Your Preferred Method of Snare Drum Muffling

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Several threads have been launched as of late on the topic of overtone control, mostly as it pertains to toms. This thread focuses on snare drums. What do you do, if anything, to muffle your snare? Moongel, tone-control rings, tape, your wallet? Share your solutions and explain why you implement them.

For the most part, I like a tight, crisp snare drum, not a fat one, so I don't use heavy muffling. A strip of blue painter's tape positioned about an inch from the rim is my modus operandi. It tames a few rebellious overtones while permitting the head to resonate without severe restriction. Otherwise, I play my snare wide open.
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Well-known member
depends which snare i'm using and what the musical situation & venue acoustics call for. i have multiple snares and i adjust the dampening given the afore-mentioned factors. i use pre-muffled heads (both light and heavy muffling) and/or external dampening such as aquarians T-tabs :)


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
depends which snare i'm using and what the musical situation & venue acoustics call for
Yep. In an acoustic and un-mic'd situation - like almost all of my local gigs are - I leave the snare wide open. Any ringing I hear 18" from the drum is more balanced to a listener 20 or 30 feet away, and adds a little 'life' to the sound.

But in a mic'd situation where the mic and the audience can hear the harmonics and ring much more clearly, I may use a few pieces of gaff tape or tape part of a napkin or a bit of tissue to the edge of the head. I have gel, but I rarely use it.

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Normally, I just use a regular single ply head on the snare but these external mufflers I got alongside of some other accessories on ebay have really grown on me:
They are easy to remove and you can adjust the amount of muffling with the screw. I put them in the 10 o'clock position and they don't get in the way of the brushes or sticks. I never liked rings or heads with small holes because brushes can get stuck in them.


Platinum Member
In an ideal world, I don't, however we don't live in one of those.

I like the wallet trick ala John Densmore. Usually for easy and to save time there's a moongels in the stickbag.


Senior Member
I use just a tiny bit of muffling to keep some of the wilder overtones in check. Just a small piece of gaffer’s tape near the rim, sometimes accompanied by half a moon gel if needed (for me, a full moon gel is way too much muffling). And this is with a Remo CS white dot head. Basically, I’m going for a wide open snare sound, but minus any excessive overtones.


Gold Member
I run Evans G1 Coated on most snare drums. I use Moon gel, 1 or 1/2 of a square, close to the rim, depending on song, tuning, etc.

On my chrome-plated aluminum snare I use an Evans Genera Coated batter without anything.

If I’m playing at a small indoor venue, then I use o-rings on most of the drums, including snare to slightly mute them.


Gold Member
I rarely muffle my snares - I play a lot of brushes on my gigs and muffling just gets in the way . I can adjust my snares for various rooms so the use of muffling is not a common tool for me . I do keep some Meinl Drum Honey gels and a zero ring in my bag for extremely boomy rooms .


Well-known member
Usually wide open. But, sometimes I'll use a ring cut out from an old head. I purchased a few Gibraltar clip-on mufflers but rarely use them.
I embrace the ring! Love it!


Gold Member
I play mine wide open with no muffling at all live, mic’ed and unmic’ed, a la Simon Phillips. For me, muffling takes away some good overtones and changes the feel. I tune overtones out as much as I can and have it really tight on the bottom, medium tight on top. There is a little ring, but with proper mic placement and eq-ing, I don’t seem to ever have a problem. If by chance I’m asked to muffle, I’ll use a small piece of gaff tap in the “shark fin” format and place it as close to the rim as possible or even partially on the rim. I really dislike muffling anything though.


Platinum Member
I have some Moongels "just in case" in which I might use a 1/4 or 1/2 size piece but I rarely want or need to muffle any of my snare drums.


Well-known member
I have moongels, but, lately I've been experimenting with just the corner of a small towel... like a microfiber type, not heavy. Leave about 1/3 of a small towel laying on the head, and the other 2/3 hanging over the side. Adjust to taste.

I find this is great for a dry, hip-hop or alternative sound, and great for recording.
Usually, though, the snare is unmuted (or as close to that as possible), as imo it has just enough overtones to speak well without a lot of smear in the mix. :)
(I recently got this snare drum and I really like it so far.) :D