Snare wire

double bass man

Junior Member
Newbe to the snare drum. I want to replace the snare wires on a second hand 12" snare drum I bought. Interests are small group jazz. I have done a bit of research on snare wires and am I looking for:
a) 20-24 wire strands / thin wire?
b) What type of metal used on the snares?
c ) What are the best makes out there?
d) Avoid the cheap makes--you get what you pay for?

Many thanks.
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
Puresound wires. For jazz I'd probably lean more towards 12-16 strand for more sensitivity.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
This may be just me, but I wouldn't spend a ton of money on snare wires unless I definitely wanted something very, very specific and the only way to get what I wanted was to get something more expensive. You can get a set of decent snare wires for under $20.

If you snare wires are worn out, broken, etc., then by all means change them out. However, if you are wanting to change them out to get more of a "jazz sound," then you would be better off saving up for a 14" snare. This is just my opinion though.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
Honestly check out the Sabian snare wires. They sound super good. I use those or puresound but lately I am sold on the Sabin's. get the 42 strand for some real buzz :)
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
This may be just me, but I wouldn't spend a ton of money on snare wires unless I definitely wanted something very, very specific and the only way to get what I wanted was to get something more expensive. You can get a set of decent snare wires for under $20.

If you snare wires are worn out, broken, etc., then by all means change them out. However, if you are wanting to change them out to get more of a "jazz sound," then you would be better off saving up for a 14" snare. This is just my opinion though.
I agree with PPG, get a 14" snare. Get a used Ludwig 400 and cease worrying. Joe Morello used a brass one on all the Brubeck stuff and that was small jazz group as it gets.

I wouldn't put expensive snare wires on a cheap snare, cheap 20 strand wires will do the job.

If you upgrade your snare have a look at the Puresound wires. I'm running 20 strand blasters on my 400 and it sounds amazing. I have 24 strand customs on the steambent they are worth the money on good snares.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
On a 12" drum I'd go with something basic like 12 or 16 strands. More wires than that than that can get a bit buzzy and for jazz I like something articulate.

There are a lot of options out there and you can spend as much or as little as you want on wires, but even the cheap Gibraltar or Cannon wires sound great.

I also think if you look at the bigger picture of the answers you're getting on all of these threads you've started asking for specifics that at this point in the game you'd have an easier time and have more success if you took a slightly less specific approach to gear selection. 90% of the music made out there could be (and usually is) played on pretty standard gear. There's a reason medium cymbals and standard drum sizes and set ups are so popular; they work for 90% of the music you might play. I really think once you do some playing on some standard, straightforward equipment you'll more easily form your own opinion on what works for you.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I think the problem with the 12" snare is that you may not have that many options for snare wires and will probably end up spending over $20 anyway just because you have a 12" snare. My question is why don't you have a 14" snare? That's really the general size for basically everything (usually, back in the day snare drums would get larger, 15" and 16" not being uncommon). A friend of mine was playing in a street group doing dixieland jazz and only had a 12" snare, and he ended up borrowing my 14" Supra all the time to do the gig to get the proper sound for the music being played. If you're playing jazz, historically, they didn't play 12" snares at the time.
 

notvinnie

Senior Member

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
If you want a really great sound from the drum, I wouldn't "cheap out". if you are just looking for decent, or not perfect (a little "dirt"), Snappy Snares are always a good bet and not expensive.
On a 12" snare I might get something lighter than PureSound. Their wires seem to be a bit thicker than most types. On a 12, it might damp down the response.

Most wires would sound "good", but a set of Canopus wires will sound great.
A little pricey compared to some, but the quality of construction and sound is worth it IMO.
I ended up putting them on all but one of my snares. They are great on wood, brass, bronze, aluminum...

Fat Cat is another really nice wire. Most snares will need the "with pitch" version.
I use the 30 strand Fat Cat on one of the snares (a 6.5 hammered 402).
Really nice wire material and soldering, and the tabs are really well done too.
 
I wonder if 12" snare drums really fit small group jazz. Jazz requires brush playing from time to time, and a 12" snare doesn't leave much space to sweep over the head.
Apart from this, I would say any of the common brands will get the job done. I personally would avoid broad wires i.e. 30 or 42 strands. Not every snare drum will produce a precise tone due to narrow beds, so go for max 24 strands. Way enough snare response for sure. I play mostly jazz and usually use 20 strands or less.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
A 12” will be less sensitive than a wider diameter drum.

Go for thinner wires, but realize that you may want less wires to keep the tone.

I like the sound of thinner, darker wires on smaller drums.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I remember a previous question and I sort of have to jump on the bandwagon and ask why a 12"?

Snare wires are a very personal thing.

We can talk a bit about what setup generally provides a certain charater, but there is no best.
 

trickg

Silver Member
Puresound Blasters. 20 strand, I think - I have them on all of my snares.

Pearl snare wires appear to be essentially the same thing for a few bucks less, but Puresound Blasters are easy to get - my local Guitar Center carries them. They sound good and they last a long time.
 
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