Help me find a snare!

549

Member
Help me find a snare! Update in first post.

I’m new to drumming but I am looking to upgrade from the cheap DDrums D2 snare that I have. All I can justifiably budget right now is about $300. I’m just starting out, so I’m not really playing anything, but my goal is classic rock and maybe a little metal.

I’m kind of getting discouraged by the fact that nearly every snare I’ve heard on-line or in person is unappealing. Is it possible to hate snares and just consider them a necessary evil when it comes to playing drums?

Interestingly, no matter what site I’m listening to, no matter the brand, size or type of shell, I always think the low tuning sounds by far the best, rarely like the medium, and think nearly every high tuned snare sounds awful.

One thing I’ve learned is I don’t like metal snares. Aluminum, brass, steel, bronze, it doesn’t matter. Today I got my hands on an Ludwig LM400, 13” Supralite, 6.5x14” Black Beauty Millenium, several metal Pork Pies, Tama 14” Metalworks, SLP 13” Sonic Steel and 8x14” Big Black Steel, and a cheap $69 GC special 13” Mapex piccolo.

Many were above my price range, but I still tried them out just to see what they were like. To my ear, the 14” Metalworks was the least metallic sounding of them all, and if I did go metal, it would likely be it.

Neither the LM400 Supraphonic or BB impressed, and I was amazed at the cheap feeling throw-off on a $750 drum. Quite honestly, I preferred the sound of the $69 Mapex piccolo to the BB. No, I'm not joking. The best sounding drum I tried today was an OCPD 7x13” Natural Ash. Actually, I kinda liked every OCPD wood snare I tried.

I also liked the sound of the 5x14” Saturn snare on the set I stupidly let slip through my fingers last weekend, and the best sounding snare I’ve tried was a Tama SLP Ltd Ed. 8x14” Bubinga. I can’t find that one listed anywhere, so I’m wondering if it was a Sam Ash special. However, its $500 price puts it out of reach right now.

So, being as I dislike metal snares, including expensive and highly regarded ones such as the BB, and I seemingly prefer the sound any snare to tuned low, can someone point me in the right direction to a wood snare that might fit the bill and keep me within budget?

I don’t have to have it today, so I’m willing to be patient in the search for an elusive one.

Help.

UPDATE:
Got tired of hem hawing around and ordered a used 5.5 x 14 Saturn snare from Music Go Round. Will let you know what I think.
 
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motleyh

Senior Member
If you're short on money and long on time, you might consider watching for something used in good condition. Patience is the key to success on that path, but you could end up with a $600 snare for your $300 budget.

I'd also suggest a little more homework on what you want/like. Are you re-tuning these drums that you're trying? Or might you be basing your reactions on the way they're tuned in the store? That can make a huge difference. You've mentioned liking a 5x14 maple, a 7x13 ash, and an 8x14 bubinga -- those are all very different animals.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Dear 549:

Stop fooling around with all of those metal and new wooden snare drums that you find in music stores. They all sound very much alike.

I know exactly what you need. Get yourself a 1960's Ludwig or Slingerland wood snare drum. The ones with the reinforcement rings and the rounded off bearing edges. They will give you the sound you are looking for and they are within your price range.

The only mass produced modern wood snare drum that might also work for you is the Ludwig Club Date. They also have reinforcement rings with rounded off bearing edges.

(PS. motleyh is correct. Tuning and head choice can make a big difference.)

.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
A correctly tuned snare drum will make a HUGE difference. Make sure the resonant head is tight... I mean, tight! Then get the batter head in tune with itself. You will hear much more pleasing sounds. I promise.

Some stores keep their drums in really crappy tuning - why, I don't know. So take a drum key to those snares and get them singing.
 

549

Member
If you're short on money and long on time, you might consider watching for something used in good condition. Patience is the key to success on that path, but you could end up with a $600 snare for your $300 budget.

I'd also suggest a little more homework on what you want/like. Are you re-tuning these drums that you're trying? Or might you be basing your reactions on the way they're tuned in the store? That can make a huge difference. You've mentioned liking a 5x14 maple, a 7x13 ash, and an 8x14 bubinga -- those are all very different animals.
True, those three were all different sounding, and I liked that big Bubinga the best, but I guess there's just something about nearly any wood snare that is more pleasant to my ear.

FWIE, I have tuned most of the drums I've tried to where it sounded right to me. I do understand tuning and heads can make a big difference in sound between two otherwise similar drums, but it seems every drum still has an innate characteristic to it.

Obviously I can't tune or change heads on everything I want to try out, so at some point I'll have to base my decision on what I'm hearing. IOW, I can't buy something I don't like the sound of in the hope that with time and experimentation I can make it be what I want it to be.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
You have an unusual taste that I think might develop over time.

I'd either wait a while or check out some Tama and Pearl wood drums. Mapex are cheap, too.
 

549

Member
Dear 549:

Stop fooling around with all of those metal and new wooden snare drums that you find in music stores. They all sound very much alike.

I know exactly what you need. Get yourself a 1960's Ludwig or Slingerland wood snare drum. The ones with the reinforcement rings and the rounded off bearing edges. They will give you the sound you are looking for and they are within your price range.

The only mass produced modern wood snare drum that might also work for you is the Ludwig Club Date. They also have reinforcement rings with rounded off bearing edges.

(PS. motleyh is correct. Tuning and head choice can make a big difference.)

.
I get what you mean. I'm amazed at how the huge variety of models of snare out there at how, at least to my ears anyway, they mostly seem to be variations on a theme.

Thanks for the suggestions on the wood drums.
 

549

Member
A correctly tuned snare drum will make a HUGE difference. Make sure the resonant head is tight... I mean, tight! Then get the batter head in tune with itself. You will hear much more pleasing sounds. I promise.

Some stores keep their drums in really crappy tuning - why, I don't know. So take a drum key to those snares and get them singing.
No kidding. The batter head on one was sagging in the middle, and the lugs on another were barely finger tight.
 

hippy chip

Silver Member
The main reason the snares in the stores sound like crap there are too many people with drum keys that don't know what they are doing re-tuning them all day!
 

Icetech

Gold Member
I had the opposite tuning experience from what was said above.. i kept listening to all the forums and videos saying MAKE THE RESO TIGHT!! And when i finally made the reso looser and the batter tight.. what a difference.. actually tone not just a POP or CRACK.. without good tone :)

Every drum is different and you can tune many ways.. don't just listen to make it tight.. that cost me a year of bad tone and i was blaming the drum.

P.S. i also like a lower tuning and doing it the way i said above worked best for me by far..
 

NVIC

Senior Member
Can someone actually dislike the Supraphonic and get away with it?

I used to say I disliked metal snares until, that it, I was introduced to a Ludwig Acrolite. For $100 the best sounding snare in the world for the price.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I tune most drums the standard minor 3rd higher on the bottom to start out. They don't all end up that way. I generally like medium to medium high, but have to change according to the music. I have a couple of snares that sound best at a lower tuning, so that's where I generally keep them.

They're all different. If you want a really deep tone from a metal snare a 5" might not be the right choice. Maybe just a deeper drum in general. 6,5, 7, 8?

In any case. If it's not tuned right, the snares aren't on right and the heads are bad, it doesn't matter. If it's then also not tuned to it's most flattering range it won't impress anybody.

A well tuned BB should be a nice, pretty and open tone, though.

They're often a bit pricey, but I'm thinking you'd like a deep solid ply drum.
 

dboomer

Senior Member
In my opinion, if you can't control the tuning you are just taking shots in the dark. To my way of thinking the tuning will count way more than the material of the shell.

So it sounds like you prefer wooden drums, fine. Go with that. You should check out some of the sound files that some retailers post on their websites. They typically give you a low, medium and high tuning for each drum. So if you can't control the tuning at least you'd have that to begin to narrow down your search.
 

Super Phil

Senior Member
The Taye StudioMaple snare is worth a look/listen. It's not the only snare I own, but it's probably the most versatile and consistent. I can use it in any situation.
 

Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
I guess there's just something about nearly any wood snare that is more pleasant to my ear.
I would suggest a 5 inch maple snare. It's pretty versatile and has a great rounded tone but also with a nice crack.

A 6.5 inch is also good but if you want to tune low, a 5 inch can also sound a little cleaner when tuned low (or with a thick head) compared to a 6.5.

My workhorse snare is a 5 inch Pearl FFS Maple. You might be able to get a used one (on eBay) within your budget.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Can someone actually dislike the Supraphonic and get away with it?

I used to say I disliked metal snares until, that it, I was introduced to a Ludwig Acrolite. For $100 the best sounding snare in the world for the price.
The 400/402/BB are the most recorded snare drums for a reason but in a shop setting you'll not get the best from them at all. They usually sound crap, straight out of the box and onto the shelf.

The P85 strainer is a functional strainer but that's about it, based on an old design! I'm not a fan even though I've used 400/402 for years.

You'll probably find most cheap wooden and metal snares aren't that different in sound and unfortunately with wood you get what you pay for. I'd go for a Mapex Black Panther, you should be able to get one 2nd hand for your budget.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I bet it's the ringiness of metal snares that you don't like. Wood snares are generally not as ringy but you can also use metal snares with a control ring which gives you the short note of a wooden drum but with the sensitivity and volume of metal. That's my general preference. I think a ringy snare can sound messy and it's harder to discern your timing.

I seem to be plugging saturns a bit too much lately but that saturn snare that you said you liked (and missed out on) is a champion and you will find a few of them on ebay. It's the wood snare that I choose to take out. I also have a yamaha maple custom 14x4.5 but I think the mapex has a bit more character. You won't be disappointed with that drum.
 

cuellar23

Junior Member
Can someone actually dislike the Supraphonic and get away with it?

I used to say I disliked metal snares until, that it, I was introduced to a Ludwig Acrolite. For $100 the best sounding snare in the world for the price.
My 60s Supraphonic is magic. Ill have it buried with me!
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
My 60s Supraphonic is magic. Ill have it buried with me!
Supra's are like chicken. Many things "taste like chicken", but if you dislike chicken in the first place you'll simply have to find one of the other options.

I'd recommend a wood snare for the OP, only because most beaded metal snares will taste like chicken..
 
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