Replacing snare wires

drummom

Member
Yes, I'm probably saying the name wrong but how often and when do you need to replace the wires on a snare. Two of our wires broke. And, if now, whats the best kind/brand.

Thanks
 

OSDrums

Well-known member
If two wires are already broken you should replace the wires. Quality wires hold up pretty long if not abused, I‘d say two years at least. Frequent abuse is to tighten them too much if the drum is not correctly tuned or the wires are not fixed correctly (e.g. not centred).
You can get snarewires from budget to boutique - I‘d recommend to buy the standard wires of the big names like Pearl, Tama... they should be well below 20 $/€. Using the boutique ones will only payout if put on a higher class snare and the boutique wires can get very special - nothing for beginners. Use cords to fix the wires instead of plastic straps. Tune the reso high. Don’t overtighten the wires.
 

roncadillac

Member
The answer here will vary depending on a number of things but in all honesty... You don't have to go crazy. I really like puresound brand wires and have used them for years, other drummers swear by fatcats. These are both more boutique companies though and all they do is offer you additional options you may not find with 'normal' wires (I like puresounds because they seem to increase the presence of ghost notes, buzzes, etc). If the drum is just used for practice, or a newer player, or just a back up drum, or if budget is a concern, or even if it's a pro who is always mic'ed.... Regular cheap wires will be fine. Since you are changing the wires, spend the extra $10 and 10 mins to swap your snare reso head as well. It may not be struck directly but it's the thinnest head and on the most used drum so they do stretch out pretty quickly.

I am a big fan of evans heads and many big box stores (mf, gc, sa, sw, etc) sell a snare "tune up pack" or something like that, where you get a batter head, reso head, and high quality puresound wires in a package at a discount. They offer a variety of these bundles depending on the type of batter head you like.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Hi Jessica, nice to see you back.

Snare wires...a lot of people audibly can't tell cheap wires from expensive wires. This is an area that isn't super critical. Any wires you buy will make the snare sound, from the less expensive chrome wires to the darker colored snare wires like on PureSounds. I use PureSound Blasters or Customs, 20 strand. But I like the sound of the less expensive chrome wires just as much. If you stick with Tama, Pearl, PureSound, Ludwig wires you will be be covered. If you have broken wires, make sure the snare reso head didn't get punctured or you will need a bottom 3 mil snare side head for the snare drum.
 

drummom

Member
Larry, you said to come back with questions. :) Since the drumming is probably here to stay, I'm back.

Thanks all - so, what's my best choice? The head looks ok. We took it apart to make sure it would fit in the bags I bought. Are the heads for the same or different for the top? We still have the original heads except on the base (drumming is $$$).

It looks like theres only a few dollar difference between the pure sound and custom. What would give a better sound (remember I have to listen to it every day) and what's the difference with all the strand numbers? What will last the longest?

We have fabric straps on the current wires. Can we reuse those?
 

drummom

Member
The answer here will vary depending on a number of things but in all honesty... You don't have to go crazy. I really like puresound brand wires and have used them for years, other drummers swear by fatcats. These are both more boutique companies though and all they do is offer you additional options you may not find with 'normal' wires (I like puresounds because they seem to increase the presence of ghost notes, buzzes, etc). If the drum is just used for practice, or a newer player, or just a back up drum, or if budget is a concern, or even if it's a pro who is always mic'ed.... Regular cheap wires will be fine. Since you are changing the wires, spend the extra $10 and 10 mins to swap your snare reso head as well. It may not be struck directly but it's the thinnest head and on the most used drum so they do stretch out pretty quickly.

I am a big fan of evans heads and many big box stores (mf, gc, sa, sw, etc) sell a snare "tune up pack" or something like that, where you get a batter head, reso head, and high quality puresound wires in a package at a discount. They offer a variety of these bundles depending on the type of batter head you like.

Thanks, which ones specifically do you like for the puresound wires- sounds like you and Larry both agree. Which snare head do you like? I've only bought the Evans EMAD for the base drum when it busted and its been really good and sounds better.
 

drummom

Member
If two wires are already broken you should replace the wires. Quality wires hold up pretty long if not abused, I‘d say two years at least. Frequent abuse is to tighten them too much if the drum is not correctly tuned or the wires are not fixed correctly (e.g. not centred).
You can get snarewires from budget to boutique - I‘d recommend to buy the standard wires of the big names like Pearl, Tama... they should be well below 20 $/€. Using the boutique ones will only payout if put on a higher class snare and the boutique wires can get very special - nothing for beginners. Use cords to fix the wires instead of plastic straps. Tune the reso high. Don’t overtighten the wires.
I wonder if my son is tightening or not. He's been more interested in figuring out how to adjust things. Thanks for mentioning that. Its about a year and a half old. We have the cord straps. What is your favorite wire for $20? I have to listen to it so care about the sound.
 

roncadillac

Member
Thanks, which ones specifically do you like for the puresound wires- sounds like you and Larry both agree. Which snare head do you like? I've only bought the Evans EMAD for the base drum when it busted and its been really good and sounds better.
For snare I would suggest the uv1 for the top (batter) as it is a single ply coated head which is the 'norm' for snare drums but this particular head is a new proprietary design from Evans and that coating is seriously bulletproof as well as being very forgiving with new and/or inexperienced drum tuners. Expect to pay $18-$20 for that head however keep in mind the extended durability and over all savings in the long run. You also would do well with an "ec reverse dot" as it's very easy to tune and super durable. For the bottom (resonant) I suggest their 300 snare side which is a 3mil head and the 'norm' for snare resos. For the wires, I like 'blasters' because they are made of heavier gauge metal so they project better and seem to last longer. You can reuse the fabric straps that the snares have now but like everything else with drums, those are disposable and wear/stretch over time. New wires should always come with a new set of straps so I always just use those, even if they are plastic.

Here is a link to some affordable snare packs that include top and bottom heads plus extras like wires or sticks, keep in mind these are durable heads that should last and you are getting a decent discount vs individual purchases. Always comparison shop all the big suppliers as they sell the same stuff at different prices and different sales.

 

drummom

Member
For snare I would suggest the uv1 for the top (batter) as it is a single ply coated head which is the 'norm' for snare drums but this particular head is a new proprietary design from Evans and that coating is seriously bulletproof as well as being very forgiving with new and/or inexperienced drum tuners. Expect to pay $18-$20 for that head however keep in mind the extended durability and over all savings in the long run. You also would do well with an "ec reverse dot" as it's very easy to tune and super durable. For the bottom (resonant) I suggest their 300 snare side which is a 3mil head and the 'norm' for snare resos. For the wires, I like 'blasters' because they are made of heavier gauge metal so they project better and seem to last longer. You can reuse the fabric straps that the snares have now but like everything else with drums, those are disposable and wear/stretch over time. New wires should always come with a new set of straps so I always just use those, even if they are plastic.

Here is a link to some affordable snare packs that include top and bottom heads plus extras like wires or sticks, keep in mind these are durable heads that should last and you are getting a decent discount vs individual purchases. Always comparison shop all the big suppliers as they sell the same stuff at different prices and different sales.

Thanks - all helpful advice especially the specific recommendations. I'm slowly learning more than I ever wanted to know about drums. I really don't want to spend the money as I just got cases but it sounds like it would be worth it to get new heads. My son really likes the base drum head we got. I always shop around but our local Guitar Center has had some really helpful staff lately and they have price matched a few times for me.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
You can get Gibraltar snare wires, 16 strand, for about $12. They are FINE. Gibraltar makes great hardware. Don't feel like you HAVE TO buy a big name brand. When your son is touring and gigging, then yeah.

Puresound wires are great. Plastic straps are FINE. :rolleyes:
 

drummom

Member
You can get Gibraltar snare wires, 16 strand, for about $12. They are FINE. Gibraltar makes great hardware. Don't feel like you HAVE TO buy a big name brand. When your son is touring and gigging, then yeah.

Puresound wires are great. Plastic straps are FINE. :rolleyes:

Thanks, I've learned with drum gear (except sticks) to buy a bit better quality for sound and durability. He takes care of his stuff but hits the drums and cymbals hard (so the neighbors get a daily concert too).

He'd love to be touring and gigging.... I put this off as long as I could but its time to take the show on the road.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
Thanks, I've learned with drum gear (except sticks) to buy a bit better quality for sound and durability. He takes care of his stuff but hits the drums and cymbals hard (so the neighbors get a daily concert too).

He'd love to be touring and gigging.... I put this off as long as I could but its time to take the show on the road.
Gibraltar isn't cheaply made. It's very good quality. Simply costs less.
 

roncadillac

Member
Thanks - all helpful advice especially the specific recommendations. I'm slowly learning more than I ever wanted to know about drums. I really don't want to spend the money as I just got cases but it sounds like it would be worth it to get new heads. My son really likes the base drum head we got. I always shop around but our local Guitar Center has had some really helpful staff lately and they have price matched a few times for me.
Happy to help! I'm 30 and started playing drums at around 11 or 12 when my dad passed away unexpectedly and my flat broke and widowed mom spent what little she had to help direct my angst into something productive and ive never looked back. I learned through mistakes and she too had to make sure even penny she spent went far.

I love puresound wires but for your purposes... Save $10+ and buy whatever you find locally (Gibraltar, sound percussion, etc). Batter heads are worth spending some money because you want to avoid replacing heads frequently. Guitar center and musicians friend both do regular 10-30% off sales but usually only online so shop around. Evans drumheads have stellar customer service, if you reach out and explain your situation they probably will just send you a head to try... They've done it many times in the past. 2ply heads give you extra durability, a slight reduction in overtones (will make your neighbors happy), and are usually easier to tune so. Evans just dropped a 2 ply version of the uv heads I mentioned earlier (bulletproof coating was my quote) so those will be even more durable and sound great. Evans rep told me personally that they tested those with "big guys and marching sticks" and they couldn't even dent them when trying. Unless your kid is playing with metal hammers those should last you a minimum of 6 months to a year. We all over time learn what we personally go through the most, I can get a couple years out of a bass drum head but only get a few months from a tom head and change my snare heads (top and bottom) every quarter. I started using those uv1 heads recently and it looks like I'll be able to stretch that time frame out even further. Some people leave heads on for years, I gig frequently and use very small ball tip sticks that like to ruin heads.

Aquarian is another company that is known for durability but their heads aren't as easy to find locally and prices are creeping up. Remo seems to get more expensive as their quality goes down but many will argue otherwise.
 

OSDrums

Well-known member
I can recommend Pearl S-022N and Tama MS20RL14C, both are 20 strand. I had ordered one of the cheap Gibraltar SC-4467 wires, but they had sharp wire ends protuding from one of the soldering plates. This would have killed the reso head in a minute... maybe it was the monday model.
 

drummom

Member
Happy to help! I'm 30 and started playing drums at around 11 or 12 when my dad passed away unexpectedly and my flat broke and widowed mom spent what little she had to help direct my angst into something productive and ive never looked back. I learned through mistakes and she too had to make sure even penny she spent went far.

I love puresound wires but for your purposes... Save $10+ and buy whatever you find locally (Gibraltar, sound percussion, etc). Batter heads are worth spending some money because you want to avoid replacing heads frequently. Guitar center and musicians friend both do regular 10-30% off sales but usually only online so shop around. Evans drumheads have stellar customer service, if you reach out and explain your situation they probably will just send you a head to try... They've done it many times in the past. 2ply heads give you extra durability, a slight reduction in overtones (will make your neighbors happy), and are usually easier to tune so. Evans just dropped a 2 ply version of the uv heads I mentioned earlier (bulletproof coating was my quote) so those will be even more durable and sound great. Evans rep told me personally that they tested those with "big guys and marching sticks" and they couldn't even dent them when trying. Unless your kid is playing with metal hammers those should last you a minimum of 6 months to a year. We all over time learn what we personally go through the most, I can get a couple years out of a bass drum head but only get a few months from a tom head and change my snare heads (top and bottom) every quarter. I started using those uv1 heads recently and it looks like I'll be able to stretch that time frame out even further. Some people leave heads on for years, I gig frequently and use very small ball tip sticks that like to ruin heads.

Aquarian is another company that is known for durability but their heads aren't as easy to find locally and prices are creeping up. Remo seems to get more expensive as their quality goes down but many will argue otherwise.

The $6-10 extra is ok and I'd rather buy what lasts. We've had some big expenses (car) and have camp payments coming up so trying to watch what I spend but after trying to deal with the $25 kids kit for a year I got off facebook (which is now a light in his room and night stand), I learned buy a little better. Luckily we can afford to do this for him but he knows if something happens we may not be in the future. I would not care as much but I just bought cases for him as his school teacher finally caved in and let him play the snare at the concert (she had a terrible one so we brought one and the sound quality difference was huge) so now she's caving in and letting him play the entire kit at the next concert as he did well. I agree with your mom, which is why I support it as it gives him a good outlet and I'm hoping if he stays with the middle/high school music kids, generally they seem like a nicer more welcoming group of kids or that's been our experience with outside music camps/groups. I figure middle school is about survival.

I think if the consensus is pure sound... I'll do that. And, some new heads for the snare so I can keep the old as spares. The new Evans base head you all suggested made the kit sound better. Remember poor Mom and Dad and neighbors get a nightly concert. Every time he needs something new and I ask his opinion he tells me to come here or PM Larry as he's liked all the suggestions. Larry is also right to stock up on heads and keys.
 

roncadillac

Member
The $6-10 extra is ok and I'd rather buy what lasts. We've had some big expenses (car) and have camp payments coming up so trying to watch what I spend but after trying to deal with the $25 kids kit for a year I got off facebook (which is now a light in his room and night stand), I learned buy a little better. Luckily we can afford to do this for him but he knows if something happens we may not be in the future. I would not care as much but I just bought cases for him as his school teacher finally caved in and let him play the snare at the concert (she had a terrible one so we brought one and the sound quality difference was huge) so now she's caving in and letting him play the entire kit at the next concert as he did well. I agree with your mom, which is why I support it as it gives him a good outlet and I'm hoping if he stays with the middle/high school music kids, generally they seem like a nicer more welcoming group of kids or that's been our experience with outside music camps/groups. I figure middle school is about survival.

I think if the consensus is pure sound... I'll do that. And, some new heads for the snare so I can keep the old as spares. The new Evans base head you all suggested made the kit sound better. Remember poor Mom and Dad and neighbors get a nightly concert. Every time he needs something new and I ask his opinion he tells me to come here or PM Larry as he's liked all the suggestions. Larry is also right to stock up on heads and keys.
Not to keep plugging Evans but if you keep going with their heads you can enter the codes inside each box on their website to build rewards points to get free heads, sticks, and wires. It takes awhile but every 2-3 full kit head changes I end up getting a free snare or bass head
 

drummom

Member
Not to keep plugging Evans but if you keep going with their heads you can enter the codes inside each box on their website to build rewards points to get free heads, sticks, and wires. It takes awhile but every 2-3 full kit head changes I end up getting a free snare or bass head
Thank you, wish I knew it sooner. My son really likes his evans head and its held up so we may stick with them. He said it was noticeably better than the mapex one it came with.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Not to keep plugging Evans but if you keep going with their heads you can enter the codes inside each box on their website to build rewards points to get free heads, sticks, and wires. It takes awhile but every 2-3 full kit head changes I end up getting a free snare or bass head
Hey thanks for the great tip Ian. I had no idea.
 

danondrums

Well-known member
The number one thing that will improve his sound is private lessons. :)
A little handheld recorder from Tascam or Zoom can be a huge help as well. Just get a musician specific one so that it can handle the loud volumes. They start at just $100.
 
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