The Snare Drum – Essential Facts

Snare drums are the highlight of a drum set. They are, just like any other part of a drum set, unavoidably important! Today we will learn about some essential facts about the snare drums. This will help us understand the structure and build quality of snare drums in a more effective manner. Read the details given below to be able to make a more informed decision when buying your snare drum.


Shell material: Wood or Metal

Wooden snare drums differ based on the quality of wood that is used for the shell. The different types of woods that are seen on snare drums are maple, birch, walnut, mahogany or gum wood and the more value propositions are generally made of basswood and poplar.

Most snares are made of steel but more specialized and sound shaped snares come in aluminium, brass or copper.

Between the two types of shell material, the wooden shell drums are warmer in tone while the metal ones are louder and bolder.


Diameters and depths of snare drums:

The dimension of the snare drum has a direct influence on the tone of the drum sound. The snare with a larger depth will give a deep tone compared to the shallower depth snare that will give a higher pitched tone. Similarly, a smaller diameter snare will give a higher pitch compared to a bigger diameter snare.

Snares can be classified as micro, medium or ballad snares. The most common size of the snare drum is 14” diameter and 5.5” depth (written as 14” x 5.5”). The diameter of a snare drum ranges from 6” to 16” while the depth of a snare drum ranges from 3” to 10”. Drummers have very specific needs for their drumming style and playing and will choose snares based on the sound that they want to create. 

This basic classification of the diameters and depths of a snare drum is sure to come in handy while making your next purchase. Size is a primary consideration when making your snare purchase.


Snare drum heads:

The top drum head of the drum is referred to as the “batter head” or “batter side” and bottom head is referred as the “resonant head”.

The Snare batter head is usually coated. This can either be a single ply or a double ply.

Most snares will have snare wires attached to give it that “snare sound”. However, this is not the case with smaller diameter snares.


This is a very basic explanation of the structure and character of a snare drum but very important to keep in mind when picking up your next snare drum. Remember, the snare will often be the defining sound in your kit and you can never have enough snares in your arsenal.

View the variety of snare drums on the Furtados Online store! 


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