Do people actually like the “ring” of metal snares?

Huw Owens

Active Member
There's an episode of Sounds Like A Drum where they first of all use a low pass filter to remove overtones from a snare, gradually leaving just the fundamental. Then they used a high pass filter on the same drum to gradually leave just the overtones.

Counter intuitively the drum with less fundamental, therefore emphasis on overtones and ring, sounded better to me. It sounded more "like a drum" ;) whereas the no overtone/emphasis on fundamental sounded increasingly artificial.

Granted filtering & damping/tuning are not going to produce exactly the same results, but the clear takeaway was that overtones/ring is essential to a good tone IMHO.



Senior Member
I don't - thats why I've sold my brass snares. My hammered Ludwig Bronze I can live with as its ring is a bit muted with the die cast rims and my supra is fine as well - but brass rings too much for me.


Gold Member
So in the studio, are most metal snares muffled or dampened? If so, what’s the point? I could see a metal snare being used live to cut through loud guitars I suppose.
It depends on the drummer, song, engineer, band, situation….etc it’s all personal as to the sound you’re going for.

For me however it’s a no, the much ridiculed St Anger snare sound is a good example as to why.

A little ring might be good, too much? No (for me, anyway)


Gold Member
I prefer the wood shell ring

as far as pleasantness goes
and also as far as compatibility with the tom , floor tom, and bass drum ring, in front of and to the side of it
metal ring (and it's bronze very occasionally brass) I relish in cymbals
but drums; wood
with some metal on them
; )

~ Metal drums were either a Sales eyeball point (ability to engrave; ability to Chrome)
Or for Marching in the rain

Haven't quite gotten to the bottom reason of their existence Yet
maybe to withstand fire but in speaking with Fire Departments across the land I've ruled that reason out
(I'd like to know -if anyone has the historical reason)

Don't go all tympani on me

: )
maybe I'll find the reason in the literature surrounding the Tom Mills Sonor snare drum
was it the first? metal; does anyone know;if any reasoning was hinted at if not definitive

guess -compared to wood- it was just projection->


sum up: for me more trouble than their worth
my first snare in 1970 was a second hand supraphonic then in 71 a new Premier 2000 and haven't since 1975 used one exclusively at all really; I have a lone/sole/ brass 4160 but too heavy -and dabbled with 20s brass 4x14 6L with soldered over edges which I could like -but sold) I just don't like (enough) the way it (the 4160) doesn't match sonically or weight wise with the other drums. Projection's not been an issue with me. Rimshot's pretty much a rimshot on a wood or a metal drum and I'm sticking with that. Not into louder for the sake (or need) of louder. Luckily don't need it. Been able to get away without it no complaints
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"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
Brass and steel snares give me more ear fatigue than wood. I like an unmuffled, wide open snare. So wood gives me the balance I seek. I like hearing others play metal snares, but I'm not a big fan of playing them. My ears are too close. I like ring a lot...but I have a limit. My ears would prefer me to not play metal snares.
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Platinum Member
I don't know if it's steel (it might be brass or something) but i think the ring of this snare is so important to this song.

Come for the snare ring, stay for the killer drumming.

Jeremy Taggart was a huge influence of mine back when I first started playing.


Platinum Member
I played in a heavy rock band one time, and it sounded great! I play in a country band, I now use Snareweights.

I think it just depends on the music you play.


Active Member
I definitely struggle with this, because I don’t want to hear too much of the ring when I’m sitting on the bandstand. I won’t go to the extent of using one of those pre-muffled Aquarian heads or something like that, but a snare weight or a few pieces of gaff, tape, or one moon gel, I don’t have any problem with that.

The problem I know is what sounds good to me sitting behind the kit can sound dead and lifeless out front, especially without a microphone. I know if I want what everybody calls, crack, or that top end like Steve Jordan has, that you need to play a wide-open snare drum. And that’s tough to listen to for three hours sitting right over it or behind it.

Captain Bash

Silver Member
I like a fair bit of ring (overtones) made by metal snares, it adds character to the overall drum sound and energises the music. I just adjust the degree of ring to compliment my sticking and the broader musical context. The type of batter side hoop makes a significant difference to the ring and feel of the drum. For example I use my Ayotte Keplinger (with wood hoops) on folk gigs and it sounds great even though these drums are commonly used in far heavier styles.

Jasta 11

Well-known Member
So my old guitar player bought a new Ludwig LM402 for me to use at his practice studio and Ill never forget him calling me when he got it. He was freaking out how it sounded in his livivng room, just the snae., he hated how ringy it was. I told him not to worry, that all disappears once its played with the rest of the kit and the band. he was surprised that it went away in the mix. It's metal so it will have a different tone from wood, but the ringing goes away. kid of like snare buzz isnt noticeable after the intro of a song.


Platinum Member
Both of my snares have wood shells, one birch and the other maple and walnut. The last couple of metal snares I have owned have had steel shells, and I liked how they sounded. Peace and goodwill.


Silver Member
In the 80s, on the Jersey Shore, if your snare, or the rest of your drums for that matter, didn't sound like cardboard, you would hear, from an annoyed soundman
"Can you do something about that ring please?"


Gold Member
Can't wood shells ring just as much? And isn't the head doing most of it?
wood ring vs metal ring via texture tone "like"
not exactly the amount
I mean "If it sang like Sophie Tucker" who'd care the material
: D
Hit a steel pipe
Hit a 2x4 board

I was going to ask how many violins or cello's are made of a type of steel (brass, bronze, alum, etc) vs wood
But there probably are a few- Electric


Diamond Member
Can't wood shells ring just as much? And isn't the head doing most of it?
No. The molecular structure of the metal shell is able to resonate at higher frequencies than wood. Plus, there’s no wood fiber-induced dampening of that resonance, so there’s a longer decay.

Matt Cameron used a Kiplinger in both Sound Garden and Pearl Jam. If it don't ring it don't sing.
In Matt’s interview with Rick Beato, he talks about THE snare, as used in many of their tunes.