Poll: What most affects a snare's sound?

Which aspects of a snare drum's construction have the most significant affect on its sound?

  • Shell thickness

    Votes: 9 8.2%
  • Shell material

    Votes: 34 30.9%
  • Shell diameter and depth

    Votes: 44 40.0%
  • Bearing edges

    Votes: 11 10.0%
  • Number and weight of lugs

    Votes: 1 0.9%
  • Hoop type and material

    Votes: 25 22.7%
  • Heads

    Votes: 82 74.5%
  • Snare wire material and number of strands

    Votes: 19 17.3%

  • Total voters
    110

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
We know that how a drummer strikes the drum has a lot to do with how a snare sounds, but what do you think it is about the drum itself that contributes most to its sound? Sure they all play a part, but which does the most? (choose up to 3)
 
i put, shell material, bearing edges and heads

I feel like everything on the list combines for an overall sound, but those 3 make the biggest difference to my ears.
 
i put, shell material, bearing edges and heads

I feel like everything on the list combines for an overall sound, but those 3 make the biggest difference to my ears.
I put diameter/depth, bearing edges, and heads. I feel like shell material is definitely a factor in some cases, but given other construction factors, I think it falls down the list. But then, I ain't no doctor, lol.
 
Jon, you should have included an "All The Above" option!
 
I have about 7 really nice snare drums and 1 cheapo 1980's vintage student snare that I picked up for $40. For months, the only snare that's been seeing any action at band practice is the $40 cheapo.

Reason: The lead guy kept complaining that my snare was too loud. The student snare had an internal muffler. I cranked that sucker way into the head. Now he's happy. Go figure.

As for the poll... I still think good heads are the key to every snare. Yeah; there are many other factors that impact a snare's sound, but heads are #1.
 
Jon, you should have included an "All The Above" option!
Certainly they all matter, but I'm curious what everyone thinks tops that list. :)
 
Head, Hoop, Shell, Depth,
rimshot, shell material wood/brass, snare stand. maple/hickory stick,

Gretsch instead of Ludwig
overall weight
weight
 
what if it was a Gift

or if you bought like I did a Brass Supra used in 1970 when it was $30
price is a fluctuating moment in time

you build a guy a shed or fix his plumbing and he gives you a Gene Krupa special in return
Or you take in as part trade on a 72 Olds Vista Cruiser a 59 Les Paul Special still in it's alligator case (that's true story from 1976
 
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Certainly they all matter, but I'm curious what everyone thinks tops that list. :)
I truly don't have a definitive answer. To me, they all matter.
 
I pretty much agree with @Hollywood Jim ^^^, so voted drum heads - only. As far as I'm concerned (with my limited knowledge and experience), I can mostly eliminate all the demons that reside in my shell/hoops/snare wires with my choice of heads and tuning,

And, I'm pretty much on the fence wondering if heads are part of the snare drum's construction. Sure, they are part of the integral drum, but they are consumable and in many cases, as is tuning, they are subject to the drummer's whims. Drum hoops and snare wires could fall into the same category as heads, but to a lesser degree in my opinion. Hoops and wires generally aren't swapped/exchanged/tested as often as heads - in my world, anyway.

FWIW, these are just my opinions - but you asked! ;)
 
As long as the snare is well made and the shell is round then its heads.

Everything else is personal preference.
 
I've got two snares, steel Mapex tomahawk and a Yamaha Hybrid Oak. Both are 14 x 6.5, with 10 lugs, triple-flange hoops and using PureSound 24 snares.

They differ in material, thickness, and bearing edges. I've tried them with different heads and though they are both loud, attack oriented snares, they could not sound more different. The Mapex is wretched, but muted and muffled with Hydraulic heads and sky gel, it sounds quite fat. The Yamaha is versatile works well with every head I've tried on, but is uniformly loud and full.

Though I have to agree with everyone else, in terms of biggest difference in sound, it has to be heads.
 
Diameter & depth followed by heads. No way you can make a 3" deep piccolo snare sound like a 15" deep marching snare. I know those are the extremes, but that example demonstrates the importance of depth. Followed by heads. Man the sound of different heads makes such a difference.
 
I'm just going with what my very good, jazz drummer buddy.( the reason I'm here!) -told me

- the bearing edges

Context:
I know NOTHING, and get all my info ( I'm a guitar player, fascinated by drums & drummers) from the wonderful drummers ( all vintage gear nuts) I play with.

Anyway, last week, my buddy brought in his old Ludwig Pioneer Snare to use with bass player's home drum kit. He was talking about it ( he has 4-5 vintage Ludwig snares & always changes them up, for kicks), and I asked him " What are bearing edges ?", and he showed me.
He told me their thickness and and their angle are literally where drum tone is generated-
That sounded important to me !

Kind of reminded me of acoustic guitar top
.( wood, type/thickness, construictin) and bridge construction, and strings poit of contact at the bridge , where tone starts when strings are plucked...
So, just passing on his opinion om the significance of bearing edges?
 
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