Ringing Metal Snares Tuning and Heads

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Yes it is all about choice of heads and subtle tuning choices.

I've gone through several aluminum snares. Latest is really cool Canopus aluminum with Yaiba sword lugs. I'm gaining a real affinity for Japanese-made snares. I now have an older vintage Tama, a new Sakae Trilogy (with rings) and now the new aluminum Canopus Yaiba.

Out of box with stock Canopus heads, the drum rings. I could eliminate some but not enough of the ringing with careful tuning. Tried a Remo coated Ambassador and it helped a little. But I could still hear too much ring. Using little app on my iPhone to record from about 15 feet away confirmed the ringing is obnoxious even in front of kit.

So, I went out-of-the-box (for me) and tried Aquarian Coated Focus-X with Power Dot. Trying to muster enough muscle to tame enough ring to eliminate need for gel or tape or my wallet when my band goes into the studio later this year.

Result: Aquarian head is amazing.

Tuning details: reso head is quite tight; the batter not quite as tight. Snares are a bit on loose side to get the crush roll sound I need.

Snare now studio-dry but still lots of character. It sounds really really good for our band's jazz sound.

The coating seems thicker than the Ambassador - I was playing around with brushes today (we do a lot of jazz) and the feel on head was a lot different than on the Remo. I'll have to get used to it.

I ordered another of these heads for my Acro to dry it up, too.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Want to dry it out AND get a great brush sound, AND have great rebound for quiet buzz rolls? Try a calf head or Kentville Drums Kangaroo head.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
My experience has been that batter heads with dots tame the ring while keeping the essential character of the drum. That goes for both metal and wood snares. Ordinary coated heads sound brittle to me, unfortunately.
 

Sakae2xBopster

Well-known member
Why is it that some snares have almost no ring? I have two recent additions--one metal, one wood--that sounded nearly perfect right out of the box: a Sakae chrome over steel and a new Gretsch Renown. Did I just get lucky with tuning, or is there something in the construction that makes them so good? Each of these was less than $300, yet they sound amazing with their stock heads. What gives??? Both companies have been building drums for a very, very long time which might explain part of it.
 

dwsabianguy

Senior Member
I use the felt-on-a-piece-of-tape trick that I totally stole from Paul Leim, and it's on pretty much all of my drums. Mutes the lingering, swirling sustain at the edge of the head but bounces up when you hit the drum so the initial honk isn't dampened. That, and tuning the drum to fit in the key of the song (either a root, fifth, or ninth) will make the overtones blend into the music. Sounds a million times fatter than just deadening it with tape or Moongel.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Why is it that some snares have almost no ring? I have two recent additions--one metal, one wood--that sounded nearly perfect right out of the box: a Sakae chrome over steel and a new Gretsch Renown. Did I just get lucky with tuning, or is there something in the construction that makes them so good? Each of these was less than $300, yet they sound amazing with their stock heads. What gives??? Both companies have been building drums for a very, very long time which might explain part of it.
It sounds like you got a little lucky if you didn't have to make any adjustments to those snares out of the box. Also, drums in the $200-300 price range sound so much better than they used to. Drum manufacturing has improved greatly over the past 25 years.

You say that your Gretsch Renown snare has no ring? Are you sure? They're usually very open sounding by default due to the 302 hoops. Is it the 5" or 6.5"?
 

ToneT

Well-known member
I'm in love all over again with aluminum snares; Acrolite and Collectors Thin Aluminum.
I love the ring as long as the batter head is in tune with itself. No sour overtones.
When I don't love the ring I use a cut-out muffler from an old head to darken it and fatten it up a bit.

I really hate the ring of a lower pitched batter.
I'm back to using Hydraulics on my low-pitched snares.
 

Sakae2xBopster

Well-known member
You say that your Gretsch Renown snare has no ring? Are you sure? They're usually very open sounding by default due to the 302 hoops. Is it the 5" or 6.5"?
It's the 5" Renown. It's not that it has no ring. But compared to other snares I've played it just seems to have the right balance of being open, as you say, but almost none of the annoying ring that some drums have. This particular drum was a demo from SW, and arrived perfectly dialed in. Maybe they used it in a clinic or a video, LOL. I just love the sound of this drum.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
It's the 5" Renown. It's not that it has no ring. But compared to other snares I've played it just seems to have the right balance of being open, as you say, but almost none of the annoying ring that some drums have. This particular drum was a demo from SW, and arrived perfectly dialed in. Maybe they used it in a clinic or a video, LOL. I just love the sound of this drum.
Ah, you're talking more about annoying overtones. The Renown snares do have plenty of ring but the overtones are very pleasing. I would've already bought a matching snare for my Renown kit but I prefer a tighter, more controlled sound.
 
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yammyfan

Senior Member
It's the 5" Renown. It's not that it has no ring. But compared to other snares I've played it just seems to have the right balance of being open, as you say, but almost none of the annoying ring that some drums have. This particular drum was a demo from SW, and arrived perfectly dialed in. Maybe they used it in a clinic or a video, LOL. I just love the sound of this drum.
My Renown snare is one of my favourites too. So thankful I chose a shell pack that included one. It was only $200 CDN ($156 USD) more than the shell pack without the snare.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Felt-on-a-piece-of-tape sounds like Paul Leim "stole" idea from virtually every drum manufacturer prior to 1970 - an internal muffler made out of felt you could turn on or off.

I use the felt-on-a-piece-of-tape trick that I totally stole from Paul Leim, and it's on pretty much all of my drums. Mutes the lingering, swirling sustain at the edge of the head but bounces up when you hit the drum so the initial honk isn't dampened. That, and tuning the drum to fit in the key of the song (either a root, fifth, or ninth) will make the overtones blend into the music. Sounds a million times fatter than just deadening it with tape or Moongel.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I use the felt-on-a-piece-of-tape trick that I totally stole from Paul Leim, and it's on pretty much all of my drums. Mutes the lingering, swirling sustain at the edge of the head but bounces up when you hit the drum so the initial honk isn't dampened. That, and tuning the drum to fit in the key of the song (either a root, fifth, or ninth) will make the overtones blend into the music. Sounds a million times fatter than just deadening it with tape or Moongel.
That could be a really good idea for orchestral snare playing too.
 
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