Tuning Tips        Selecting a Snare Drum


Wire coils are known for actually breaking bottom heads! The point of the coil has a sharp of enough edge to split a bottom head under heavy playing. To compensate, manufacturers and players tend to use thicker bottom heads, thereby choking the drum sound. Since our snares lay flat, they allow you to use thinner, more resonant heads-an advantage you should consider. (i.e. Renaissance Diplomat?) A thinner head also brings out the beautiful sensitivity that our snares are capable of! (The best head combination for band/orchestral is the Diplomat Renaissance for the batter side, and the regular Diplomat for the bottom ìsnareî side.

About head tensioning....

A lot of players may confuse the fact that the snare side should sound higher, and assume that the bottom head should be tighter! Not so. The bottom head should sound anywhere between a major 3rd to a 5th higher than the top--even though it is looser! The reason a thinner head sounds higher even though it is tuned looser is the result of the bottom head being thinner than the top. (A good analogy is with guitar strings. With in reason, a thin string tuned more loosely will still sound higher than a thick string tuned more tightly.) I mention all of this because a tight bottom head--especially an Ambassador--will choke your drum sound. The bottom head is actually a resonating head.

For in-store sales, where acoustics are usually muffled due to enclosed areas, know that the thinner more resonant heads will bring out the best capabilities of our snares.

For tighter drum sounds (i.e. symphonic and some heavy rock) try tuning the top head around a A-FLAT, with the bottom sounding either a 3rd or 5th higher. A major 3rd will give excellent drum resonance, while the 5th will give you a somewhat dryer sound with a great ìcrack.î

For lower drum tunings (jazz and general set) tune the top to about a G flat, with the bottom sounding a 5th higher. (A third higher with a low top head tuning is too loose for our snares.)

© by William Patterson 1998


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