Steve Caught a Buzz!

ChipJohns

Senior Member
I'm not sure how much I am going to worry about snare buzz anymore.

I just picked up a pretty decent pair of headphones and I'm listening to things in a whole new light. I happened to listen to Steve Smith on Steve Smith: Drum Solo Lesson and even though I could always here a little bit of a buzz, I didn't realize just how much until now...

If it doesn't bother Steve, should I let it bother me!? <<rhetorical>>

It isn't any other specific drum causing this buzzing. I think it is so apparent that just speaking would probably make it buzz..! Quite amazing..

I know some of us are anal about this, but, do we spend too much time with unwarranted worrying about the subject?
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I stopped worrying about snare buzz a long time ago. I think it was when I realized that I liked the sound of my snare most when the wires are pretty loose - I had them cranked in a futile attempt to get rid of the buzz, but discovered that I hated that choked sound. When I'm playing along with the band, I can't hear them buzzing under there anyway, so who cares, right? A couple of engineers have noticed that it was there and except for one noob engineer, none seemed too bothered by it.
 

massdrum

Member
Here's a secret the pros don't want you to know - buzz, ring, etc - all those things are what make the BIG DRUM SOUNDS that everybody wants!

Kidding about the pros, or course... but not about the buzzing and ringing.
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
I think I'm gonna work on getting a good BUZZ this week.

...going to see what kind of sound I can crank out of this snare! I think these are two good points. I'm not going to sweat the buzz anymore and just realize that the buzz of a snare, (as long as it sound good,) is okay.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Here's a secret the pros don't want you to know - buzz, ring, etc - all those things are what make the BIG DRUM SOUNDS that everybody wants!

Kidding about the pros, or course... but not about the buzzing and ringing.
Absolutely 1000% correct. The sooner players realize that the better. A drum sound needs to have life to offer separation & character. When inexperienced players ask me about snare ring, buzzes, overtones on toms, etc, I simply refer to the model of an electric kit. In theory, the electric counterpart produces the perfect drum sound yet sounds as thin as hell in the studio & even worse live. How can that be? It's because it has no flaws, no character, etc. If perfection was the ultimate aim, everyone would drive the latest cars with all of their advanced suspension, steering, brakes, etc. A Ferrari Dino, California, etc drive like a piece of s^*t by comparison, but which one put's the biggest smile on your face?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I agree, I think snare buzz and overtones are beautiful, because it's natural. You know when you hear a snare buzz there's a real drumkit around...how comforting.
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
This is so cool.

I mean I have been playing for the most part of 35 years now, and, I feel like I was just let our of snare drum prison.

I haven't had a problem with letting other drums ring, and even my snare to ring a bit was okay, but, snare buzz!!!?

I am free and letting my Buzz be heard by all..!

You guys are right..! I will never quench a great buzz again.. (would this statement be considered an hyperbole or a metaphor..!) @:)
 

joshranwest

Member
just listen to any led zeppelin and you will hear bonzo's snares buzz (ESPECIALLY on Dazed and Confused). I also stopped worrying about it a decade ago. now, when my singer hits certain notes it will buzz. we just look at each other as if to say "they are drums, the buzzing lets us know they are still drums and not electronics." her voice makes them sing sometimes though, but there is nothing I want to do about it. its a futile fight.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Snare buzz is part of the drum kit sound. Period. To anyone who still doesn't believe this...

Play your toms and kick with the snares on. Now turn your snares off, and hit the drums again. Need I say more?

BTW, for those who aren't familiar, the best drum modules let you add/vary the amount of snare buzz each tom and kick generates. If it wasn't a crucial part of the sound of a live kit, they wouldn't have bothered.

There may be times when you want a raw, plain tom or kick sound, in which case, good luck getting rid of the buzz. You'll have to play with the snares off in order to guarantee a sterile, buzz-free sound.

Bermuda
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
As per my earlier post, I love the character of an acoustic drum kit but there are times when you want to reduce snare buzz to a minimum. That's not to say choke the hell out of it, but like all good things, you can have too much. My tip to achieve this, without increasing the tension of the wires, is to slightly detune the two lugs each side of the wires (so 4 lugs in total). About half a turn should do it. This allows the wire retaining plates to sink slightly into the reso head thus ensuring a more positive contact between the wires and the head. The effect on tuning is minimal.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
This is so cool.

I mean I have been playing for the most part of 35 years now, and, I feel like I was just let our of snare drum prison.

I haven't had a problem with letting other drums ring, and even my snare to ring a bit was okay, but, snare buzz!!!?

I am free and letting my Buzz be heard by all..!

You guys are right..! I will never quench a great buzz again.. (would this statement be considered an hyperbole or a metaphor..!) @:)
Ha! Personally, if I could eliminate snare buzz I would. I've long considered it a lost cause and just tension my snares for sound rather than than buzz elimination (nice tip tho', KIS). I turn them off every chance I get during a set because I love the woody sound of toms etc when there's no buzz. If there's a drumless passage of more than a few bars then I turn the snares off by habit.

I just found some videos about reducing snare buzz. This Bob Gatzen guy really seems to know his stuff.

Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcHAFgafPkE

Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNNGBVA66H
 

rootheart

Senior Member
If your snare buzzes whenever you hit a tom, this will save you a lot of practise time trying to to do a single handed roll on the snare with your other hand while playing the tom...enjoy it, record it, and let some "transcribers" find out what you played with your snarehand, grin
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
If your snare buzzes whenever you hit a tom, this will save you a lot of practise time trying to to do a single handed roll on the snare with your other hand while playing the tom...enjoy it, record it, and let some "transcribers" find out what you played with your snarehand, grin
Nice one RH!! Polly, I can see why you'd want to reduce snare buzz in atmospheric music such as your band's stuff. Seriously, try that tuning tip, it works. Quality of snare wire makes a big difference as well. The cheap stuff is certainly prone to more buzzing because the tension on each wire isn't as even as on the good stuff. Puresound wires are generally very good. The Blaster series are very good at reducing buzz because they miss out a few inner wire strands to encourage even tension across the assembly. If you really want a virtually buzz free snare, go for the Pearl free floating models. They use a 16" long snare wire that ensures the wire retaining plates sit outside of the reso head (i.e. only the wires are in contact with the head). Along with my tuning tip, it's possible to virtually eliminate buzz. Personally, I like a bit of buzz. Sort of like the kit's breathing. To infinity & beyond!!!
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Nice one RH!! Polly, I can see why you'd want to reduce snare buzz in atmospheric music such as your band's stuff. Seriously, try that tuning tip, it works. Quality of snare wire makes a big difference as well. The cheap stuff is certainly prone to more buzzing because the tension on each wire isn't as even as on the good stuff. Puresound wires are generally very good. The Blaster series are very good at reducing buzz because they miss out a few inner wire strands to encourage even tension across the assembly. If you really want a virtually buzz free snare, go for the Pearl free floating models. They use a 16" long snare wire that ensures the wire retaining plates sit outside of the reso head (i.e. only the wires are in contact with the head). Along with my tuning tip, it's possible to virtually eliminate buzz. Personally, I like a bit of buzz. Sort of like the kit's breathing. To infinity & beyond!!!
Fair dinks Buzz Lightyear, where do you find out all this stuff? :) Whatever, I'm glad you share it :)

I haven't been traumatised by buzz for some time so I guess things are either under control or the tinnitus is biting. As I said, I switch the snares off a lot - entirely in Sunshine and Hallelujah, and also during drum refrains in various other numbers. We still manage to sound like poobags half the time lol

Whew, you make me feel like I'm Cruella deVille, cruelly forcing poor, innocent drum kits to hold their breath :)

No no! I'm just trying to quiet their death rattles because they sound like they've been smoking a pack of filterless Camels daily for 30 years ...
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
Ha! Personally, if I could eliminate snare buzz I would. I've long considered it a lost cause and just tension my snares for sound rather than than buzz elimination (nice tip tho', KIS). I turn them off every chance I get during a set because I love the woody sound of toms etc when there's no buzz. If there's a drumless passage of more than a few bars then I turn the snares off by habit.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about that annoying "RRRRRRRRRRnnnnngggggggDGGGGGGGGPHT" sound

It's like hearing a great tom that resonates so beautifully, apposed to a big ringing "Boooonnggg" sound when striking a tom.

A nice "ssszzzzzz" sound that kind of resonates with the sound of the snare drum responding to the rest of the drum set. It can be a wonderful sound.

Kind of like the sound of a guitarist's fingers sliding across the frets of his guitar. If it is so overpowering that it becomes annoying, well that's not good. But, when you hear the nice glistening slide of the fingers changing chords, it becomes part of the music.

A well tuned drum set that has poetic snare buzz is a wonderful thing..
--
holy cow, that's a load of crap...! But, I still like my snares vibrating nicely with the rest of my set...

Really, though, listen to the video of Steve and hear his snare vibration! I think it adds volume (space) to his drums...
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
A nice "ssszzzzzz" sound that kind of resonates with the sound of the snare drum responding to the rest of the drum set. It can be a wonderful sound.

Kind of like the sound of a guitarist's fingers sliding across the frets of his guitar. If it is so overpowering that it becomes annoying, well that's not good. But, when you hear the nice glistening slide of the fingers changing chords, it becomes part of the music.

A well tuned drum set that has poetic snare buzz is a wonderful thing..
--
holy cow, that's a load of crap...! But, I still like my snares vibrating nicely with the rest of my set...

Really, though, listen to the video of Steve and hear his snare vibration! I think it adds volume (space) to his drums...
From what I'm gathering here, most drummers seem to accept snare buzzes, with a healthy dash of making lemonade out of the lemon. Fair 'nuff, since snare buzz is going to happen whether we like it or not ... but we can all happily live without them going "RRRRRRRRRRnnnnngggggggDGGGGGGGGPH" when the organist or bassist plays a sustained note in a quiet section.

Chip, I agree that snare buzz can add some vibe and that turning the snares on added another dimension to Steve's solo, apart from the actual snare drum. Still, I found the beautiful clear, tones at the start of Steve's solo before he turned on the snares a more enticing sound. But I'm just a sucker for clear, woody tones.

PS. "Poetic snare buzz" ... *chortle*
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
From what I'm gathering here, most drummers seem to accept snare buzzes, with a healthy dash of making lemonade out of the lemon. Fair 'nuff, since snare buzz is going to happen whether we like it or not ... but we can all happily live without them going "RRRRRRRRRRnnnnngggggggDGGGGGGGGPH" when the organist or bassist plays a sustained note in a quiet section.

Chip, I agree that snare buzz can add some vibe and that turning the snares on added another dimension to Steve's solo, apart from the actual snare drum. Still, I found the beautiful clear, tones at the start of Steve's solo before he turned on the snares a more enticing sound. But I'm just a sucker for clear, woody tones.

PS. "Poetic snare buzz" ... *chortle*

I totally agree with you Pollyanna << except for the chortle part @:-O >>
I love that unadulterated sound too.

I am from neither New York nor Chicago so I can say I like both styles of Pizza, I don't have to limit myself to one or the other... All depends on the mood of the moment.

...and you used my word for the "awful snare drum buzz" sound too! cool! I was going to send it to Meriam-Webster for submission; now I can send it to Cambridge as well.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I totally agree with you Pollyanna << except for the chortle part @:-O >>
I love that unadulterated sound too.

I am from neither New York nor Chicago so I can say I like both styles of Pizza, I don't have to limit myself to one or the other... All depends on the mood of the moment.

...and you used my word for the "awful snare drum buzz" sound too! cool! I was going to send it to Meriam-Webster for submission; now I can send it to Cambridge as well.
Chip, I enjoy the unadulterated sound of a good chortle too - much nicer than a snicker :)

I didn't see the point in reinventing the wheel since your word seemed to describe the sound well, but you'll notice my reiteration isn't exactly the same ... the final "T" didn't do it for me. At the very least you have a shot at getting an entry in the Urban Dictionary.

I agree that it's nice to have the option of different sounds, especially when you have a small set A lot of the old jazz guys played brushes with snares off. No idea whether they were looking for a more pure kit sound or if they were just looking for the bongo-ey quality of an unsnared snare, given that the difference is more subtle with brush sweeps.
 
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