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Need snare head advice for total drum no-nothing!
Old 31st December 2010
  #1
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Need snare head advice for total drum no-nothing!

My brother in law gave me an old Ludwig snare for my home studio. It was on the floor in his garage! Looks to be from the 70s or earlier. Everything seems to work on it as far as hardware goes but it need heads and a snare wire thingy.

So I need heads that will sound good tuned low and a loose kinda snare sound. Not much into crack as a 'fat splat' kinda tone. Is there much difference between different sets of snare wire?

I know nothing of drums (guitar and bass player, so forgive me). I'd like to have a nice sounding snare drum for playing myself with brushes on simple Americana folk rock stuff. Also, last time I had a drummer in here his snare sound sucked and it would have been nice to hand him a snare that is more to my liking for my music.

Thanks
JN
Old 1st January 2011
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John N View Post
My brother in law gave me an old Ludwig snare for my home studio. It was on the floor in his garage! Looks to be from the 70s or earlier. Everything seems to work on it as far as hardware goes but it need heads and a snare wire thingy.

So I need heads that will sound good tuned low and a loose kinda snare sound. Not much into crack as a 'fat splat' kinda tone. Is there much difference between different sets of snare wire?

I know nothing of drums (guitar and bass player, so forgive me). I'd like to have a nice sounding snare drum for playing myself with brushes on simple Americana folk rock stuff. Also, last time I had a drummer in here his snare sound sucked and it would have been nice to hand him a snare that is more to my liking for my music.

Thanks
JN
Look into getting a 2 ply coated head. You can get a 1 ply clear for the bottom...or one specific to the bottom head...usually thinner.

There is different sizes of "wire," but you can go to guitar center or wherever and they will hook you up with the standard size.

If there snare has a bit too much ring...you can look into getting dampening rings or gel pads...there is a lot of stuff out there.

Local music store should be able to help a lot.
Old 1st January 2011
  #3
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TRANQUILO's Avatar
 

ambassadors by remo

ambassadors by remo are the best standard that have been used for decades. I use ambassador snare bottom head, and coated ambassador on top. sometimes I like the coated black dot head for snare for xtra low mid punch. As for snare wires I have two snares with two types...my first snare has the basic 20 strand steel wires, my second has 42 strand wires(wide) and these are very bright and full of snap. Try em both see what sounds best for your application.
Old 1st January 2011
  #4
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Thanks for the advice so far. My next question was going to be if the batter and bottom heads should be different...?

Also what the general difference between 16, 20 or 42 snare strainers? steel or brass?

I'm aiming for a swampy, rootsy snare tone and not so modern rock sounding, so bear that in mind with your suggestions.

I did find a thread with 8 different types of batter head clips. They were all kinda short and in the context of a full kit and acoustic guitar track. Would have liked to hear just the snare but alas... plus you only get to hear what those heads sound like on that particular drum.
Old 1st January 2011
  #5
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John N View Post
Thanks for the advice so far. My next question was going to be if the batter and bottom heads should be different...?

Also what the general difference between 16, 20 or 42 snare strainers? steel or brass?

I'm aiming for a swampy, rootsy snare tone and not so modern rock sounding, so bear that in mind with your suggestions.

I did find a thread with 8 different types of batter head clips. They were all kinda short and in the context of a full kit and acoustic guitar track. Would have liked to hear just the snare but alas... plus you only get to hear what those heads sound like on that particular drum.
Get what was recommended {ambassodor and clear resonant} a 20 strand pure sound snare and start down the road. Getting a snare to sound the way you want will involve tuning and listening. Then remember it will sound different in the context of a mix. All it takes is time, a drum key, your ears and time. If the snare rings to much for your tastes try moon gel.
Old 1st January 2011
  #6
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TRANQUILO's Avatar
 

many weights

on the bottom, always go with a what is called a snare side head or snare bottom head aka resonant head. The snare side head is always thinnest of any head available, its as thin as paper...three standard weights for snare side heads are available by remo.

emperor snare side resonant head is thickest good for a dry rock fat sound
ambassador snare side resonant head is medium standard for all music
diplomat snare side resonant is thinnest sensitive for jazz, ochestral

keep in mind that the snare side heads are different than the batter heads in thickness...i.e. a ambassador batter head is thicker than a ambassador snare side resonant head. When you go shopping at your local music store have the sales clerk let you feel and see the different heads and weights of heads.
ggod luck!
Old 1st January 2011
  #7
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TRANQUILO's Avatar
 

wires

steel wires are bright in tone

brass wires are dark in tone

42 strands have more snare wires for more snare sound
20 or 16 strands have less wires for less snare sound more drum fundamental tone.


see pics bud!
Attached Thumbnails
Need snare head advice for total drum no-nothing!-wide-snares.jpg   Need snare head advice for total drum no-nothing!-snares.jpg  
Old 1st January 2011
  #8
Very good advice so far given.
White coated (often Remo Ambassador) is the standard. Emperor for a thicker sound.
thumbsup
Old 2nd January 2011
  #9
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I found some good clips of different snare heads in the drum sub forum. Now as I liked a few of them and it would be great to have a few different snares with varied heads I'm not in a position do do that. I keep going back to the Remo Pinstripe for some reason. Every time I re-visit the thread and re-listen I like the Pinstripe best and the Evans Genera Dry next.

So I think I'm going to order one and I also found a deal at MF for a ProSound brass 24 strand strainer with a 'free' Evans Hazy 300 resonant head.

Gotta start somewhere, right?

Thanks
JN
Old 6th February 2011
  #10
Gear Nut
 
Rupert Limehouse's Avatar
 

OP mentions brushes - Remo Coated Diplomat works very well for this.
Old 7th February 2011
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Coated Ambassador all the way on top for an all around snare sound that is very versatile. For a slightly fatter tone I would recommend a coated Powerstroke 3 or a CS Reverse Dot. A little deader and deeper sounding heads. I would say that either way you should stick with a clear ambassador resonance head for the bottom though.

I would also add that a set of Puresound snares would greatly improve the response and sound of your snare.

This all comes from experience with my 1975 Sonor Phonic steel shell snare. Very similar to the drum you have described. It records beautifully very nice spread.
Old 7th February 2011
  #12
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OP reporting back...
well since I know nothing about drum heads I took a chance on a Remo pinstripe for the top head and a thin, clear Evans resonator head that came with a PureSound 24 strand brass snare wire.

I think my problem is in tuning right now. Once again this is terra incognita for me not being a drummer. The Pinstripe batter head till has a lot of ringing and with a mute ring on it its a little too muted. So I'm sure there are lots of drummer tricks that I don't know or haven't tried yet: moon gel, tape, gauze pads, etc, etc...

I think a coated Ambassador with the mute ring will probably be better for recording.

How do you get rid of the ring or minimize it? Dang, tuning a snare is a test. There are so many overtones and harmonics, how do you know which is the fundamental. To make matters worse the bottom rim that the resonant heads sits on is dented a little here and there. Top rim looks good. Also, so many contradictory youtube videos on how to tune a snare!

Thanks
JN
Old 7th February 2011
  #13
Gear Nut
 
Andl's Avatar
Check out the drum tuning bible... Some excellent information about all areas of tuning drums.

Drum Tuning Bible
Old 7th February 2011
  #14
Gear Addict
 

Pinstripe is a bit pingy for a snare batter head. Pinstripes are designed to move a certain amount of resonance away from the bearing edge and are often used to make a bad drum sound better. Unfortunately they can also make a good drum sound worse. They are designed specifically for toms, not snare.

I use a coated Remo ambassador on top and a clear diplomat snare on the bottom. The thinner diplomat snare gives a slightly shorter snare response which is often good for recording (generally, thicker heads ring longer). 20 strand snare is standard. A 42 strand snare will give a more snary 70's sound.

As for ringing and muting. The ringing you hear up close fades away with distance and is usually preferable to a muted sound (assuming the drum is properly tuned and balanced). However, if you need a little ping control, try a butterfly. The butterfly is made with tape (I use gaffer's tape because it won't leave residue on the head, but anything will work). Take a piece of tape about 3 inches long. Pinch it in the middle so that half of the length is stuck to itself and then fold the ends outward so the tape makes an upside down T. Place this on the head about 1-2" from the rim. Experiment with placement to taste. The air resistance from the tape does a great job to mute unwanted harmonics without restricting the fundamental tone.
Old 9th February 2011
  #15
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Pinstripe is definately not the way to go here. I found Fyberskyns work really well with brushes. Also the usual coated ambassador should do fine.
Old 10th February 2011
  #16
Ditto the above two posts.
Gaffa is your friend (in small doses!)
Old 10th February 2011
  #17
There are some excellent snare drum tuning videos on YouTube. Watch 2 or 3 of the better ones and you'll start to get the hang of it.
Old 10th February 2011
  #18
I recommend Bob Gatzen.
Old 10th February 2011
  #19
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Thanks for all the responses. I'm going to order a coated Ambassador for the batter head - the pinstripe isn't doing it. Then for recording I'll use the Aquarian mute ring my friend gave me or combinations of tape and stuff if that doesn't work.

I think I'm set for the bottom head, its a thin resonant head by Evans called Hazy 300 and it came with a set of brass, 24 wire snares.

Thanks All

JN
Old 11th February 2011
  #20
Hazy 300 is good. thumbsup
Old 18th February 2011
  #21
Here for the gear
 

For the batter head, I'd use anything that doesn't pre-eq the sound for you if you're using it for studio mixing. you want to get as much tone as possible out of the drum before taking anything away and some of the reverse dots, power center, CS dot, and whatever all take a little something out.

The way I see it, you can always take away from the incoming signal, but you cant add (organically) whats lost in those other head choices.

I'd go with a standard coated ambassador just because it 1 ply and just gets great over tone. If you dont like ringing, deal with it by ways of moon gel or something removable that way you have options, rather than being stuck with a head that will only sound a ccertain way no matter what you do with it.
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