Wood Snare Tuning

aphrophluph

Member
I've had a Tama Starclassic Bubinga 14 x 6.5" snare for a while now, and I still can't seem to get it to sound the way I want it. It is super ringy. Rather than wrestle with the problem alone, I thought I'd see how those of you who play wood snares approach your tuning.

I mostly like my snare to sound dry and crisp, the way it would if you were playing funk. But I do like the slightly lower "generic" rock tuning as well. The most elusive sound, however, is that low, warm, damp tuning. A good example would be the way Steve Jordan's snare is tuned on "Vultures" by John Mayer Trio.

I know wood snares are different, don't need a lesson there. Just interested in the tuning techniques you've found that work well with regard to wood snares.

Cheers.
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
I don't tune wood or metal snares any differently because they're wood or metal. Just crank up the bottom head tight for great snare response, tighten the top head to the feel you like, make sure all of the lugs are in tune with each other and tighten the snares where you still get snare response when you lightly tap the center of the batter head. That's it, that's the treatment all of my snares get no matter the size or shell material.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Basically you need to tune low and muffle. If there's a trick, it's this - I think you will find you get less ring and overtones if you run the snare side head looser than you are used to. You might try starting with the top and bottom heads tuned to the same pitch, and tweak from there. One of my snares sounds great with both heads tuned to B flat. Low and fat.
 

Sjogras

Silver Member
What heads do you use? I've recently been using an evans ec edge control (batter) and a some pitches the drum is almost too dry, with no additional muffling. It is a Sonor 3007 in maple, but I don't know how that differs from bubinga.

If the sound you look for is like in vultures, tune low and use moongel or an O-ring.
 

mandrew

Gold Member
I put and Evans Genera dry on my Acrolite, and 16 strand Puresound concert snares. Very crisp, little ring. should work equally well on wood.
 

aphrophluph

Member
I've been using Evans Hazy 300 reso and Power Reverse Center for batter. I haven't tried moongel yet ... will do. Thanks for the ideas yall.
 

samthebeat

Silver Member
O rings are good for that deep vultures sound, look at steve gadds tunings, he uses a remo powerstoke 3 most the time that has a ring built in. Really low tunings need quite heavy dapening.

For a crisp sound the snare wires are the key, getting the reso tight and in tune F to B, also i think stainless steel sounds more dry and crisp than other metals. Also i think a 3rd is a good interval either way between heads.

Also using a 200mil reso helps to dry a drum out and cut down on ring, i use remo heads so diplomat hazy, but evans do a 200mil hazy also.
 

Roosto

Junior Member
I have a 5.5 x 14 wood snare. Evans Dry, O ring, Puresound wires and an S-hoop. Works like a charm.
 
D

Deleted member 525878

Guest
Tight and crisp: D on batter, G on reso.
For a fatter sound, B or middle C on batter, and I like to lower the reso head slightly down to F. This opens up the tone of the batter head and makes the drum feel more punchy. Muffle to taste.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
As mentioned, get an Evans Genera Dry head, small holes around the edge and say goodbye to ringing.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
What I found with snares and piggy overtones (shell construction aside) is most of the overtones come from the outside of the head, so a Reverse Dot doesn't control the pinginess as much as one would hope. It does tend to kill stick feel, since that's where you hit. It can also sound boxy. Control rings on the other hand put the "ping" control where you want them.

Over cranking the reso head can cause some of the issues as well, but sadly, if over cranked, the reso head is usually shot and loosening only serves to get a ton more sympathetic buzz than normal. One thing I ended up disliking about Evans heads is how quickly they stretch out. One thing I love about them is how quickly you can shrink them back with a heat gun (on low) or a hair dryer (on high). Don't even try it on a UV series head though!

Bubinga by it's nature is a dryer sounding shell, so I'd tend to want to stay away from dampened heads and figure out the ping issue without going all in with pre-muted or dampened heads. Moon gels would be the exception, but you still have to tune the drum without them.

If the heads totally dish out when there's no tension on the lugs, they are shot, so will never sound right. They will need replacing, but try the trick above to shrink them, then slowly tune up the reso to taste, after getting the batter somewhere close to the feel you like. Feel, not tone and the reso will add feel, so it's going to be a very gradual tuning process, till you get where you may want to be. It may not happen with a reverse dot head though. If the head is already shot and dished out, you may want to remove the dot as a test too. Actually, not sure how well the shrinking exercise will work with a reverse dot. Likely not to well, so may be worth peeling it off anyway to try.

I can't stand pingy snares, so went through the this head and that experiment, wasting a bunch of money. Where I landed was 10 mil single ply batters, and reso heads that aren't nearly as tight as you read everywhere. The result has been great stick feel, and a fat snare tone with fairly low ping. I generally end up using a small piece of moon gel about the size of a US nickel to dampen out the runaway tones, but the rest just adds body and isn't ever heard outside of being right on top of the snare.

Sounds Like A Drum did a great episode on the effects of cranking a reso. Well worth a watch:
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I would think the OP got it figured out, but if not, tune the drums the same way, just don't expect them to sound the same.
 
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