How do you tune your snare?

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Post Fri Sep 29, 2006 9:14 am

I'm curious how people tune their snare. I try to tune mine so it has a low end-type punch to it. I play mainly rock. I don't really like a high pitch sound to my snare. Gimmie your thoughts...
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Post Fri Sep 29, 2006 1:03 pm

I usually tune the batter head first- to achieve the pitch I'm looking for. Then I tune the reso from very low to wherever. I try to find a spot where there is the least amount of symphatetic vibrations and good snare response without sacrificing the sound.
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Post Sat Sep 30, 2006 9:28 am

after i break in the new head i tune it up. i like the sound of a tight snare head...not so bad that its ready to pop but i love a high, warm crack to my snare.
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Post Sat Sep 30, 2006 10:52 am

I use a coated Ambassador and I crank it as tight as it will go without choking. I love playing with the rebound and the higher sensitivity. I leave my snare side head tuned relatively low so I can still keep the pitch down a bit.

The thing is, I also like turning the snares off and just using the snare in coordination with my toms to play little paradiddle patterns around the kit.
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Post Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:08 am

Big snare tuning is the only way I go. With the snares off, I like my snare drum to be tuned like a tom. I use a coated ambassador on my snare side (the same kind youde use on a tom) and emperor coated on the batter. I use a 42 strand snare to cut through the thick bottom head. I use a Ludwig supraphonic 6.5x14 which really accentuates the big drum sound. I dont really like cracky and poppy snare sounds unless im playing funk. I love deep snares and for differnt sounds I alternate between differnt widths, keeping the depth between 6.5 and 7.

I like the control I get over snares made from metal or some acrylics. I use wood snares more sparingly, like for a specific tone or to add color to a metal snare collection.

I am a vintage collector, so nothing to me compares to an old ludwig, rogers or gretsch snare. I love what Ronn Dunnet has been doing for the custom snare market. If you havent seen his stuff, check out He pioneered the titanium snare drum, wich Is an orgasmic tone combining the control of a metal drum, with tonality of wood. Dunnett makes shells for most of the big drum companies, including Ludwigs reissue stainless steel set, and DW's titanium snare. His throwoff is a modified nickleworks. He made the nickleworks more sturdy, and added a swivling mecanism, so the throwoff can point in any direction, which is great for lefty drum players.

There are a lot of great ideas on the snare market today, and a lot of great toys I would love to have, but I always keep going back to the vintage classics, and in my book, nothing can really beat an old Ludwig Supraphonic, unless its a John Aldridge hand engraved black beauty!

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Post Sun Oct 01, 2006 11:54 am

Before I reccomend a tuning method, I want to qualify what I'm going to say with this:

DON'T USE MUFFLING ON YOUR SNARE!!!! (this includes "dry" heads that have an underlay or ring attached to them) and... WOULD YOU PLEASE PLAY FREAKING RIMSHOTS!!!!!! (unless you're playing light jazz, a snare just doesn't sound right unless you play a rimshot on nearly every stroke, "ghost notes" excluded)

Okay, I feel better now.

Using the thinnest heads you can get away with while retaining enough durability, (with new heads) start by cranking the top head really tight. This is to get the head stretched out so that you don't have a massive detuning issue after the first song in your set. Apply heavy pressure to the head with your palm to help with the stretching. While it is really tight, get it in tune by tapping by each tension rod and adjusting it so that the head produces the same pitch all the way around. You'll need to muffle the bottum head with your other hand when doing this so you don't hear the wrong pitch. Also, make sure the snare wires are off when you do this. Then, gradually loosen the head. Lightly tap on the middle of the head. If you hear a ridgid sound, as if tapping on a piece of wood, it's too tight and you'll need to loosen it a little more. Do this until you hear a tone when you tap instead of a dead thud sound. Younger drummers usually tend to have their top snare head way too tight. That just doesn't produce a musical sound and rarely fits in with the overall sound of the band. Then, take the bottum head. Tighten it up just enough so that there are no wrinkles in the head. Then do the same tap method. If you hear a dead sound like tapping on a piece of notebook paper, it's too loose, gradually tighten it. As soon as you hear a tone when you tap, that's a good starting point for the bottum head. Position the snare wires in the middle of the drum. If one end is too close to the bearing edge or "snare bed" you will get a lot of excess buzz. I highly recommend Puresound wires, they're the best. Use the tap test again on the top head to determine the tension on the snare wires. Gradually tighten it. If you start to hear the wires hum, they are too tight. You want them just loose enough so that they don't hum when you tap on the top head. Now lay into the drum with a stong rim shot (which is how you should always hit it). If there is too much ringing and/or snare buzz for you, gradually tighten the bottum head until you find the sound that you like. Many drummers would be surprised by how much the bottum head determines the sound of your snare. If you can't get rid of unwanted ring and/or snare buzz, add a piece of gaffer tape to the edge of the TOP head, never put tape on the wires. Remember not to excessively muffle. If you take away all the ring, you take away all the tone and the openness. If you practice in a small room, use ear protection! Without it, you won't be able to tell what your snare actually sounds like because of the distortion. I hope someone appreciates this ridiculous amount of detail. haha
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Post Sun Oct 01, 2006 1:57 pm

I have 2 snares and I have them both tuned to pitches that compliment the type of music i'm playing. I have a snare tuned to a very high pitch kind of like a drumline snare. I tightned the bottom midway. then i loosened my snares, and tuned the top head to the pitch where i wanted it. It was a solid good pitch. then tightened the snares and it was beautiful.
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Post Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:22 pm

I use a Aquarian Hi-Energy batter head(indesrtuctable)and crank it very tight!

Resonate head is standard tuned.

Snare strainer is cranked VERY tight!

Half piccolo,half Helmet (the band) sounding.

Alot of bounce for ultimate stick,It cuts through the 180db amps in my face.

The snare is the "SACK" of rock-n-roll drumming!!!!!!!!!!!
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Post Tue Oct 03, 2006 6:14 am

both my snares are tuned with a medium tension on both sides. I'd like to also said that I agree with phee on NOT muffling the snare and playing with rimshots - IMO it really makes a differenece if you have that strong fat backbeat given by rimshots
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Post Thu Mar 22, 2007 8:32 pm

i like a tight sound my heads are tight but not about to break tight i usuallay put pressure the first day i put them on my drum to break them in then tune from there i like a tight sound chad sexton sound, but a little lower sound then his
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Post Fri Mar 23, 2007 10:40 am

with my sensitone snare is tune the top head medium and the bottom head medium loose with the snares medium tight

with my piccolo snare i tune the top and bottom heads medium tight with the snares tight

with my side snare i tune both heads tight with the snares tight
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Post Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:13 am

and the snare drum tuned high i like a loud crack with an almost tymbale sound
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Post Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:24 pm

I play a hammered brass drum, and I like to get lot's of "crack" out of it.
I tune my top head fairly tight (but not way too tight), and it's a coated Evans G2.
to achieve the sound I like, I tune the bottom head slightly tighter than the top... nearly as tight as I can get it.
For the snares, I start with them tight enough that they don't have any response, then start playing and loosening the snares until it sounds good.
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Post Wed Mar 28, 2007 3:35 am

i tune my snare very roughly ive been told, i make everything on it as tight as i can

head on them i make it so i can only just push it down a little bit wen i put
force on it, and i mean a little bit, i hate having my top skin loose

i tighten up the snare itself as much as i can with my hands then tighten it
more as needed, the botom skin i tighten heaps aswell... and it sounds
awsome, heaps of punch to it

then i tune the rest of my kit to that snare, to make it so my snare doesnt
rattle when i hit the drums... it works for me, most ppl love my snare tuning,
but i hear im very rough haha
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Post Fri Mar 30, 2007 7:34 am

everyone thinks you need to go as tight as possible - but it's really not true -

you're choking the drum when you crank everything "as tight as i can" not to mention probably damaging your hardware.

I just started tuning mine lower and i love it -
let that thing breathe -
and as far as your snares go -
hit the top head and tighten the snares until you hear them go from a long buzzing sustain to a choked sound - you want it somewhere in there..

just my thoughts