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  #1  
Old 07-13-2017, 12:10 PM
Jerome Jerome is offline
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Default Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

Hi drummers,

I've always read everywhere that the bottom head of a snare drum should be tuned tight, almost cranked all the way up. You will probably tell me it depends on the drummer's taste but it seems to be THE unbreakable rule of drum tuning.

I've got a Ludwig LM402 and it happens to sound better to me, when the bottom head is not too tight. I tune the top head pretty low and I feel like it sounds fatter and more consistent when the reso head is not too tight. Still tighter than the top, but not too tight.

Your thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 07-13-2017, 03:31 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

Tuning methods and sounds are very subjective. I happen to tune the snare side pretty tight, and that works well for me. Each year at NAMM, I tune the 50+ snares in the Ludwig booth starting with a tight bottom head, and everyone seems to like the results. :)

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Old 07-13-2017, 03:34 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

What a drum sounds to you is way different than to someone 20 feet away. Altimately, you're in control of your sound and there are guys out there that will detune a lug or few to get a fat sound.

With respect to the reso, tighter will provide far better stick response, but there's a point where the sound chocks. No drum will sound good or carry when tuned beyond its range in either direction.

I'd think you'd get a far better sound if you tuned it to where it performs best, then throw on a Big Fat Snare Drum head on it or make your own. Should get you the same type of sound, but will carry more and respond better. Head will last longer too.
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Old 07-13-2017, 04:03 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

One drummers' "not too tight" could still be pretty tight. Its a subjective word maybe. If it sounds good, its likely tight enough.
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Old 07-13-2017, 04:09 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

Tight or loose, I've never been able to get a good snare sound from any snare I've owned. Whether I sit down with a drum for an hour, an afternoon, or two minutes before a show, it's just not in me.
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Old 07-13-2017, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

IMHO a "tight" reso head is more sensitive. How tight and how sensitive is up to you of course. A loose reso head can lead to excessive buzz in many situations. Try a variety of tensions and see what you like.
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Old 07-13-2017, 04:20 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheElectricCompany View Post
Tight or loose, I've never been able to get a good snare sound from any snare I've owned. Whether I sit down with a drum for an hour, an afternoon, or two minutes before a show, it's just not in me.
The first thing I think of....crank that reso at least twice where you have it now!
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Old 07-13-2017, 04:53 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

I've said it before. My reso is extremely tight. If you pricked it with a pin,the drum would explode. :)

A tight snare reso also helps control sympathetic buzz.
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Old 07-13-2017, 05:29 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

Quote:
Originally Posted by opentune View Post
One drummers' "not too tight" could still be pretty tight. Its a subjective word maybe.
It's very subjective.

When I say "pretty tight", that means tapping with the finger and getting a high note with a clear tone but a short decay. Too tight means tapping with the finger, and getting a staccato blip or pop, no discernable note or decay.

If the head can't vibrate enough to produce a note, the wires also can't respond well enough to make a useful sound.

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Old 07-13-2017, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheElectricCompany View Post
Tight or loose, I've never been able to get a good snare sound from any snare I've owned. Whether I sit down with a drum for an hour, an afternoon, or two minutes before a show, it's just not in me.
I recommend investing in a tune-bot. Great device which will get you perfect results. There's also a dedicated app for it that I use with mine.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...nebot&hl=en_GB
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/drum...851864924?mt=8

It has recommended Hz frequency settings for snare, toms and bass drums for batter and reso heads, and you can choose which fundamental notes and octaves you prefer.
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Old 07-13-2017, 05:54 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

I like tight bottoms!
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  #12  
Old 07-13-2017, 06:16 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome View Post
I've always read everywhere that the bottom head of a snare drum should be tuned tight, almost cranked all the way up. You will probably tell me it depends on the drummer's taste but it seems to be THE unbreakable rule of drum tuning.
I wouldn't say that. The range where the snare side head sounds good is usually in the higher end-- I would never do a true medium or low tuning with it. But probably the worst sounding drums I've encountered had the bottom head cranked way too high. Usually accompanied by way-too-tight snares.
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:36 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlin5 View Post
I recommend investing in a tune-bot. Great device which will get you perfect results. There's also a dedicated app for it that I use with mine.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...nebot&hl=en_GB
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/drum...851864924?mt=8

It has recommended Hz frequency settings for snare, toms and bass drums for batter and reso heads, and you can choose which fundamental notes and octaves you prefer.
Thanks for this. I just got my tune-bot recently, and had no idea that this app existed.
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Old 07-14-2017, 09:38 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheElectricCompany View Post
Tight or loose, I've never been able to get a good snare sound from any snare I've owned. Whether I sit down with a drum for an hour, an afternoon, or two minutes before a show, it's just not in me.
Been there. Some snares I just can never get right. I have a Drum Dial that helps balance the two heads pretty well and that helped a lot. But even with that, some drums you just can't reach.
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  #15  
Old 07-15-2017, 01:06 AM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

Quote:
Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
I wouldn't say that. The range where the snare side head sounds good is usually in the higher end-- I would never do a true medium or low tuning with it. But probably the worst sounding drums I've encountered had the bottom head cranked way too high. Usually accompanied by way-too-tight snares.
My experience as well, especially in the Guitar Center drum rooms where snares, batter and reso are wayyyyyy to tight to breathe.
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  #16  
Old 07-15-2017, 01:27 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

Tight reso head, medium-ish tight batter head

Sounds perfecto
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  #17  
Old 07-15-2017, 02:01 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

I get better results with a tight snare-side head, whether the batter is loose, medium, or tight. No sense getting crazy with the snare-side tension though- someone on here posted a while back about cranking their bottom head super tight on several occasions and after checking it with a drum dial afterward, the head would settle back down at a consistent reading after having sit for a while. Makes sense, as a snare-side head is usually only 2 or 2 mils thick and will stretch out eventually if subjected to excessive tension. At that point, you're just eating up space on the collar of the head and using up future tweak space for tune ups down the road.
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  #18  
Old 07-15-2017, 02:43 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

I find there is a sweet spot between loose and super tight. Too tight and it chokes the whole snare. Back off from there, and with my snares, I find something I like very much.
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Old 07-15-2017, 05:58 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

My LM 400 is my goto snare drum.

The reso is pretty simple to me. I evenly tension each rod, testing for evenness of pitch, until I feel it's near a subjective "medium" to tight tension range, as well as in tune with itself. Then, I'll put some pressure on the head with my finger tips. IF there is a just a little give, (not tabletop tight), but it also takes a little bit of force to push it in, it's pretty close to where I want it.

From there I'm tuning the batter, seeing where the sound lies, then perhaps making a few final adjustments up or down on the reso and wire tensions
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  #20  
Old 07-15-2017, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

Recently got a Tune Bot Gig, it's nice on toms and bass, I haven't had as much luck on snares, especially snare reso, where I can't get frequency near as high as the calculator is calling for., head has chocked out long before that point.

I'm no tuning expert, but how lively a sound or how dampened a sound your looking for / the drum will tolerate, would seem to me a critical consideration, when people talk about tuning snare drums.
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Old 07-15-2017, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

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Originally Posted by Brian View Post
My LM 400 is my goto snare drum.

The reso is pretty simple to me. I evenly tension each rod, testing for evenness of pitch, until I feel it's near a subjective "medium" to tight tension range, as well as in tune with itself. Then, I'll put some pressure on the head with my finger tips. IF there is a just a little give, (not tabletop tight), but it also takes a little bit of force to push it in, it's pretty close to where I want it.

From there I'm tuning the batter, seeing where the sound lies, then perhaps making a few final adjustments up or down on the reso and wire tensions
Without editing, also wanted to say that I don't tune to "notes" or "tunebot" with the reso head. I'm not that much of a sticklier, though I am sure some sound guys and high level drummers/tuners are so. The batter head, I do tune to specific pitches but with a piano or pitchpipe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
It's very subjective.

When I say "pretty tight", that means tapping with the finger and getting a high note with a clear tone but a short decay. Too tight means tapping with the finger, and getting a staccato blip or pop, no discernable note or decay.

If the head can't vibrate enough to produce a note, the wires also can't respond well enough to make a useful sound.

Bermuda
Words of wisdom here. If you tap your resonant head and it just goes "pip" with no real sustain of a particular note, it's probably closed to choked out, or is.

Last edited by Brian; 07-15-2017 at 08:02 PM.
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  #22  
Old 07-15-2017, 07:57 PM
Brian Brian is offline
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

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Originally Posted by Tone Laborer View Post
Recently got a Tune Bot Gig, it's nice on toms and bass, I haven't had as much luck on snares, especially snare reso, where I can't get frequency near as high as the calculator is calling for., head has chocked out long before that point.

I'm no tuning expert, but how lively a sound or how dampened a sound your looking for / the drum will tolerate, would seem to me a critical consideration, when people talk about tuning snare drums.
Which snare drums are you talking about? And resonant heads?

I'm just curious...have never used a tune bot or anything like that, just ear and a reference point for pitch. I think different snare drums, combined with different heads, all have "sweet spots" and choke points, that are not necessarily equal. Sometimes not even close.

Some drums take me hours to get where I feel they sound adequate, others minutes.
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  #23  
Old 07-15-2017, 08:11 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

The looser the snare head, the more I get overwhelming buzz - my experience.
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  #24  
Old 07-15-2017, 09:51 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

I wonder, when considering a very low tuned snare, has anyone considered using a thicker snare side, like maybe a diplomat?

I've never dared to consider using such a head, but it seems to figure that a heaviersnare side head at very low tuning might work better than a thinner head with low tuning.

Now that I have one of those modern snare drums that allow changing the snare head easily, I might just experiment with odd bottom heads.
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Old 07-15-2017, 09:54 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

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Originally Posted by WallyY View Post
I wonder, when considering a very low tuned snare, has anyone considered using a thicker snare side, like maybe a diplomat?

I've never dared to consider using such a head, but it seems to figure that a heaviersnare side head at very low tuning might work better than a thinner head with low tuning.

Now that I have one of those modern snare drums that allow changing the snare head easily, I might just experiment with odd bottom heads.
I tried a Rennaisance Diplomat on the snare-side of my Pearl maple piccollo free-floater and it worked just fine. Sounded good.
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  #26  
Old 07-16-2017, 01:24 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

I had long ago Evans heavier snare side on a Pearl free floating. Don't know if it comes from the head or the shell, but I had the impression of less sensitivity at on weak strokes. This drums needed pounding and the snare wasn't reactive at low volume. Again, it was a long time ago.
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  #27  
Old 07-16-2017, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
It's very subjective.

When I say "pretty tight", that means tapping with the finger and getting a high note with a clear tone but a short decay. Too tight means tapping with the finger, and getting a staccato blip or pop, no discernable note or decay.

If the head can't vibrate enough to produce a note, the wires also can't respond well enough to make a useful sound.

Bermuda
I definitely agree with this approach. Sometimes if a bottom head is table top hard, the snare wires will buzz on their own uncontrolled due to any lack of head vibration to dampen their movement.
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  #28  
Old 07-21-2017, 05:05 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

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Originally Posted by Brian View Post
Which snare drums are you talking about? And resonant heads?

I'm just curious...have never used a tune bot or anything like that, just ear and a reference point for pitch. I think different snare drums, combined with different heads, all have "sweet spots" and choke points, that are not necessarily equal. Sometimes not even close.

Some drums take me hours to get where I feel they sound adequate, others minutes.
Clear Ambassadors on an Acrolite and also a cheap Premier (XPK, allegedly). I was swapping some heads around--it could be age of the heads, not that old, but not new either. I haven't had the Tune Bot long, so I don't mean it as a sweeping statement about the Tune Bot. Pilot error cannot be ruled out.

Yes, without knowing the snare, heads, or any idea what kind of snare sound someone's going for, tuning talk is murky, but still interesting.
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  #29  
Old 07-21-2017, 05:30 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

After watching the Steve Maxwell tuning video i started using looser on the snare side.. but as has been said 100x it's all subjective.. i personally don't like the "Crack" that guys want and a cranked reso head gives that but seems to just destroy any tone. just my .02.. Plus.. looser bottom.. tighter top.. great bounce:)
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Old 07-21-2017, 06:54 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

I usually like to have the bottom head as high as it can go without choking the sound. To me, a looser snare-side head has that "borsh" paper-bag sound that disallows any sort of articulate playing.
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Old 07-22-2017, 01:11 AM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

Snapped-up, that's how I like mine, or in layman's terms, cinched-down, torqued, battened-down.

I want crisp, clean sound with good stick response. If you're going to tune a snare, tune it right, or play a cardboard box.
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Old 07-22-2017, 06:08 AM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

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Snapped-up, that's how I like mine, or in layman's terms, cinched-down, torqued, battened-down.

I want crisp, clean sound with good stick response. If you're going to tune a snare, tune it right, or play a cardboard box.
Brother, you know what you want, make it happen!

If u make me come all the way up there in ontario, it's gonna cost you a fortune .
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Old 07-22-2017, 06:19 AM
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Brother, you know what you want, make it happen!

If u make me come all the way up there in ontario, it's gonna cost you a fortune .
Roaring with laughter! You're a good egg, Alex!
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  #34  
Old 07-22-2017, 02:25 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

I use a drum tune app and tune mine to about G two half steps above A110 whatever that frequency is.
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  #35  
Old 07-25-2017, 11:53 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

Neatly sums it up...

Quote:
Originally Posted by alparrott View Post
I usually like to have the bottom head as high as it can go without choking the sound. To me, a looser snare-side head has that "borsh" paper-bag sound that disallows any sort of articulate playing.
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Old 07-26-2017, 02:38 AM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

I always go for right around A=440. It's an easy pitch for me to hear in my head and whether I tune the batter low medium or high I get good snare response.
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  #37  
Old 07-26-2017, 06:21 AM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

I tune my snare to a pitch between 3E-3A#-so I crank up the reso first (but not enough to choke it) then start tuning up snare side-tweaking both till I get what I want-it's a balance and dance to get it right. I think many people tend to shy from tightening the reso head because of fear of damaging the thinner film but if you don't tighten it enough you just don't get the crack and sensitivity. I don't see the same trepidation with the snare side-where often I see folks tighten it to death.
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Old 07-26-2017, 06:45 AM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

I guess I've always been doing this. On my Supra, I noticed that the bottom head is tighter than the top, and on my DW Collectors 6x14, I discovered the bottom head needs to be a lot tighter than the top. Weird.
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  #39  
Old 07-26-2017, 08:42 AM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

I generally use Tune Bot to tighten the resonant head on all my snare drums (I use Remo Ambassador snare side heads).

There's no reason to go beyond 390-400 on the Tune Bot frequency, otherwise it stifles and chokes the resonance.
Beyond 400 also makes the sound too high pitched, as if cheating the fullness of the snare drum from being announced.

There is no extreme tightening on the reso required to get this level, which facilitates the snare bed responding crisply.
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Old 07-26-2017, 12:31 PM
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Default Re: Snare: Tight Vs Loose bottom head

I tune by ear. Tight snare reso and med. tight snare wires.
Ambassador snare and coated ambassador or reverse dot coated ambassador.
14 by 5 poplar Pearl Export EXL (stock)
Nice crack with a cool buzz ;)
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