Snare size for ghost notes

Atlas

Junior Member
I'm ordering a snare and have to pick a depth 14 x ?, i've been really into adding ghost notes a lot..is there a certain depth that sounds best with them? I have a

14x6.5 black panther machete and a 14x5 pearl sensitone elite,.was thinking going 7 or 8", would they work well with ghost notes?

Thanks!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
There is no ideal size for ghost notes. You can play ghosts on any depth snare of course, it's the sound of the ghosts. You may like them better on a shallower drum than a deeper drum. You might like them on a deeper drum more than a shallower drum. If you can, go to a shop and try some, don't take anyone's word for it. Your ears are the ones that have to like the tone of the ghosts on your snare.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Just my take, but I think its more to do with tuning and snare wire choice, and tension, for sensitivity. I use coated Emperor over clear Ambassador with Puresound snares and I get all the ghost note sounds I want.
 

Croc

Senior Member
May I ask if you are locked into a 14"? The reason I ask is, for me at least, I have an easier time with ghosts on my 12" side snare than my 14" X 7" primary. Of course, YMMV...
 

Atlas

Junior Member
Ahh alright thanks, unfortunately for the snare I chose they'll only do 14's.I heard 13x7 is a pretty good size. Maybe i'll see if I can get a different diameter size, I don't believe so though...I'll have to try some out at a shop!
 

richkenyon

Silver Member
Ghost strokes are in no way affected by shell depth. The sensitivity of the drum - it's quality, head choice & tuning and the snares themselves are major factors, but not shell depth.

As with most things, the really critical factor is the player.
 

Atlas

Junior Member
Ghost strokes are in no way affected by shell depth. The sensitivity of the drum - it's quality, head choice & tuning and the snares themselves are major factors, but not shell depth.

As with most things, the really critical factor is the player.

Do you have any tips or suggestions on heads, I hate tuning snares..I don't know why I find it so hard to get the sound I'm looking for (kind of a big sound yet sensitive)..getting better at it though. Need some hands on help with snare tuning for sure.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
crank the reso head. get it tight. adjust the snares so they are just beyond touching the rest head
 

porter

Platinum Member
Folks, just because the OP has to play the ghost notes, does not mean that they can disregard the drum design. These things are not mutually exclusive.

The depth does have more of an effect on ghost note sound IMO. A shallower snare has a little more pop whereas a similar deeper snare will probably have a less-defined sound, though that can obviously be compensated for with heads, tuning, wires, hoops, etc. If you're looking for a "big yet sensitive" (Halpern style?) sound, I'd recommend a medium-low tuning on a deeper 14" with a die-cast top hoop, cranked reso, some muffling, and very tight wires- almost choking the drum. I do that on my 13x6" with an Evans Heavyweight head and it's great.

What material is the snare that you are considering? If you want a lower tuning (big sound) you probably want something that's not going to produce a lot of weird overtones like the Machete (theoretically). You could probably coax this sound out of your Machete but you might want a more muffled batter head than the Heavyweight- I've had good results with the Remo P77 (which is technicallly a marching head) and maybe something like the Evans HD Dry would also work.

My snare loves the Puresound Equalizer wires, I find that adding more strands really affects the snare buzz at lower tunings in a gross way. Yours may be different.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Do you have any tips or suggestions on heads, I hate tuning snares..I don't know why I find it so hard to get the sound I'm looking for (kind of a big sound yet sensitive)..getting better at it though. Need some hands on help with snare tuning for sure.
1: The ghost notes are in your hand. It's a technique thing. Both of your drums are fine. If you need help, snag a teacher for a private session, hit youtube, or simply ask and we can probably come up with some simple exercises.

2: You need to learn to tune the snare. Get with a drummer friend and sit down for a half hour or hour and undo/redo your snare several times. Pick a day of the week (Monday), and tune your snare from scratch every week till you get-it.

3: A lot of us crank our bottom heads to increase sensitivity. I do it, but only because it is how I was shown to do that.

4: Take a couple months and really get to know the snares you have, their range, their voice. When you do stick control, try doing it on your snare and not a pad.

5: If all else fails, try a Supra or other snares to see if they're more sympathetic to what you're trying to do.
 

Atlas

Junior Member
Thanks for the help!
It's not really a technique thing for me, i've been practicing them for a while, and can get some pretty clean ghost notes on my 14x5 snare..I've just noticed that my more shallow snare it just sounds a lot cleaner, so I wondered if depth aside from technique helps at all with producing sensitive hits.

Maybe it's just the tuning, again I do need to get together with someone to learn fully, I have just watched a ton of youtube videos and kind of just put together what I know of snare tuning from that. I do crank the bottom head and have it slightly looser on the top, hopefully there is someone in my area who can help!

The material is a maple/oak wood. Thanks for the replies.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Really tight or shallow snares are harder to get the ghost notes down on. It can be done but it takes more technique. A deeper or lower tuned snare will be easier to get them down low. Looser snares also, but as the OP noted, they aren't as clean as with things tighter.

The biggest thing I've learned recently is to really having them quiet. In his videos David Garabaldi talks about practicing with the stick just above the drum. Louder, not so ghosted, notes give more of a boogaloo sound. Which is fine in and of itself, but not the thing for all the places you'd actually use ghost notes.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Thanks for the help!
It's not really a technique thing for me, i've been practicing them for a while, and can get some pretty clean ghost notes on my 14x5 snare..I've just noticed that my more shallow snare it just sounds a lot cleaner
I think you're right. Deep snares respond to ghost notes but there is definitely more of a disconnect than with a shallower drum. I find metal drums to be more sensitive too, maybe that's just a volume thing, not sure.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Might consider a symphonic snare, they are designed for greater dynamic range especially on PPP side. Many rock snares are optimized for FFF and don't even buzz at PPP. If you're like me then you won't be affording or needing all the extra snares and throw offs, but can look at what they use for snare wires and how they go about tuning them, then apply those ideas to your snare. I was lucky enough to have a snare that is designed to have the rim and throw offs designed so that I could adjust the height of the snares and the tension on the wires independently, many snares don't have this feature and have a rim that has a slight dip near where the snares are instead so that tightening the snares presses the wires into the head at the same time. I think the latter tend not to perform as well at PPP.
 

moxman

Silver Member
I've used various sized snares, and never really thought about which is better for ghost notes.. Its more the different snare types (wood, metal, fiberglass) and shell size can produce different 'vibes'.. but the articulation and volume of the ghost notes depends on your technique.. Meaning you can get decent ghost notes practically out of any snare configuration.
What I find annoying sometimes is if all the great ghost noting that you play is not picked up by the mic placement or drowned out by the band volume.. So in that situation I'll either pump up my hand volume.. or flip the stick around and play the snare with the butt end - try it sometime, it can really bring out the ghosts!
Then again sometimes you just want the ghost to be way in the background so they just add a 'Feel' to the groove.

Someone mentioned a 'disconnect' with deep shells.. Funny I got that same feeling once playing a 14x6 1/4 COB Rogers snare.. It seemed like the ghost notes were just slighlty behind where they should have been .. Very subtle laag... But maybe it was just the tuning or my ears playing tricks on me.

I generally use a 13 x6 1/4 wood or fiberglass snare just because I like the poppyness.. But thinking about going back to a 14 x 6/14 wood snare. I have a 14 x 3 wood piccolo which is kind of cool, but I find that dimension doesn't have enough bottom end.. too much treble, no bass!
 

porter

Platinum Member
Oh yeah, one more thing- the consensus seems to be that deep snare beds help with offering more snare articulation, which might help with the low volume response Smooth was talking about. You might be able to ask for deeper beds since yours is custom or whatever. I also get more pianissimo articulation by loosening the snares slightly, but that will obviously affect the fortissimo sound.

In my experience, the ghost note 'lag'/'disconnect' is due to a low-tuned top head. If I needed to keep the top head where it was, I would probably crank the reso a little more or just up the wire tension a bit.
 

mpthomson

Senior Member
I've got a couple of deep snare drums, one a Premier 14x8 tom conversion that runs 42 strand wires and the other a parallel action 14x7.25 SonorLite.

On both ghost notes are as easy to play as on the much shallower snares I play and I've used both for classical work in the past. I also used a 14x8 steel Sonor Signature classically.

It's all about how the drum is set up and there are some good tips below.

Differences in depth make next to no difference.
 
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