Snare Drum Tuning for Drummers
Tuning a snare drum can be quite subjective and depends very
much on the situation and musical style.
However, there are basic tuning principles which will help you to achieve that 'killer' snare drum sound in any situation. So whether you're after a cracking attack for funk or that fat sound for rock, this page will help you. Read on!
Don't be afraid to apply high tension to the
batter (top) head to give the drum some life, ring and 'cut'.
Ensure that the tension is even all around the head and tension
using the 'opposites' method shown below.
When the head is well-tuned you will hear the drum resonate in sympathy and sound 'fuller'.
Snare Drum Tuning Using the 'Opposites' Method
(click image to enlarge)
This head works best when tensioned higher. Some
drummers prefer to tighten the head and then slacken the two
tension bolts at both ends of the snare strainer by quarter of a
turn. DO NOT over tighten the head or the drum will sound
'choked' and 'tinny'.
AS ALWAYS, EXPERIMENT TO FIND WHICH YOU PREFER.
To achieve a really 'crisp' sound apply slightly
more tension to the snare strainer. Avoid the temptation to
over-tighten as this will once again produce a 'choked' sound.
If the snare tension is reduced, the drum produces a more
'rattly' and 'bigger' sound. Ensure that the tension of the
snares is equal at both ends of the strainer (if you have tuning
nuts at both ends).
Do not worry too much about 'sympathetic snare buzz', that is, your drum buzzes when other drums are struck or instruments are played. DO NOT tape your snares to the snare head (and keep any sound engineers who may want to do this well away from the kit).
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