The snare wire thread

larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
So...recently I've been experimenting with 12 wire snares and I wanted to let you all know what I came up with so far.

I know that 12 is the least amount of strands I'd use. I wouldn't go less. I think the 12 strand wire is a cleaner, more shell-y, and a bit dryer and crispier, than 20 strand snares. At tighter snare wire tensions. Almost like I added 25% aluminum tone to my wood shell snare. I'd definitely recommend trying them if you use tight snares all the time. However, I sometimes like to tune snares medium low with super loose sloppy wires. The 12 strands don't excel here to my ear. I like 20 strand wires for the loose sloppy sound. I gig with tight wires, so for now, I'm sticking with 12 strands for my gig snares until my ears and recordings tell me otherwise.

Some obs: I could only find 1 set of 12 strand snares for sale out there, Puresounds. Which tells me that not a lot of drummers use 12 strands. (guessing) 16 strands sets are easier to find. I do have some Canopus 16 strand brass wires coming. Time will tell if I like 12 strands more than 16. I still have more experimenting to do.

When I went to 12 wires and played them for the first time (with tight wires) I loved them right off the bat and still do. I thought CM would like it too because it gets right out of the way. I still haven't had a gig yet this year to record them. I do have one next weekend. 12 strands make my snare dryer, but not too much. I also think the drum responds better because less of the resonant head is restricted by wires, right near the center where it counts. It adds to the resolved, cleaner sound. I did surgery on 20 strand snares, I never actually purchased a 12 strand set. So after some weeks of living with the 12 strands, I still dig them. Which is long enough time for me to make that determination. I had only one day they didn't sound good to me. I chalk that up to my own wacky perceptions that day.

If you have some extra wires lying about, I'd encourage you guys to remove some wires and try less strands. I'll let you guys know about the 16's in the spring, after I live with them for a month at least. I can't believe it took me this many years to even consider experimenting with my snare wire count.

Also, for whatever reason, I kind of hated the 12 wire snares on both of my ash snare drums. Every other snare loved them. Not my ash. Go figure.
 
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Bozozoid

Platinum Member
I'm up for anything and everything when it comes to achieving my dream snaredrum sound which is a never ending task. I'll try toothpaste blended with duck fat rubbed on the wires for my dream sound search so clipping wires is 😎 cool.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I have the Puresound 12-strand set and after I broke a snare head I realized that the solders on them were not smooth. Some time with an emery board fixed the problem but it has made me extra careful (and a little leery) about using any other Puresound wires.

Gibraltar has a 14 and a 16-strand set that have become my current go-to. Drum Factory Direct also has both 12 and 16-strand sets, which I'll be trying out on my next round of wire replacement.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
I have the Puresound 12-strand set and after I broke a snare head I realized that the solders on them were not smooth. Some time with an emery board fixed the problem but it has made me extra careful (and a little leery) about using any other Puresound wires.

Gibraltar has a 14 and a 16-strand set that have become my current go-to. Drum Factory Direct also has both 12 and 16-strand sets, which I'll be trying out on my next round of wire replacement.
Good info. There's more 12 strand sets than Puresounds. Good to know. The 14's sound interesting to me.
 

Bozozoid

Platinum Member
What about half strands between attached fishing line. Sorry..thats just my demented mind working overtime again..but I (would) give it a go (puresound).
 

Liam

Active Member
Got a preferred method for cutting wires? Do you bend the ends away from the head?
I don’t cut the wires, instead I pull them. I put them in a bench clamp and using a pair of pliers I pull the strands I don’t want out. After this I fill the holes where the strands used to be with solder. Lastly I file the ends so they are smooth and don’t damage the reso.
 

C.M. Jones

Diamond Member
I thought CM would like it too because it gets right out of the way.
Excellent review, Larry. I should give 12s a go at some point. Both my snares are set up with 20s at the moment, which is what I've always used, and I'm so happy with the sound of both shells that I have no incentive to experiment with 12s immediately. When it's time to change the wires on one of my snares though, I'll install some 12s for the sake of comparison.

Interestingly, both my snares are equipped with "Gadd heads" -- Coated Powerstroke 3 over Diplomat Hazy. His signature 10-strand wires would complete the formula. I'm not copying Gadd, of course, but that head combo is the best I've ever used for the snare sound I like: clean and dry with a quick reply. It's a brilliant pairing (for which I credit Gadd) in that the Diplomat Hazy Snare Side increases sensitivity, while the Coated Powerstroke 3 mitigates higher frequencies and deepens tonality. Also, owing to the Powerstroke 3's inlay ring, I can drop the tuning without the need for additional muting. The tone stays centered at all tensions, which is a great convenience in many ways. I've never really liked fooling about with external muffling.
 
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cbphoto

Diamond Member
So...recently I've been experimenting with 12 wire snares and I wanted to let you all know what I came up with so far.

I know that 12 is the least amount of strands I'd use. I wouldn't go less. I think the 12 strand wire is a cleaner, more shell-y, and a bit dryer and crispier, than 20 strand snares. At tighter snare wire tensions. Almost like I added 25% aluminum tone to my wood shell snare. I'd definitely recommend trying them if you use tight snares all the time. However, I sometimes like to tune snares medium low with super loose sloppy wires. The 12 strands don't excel here to my ear. I like 20 strand wires for the loose sloppy sound. I gig with tight wires, so for now, I'm sticking with 12 strands for my gig snares until my ears and recordings tell me otherwise.

Some obs: I could only find 1 set of 12 strand snares for sale out there, Puresounds. Which tells me that not a lot of drummers use 12 strands. (guessing) 16 strands sets are easier to find. I do have some Canopus 16 strand brass wires coming. Time will tell if I like 12 strands more than 16. I still have more experimenting to do.

When I went to 12 wires and played them for the first time (with tight wires) I loved them right off the bat and still do. I thought CM would like it too because it gets right out of the way. I still haven't had a gig yet this year to record them. I do have one next weekend. 12 strands make my snare dryer, but not too much. I also think the drum responds better because less of the resonant head is restricted by wires, right near the center where it counts. It adds to the resolved, cleaner sound. I did surgery on 20 strand snares, I never actually purchased a 12 strand set. So after some weeks of living with the 12 strands, I still dig them. Which is long enough time for me to make that determination. I had only one day they didn't sound good to me. I chalk that up to my own wacky perceptions that day.

If you have some extra wires lying about, I'd encourage you guys to remove some wires and try less strands. I'll let you guys know about the 16's in the spring, after I live with them for a month at least. I can't believe it took me this many years to even consider experimenting with my snare wire count.

Also, for whatever reason, I kind of hated the 12 wire snares on both of my ash snare drums. Every other snare loved them. Not my ash. Go figure.
Were your evaluations done from the sitting at the throne or from recordings? The snare drum sounds radically different 10' in front of the kit than from the throne.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
Were your evaluations done from the sitting at the throne or from recordings? The snare drum sounds radically different 10' in front of the kit than from the throne.
Mostly from the throne. I listen 5 feet away when my son plays the kit. Like I said, as long as the wires are tight, I hear an improvement. Loose doesn't sound bad, they just don't have enough slop for me. I'll be listening to my next gig recording with the tight 12's. That will be a major determiner to see if I will keep them for my gigs. right now, I don't foresee not liking them. But we'll see. From the throne, I really dig less strands. My recordings...I haven't had any so far to evaluate. In a week, I will know in one week from now if I like them on my gig recordings, the real acid test.
 
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Iristone

Well-known Member
I use 42-strands on drums with die-cast hoops for a focused, Gretschy sound. It needn't be an actual Gretsch, since pretty much all other such drums are more affordable, and tune up easier than my actual Gretsch!
For all other drums I use 20- or 18-strands for an open, not too dry sound. Basically I choose my wires to complement the basic drum sound, rather than to compensate for it.
 

Lefty Phillips

Well-known Member
Highly relevant to my current interests. I've got a Puresound Custom Pro 20-strand setup that I'm near to installing. I'll make it a point to put it on a very flat surface to ensure no interference with the snare-side head before install.

Honestly, I'm a bit baffled that something like guitar string ends aren't standard-issue for snares, but I suppose that if they're set up properly, they can last for a pretty long time.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
So yesterday I got some Canopus 16 strand "vintage" series wires. They look like brass but I'm not certain. They are definitely yellow-ish but not as yellow as my PS brass wires. It's unspecified actually on the 16 strands, but if I had one guess I'd say brass.

My very first strike...I liked the 12 strand PS brass wires (that I cut down from 20) better than the 16 strand Canopus wires. I felt it was a cleaner sound with the 12's. It's not anywhere near a bad sound, with the 16's, they just weren't an improvement to my ear. Which is what i was looking for. The wires rattled more, and weren't as clean sounding as a cut down 12 strand. That was my first impressions.

My issue is....some of my snares I prefer the regular PS wires and on some of my snares I prefer the PS brass wires. So I decided that I would just get PS wires and cut off what I don't want. That way I have the choice of brass wires or carbon steel wires for my snares. I don't have that choice with the available "lesser strand" snare wires.

In my future experiments, I will take off any more wires with a soldering iron. It's probably way easier. Plus it's reversible. My next experiment is with 14 strands. That could be my sweet spot. We'll see. 16's sound a little too snare-ey to me. I prefer the 12's right now after playing them for a month.

This is still an ongoing thing that I haven't resolved quite yet. I think I will be settling on a 12 or 14 strand set.

I would love to see a company that does custom ordered snare wires to order. I could mix brass with carbon steel wires in any arrangement I conjure up. I could have the exact amount of strands I want. Maybe I'll contact PS and pitch the idea.
 

C.M. Jones

Diamond Member
I would love to see a company that does custom ordered snare wires to order. I could mix brass with carbon steel wires in any arrangement I conjure up. I could have the exact amount of strands I want. Maybe I'll contact PS and pitch the idea.
Oh, my! We're getting rather serious about these snare-wire experiments. Pitch the concept. You may be on the cusp of a wire revolution.
 

C. Dave Run

Gold Member
Are the wires being removed from particular spots? @larryace are you taking the middle out, every other wire, from the sides, something else?

I'm thinking where is just as important as how many. Like 12 in the center might sound different than 6 on either side with a gap in between.

Any issues with the wires becoming harder to keep centered or pulling funny after being clipped?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
Are the wires being removed from particular spots? @larryace are you taking the middle out, every other wire, from the sides, something else?

I'm thinking where is just as important as how many. Like 12 in the center might sound different than 6 on either side with a gap in between.

Any issues with the wires becoming harder to keep centered or pulling funny after being clipped?
I had a set of PS wires where the middle strands were missing. They were the first set of wires I tried, because I didn't have to cut anything. I think they call them EQ wires? Don't quote me there. All the wires were nearer the edge, with a gap in the middle. Eww. Yuck. Gag me with a spoon. I realized that I need wires going down the middle of my snares, in a big way, so going forward, I removed strands from the from the outside.

No issues with even-ness. It behaved just like unmolested wires. But that's a good question. Usually, when I mess with something, something unexpected happens. Luckily, I didn't have to deal with that.
Oh, my! We're getting rather serious about these snare-wire experiments. Pitch the concept. You may be on the cusp of a wire revolution.
Oh yea. I'm more serious about drums than anything else in my life. I'm a pretty anti-serious guy for the most part. Except when it comes to snare wires and drums lol. I'm actually toying with the idea of me starting that company. But PS is already set up for that. I just want to see a custom option for snare wires from somebody
 
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