Choked Snare Drum: What it sounds like, feels like, and how to prevent it

BenOBrienSmith

Senior Member
This is one of the most common tuning issues I've come across when people have asked me to help with their snare drum sound. I've seen the problems blamed on model of heads, the drum shell material, the bearing edges, the temperature, the room sound, you name it. In the end, it often has everything to do with the tuning of the drum itself and how it's being restricted.

Because "choked" is such a nebulous term (as are most with describing sound), we wanted to create some examples featuring three different drums and the three most common causes of a choked snare sound:
 

Mustion

Senior Member
Nice video. I've been cranking everything for years--batter, snare side, wires--and am only recently realizing that it can be counterproductive. I actually found this out in an extreme manner recently with a 14x8 DW steel snare where the snare side head and wires were both cranked so much that I actually got no snare sound at all! It was as if the strainer was disengaged, and sounded terrible.
 

drumnut87

Well-known member
good advice and a good vid :)


i used to get a choked drum when i was younger and less experienced, now im oldere experienced i tune my snares where theyre beautifully in tune without choking. the *ONLY* drum i found incredibly hard to tune was a tama starclassic B/B, didnt sound good at any tuning other than *REALLY* cranked, which felt terrible to play and sounded it (IMO)
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Another great vid.

I played a Gretsch Catalina 14x5.5 at a jam night that was the most choked snare I've ever played. You can feel it in the hands. You worded it better with feel frustration!
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
This is one of the most common tuning issues I've come across when people have asked me to help with their snare drum sound. I've seen the problems blamed on model of heads, the drum shell material, the bearing edges, the temperature, the room sound, you name it. In the end, it often has everything to do with the tuning of the drum itself and how it's being restricted.

Because "choked" is such a nebulous term (as are most with describing sound), we wanted to create some examples featuring three different drums and the three most common causes of a choked snare sound:
Great video - easily the best non-lesson video series on youtube.

Keep it up!
 

gmiller598

Senior Member
I definitely found this video helpful. I've been trying to find the sweet spot of tuning on my drums, especially my newest 5x15 Classic Maple and watching this made me realize I had my reso cranked too high because my the excessive ring I was getting even though I was using a Vintage Ambassador head.
 

Mustion

Senior Member
This guy likes to talk. Maybe the choked sound starts about 9 minutes.
Fair point. I would rather have had the "un-choked" example in the same video for the purposes of hearing the contrast. But, we're nitpicking a bit much for what's essentially a free lesson here aren't we?
 
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