Your snare formula


"Uncle Larry"
Let's hear your personal hard won snare recipe

Mine is solid wood snare drums, 14" diameter, 6.5 or 7 inches deep, coated G1 over Remo no collar snare side. TF hoops, 10 lug. Pretty normal.

For gigs I like them tuned tight so it sounds like a gunshot. No damping. Bottom snare side head tuned REAL tight. Snare wires pretty darn tight.

At home I really dig low tuned snares with loose sloppy snare wires, but I will alternate the tunings according to my mood which changes daily

My favorite snare wood (that I own) is padauk (think rosewood) with maple 2nd, and the 2 steambent ash snares and the segmented walnut tied in an impossibly tight race between themselves and the maple. Every day my preferences switch it seems. I love and play them all

Although my preferences change from day to day, if pressed this would be my pecking order.

Darth Vater

Senior Member
I only have two snares having tried and owned many. I don't gig much anymore so I'm getting down to what I really enjoy having around. I tune both medium/high for the most part. I like Remo coated PS3's on both.

1) Sonor Phonic Reissue D515 PA which translates to a 12 ply (10 beech + 1 inside and 1 out side of Rosewood veneer), Hella hoops (Sonor's version of die cast, stock wires. Size is 14x5.75

2) Hendrix Archetype Walnut Stave. Thin shell stave with integrated re-rings. 14x6

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
The only snares I purchase are 14"x5" or 14"x5.5" wood ones. I'll never go deeper than that -- or dabble in metal snares -- again. I like the responsiveness and sensitivity of shallower snares, as well as the comparative warmth of wood.

Tuning: A cranked resonant head with a tight, though not cranked, batter. Loose and low snares don't do it for me. Over many years of playing, I've tuned my snare low only two or three times in the studio, but I've mostly recorded with tight snares, and they're always tight live. The Coated Ambassador is my longtime snare head.

I own two snares. Both are Pearl Session Studio Selects (birch/African mahogany). Both are also 14"x5.5". Only their finishes differentiate them. One is in Natural Birch; the other is in Barnwood Brown. Yes, I like them enough to have selected two identical snares. Variety is the fodder of indecision.
Last edited:


"Uncle Larry"
I just can't get on board with snares that are less than 6" deep. A 6" deep snare works for me but I prefer a 6.5". I like the body of a deeper snare. It's a more balanced tone to my brain. Lower tunings sound great to me on a shallow shell. It's got that balance.

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I just can't get on board with snares that are less than 6" deep. A 6" deep snare works for me but I prefer a 6.5". I like the body of a deeper snare. It's a more balanced tone to my brain. Lower tunings sound great to me on a shallow shell. It's got that balance.
I agree that shallower shells accommodate lower tunings better than deeper ones, which is somewhat counterintuitive. Shallow shells seem to keep low tunings clean and focused. Deeper shells contribute a broader range of sounds, which can get out of hand amid lower frequencies.

My preference for 5" or 5.5" depths is that they feel quicker to me. Their response is immediate. The effect is subtle but nevertheless detectable, at least beneath my sticks.


"Uncle Larry"
Much respect CMJ.

Low tunings on a shallow snare...Sounds great. Counter-intuitive, for sure. I love hearing the shallower snares. Playing them? Not as much. They are too quick to respond for me. Piccolos are completely out of the question for me, I rather detest them. Basically speaking, the sound of a piccolo...repels me. There's recorded exceptions that I probably like, but I can't name them.


Senior Member
I have a small collection that I can go to and cycle rather quickly through , no 8” depth.

At the moment I tinkered with the wires and fell in love with a maple I have:
Gretsch Renown 5.5”x14”
302 hoops - (changed the die cast to another snare I have)
Coated Ambassador tuned tight
Hazy snare side reso tuned tight

Other than that it’s usually my 6.5”x14” Pearl brass free floater with a reverse cs dot tightly wound.

The Pearl Session Select 6.5”x14” snare is my oft used as well.

Mostly, I like the full bodied sound of a 6.5” haven’t tried an 8” yet.

Al Strange

Well-known member
I’m a metal guy so it follows I prefer metal snares. My go to is a 14” by 6.5” Tama brass shell. All my snares are 14” by 5” or 14” by 6.5”! Generally I crank both heads (I don’t like low tunings) and ALWAYS have a DC hoop on the batter side! Remo coated Ambassador is my go to head... (y) :)


Platinum Member
Well I don't know what my favorite snare would be not having tried the ones I can't afford. I would like to check out a rosewood snare. What I have is an old 5 and 1/2 by 14 Supra that I picked up in a pawn shop that's my main snare and I love it and then for home I use 5 by 14 imported Ludwig brass that was gifted to me through this forum. Love them both there's a 6 and 1/2 by 14 wood Yamaha 8000 from the 80s that just sits there I have a tune to Lowe with fat cats near is on it but I never get it down. I forget I have a 61/2 by 14 Steel 80s Yamaha it's at my son's house right now. It doesn't get much love but it's a good drum. The Ludwigs got that mojo.
Last edited:


Platinum Member
Every snare I've ever owned gets tuned high and tight, both heads. Wires stay pretty tight too. I like a thicker coated head, currently a PS3. Aquarian Hi-Energy is also a favorite. Honestly I want my snare super responsive like my ReelFeel pad.

My current snare is nothing special. 13x5.5" Pearl Midtown snare. Poplar, 8 lug, it sounds just fine and is totally usable. It's not, however, a much better snare drum. I think most would be quite surprised by it however.

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Nothing terribly exciting, I'm afraid.

Most of my snares are 5x14.

Most have die cast hoops, but I do use the two that don't. and I wouldn't put die casts on those.

Heads are all coated Ambassador batter and hazy Diplomat reso.

Wires are various 20 strand wires.

I couldn't completely tell you the tuning. It starts of with your standard minor 3rd A and C sort of I think, but I couldn't tell you where I end up because I don't check. I also don't really touch the reso when tuning lower unless it doesn't work. I check when I change heads and the rest of the time I just go by ear and what seems to work in each situation/room.

I've always brought 2 or 3 snares to be sure. One wood, one metal and one that's just different, but the new Colaiuta sig that's sort of the main one now is generally a safe bet in regards to if either a wood or metal snare will work. It's my most used drum by far, but the others do see use. I got the matching piccolo at the same time and I use that a lot, too. I guess I have 16 snares now and if I know it's a better fit I will bring that drum instead. Most of hem are slight variations on the theme and a few of them something completely different. For acoustic and orchestral music I have a Black Beauty that's set up more or less the same way.

I don't have any sort of this is how I tune etc.. attitude. If it doesn't work I adjust.


Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Within the past few years I have had wood, picollo,(one I built or assembled with a Keller shell and parts from AMDrumparts), brass, single ply, and I have to say the best sound for me is my Gretsch Brooklyn hammered COB. Tight reso, medium high batter and snares tuned to just a bit more than engaged, a little rattle. 14 x 6.5
Last edited:


Senior Member
I don't stick to just one, but I think my 6.5x14 Black Beauty gets the most consistent use. They've already figured out the sauce, all I need to do is ladle some over some potatoes. Potatoes are an Ambassador X batter, Hazy Ambassador bottom, and 20-strand snares. Tune the bottom tight to where it starts to choke, then back it off a bit, tune top head to pitch.

But I've got a Slingerland for the Rush stuff, a Copperphonic, an LM402, a couple DW Craviottos... they get used primarily for different rooms. If I don't know the room, I'll bring one wood and one metal drum. If it's outside it's usually a metal snare.

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I doubt I'd use a piccolo as the main drum on a regular kit much.

To me the 4x12 is an aux snare that works for an alternative pitch on various sections.

I lot of the time I have a small pangi shaker on top for sort of digitalesque multi attack sound. It's also nice to have in combination with the main snare when using only snare and rim and various utensils to find just the right combo of timbres for that type of groove.


Platinum Member
A lot of my "formula" starts with the bottom side. All of my snares have a Remo clear Ambassador no collar snare side, and they're all tuned to about a G or A. The three drums with standard wires have Gibraltar 14-strand snare wires, and the Supersensitive has stock Ludwig-branded 20-strand swivel-mount snares.

Batter heads lately have been Aquarian Modern Vintage of some kind, either medium, Deep Vintage, or medium with a reverse dot. Right now my steel, aluminum, and maple all have the Modern Vintage medium w/ reverse dot, and the Black Beauty just got a Remo smooth white Emperor. The BB also has die cast hoops, so the single-ply with a dot was feeling just a little too stiff, and the smooth white Emperor feels a little softer under the sticks but because it's uncoated it still lets a bit more of the ping of the shell come through.

The Black Beauty and the maple snare have die cast hoops top and bottom; in general I like that sound and feel on all of my snares, though I have S-Hoops on the batter side of the steel and aluminum drums, with 2.3mm Gibraltar hoops on the bottom. I've tried lighter hoops on snares before, and I understand the theory of the lighter hoops making the drum sound more airy but I find in practice the drum just sounds wild and unfocused to my ear.

Right now I'm going against my typical formula when it comes to depth. I prefer 6.5" or deeper, and I love an 8" and even a 10" deep snare, but three of my four snares are 14x5". All three of them fell into my lap at various times and were too good of a deal to pass up, and since most of them (except the Mapex Tomahawk, which is trash) outperform my expectations of shallow snares, they're all staying in the collection.


Platinum Member
My two main wood snares are both 13".

My Pearl Omar Hakim is 13x5 .... mahogany shell. Love it. I use an Evans HD Dry on it.

My Yamaha Musashi is 13x6.5 ..... oak. Coated Remo Ambassador works fine.

My "rock" snare .... Pearl Chad Smith 14x5 black nickle over steel. Coated Remo Ambassador.


Junior Member
Depends on the style of music I want to play.

Prog/metal/Hip hop/Jazz... I really like my SLP Classic Maple 5.5 x 14. Has stock S hoops, but I would like to change the top batter hoop to a Tama Die cast eventually.

Pop Rock/Hardcore.... I would buy a 6.5x14 Maple or birch snare. I don't currently have one (Havent played this style of music in years), but I would like to buy either a Starclassic Maple to match my new kit or the SLP figured birch as I really like the sound and have no clue why it was discontinued.

For an "all the above" solution, I've been looking into a Yamaha recording custom aluminum in 6.5 x 14. Extremely versatile drum.


Well-known member
6.5 hh Ludwig bronze supra
Bottom head snug but not so tight it’s screaming for a lawyer. Hazy ambassador
Top medium ala bonham like the studio moby dick sound. Coated emperor
42 strand hooked up with Ludwig strings tensioned just so the wires stop rattling a lot and you get the heart thump in your chest when given a whack. Tweak from there
Yeah I love the bonzo sound. Hated it in the late years when it was really cranked


Platinum Member
My formula is more in the tuning and playing than in the size. As lots of you old-timers know, I've had a few snares in the past five or six years, and currently I own a 5x14 Ludwig Standard aluminium, a 6.5x14 Ludwig Black Magic, and a 7x13 Guru walnut stave.

I use a single-ply head (currently my fave is the UV1) or a power center reverse dot tuned anywhere between medium-low (my fave setting on the Guru) all the way up to tabletop-tight (on the Standard), with the snares snug but not cranked and the snare-side head also snug but not quite cranked. I try to keep the drum somewhat loose in the basket and not actually clamped down. The drum is maybe tilted slightly towards me and set at a height where my hand falls naturally to it. I tend to put the stick within the same 2-inch circle in the middle and I aim for consistency within the dynamic.

Each of these drums is excellent and sounds great, and I actually play all three of them on a rotating basis. Each has a character that makes me love to play it. It really is a treat to look at a setlist or a venue and say to myself, "now, THIS snare is what this gig calls for!"
I always believed that I dislike 13" snares and Picollos until I built one out of a leftover Premier mahogany shell. Well, it's actually a very pleasant and soft sound. There was also an intersting thread on DFO about Picollos in Jazz, so I probably don't have a formula anymore..
What I assume to prefer: thin shells, 5" to 6" deep, 8 lugs, no die cast hoops, medium tuning, resonant head not too tight, 20 strand wires or less, single ply heads. Let's see how long that holds true..