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Old 2007-05-05, 22:01
Senior Metalhead
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 135
Another drum question.

How can I get a good sound out of my snare? I replaced the heads with Aquarian for the batter and an Evans something or other for the resonant.

Everything I read seems to contradict itself. One place said that for the pitch of the drum, I need to tune the resonant side properly. Another place said that the resonant side only needs to be consistently tight since the snares do most of the work and such. I am getting frustrated. I have one of those drum tention tools, and if anyone else has one and can tell me what tention is good on each head, I would appreciate it.

I have tried messing around with the tentions and such and since there seems to be an unlimited combination, I get frustrated and stop.

And really good tips would be great.

And yes, I already did try the search feature, and didn't come up with anything that helped.

Old 2007-05-15, 18:49
New Blood
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 46
first off, there is no "best way to tune a snare drum," it is all personal opinion. i'm not sure if you are asking "how to tune a snare drum," or "how do i get that certain tone..."

how to tune a drum: start on top side of the drum. HAND adjust all knobs until you get a hair of tension in each. now start at 12 o/clock, turn once, then 6 oclock, turn once, then 3 oclock, then 9 oclock, then 2 oclock, then 7 oclock, etc etc and repeat. do a couple rounds of that tightening, then start hitting the drum with your stick, in the middle. see what it sounds like. you probably want to tighten it up.

part 2: start gently bouncing the stick about 1 inch from the 12 oclock knob. listen. you will hear a pingy sound. now repeat the process 1 inch from the 6 oclock knob. listen. you probably will hear a different pitch. so now you want to tighten (or loosen) the 6 oclock knob so the pitch matches to 12 oclock knob. go back and forth, this will take 2-3 tries to get it right. now your 12 and 6 knobs are the same pitch. Use the 12 oclock knob as your homebase, and compare all knobs on the drum to that "home pitch" at 12 oclock.

That is how to get your drum in tune, but you only did the top part. now do the same on the bottom side of the drum.

Just because you have it in tune, it doesn't mean you will like the tone. Experiment, and tighten up everything even more, and retune again. you will get a different tone.

FYI-- if you tighten up really hard your top head, you will get a very high pitched and more of a "crack" sound. I liked that crack. some people don't. Some people do this: the have their top head a little loose (so they can get more "body" to the tone) , and tighten up their bottom head to get more of a higher pitch. Everyone has different preferences. Usually though, 99% of the time, you top head is tightened up a lot more than the bottom head.

it is all experimentation, and it takes awhile, so be patient.

the tension in the actual snare wire will affect how "thick" your sound is, and how much buzzing you get. try loosening it, then try really tightening it and comparing the differences.

Also, the quality and type of material your snare drum is made out of makes an enourmous difference in the quality of tone. DW snares that cost 800 bucks are truly that good. Brass is loud, aluminum is more "pingy," wood is more warm, organic, and resonant. To learn what kind of tone you like, i would reccomend LISTENING to all different types of music, not just metal. Once you really start listening you will come to appreciate the tonal qualities of other drums, and drummers. Example: If you really like Chris Adler (lamb of God) snare sound, check on google for his drum setup, and pay attention to what material his snare is made out of. Do this for all your favorite drummers. this will get you on the right track.

Also, keep in mind, in metal style, the snare drum's FUNCTION in the music is to cut through all the distortion and bass and stuff, and be loud and aggressive. in different types of music (jazz, funk) the snare has the chance to be much more sensitive, and provide more dimensions of tone. that is why i say check out other styles and other drummers. you may find something interesting.
Old 2007-05-16, 20:51
skank nasty
New Blood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: england
Posts: 32
Originally Posted by tripton
first off, there is no "best way to tune a snare drum," it is all personal opinion.

id have to disagree with that. although the snare drum is the best for choosing how you want it to sound. basically the way i got tought to tune any drum is to take off both heads, hit the side of the drum with a stick a few times, learn the note the shell makes then when tuning try match the heads with it. obviously dependant on what type of music one plays depends on what sound one would use. extreme grindcore bands tend to tune the snare up as tight as it with possibly go. which in my opinion sounds shit. if you really dont have a clue about how to tune up i could recomend taking it to a drum shop, in england it would cost about 20 ish to tune a full drum kit.

best way i found before i knew how to tune is trial and error. maybe try tuning up the bottom head so its fairly tight and doesnt have much give when you press it, then the batter side, keep tightening it till your happy, just follow the steps as described before. when tightening the tension rods pick one to start with then go round in the star shape, go on google and find an image of what i mean.
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Old 2007-05-17, 15:49
Senior Metalhead
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 135
Thanks for the tips! I bought an Aquarian hi energy batter, and some evans resonant head and tuned the batter wicked tight, and the resonant a bit looser. I think I am liking the tone of it when I am playing it, but when I am listening to other music, I find myself saying, "I wish mine sounded like that".

Either which way, it sounds way better than it did with the stock heads.

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