Choosing a Snare Drum for the Home Kit: Quick Guide

Choosing a snare drum for the home kit can quickly become a troublesome “snare” If you’re not sure how to pick one. Our quick guide will help you sort things out.

Beware of the Snare

Okay, you’re on the quest for some good snare drums for your home kit. Odds are, you want an affordable solution that can produce a satisfying, yet tame sound. So, we’ve prepared some tips for you on how to choose a worthy snare drum, enjoy!

  • Material

The material defines the character of the sound that your snare drum will produce. There are three types:

  • Acrylic. Fat crispy sound with a signature crack in it. Great for funk/soul.
  • Metal. Bright and energetic color. Good for rock music.
  • Wood. Bassy, reach in low frequencies. Its noble sound is good for multiple styles, including pop.

The more high frequencies a snare drum produces, the louder it will be perceived by a human ear. So, keep that in mind, unless you have an acoustically isolated rehearsal space. 

  • Wires

There are standard strand amounts you will find in your wires: 16, 20, 24 and more. Here’s what they do:

  • 16. This amount balances drum shell/snare in the 50/50 ratio.
  • 20. With this amount, the snare characteristic sounds becomes more noticeable.
  • 30 and more. Snare tone begins to dominate.

Keep in mind: if you plan to have two different sets of snares for practice/concerting, you may have to deal with constant switching between drumming techniques.

  • Size

Size greatly affects the tone, as well. Let’s see which sizes you get to choose from.

Diameter-wise: 

  • Standard. 14 inches.
  • Soprano. 12-13 inches.
  • Popcorn. 10 inches.

Depth-wise:

  • Piccolo. 3-4,5 inches.
  • Standard. 4-6,5 inches.
  • Deep. 7-10 inches.

Here’s an important nuance: the depth of the snare doesn’t actually affect the pitch of the snare.  It’s responsible for the “meat” of the sound, its “flesh”, which translates into acoustic fullness. The pitch depends on the diameter.

So, keep in mind: the more inches your snare has in its depth, the more mid-low frequencies it will generate. And a “slimmer” snare drum has a brisk, more abrupt and crispy sound — like the snares from the Impeach the President iconic break. 

  • Don’t expect too much
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A frequent issue with the neophyte drummers is that they vigorously research info about which gear their favorite drummers use. But don’t expect to sound like Mike Mangini or Mark Lavon just because you buy the same toms, hats or snares that they employed in their best years.

The problem is that apart from having a particular drum set, they also went through a ton of fine-tuning their instruments. Add to this their unique drumming styles and mixing tricks used for the master record — that’s how many factors make up that dream sound in reality. 

  • Field-testing

Now, you can order a set of snares from Amazon — that’s totally cool. But before you do so, you need to test them first-hand. Or at least check a demo recording, in which these snares shine in their glory. If you don’t, it will be a “blind date”, which may lead to your drumming style being… incomplete and uninspired, to say the least.

Get Some Fresh Snare

Follow our tips and your drumming will get a good foundation with quality snares. Stay tuned for more quick and efficient guides!

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