[Produce a killer sound from your snare drum by Waywood Music]

Snare Drum Tuning for Drummers


[Pearl Marvin 'Smitty' Smith snare drum]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!


Batter Head

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'.


[Diagram of tuning snare drum skin using opposites method]

Snare Drum Tuning Using the 'Opposites' Method
(click image to enlarge)

Snare Head

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'.



Snare Strainer

[Remo piccolo snare bed & strainer]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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