I suppose your urge to play the drums has overtaken you like an avalanche. Even though you already have sticks in your hands, rudiments come in nightmares, and the training pads are broken, it’s probably time to change seats for a full-fledged drum kit. The real one, like in the videos of your favorite bands.
The snare drum (not “working”, not “leading” and by no means no “soloist”! This drum is called “small”) is a signature of any drummer. This is the individual key to the drum sound you and your team want. It’s almost like a toothbrush, which means it’s something that you definitely don’t want to share with your colleagues at some festival.
Which One Should You Choose?
Many factors affect the sound of your instrument. You should consider dimensions (diameter, case, and drum depth) and materials used for manufacturing. The kick drum is traditionally made from either wood or metal. Metal drums are made from steel, brass, aluminum, and other alloys and deliver an exceptionally bright, cutting tone to the sound. However, many drummers prefer the warm, mellow sound of a wooden drum. Typically, the snare drum is 14 inches in diameter, but other modifications also exist.
The snare drum is played with two wooden sticks; their weight depends on the acoustics of the room (street) and the style of the piece of music being played (heavy sticks produce a stronger sound). Sometimes, a pair of special brushes are used instead of sticks. Using these, the musician makes circular movements, creating a slight “rustle” that serves as a sound background for a solo instrument or voice.
To muffle the snare drum’s sound, use a piece of ordinary cloth that is placed on the membrane, or special accessories that are placed, glued, or screwed on. The metal drum case will give more volume and overtones. Wooden drums sound warmer, and even the smallest strokes sound perfect. But with great depth and thick case, they can be used even in stadium performances.
Speaking about the wooden drums, maple is considered the most suitable for absolutely all music styles and for almost all acoustics types. The reason is that it gives a very wide range, and therefore a lot of freedom to tune and find your sound. Of course, the rest depends on the correct setup and technique of the drummer. There are no standards, rules, or axioms here. All you have are tons of different options, your ears, and your hands.
Most importantly, do not forget that you are the heart of the team. And the sound of your instrument determines the sound of the whole band as much as the guitars, keyboards, and vocals.
There are the following types of snare drums:
- Concert (Orchestral);
- Snare drum for drum set;
- Marching snare drum;
- Field drum;
- Soprano (Popcorn);
In addition, there are hybrid snare drums made from a mix of wood and metal or acrylic and wood so that you can make a choice depending on your skills and sound expectations. As a long-experienced drummer and author of the simplydrum.com drumming blog, I recommend starting with a wooden snare drum.