Snare tuning for un-mic'd shows (small to medium sized venues)


Hi all,

Got a few gigs coming up soon and just been informed these are all going to be on un-mic'd shared kits. I'm allowed to bring my own snare and cymbals so at least that's a good compromise.

My snare choices are:

1. WorldMax 14x6.5 brass shell - this seems to sound better in lower tunings but needs 2-3 moon gels when tuned low to sound punchy enough without being excessively 'ringy'. Question is - considering the bars will be packed with people would the moon gels kill the overtones dead and therefore not allow the sound to carry and cut through the wall of guitars? I could use it without moon gel but to me behind the kit sound is garbage. Drum is wearing a nicely broken-in (approx. 1 year old) Remo Controlled Sound and has new blaster wires on it if that helps.

2. Pearl Chad Smith 14x5 steel - my personal favourite for the past 12 years, this snare can sound good in pretty much any tuning. Recently replaced the aging Ambassador with a new Controlled Sound and IMO sounds really good tuned up high. Though this is the opposite end of the spectrum - less overtones when tuned high with more of a 'crack' to it. Advantage with this one is no moon gel is needed to sound good though have never really gig'd it at low tunings.

The sound I'm aiming for is like a Taylor Hawkins or Green Day type snare sound if that helps as well.

What would you guys pick?




Platinum Member
A higher tuning will cut a bit better in an unmiked setting. So either of your drums tuned up would probably do fine.


Platinum Member
Tune it a tad high for that crack, ease up on the gels to keep the overtones in. That will give you some volume and take up some of the frequency to cut the mix.