When Snare Drums Dont sound the same.....

A-customs

Silver Member
What gives with me and snares????? After finding a sweet sound,i think, after a while i just start cranking down so tight that it dont have that crisp clean sound.......Then when i back off i can never get that sound back. Is the head damaged from being so tight???? Advice for snare tuning please.......
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Once a head is stretched for a while (days, weeks...) it won't respond the same way again at lower tunings because the elasticity is compromised.

Bermuda
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
What gives with me and snares????? After finding a sweet sound,i think, after a while i just start cranking down so tight that it dont have that crisp clean sound.......Then when i back off i can never get that sound back. Is the head damaged from being so tight???? Advice for snare tuning please.......
It depends how badly the head was cranked down, and if the head was lopsided when it was cranked. Me, I've never had a problem with the head sounding bad tuning from really tight to really low. The head has to be on there evenly though, that is crucial. You can ruin heads if they are on there lopsided and you crank down really hard.

If you can't get the sound from the heads you want, loosen everything to the point where you can spin the head with the rim still on and start from scratch. If you use 2 keys at opposite points on the head, and just go around the drum in small increments (1/8 turn of the drumkey) and remember where you started...(a 10 lug drum will have 5 tuning lines) I found that is the easiest way to get the head on there evenly. Which means a head with no dissonant overtones. Then you just tighten it to the pitch you want. With 2 keys hitting all lugs one time, then evaluating to determine if the drum needs a 2nd round.of tightening.
 
T

The SunDog

Guest
Once a head is stretched for a while (days, weeks...) it won't respond the same way again at lower tunings because the elasticity is compromised.

Bermuda
Exactly. You answered your own question. Yes that happens because you cranked the hell out of the head and then beat on it. I understand the financial restrictions of some drummers, especially younger players, but you need to change heads when they lose their tuning range. Especially the snare!!!
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
I remember getting an paper insert in a REMO drumhead box mentioning studio drummer so and so changed his heads after every third take, pretty extreme I would say and I can see why they don't put that insert in drumhead boxes anymore.
 

newlin

Member
What gives with me and snares????? After finding a sweet sound,i think, after a while i just start cranking down so tight that it dont have that crisp clean sound.......Then when i back off i can never get that sound back. Is the head damaged from being so tight???? Advice for snare tuning please.......
Yeah, I wouldn't be so quick to jump to "the head is worn out cause you cranked it" like everyone is saying. I've recorded on heads that were well over a year old and have been pounded on and they still sounded nice, crisp, etc. (Though no head will last forever, period.)

It could be worn out and stretched, but it's more about HOW it stretches and wears out. If your shell is warped, your hoops are warped, or if your bearing edges aren't true, the head is gonna stretch in funny, uneven ways that sound terrible and will ruin the head in no time flat.

On the other hand, if you have a true hoops, a true snare and true edges -- and as long as you're tuning it evenly around every lug (always use two keys on opposite sides) -- they your head should last a really long time actually. Way longer than most people think. And you should be able to lower it and raise it quite frequently and get a good sound.

Also, some heads take to cranking and lowering better, so you might try a different head. Two-ply heads will sound good cranked and then lowered only once or twice -- again because the top layer and bottom layer will stretch a little different, and then won't quite line up once it's lowered. This will happen even when tuned perfectly and with a perfect shell and hoops.

So if you're using a beefy two-ply head, try switching to a thicker one-ply, in addition to checking your hoops and your shell. That should help immensely.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Heads last 3 songs.

Gavin has taken it to the extreme and will use some for a whole show and some of them even as much as two whole shows.
 

newlin

Member
Heads last 3 songs.

Gavin has taken it to the extreme and will use some for a whole show and some of them even as much as two whole shows.
Yeah, that's not a thing. I mean, to each their own, do what you feel is best. But no head wears out that fast. Unless you tear it or break it, in which case, there's other problems.
 

Brian

Gold Member
Yeah, that's not a thing. I mean, to each their own, do what you feel is best. But no head wears out that fast. Unless you tear it or break it, in which case, there's other problems.
If we are talking about recording in a studio setting, I would probably disagree with you, at least on occasion. But generally I agree.

Now back in the day, it was more common to go through heads, since it was probably more important for the drummer to get the right sound from the get-go leading to dented and busted heads. I'm guessing post-production changed this to a degree.
 

newlin

Member
If we are talking about recording in a studio setting, I would probably disagree with you, at least on occasion.
All I can say is, "Maybe." That has not been my experience in the studio. But like you point out, post production is different now, and head technology is just way better than it used to be.

I've got probably 40 or 50 tracks under my belt now, and I think I've changed heads in the studio just a couple times. I always go in with fresh heads, but almost never change in the middle of tracking. And engineers and mixers have never complained. But also, I'm no professional or session drummer, so they might know more or have other reasons that I don't understand or know about.
 
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