strand) snares. It sounded great - and loud. If you know what you are looking for, use the right combination of tools ....

Personally I think the drum material and the snare wires are the most important parts.
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Old 11-03-2013, 06:41 PM
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Default Re: snare size and the sound.

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Originally Posted by milkjam View Post
leaving aside the material used,
Unfortunately, even for purposes of discussion, you can't leave out that element. Materials & construction have a profound affect on characteristics, & can even negate or exaggerate some of the depth x diameter "rules of thumb".

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Originally Posted by wizard sticks View Post
Personally I would never use anything apart from a 14 diameter - the smaller ones sound too "pingy" or choked. But I am old so what do I know lol
A snare that is either lacking in tone or chokes readily at either end of the tuning range is a poorly designed/built or cheap snare at any size. Watch this video from 02:40 - 04:20. A 13" snare run through a series of tuning examples, naturally recorded. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKMkvmBq3Pw&hd=1
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:54 PM
DAC1214 DAC1214 is offline
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Default Re: snare size and the sound.

Castle Drum Company has started making snares with 14" batter heads and 13" snare sides. They give you the tuning range of a 14" with the crack and pop of a 13". They make an 8" deep snare that gives you the low end without losing definition when played lighter. They are definitely worth checking out.
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:59 PM
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Default Re: snare size and the sound.

I used to love 13" snare drums, but these days a 14x6 or somewhere in that area is my personal preference. Anywhere between 5" and 7" deep, and I like any sort of metallic shell, rather it be metal, chrome, or brass. I feel drums like this just have such a great tuning range, and I always want the tone of the drum - a crack is never enough for me.
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