Finding the sound that defines you as a drummer might not be as easy as you think. Not having a $1000 laying around is common these days. So here are some tips on making your snare drum sound great for under $50.00.
- Replacing heads- Changing your drum heads and strainer. It may sound so obvious but it often gets overlooked. By adding a new drum head with a thinner head; I like a evens G1 coated on your batter side and a hazy 300 snare side; it lets the drum breath and sound wetter. It brings the natural tones of the drums to the surface. Plus, you can always add muffing to the head if you want to dry it up. This by itself will make a huge difference, you can reach a more dynamic range.
- Strainers -In my opinion you don’t need to spend $50.00 on a strainer to find your sound. Most of the time the cheaper ones sound way better and last a long time. If you want to try a different count, do so. It does help but you need a trained ear to really tell the difference.
- Bearing edges (Only for wood drums)- While your heads are off, check the bearing edges. These can be worn down from years of vibrations and stick hits. You can sharpen the edge with some sandpaper or a file. The sharper the edge, the brighter the sound. The thickness of a sd card works fine on the top and bottom, you can play with this. I would keep it sharp on the snare side. If you wanted to add more vintage sound on the top you can make it wider. Add some wax to the edge and let it dry.
- The tension is everything! I know I’m going to get hated on here but after building 100s of drums I can say this… When tuning the lugs and the head, I go by feel. The bottom head I tune really tight, almost where it’s scary. Getting the bottom tighter than the top makes a significant difference in sound and tuning. Once the bottom is tight, it is sensitive to the snare wires. If you use a tune bot its 400 on the bottom and 300 on the top. Once the bottom is set I can then tune the top low or high, however I want it.
- If you have tried tuning and there is still a snare buzz you that won’t go away (Like a gnat in south Ga) try this to fix it:
- Swap strings to ribbon if it will let you. You can buy ribbon at Walmart or Hobby Lobby that works great. Make sure you get the one with the ridges on it. It’s only a few bucks and there are lots of colors to pick from.
- Change the wire counts on the snares or try a different brand. Sometimes just by changing out brands you will find one that works better. It has a lot to do with how it sets on the drum and having the right snare wire angle that will fit into the snare bed tight. If you can get the snare to fit in the bed nicely you have a winner! You can also adjust the strainer so you can make it tighter. You don’t want it too tight because it will choke the drum out making it sound like a tin can. After you have done all this try loosening up the four tension rods that surrounds the snare wires a bit.
- More info on this from www.drumeo.com, making your drum kit sound fat , Tuning your snaredrum , Make your cheap drum set sound good