Does anybody perform live with 5-ish" snare?

Warrenwood

Well-known member
I know this is a weird question, but assume you have to perform live, and you can only take 1 snare drum. Does anybody perform with a 5" or 5.5" deep snare instead of a 6.5"?

Here's why I'm asking: I just bought a Gretsch Brooklyn and I bought both the 5.5x14 and 6.5x14 snares. I don't gig, but a local friend is asking me to cover for their drummer (he's out for surgery.) The music is classic and prog rock (Kansas, Eagles, Chicago) and some big band and blues (Woody Herman, Robert Cray, Blues Brothers covers.) Nothing hard or metal. Nothing soft enough for brushes. Small venue, no need to mike the drums.

If I were taking the Ludwig set or one of the Slingerlands, I'd take a 6.5" deep snare. I decided to take the Gretsch set because it has the range for all the music on the play list. But I like BOTH of the Gretsch snares. And I'm concerned a 6.5" may have too much fat sound and overwhelm the venue. On the other hand, the Gretsch 5.5 is like a rifle shot (similar to my Slingerland RK solid shell.) I have not tried tuning the Gretsch 5.5" lower to see if I can mute the rifle and bring out the fat.

Any thoughts or advice? No bad answers here!
 
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Stroman

Platinum Member
I have done a lot of performing with both 6.5 and 5/5.5 snare drums. I find both equally viable. The 6.5 drums tend to be a little richer in overtones, if other factors are similar, and I guess that is what you are describing as "fat."

In any case, tuning should get you what you need from either one. If you're used to the 6.5, I'd suggest trying the 5 just for a change.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I play nothing but 5" and 5.5" depths, and if I had to choose between the two, I'd shave the half inch and take a 5" every time. I can get plenty of "fat" from a 5" when I want it. I prefer the stick response and sensitivity of a leaner snare, and I like a clean sound with very few overtones. Deeper shells just don't do it for me.
 

Rotarded

Senior Member
As a gigging drummer I feel the need to take 2 snares to every gig. I always have a backup in case I have an equipment malfunction, and because it allows me different sounds to fit the room. Different snare drums (depth, shell composition) allow me to choose the right snare for the situation. I'd hate to be playing a venue with concrete floors, cinder block walls, and low ceilings with a bell brass snare. It's also the reason I have 16 snare drums from 5 to 6.5 inch depths, including multiple metals (Brass, Bell Brass, Bronze, Copper, Aluminum), and woods (Maple, Mahogany, Cherry).
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
The band I play with and the venue determine which snare drum I use. I use a 5" all the time. And 6.5" once in a while. In your case I suggest you bring both sizes and have them ready to play so you can switch at a moments notice, if you need to. I'll bet, like many bands, they will get louder as the night goes on. Lol

.
 

Quai34

Junior Member
When I bought my first snare, the 5.0 Star Reserve, I was worried it could lack of volume/cut but this means is crazy loud and cpreally cut. Ok, maybe not like a bell brass snare but plenty for sure. Then, I also have one 6.5, Star Reserve too and I'm planning to bring them both so, do the same.
 

SharkSandwich

Junior Member
I gigged for several years with a 6.5 Black Beauty, swapped to a 5 Supra in 2019 and I'm sticking with it for now. They're both viable in almost any situation.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
I have an old five and a half inch Supra might be five I'm not sure LOL But that's the drum I gig with the most.
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
Unless you pack extra heads if you choose to take only one of your two snares, then take both of them. That way you can choose which one sounds best for the room. In the remote chance you should have snare failure, you have an immediate back up.
 

Warrenwood

Well-known member
The band I play with and the venue determine which snare drum I use. I use a 5" all the time. And 6.5" once in a while. In your case I suggest you bring both sizes and have them ready to play so you can switch at a moments notice, if you need to. I'll bet, like many bands, they will get louder as the night goes on. Lol

.
I think this is the answer!

I have to admit this is a little intimidating for me. The last time I gigged was in the early 1980s! Fortunately the music for the gig just needs me in the pocket, not as the star. Think "Smoking Gun" by Robert Cray or "More Than a Feeling" by Boston. Even the Kansas selections are more mainstream and less prog: "The Wall" and "Wayward Son".

The band members are very cool about it, and the gig is something they're doing for friendship, not a career killer for them. I'll skip drinking anything strong from the bar! ;)
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
Only my stock snare for my Sonor 2001 is 5.5" deep, and I rarely play with that. My brass snare, my supra are both 5" deep, and my Sonor Bop snare is even 4" deep.

I want to get an acrylic snare to match with my Crystal Beats, and I kind of want to go deep for that one.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I think this is the answer!

I have to admit this is a little intimidating for me. The last time I gigged was in the early 1980s! Fortunately the music for the gig just needs me in the pocket, not as the star. Think "Smoking Gun" by Robert Cray or "More Than a Feeling" by Boston. Even the Kansas selections are more mainstream and less prog: "The Wall" and "Wayward Son".

The band members are very cool about it, and the gig is something they're doing for friendship, not a career killer for them. I'll skip drinking anything strong from the bar! ;)
To guard against an overbearing snare drum at the gig, I always bring a microfiber towel, Moongels, and a Big Fat Snare Drum ring just in case.

I use them often to dry up the snare and not overpower the upright bass or acoustic guitar.
 

RobertM

Platinum Member
Back when my former band played out I used a 5x14 all the time (Tama Stewart Copeland signature snare).
 
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