brass snare

fyffe

Member
how would u guys go about tuning brass snares? i own a mapex metallion and i think its great but having only a wood snare before im not sure how to go around working it, which head would you also recommend, thanks and stay safe!
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Not all brass sounds identical. Though brass has a reputation for being ringy and, well, brassy, shell characteristics vary in response to several elements. Stereotypes crumble in that sense.

Each drum should be tuned in the manner in which you think it sounds best. Some snares reach their zenith at lower tunings, while others shine in higher registers. Experiment with several tensions and assess your findings. You're the best judge of your snare's output.
 
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Al Strange

Well-known member
I tune mine high (I’ve got a Tama 14x6.5 and Ludwig 14x8), and prefer a Remo coated Ambassador batter and Remo Ambassador hazy reso on snareside... (y) :)
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I tune mine high (I’ve got a Tama 14x6.5 and Ludwig 14x8), and prefer a Remo coated Ambassador batter and Remo Ambassador hazy reso on snareside... (y) :)

Hey, Al. When you refer to high snare tunings, how high do you like to climb -- Copeland-cranked to the point of popping or somewhere well below that? I'm just curious. It's always fun to hear about snare preferences.
 
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graysonator

Well-known member
I have a 7x13 brass pork pie, mine is cranked as well because my particular model likes to go high, but i'm not that much of an overtones guy so once my aquarian texture coated head is done for, i'll likely replace it with a focus-x model
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Yeah, pretty much cranked ala Stewart... I prefer the way it sounds and feels. 👍🙂

That's what I imagined. Anything less would be an insult to your Blue Bell Ride. :)

Historically, tight, crisp snare tunings have been my norm as well, with temporary deviations whenever a gig or recording has called for them. Lately, however, I've been tuning lower more often than not and liking it for the most part. I've cultivated a softer, fuller sound that works well for much of what I'm playing these days, though I do sometimes miss the articulation and feel of a tight batter head. Maybe I'm just going through a lockdown phase. We'll see where things stand when I'm out on the scene again.
 
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Al Strange

Well-known member
That's what I imagined. Anything less would be an insult to your Blue Bell Ride. :)
😂I don’t know if I just dig that sound because Regatta de Blanc was the first album I ever owned as an impressionable 7 year old, and the tight brass snare sound was ingrained into my drumming dna?!! The beauty of it is that my playing style is nothing like Stewart Copeland’s (I think that’s why I love his playing so much!) but the sound has always done me proud playing hard rock; it cuts through! Will be interesting to see if you continue down the lower tunings route when playing out, or if the drum key comes out mid rehearsal!:)
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
😂I don’t know if I just dig that sound because Regatta de Blanc was the first album I ever owned as an impressionable 7 year old, and the tight brass snare sound was ingrained into my drumming dna?!! The beauty of it is that my playing style is nothing like Stewart Copeland’s (I think that’s why I love his playing so much!) but the sound has always done me proud playing hard rock; it cuts through! Will be interesting to see if you continue down the lower tunings route when playing out, or if the drum key comes out mid rehearsal!:)

Time will tell, but who knows? I could be high and tight again as early as next week. If I hear "Don't Stand So Close to Me" or "Synchronicity II" on the radio, the drum key might be hard to resist.
 

sumdrumguy

Senior Member
@fyffe As it's a new (to you) snare, I suggest you start with a medium tuning. Use that as a baseline to get to the know the snare. Tweak/explore the tuning from there to suit your taste. Or different tunings to suit different musical genres.

I have two brass snares. One a 14 x 5.5 black nickel over brass. The other a 14 x 3.5 plain brass. Although the 5.5 can handle a higher tuning, I prefer a medium tuning to bring out the darker qualities. When I want a higher pitched brass, I use the 14 x 3.5.
 
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Ransan

Senior Member
Crank it baby!
I have a Pearl Brass Free floating snare, a Pearl Jupiter CoB both 6.5” and a transition throw era Gretsch 4160 CoB and they will crack the sky open.
For the record a Remo reverse dot works perfect for the overtones.
 
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KamaK

Platinum Member
how would u guys go about tuning brass snares? i own a mapex metallion and i think its great but having only a wood snare before im not sure how to go around working it, which head would you also recommend, thanks and stay safe!
I've owned a Black Beauty and a CB700 Free-floater (ultimately the same as a Pearl). They both had very different voices.

I'd grab some stock single ply heads (Ambassador) and spend a day or two interrogating your drum.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
In general I don't think that brass calls for one specific tuning... Your best bet is to tune it how you like a snare to sound first, then experiment with higher and lower pitches. Then perhaps branch out into different heads, depending on what you're wanting to hear or feel.

One of the great things about brass is it gives a lot more body to the overall sound, so it tends to be very solid and full tuned high or low.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
how would u guys go about tuning brass snares?
I tune my brass snares (I have three) all over the place. Low and fat, with just a thud, or high & tight for a cracking sound. Some guys tune the reso head "cranked" tight and I've had mine every where from medium tight to tight, never "cranked". I find that there's a sweet spot with a reso head tune medium and batter head tuned medium-low that (at least with my snares) I get a great balance between a sharp crack and low punch. Also bear in mind that a tight snappy will choke the reso head and will also raise the pitch of the drum. As the reso head goes up in pitch/tension (using very small increments of tightening) the pitch changes and the stick response improves a bit. As the tension is raised on both heads, the pitch goes up and the rimshots can become harsh if not played well (e.g., too hard).

I recommend that, next time you buy new heads (batter & reso) you take the time to explore what sounds are possible. If you struggle with tuning you might consider a Tune Bot. I find them helpful on the reso head of a snare, and if you save the pitch data you can easily tune new heads to what you had previously (a huge time saver).
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I tune my brass snares (I have three) all over the place. Low and fat, with just a thud, or high & tight for a cracking sound. Some guys tune the reso head "cranked" tight and I've had mine every where from medium tight to tight, never "cranked". I find that there's a sweet spot with a reso head tune medium and batter head tuned medium-low that (at least with my snares) I get a great balance between a sharp crack and low punch. Also bear in mind that a tight snappy will choke the reso head and will also raise the pitch of the drum. As the reso head goes up in pitch/tension (using very small increments of tightening) the pitch changes and the stick response improves a bit. As the tension is raised on both heads, the pitch goes up and the rimshots can become harsh if not played well (e.g., too hard).

That's good reso guidance, CB. There's a substantial difference between a tight reso and a cranked one. The first is sensitive and full of tone. The second is choked and lifeless. A fine line separates the two, but the consequences of crossing it are monumental.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
That's good reso guidance, CB. There's a substantial difference between a tight reso and a cranked one. The first is sensitive and full of tone. The second is choked and lifeless. A fine line separates the two, but the consequences of crossing it are monumental.
I would disagree and say a cranked brass snare is very much lively and beautiful sounding shell.

Brass and Steel (edit) are the ONLY materials that I would give the thumbs up to cranking, maybe aluminum.
 
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C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I would disagree and say a cranked brass snare is very much lively and beautiful sounding shell.

It's the ONLY material that I would give the thumbs up to cranking.

I think we might all harbor different definitions of "cranked." I'm all for tight reso heads on my snares. To me, cranked means tensioned until you can no longer turn the tuning rods, stretching the head to the extent that it can't resonate at all. When that occurs, the snare wires snap with less vigor, and the drum can't breathe. Of course, each drum has different tolerances, so what's choked on one might be lively on another. It's really more of a case-by-case consideration than a uniform law.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
I think we might all harbor different definitions of "cranked." I'm all for tight reso heads on my snares. To me, cranked means tensioned until you can no longer turn the tuning rods, stretching the head to the extent that it can't resonate at all. When that occurs, the snare wires snap with less vigor, and the drum can't breathe. Of course, each drum has different tolerances, so what's choked on one might be lively on another. It's really more of a case-by-case consideration than a uniform law.
I'm good with this, I agree, I don't think I have tuned to where one more turn couldn't happen.
Further and in your case, I would not risk stress damage to wood shells.

My snare 'crank' is degree less than the marcher's level. so there is still some play in the lugs.
 

MrBeats503

Member
I agree that brass snares are are little more tricky to dial in. I'm still experimenting with the one I just got. So far a mid range tuning seems to suit my liking the best with the current Vintage Emperor head I had laying around. Cranked high it has very little sustain, but each drum is different (that Mapex looks like a beauty!). I would keep experimenting until you get a sound you like. Resonant head tension has a huge impact. I would recommend a head with less dampening and add moon gel if necessary. I bought mine used and it came with an Evans HD head and it sounded totally choked out to me, but to someone else that might sound perfect. I play metal, so I need it to cut and have presence in the mix.
 
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