Snare Beds-Such a thing as too deep?


Senior Member

I have several mid-to low end snare drums that have very little (or none at all) snare beds cut into them from the factory. I've recently begun experimenting with cutting snare beds into these drums with a coarse file.

I mark on the bearing edge where I want the bed to be (just slightly wider than the "strip" that holds the snares on), then I file that part down. I then smooth it out with sandpaper.

On the two drums I tried, there are visible snare beds now, and I think the snares are more sensitive than they were. Overall the drums sound better than they did.

My question is, what is the danger, if any, of going too deep with a snare bed? On the few that I've tried, I've only taken off just a slight amount. There is still bare wood visible between the bed and the wrap. The wrap on the particular drums I am referring to are less than 1/4" away from the bearing edge, so I know that the beds I cut are less than 1/4" deep.

Other than the head not tensioning down properly on the bearing edge at the snare bed area, is there any negative side effect of a deep snare bed? If there are wrinkles on the snare side head at the beds, a heat gun will fix that. Also, a snare side head is much thinner and is not a batter side head, so to me it's not as important if the head is slightly "off" from the way a batter head would sit on a batter side bearing edge. Besides, it's going to be "off" a little anyway, if proper snare beds were done at the factory. Obviously, I'm not talking about extremes here, I'm not going to cut a 2" snare bed or anything, I just want to know what everyone's experience/opinions are with them.

My theory is, if the "strip" holding the snares is not making any contact with wood from the bearing edge above it, (and nothing is impeding it from getting the snares to make as good of contact as possible) it shouldn't matter if it's 1/8" deep or 1" deep.



drumming sort of person

If the bed is too deep, the snare wires will be pulled up in such a way that they will "bow" and the wires won't sit flat against the head. I would think that anything more than 1/16th of an inch would be too much. My snares have very shallow snare beds and they sound great.


I think 3mm or 1/8th of an inch is considered a very deep bed.

I once took an older Slingerland ply snare drum that a buddy of mine never played anymore, because it just sounded awful, and put some sharp 45° edges on it at his request, as well as some snare beds, as there were none on the drum originally(?) As I was filing the bed on one side of the shell, a section of the old, dried out bearing edge flaked away. I smoothed out the section, but the bed on that side was probably about 3/8ths of an inch deep. I reassembled the drum and tried it out before filling that area back in, and to my amazement, the drum sounded great. The deep bed seemed to have no adverse effect to the sound of the drum or the snare response at all. I took the drum back to my buddy and explained what had happened and offered to fix the bearing edges, but after he tried it, he was so impressed with how much better it sounded that he told me not to bother and to just leave the drum as it was.


Gold Member
It depends on the snare material and design. Concert snares have deeper beds because they have cables that are fatter than wire, but also extend past the shell and then pull up. A bed about 1/8" deep is needed. A quarter inch is pretty deep, and not for standard snappy snares.