Finding your ideal snare drum sound can be easier said than done and people, sometimes, end up either settling for a half-decent sound or giving up completely. Not to worry though, as this article will take a deep dive into the many ways of improving your snare drum sound and really enhancing your overall playing experience.
1. Dampening Gels/Weights
There’s a wide range of dampening products out there designed to reduce snare drum resonance. This gives you a quick, crisp snare sound. Depending on the style of the dampener, you can acquire new tones you’d have never imagined could come from your snare drum just by reducing resonance.
Moon Gel Dampening Pads
One product, which is excellent at achieving reduced resonance, is the MoonGel Damper Pads by RTOM.
They’re stuck directly to the drum skin via their own adhesive material and soak up any unwanted resonance for a snappy, sustain-free response.
MoonGel is particularly useful during recordings in which reverb and other effects can be manually applied afterwards.
Shop now | MoonGel Damper Pads
Snareweight #5 Snare Dampening System
Secondly, we have the fantastic Snareweight #5 Snare Dampening System, which is used specifically for dampening snare heads. It’s also easily applied directly to the snare skin and instantly enhances the tone of your snare.
By using a fully interchangeable leather insert, the Snareweight allows you to customise the amount of dampening to suit your playing style and preference, therefore improving the overall tone of your snare drum.
Shop now | Snareweight #5 Snare Dampening System
Evans Min-EMAD External Dampening Pack
Another great dampening product is the Evans Min-EMAD External Dampening Pack. It’s applied slightly differently to the previous products as it’s attached to the hoop of the snare drum. This significantly reduces the motion of the head, which not only allows for a snappy response, but also for a quick, sharp sound. The true tones of the snare will shine through.
Shop now | Evans Min-EMAD External Dampening Pack
2. Dampening Pads/Towels
Drum dampening doesn’t just stop at gels and weights – pads and towels also do the job just fine. With super easy applications, they’re the ideal accessories to alter and improve your snare sound without the need for any adhesives.
Big Fat Snare Drum “Steve’s Donut”
The Big Fat Snare Drum “Steve’s Donut” lowers the fundamental pitch of the snare, creating a punchy, low attack. It’s also designed to tighten up your snare’s original tone, whilst reducing unwanted overtones and resonance.
The true beauty of the Big Fat Snare Drum “Steve’s Donut” is that it doesn’t require any tape or sticky gels. It stays firmly in place under its own weight, making application extremely easy!
Shop now | Big Fat Snare Drum “Steve’s Donut”
Big Fat Snare Drum “The Snare-Bourine Donut” 14” Dampening Pad
Another great example of a dampening pad is the Big Fat Snare Drum “The Snare-Bourine Donut” 14” Dampening Pad. Similar to the “Steve’s Donut”, it applies a thick, vintage tone and tightens up the response of your snare drum. Additionally, it has four small tambourines attached to the pad to create a unique sound with every hit.
Big Fat Snare Drum Quesadilla 14”
Moving onto drum towels, the Big Fat Snare Drum Quesadilla 14” not only has an appetising name, but also dampens your snare tone significantly. This provides a low, ’70s-inspired drum sound. Ideal for any type of snare, it applies extremely easily by sitting on top of the snare skin with a loop tab which hooks over the snare throw-off, keeping it firmly in place.
Overall, the Quesadilla lowers the fundamental pitch frequency incredibly quickly and easily.
Shop now | Big Fat Snare Drum Quesadilla 14”
3. Snare Wires
Snare wires can have a huge impact on your snare drum sound, without breaking the bank. For such a simple design, there are a lot of different combinations of snare wires, all created to improve your snare sound.
Having a snare wire with fewer strands allows for a faster attack and response; this works incredibly well with metal drumming where blast beats need to be quick and precise during every hit. However, fewer strands can compromise drum articulation – this is certainly worth taking into consideration.
Snare wires with more strands provide a fatter, deeper sound with a significant amount of resonance – ideal for washy, fluent playing styles such as jazz or reggae. This, of course, will sacrifice attack and punch from your overall snare sound.
PureSound Custom Series Snare Wire 16 Strand
A fine example of a snare wire for metal drumming is the PureSound Custom Series Snare Wire 16 Strand. It offers 16 strands of medium-gauge wire, providing a short, snappy attack with a super quick response. Fused between two copper plates, it also adds expert durability to withstand every heavy hit. With a user-friendly design, it’s an ideal piece of equipment to upgrade the sound of your snare drum.
Shop now | PureSound Custom Series Snare Wire 16 Strand
Sabian Blend Hybrid 42 Snare Wire
Another great snare wire to be used with a softer playing style is the incredible Sabian Blend Hybrid 42 Snare Wire. With 42 strands, it’s perfect for delivering a low-end, fat tone as well as maintaining the high-end attack often desired in snare drums.
This snare wire has been carefully made with a combination of formulated metals to get the most out of any snare drum. It’s fantastic for a snare sound with lots of natural reverb and sustain.
Shop now | Sabian Blend Hybrid 42 Snare Wire
WorldMax 14 Strand Pure Tone Split Snare Wire
Lately, there have been new innovative designs of snare wires that let you experiment with alternative sounds and tones. One example of this is the WorldMax 14 Strand Pure Tone Split Snare Wire, which has been made with a split down the middle to project more of your snare drum’s natural tone.
Another huge benefit of this split is that, when used in live performances, it reduces the snare buzz that often occurs from the bass guitar. The frequency is spread further across the skin of the drum as opposed to the wires.
4. Alternative Drum Heads
More so than ever, many different drum heads are being designed to deliver exciting tones using ingenious technology.
Remo Powerstroke 3 Coated Drum Head
One exceptional example of a drum head that alters the tone of your snare drum is the Remo Powerstroke 3 Coated Drum Head. Its coated finish not only ensures maximum control through your drum sticks, but also keeps the natural tones of your snare drum well under control.
The single-ply 10mm film offers a subtle attack along with focused mid and low tones. With exceptional durability, you can count on the Remo Powerstroke 3 Coated Drum Head to achieve your perfect snare sound.
Shop now | Remo Powerstroke 3 Coated Drum Head
Evans Hydraulic Red Drum Head, 14’’
A second great drum head that will spice up the tone of your snare drum is the Evans Hydraulic Red Drum Head, 14’’. Its unique design – a thin layer of oils between two films – suppresses overtones for a super clear response. Coupled with this innovative construction, the Evans Hydraulic Red Drum Head provides a fat, deep sound with short sustain, ideal for all playing styles and genres.
Available in a range of colours, it’s sure to enhance your snare sound with minimal tuning and dampening.
Shop now | Evans Hydraulic Red Drum Head, 14’’
The Remo Ambassador Hazy Snare Side Drum Head
Some drummers tend to forget about the resonant head, often the cause of a bad drum tone. Changing your resonant, or “snare-side”, drum head will wake up all the natural resonance required for the perfect snare sound.
The Remo Ambassador Hazy Snare Side Drum Head is a supreme example of the ideal resonant snare drum head for powerful punchy tones. Its 3mm single-ply design is made to produce open tones with a perfectly balanced frequency range fit for all kinds of snare drums. Its easy-to-tune design truly leaves you stress-free when finding your perfect snare sound.
Evans Snare Side Glass 500 Drum Head
Furthermore, we have the Evans Snare Side Glass 500 Drum Head, which incorporates Evans’ Level 360 technology. This allows for maximum contact between the drum head and the shell, amplifying every possible tone. Its 5mm single-ply design has been carefully crafted to provide a deep, throaty response ideal for heavier styles of playing.
The Evans Snare Side Glass 500 Drum Head also includes a super controlled sustain, best suited to rock drumming where a slight bit of reverberance is key. Durability is a key focus point for Evans, and this resonant drum head doesn’t disappoint!
Shop now | Evans Snare Side Glass 500 Drum Head
Tuning is arguably the most important way to change your overall snare sound. Ultimately, without the right tuning, every other form of tone alteration won’t work to its full potential.
A great tip is to tune opposite lugs, tightening the skin and enabling it to lay flush against your drum shell. This will always guarantee the best attack and projection from your snare drum. Another benefit of this method is that it ensures the head’s longevity, giving you a better tone for a longer time.
Evans TuneUp Kit, UV1 14”
If you’re looking for a complete revamp of your snare tone rather than changing individual parts, the Evans TuneUp Kit might be everything you need – and more!
The Evans TuneUp Kit, UV1 14” is the ultimate package for easy tuning. It features an Evans UV1 Batter drum head, Evans Snare Side Hazy 300 drum head, a 20 Strand Pure Sound snare wire, pair of special edition Barney Beats Promark 5A drumsticks, and accessories for fine-tuning.
This tuning kit has been specifically designed for you to find your own unique snare drum sound. If you’re still at a loss with finding your perfect snare sound, the TuneUp kit has everything you need to upgrade any kind of snare drum. Simply, add the heads, tune-up, apply the EQ dampening pods, and you’re on your way to some fantastic tones.
Shop now | Evans TuneUp Kit, UV1 14”
Evans TuneUp Kit, Calftone
Are you looking for a snare batter head for soft playing, but still require a unique sound? Stop right there – the Evans TuneUp Kit, Calftone has you covered.
With the same accessories and tools from the previous Evans TuneUp kit, it’s perfect for finding your sound.
The Evans 56 Calftone 14” Drum Head is suited to jazz drummers, providing an enduring tone which is open and warm.
Shop now | Evans TuneUp Kit, Calftone
Find out more
Now you’re up to speed with some ways to improve your snare sound, why not check out more essential accessories and hardware?