How to choose a snare drum

The snare drum, is one of the most important drums that exists. The snare drum is a key part of all classic drum kits and is also used in large orchestras. Some snare drums can even be used as marching drums (with shoulder straps).


In drum kits, snare drums are the cornerstone of rhythm (along with large bass drums and hi-hat cymbals). As such, they deserve special attention during their selection.

The most important parameters for determining the sound produced by snare drums are their dimensions (diameter and depth), the materials from which they are made, the type of wire and the drumhead.

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Description of the snare drum:

Snare drums are smaller in size. They have skins on their top and bottom, and wires are also attached to the bottom. The top head is called the batter head, while the bottom head is referred to as the snare head, as this is where the wires are strung.


Snare drums are typically made from wood or metal and metal alloys. The drums are made from many different materials, sometimes combined in a laminated construction. For example, maple and steel drums are popular. Each type of material has its specific qualities. The choice always depends on the concrete sound the drummer is looking for.

Snares made from wood have a typically 'warmer' sound, whereas metal snares are more penetrating and sharper.


The diameter of snare drums is generally between 10 and 16 inches. The depth is generally in the range if 2-9 inches. The most common snares have a diameter of 14 inches and a depth of 5.5 inches.


The rattle of wire known as the snares is very important for these drums, as it produces their typically distinct and unmistakeable sound. There are various types of snares that differ by length, the number of wires, their winding and the way they are attached to the drum. Another important factor is the type of material from which they are made, e.g. steel, bronze, brass and carbon.

The snare is stretched across the bottom side of the drum so that it is in contact with the snare head while the drum is being played.

Snare drums in drum kits

A snare drum is a key component of drum kits. In fact, many drummers use several snare drums with different tuning. Snare drums are set up on the left side of the bass drum (between the hi-hat and bass drum pedals.

Final advice

The snare drum makes a major contribution to the character, individuality and overall sound image of the drummer. Therefore, don't be afraid to experiment, and if you have the opportunity, really lay into the snare drum. It will be the most frequent spot for your shots with the drumsticks, so make them count :-)!

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