Your snare formula

Frosticles

Silver Member
I mess about with different snares all the time :)
Currently own 8 snare's.
Most used is my Tama 13x7 SLP G-Maple with an Evans Genera. This snare is just lovely & does everything outstandingly well. Bottom head cranked with 30 strand Puresound Wires loose ish. Top head tuned medium to high :)
Prize possession is my Pearl Masterworks 14x6.5 20 ply monster. Bottom head cranked with 42 strand Sabian Wires, Again, Evans Genera tuned medium-high.
Nicest metal snare - Premier 1036 14x6.5 Steel. Beautifully loud. Evans Genera tuned medium-high, Bottom Cranked, 30 strand Puresound wires.
Touring snare is a Pearl 13x3 Brass Piccolo with Evans Genera tuned medium/high. Beast of a snare :)
Just experimenting with a Ludwig Black Magic 14x8 & currently have a Coated Vintage Ambassador on it tuned medium/high. School's out on this at the mo.
Yamaha RC 14x8 Birch which I have never used............
2 crap snares for either silent head use or, as a touring spare. Tama 14x6 Superstar & Mapex 14x6 V Series.
 

John Q. Drummer

Active member
Gotta start off with a 14” snare. I do a lot of cross stick in current band as we play predominately country music. Yes, some 13” snares can produce a good cross stick sound, but they rarely have the horsepower I need to cut through the cacophony of all the other instruments in my band. I simply don’t have to work as hard on a 14” snare as I do on a 13”. Anything smaller than 13” is right out, in terms of being used as a primary snare anyway.

Hoops: I prefer 2.3mm triple flanged hoops on my snare drums, but die cast certainly help with certain drums in terms of reigning in errant overtones and producing a really strong cross stick sound. (The tradeoff being that I don’t like the stiffer feel though.) I’ve got some COB 2.5 mm triple flanged hoops from Drum Factory Direct, and those are nice, but not so noticeable in comparison to regular old COS hoops. The aluminum die cast hoops that come on Yamaha Recording Custom Aluminum snares are also DANG nice. Best of both worlds IMO. Love those things.

Heads: I prefer Remo coated Ambassador on top and a regular hazy snare side. (The no-collar one is needed for some snares but not the same material. Much brighter sound.) I can get away with another brand of snare side head if I absolutely have to, but the batter head NEEDS a Remo coated Ambassador. (Or a coated Emperor, which I like on certain snares as well.) I like to tune the snare side head to about a G and leave it there. Anything higher than that and the drum automatically sounds one-dimensional to me. The tuning of my batter head is considered “fluid”. It can go up or down, no hard or fast rules there.

Snare wires – I don’t like any Puresound wires. (Which is odd because I was all about them 15-20 years ago.) If a drum comes to me with Puresound wires, they get replaced IMMEDIATELY. The Canopus Vintage wires are great. (Pricy though.) Honestly, the Yamaha snare wires are great, but no one sells them online, so regular old snappy wires work just fine for me. I did buy a set of PDP wires once in a pinch and those are fine. (Don’t care for the plastic strips they include for attaching to the throw-off and butt end.) Speaking of, I prefer string for attaching snare wires to the drum. Grosgrain is fine, but I don’t care for it. I like the control I have with string over grosgrain. Hard to explain.

Depth: The deepest snare I ever owned was a 14” x 7” Craviotto. Hated it. (Bought it because it was a Craviotto. Thought maybe I could tune it up, but it had a limited range where it wanted to be and anything outside of that range sounded like poo IMO.) Looking back, I’ve never cared for any snare drums deeper that 6.5”. it’s like…too much drum. The deepest snares I have go now are 6.5”, but I haven’t played that depth live in 3 years. I’m really vibing on 5.5” snare lately and that’s far and away what I play most often. I’ve got a 4.5” deep A&F Copper snare that I really like as well, and it sees a lot of action.

Material: I have always leaned towards wood snares from the very beginning of my journey, even though my first snare was a hunk of junk 70’s Acrolite. For almost 20 years, I only played wood snares as most metal snares were not to my liking. I’ve played maple, birch, multi-species combos, and solid shells. (I’ve had two stave shell snares that I grew to HATE very quickly…a hard lesson learned.) After realizing that having a wider selection in my arsenal would do me some good, I started down the path of investigating. After YEARS and thousands of wasted dollars, I finally realized that I pretty don’t like ANY Ludwig metal snares, even though that’s what they are known for. I’ve had 3 Acrolite snares, 3 Supraphonics and 2 different Black Beauties. (All from various eras.) It speaks to their consistency that I hated them all, pretty much equally. After realizing that there are quality metal snares to be had from other manufacturers, I finally found 2 aluminum snares that I like. The Tama Starphonic model and the newer Yamaha Recording Custom models. The Tama Starphonic has horsepower galore. It doesn’t have that Ludwig “honk” that I just didn’t agree with. The Yamaha RC Aluminum is a great snare as well and quickly taking over my favorite aluminum snare drum ever. (So much so that I might dump the Starphonic.) I still don’t have a real awesome brass snare that I absolutely adore. I do have one of those Pearl Sensitone Premium Brass 5.5” deep patina super thick jobbies. No bad, lots of horsepower, great appointments but I think the thicker shell limits it’s potential. (I think it’s 1.5mm thick as opposed to a Ludwig 1.2mm think shell.) Yamaha makes a RC Brass that I’ve enjoyed the sound of in Youtube videos, I have yet to try one in person. The hunt continues, I guess.

I’m super chatty today apparently. Something to take my mind off the world I guess.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
Pearl Sensitone 5x14 Aluminum, Fat Tone hoops, Ludwig extra clear snare side or Dunnett snare side, Sabian hybrid 20 strand wires or cheap chrome snappys), Coated Ambassador.

Batter is tuned (in general) high enough that it gives the impression of the toms having a deeper tone when the toms are tuned lively and at a tension that I can do fast singles without the head trying to trip me up.

Snare side is set at a compromise where loose wires will make it sound fat and tight, and tighter wires will make it sound crisp while still having the ability to choke. I sometimes like a choked snare sound, -go figure.

When doing deep rimshots at 7 to 10 o'clock, the Fat Tone hoops give it a bark as if you stepped on a dog's foot, and it will still do all the sensitive buzz rolls with a ringy edge and still have a meaty center hit.

I don't really tune the snare side. I do the upside down tensioning until the top head sounds right.

That's my go-to customizing. the Ludwig snare side and the Fat Tone hoops make a big difference.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I tune the reso side up high and find whatever sound I'm after using just the top head. The room I'm in plays a big part.

Head & wire wise it all depends on the drum
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
13 x 7 is a sweet spot size for me. Sure, I have 14" snares that are reasonably versatile but also have an identifiable voice, but 13 x 7 is a size that covers the most ground for me. I find that size delivers low tunings exceptionally well without having to go too low on head tension - that maintains control. Similarly, I get high tunings without having to crank the top head too much, and that keeps everything nice & open.
 

cornelius

Silver Member
I've found that I usually reach for metal snares.
Current goto:
•5.5x14 Heavy gauge steel shell.
•2.3 mm Rims.
•Evans Coated Reverse Dot/Hazy 300.
•Bottom tensioned very tight, top varies.
•Snare tension varies.
This combo works great from live backbeats to brushes in the studio - more versatile than I thought I could get from a steel drum...
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I cook my snares sort of the same way I cook my food: no measurement, just throw it in to taste...

rock snare: 60's era 5.5x14 metal Supraphonic with Remo Ambassador coated on batter; Remo Ambassador Hazy on snare; original snare strainer; tuning influenced by Stewart Copland so pretty tight batter; med snare; muffler is rarely used
- I like to not have to mic my snare at gigs; this thing is known as "The Canon" around the scene here...the drum speaks

jazz/country: 60's era 5.5x14 metal Supraphonic with Remo Diplomat Classic Fit batter; Remo Ambassador Hazy snare; original snare strainer; tuned to be medium in pitch for a fuller sound; also to be used with brushes; tuning influenced by Joe Morello
 

iCe

Senior Member
I've only owned 14" snares until now, but i went from 5.5 to 5 to 4, back to 5, to 5.5 and eventually ended up with a 6.5 deep.
Different materials and sizes and they all had their own unique features and sounds.

For now i really like my Pearl Limited Edition 14x6.5" Kapur snare. The kapur wood gives it a nice dry and full sound. It has some ring, but not so much that it starts to get annoying. Controllable is a more fitting word i think.
I find that a 6.5" deep snare gives you a bit more breathing space and gives the snare some more 'oompf' and body. With this snare you also get a very good snare response and all the nuances are audible, something i was afraid of losing when getting a deep(er) snare.

When i used my Osan 14x5" maple snare i tuned it the same way. Batter head cracked up, reso head also tight. Get a nice pop out of it and that's the sound that i like. Although different materials are used, the 1.5" deeper shell gives you more body.

I'm in favor of wood shells since they aren't (generally) so bright as metal/bronze/brass etc shells. But i've played a Ludwig 14x5.5" once (tuned the same) and really liked that sound as well.
I am really interested in a 13x6 snare because a 13" gives me more pop and 6" sits in nicely between 5.5 and 6.5.

EDIT: fav snare head is Remo coated Controlled Sound over an Ambassador hazy snare side.
 
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Rock Salad

Junior Member
Anybody else have a couple of favorite broken in heads that they (like me) save for special occasions?
I really like the sound and feel of a nicely broke in head over brand new. They don't all get that way though sometimes (usually) a guest will put a dent that never will even out.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
Have only used 1 snare for the last 4 years or so.. '67 Dyna COB, with AQ Texture coated over whatever share side... pretty happy with it usually but it's temperamental. Thinking of blowing some savings on a greb snare, can't get it out of my head. Just... wood or brass.... :(
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Anybody else have a couple of favorite broken in heads that they (like me) save for special occasions?
I really like the sound and feel of a nicely broke in head over brand new. They don't all get that way though sometimes (usually) a guest will put a dent that never will even out.
the batter head on my "rock" tuned snare is a Remo Ambassador coated that I put on in 2001....it has definitely "locked" into a great sound. I can't believe it has lasted that long. I hit medium hard, and hit rim shots every time...
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
Wow
the batter head on my "rock" tuned snare is a Remo Ambassador coated that I put on in 2001....it has definitely "locked" into a great sound. I can't believe it has lasted that long. I hit medium hard, and hit rim shots every time...
Maybe I don't need to just save it for special occasions. Thanks, had no idea that some heads could have that much life in them. Anyway I have a newer one on the other drum breaking in.
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
Anybody else have a couple of favorite broken in heads that they (like me) save for special occasions?
I really like the sound and feel of a nicely broke in head over brand new. They don't all get that way though sometimes (usually) a guest will put a dent that never will even out.
I’m afraid I normally smash the life out of them...:cry:
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Wow

Maybe I don't need to just save it for special occasions. Thanks, had no idea that some heads could have that much life in them. Anyway I have a newer one on the other drum breaking in.
I can't believe it is still going as well...it is legendary at school because we also use my Pearl kit as the jazz band drum kit at school...so it has been getting daily use in that capacity as well. It is older than some of my students
 
i've heard many compliments on this snare. no question it has some uniqueness

it's a 13"x4" oak stave. 1/2" thick. batter bearing edge is partial roundover/45 inside. snare side is double 45 with the sharp edge sanded just slightly flat (1/32" ish) inner cut is deeper so the snare seats more to the outer edge.

i've found i don't prefer single point lugs on a snare especially because the differing tension from batter to snare causes problems. So, it's got some cheaper, cast, 2 screw lugs. throwoff is nothing special ~side-throw/ ludwig type. puresound wires (though i like the brass wires you used to get from drumgearonline)

i tune w/ a drum dial to get close & start w/ 90 batter & 70 reso then, tap test & tune by ear from there. vintage A's & clear ambassador snare

there's some secret sauce lol. seems like i find oak or maple makes the good stave shells. shouldn't matter much & oak should probably not be good because being open pored & having that voided grain pattern makes for a challenge doing bearing edges ~which is where maple shines. so, not so much a tone wood thing but a machining standpoint

i had a 14x6 oak stave. same formula but a trick throw. so good someone stole it.
 

iCe

Senior Member
the batter head on my "rock" tuned snare is a Remo Ambassador coated that I put on in 2001....it has definitely "locked" into a great sound. I can't believe it has lasted that long. I hit medium hard, and hit rim shots every time...
Thinking about it... my Osan 14x4 snare still has the Aquarian Texture Coated Satin Finish with Dot (which i think is the longest name for a drumhead I've ever had) and the Remo Ambassador Snare Side on it since 2004 or 2005 or so. Maybe I'll bring it to rehearsal some day to see how it works out!
Haven't played it for more then a decade though...
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Thinking about it... my Osan 14x4 snare still has the Aquarian Texture Coated Satin Finish with Dot (which i think is the longest name for a drumhead I've ever had) and the Remo Ambassador Snare Side on it since 2004 or 2005 or so. Maybe I'll bring it to rehearsal some day to see how it works out!
Haven't played it for more then a decade though...
do it!!

I just never think to change the had until it is actually broken. I play bass in a band with a guy who changes his heads every 2 weeks....to me, that is ridiculous. I don't have the money, or the time to do that. And I still believe that it takes the heads time to seat and get a solid sound...I also have 10 year old strings on my P bass, and they still sound great, and feel even better.

I think being poor sort of regulates a lot of things...
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
Gretsch 14x6, mahogany shell (no wrap) with the Evans hydraulic batter & Evans snare side. DW mag throw off w/triple position butt plate & Pure Sound wires. Die cast batter hoop, triple flange reso.

Perfection.
 
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