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Thread: Tuning the snare drum- newbe question.

  1. #1

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    Default Tuning the snare drum- newbe question.

    Newbe to snare drum - hence questions. My interests are mainly small group jazz playing.

    a) There is mention of Low Tension / Medium Tension / High Tension tuning. Could anybody explain the tensions of the snare drum tensions mentioned to suit the jazz style.? Do you use the Drum Dial to tune?

    b) Tuning both heads to a specific note----A B C etc. How do you know which note to choose? Everybody hears different notes--to what you like?

    Hope this all makes sense.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Tuning the snare drum- newbe question.

    this is all a HUGE personal preference and really depends on the snare. Things like, material and depth play a big part in how I tune a snare. Also very important is the head you are using, the snare wires, and the style.

    For most all of my drums though I like a super tight snappy bottom head. I tend to use the Evans 300 snare resonant head.

    As far as tuning the batter head, then that's the preference. . . you looking to do something more Jazzy? Look into the Evans fiberskin head and keep it a medium tune.
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  3. #3

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    Default Re: Tuning the snare drum- newbe question.

    Crank on it till you like it. Hi tension on both heads gave me the tone I was looking for.

    As Spaz mentioned, it's very subjective.
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  4. #4
    Gee Pou Guest

    Default Re: Tuning the snare drum- newbe question.

    I agree, same here my snare is crank right up cause I love the snap , crackle pop sound out of my steel snare. I have an Aquarium Z100 coated over Evans 300 reso. Good luck and play with it till you find your sound.

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Tuning the snare drum- newbe question.

    When I get a new snare, I tune the batter head to find the sweet spot of the snare. If the snare is a 14" with 6" or 7" depth, then it will naturally favor a deeper tone, vs. one that is a 5" depth. That doesn't mean that you can't tune it to a higher pitch, but I prefer to let a snare have it's own voice. Of course, that means that I could end up having a few extra snare drums for getting specific sounds, and I do.
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  6. #6

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    Default Re: Tuning the snare drum- newbe question.

    I'll lend a few rules of thumb I've learned for tuning different snares. Small snares will always be high and big snares will always be low, but this does not dictate their tuning. A 13x3 piccolo will always be high even in a medium or low tuning and vice versa, a 14x8 snare will always be low even in a medium to high tuning. Take a perfect medium snare like 14x5 or 14x6 and it likes a medium tuning. Medium/low to medium/high, but medium. Now small shallow snares like 13x3 surprisingly take to medium/low and low tunings very well and giants like a 14x8 bnob actually like to be cranked up a bit to the medium/high to high range. Small drums with low tunings still sound like high drums and big drums with high tunings still sound big and low. Seems anti-intuitive I know, but it works. Small=low tuning, medium=medium tuning, and big=high tuning. Piccolos don't need to be cranked in order to be high and tanks like my 14x8 bnob don't need to be tuned low to achieve that kidney stone removing affect. They do these things by their very nature.

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  7. #7

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    Default Re: Tuning the snare drum- newbe question.

    Things to consider after you find your sweet spot tuning:

    Snare buzz from a rack tom- If you find that your snares are being set off by the high tom, try lowering the tuning threshold on it. Nothing frustrated more after painstakingly tuning my snare to the pitch I like than the sympathetic vibrations from the rack tom. My rookie move was to think it was somehow related to the way I tuned the snare.

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Tuning the snare drum- newbe question.

    Be bop jazz tends to tune everything higher than, say, Big Band. Also, if you plan to do a lot of playing on the snare with the snares off to give you another tom voice (especially if you have a four piece kit), then you need to tune it at an interval that sounds good.

    If you get a chance, listen to the Modern Drummer podcast. When they review drums, they always do it at three tunings: high/medium/low. It gives you a good feel for what different drum tunings sound like under controlled conditions.
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