How tight is too tight (on the snare)

lrod1707

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So I've been thinking about this today: I have a 13" Supralite which is steel and a 14" maple which is obviously wood (both Ludwig's). I like a loose sound on the maple and a very tight sound on the Supralite. On the steel snare it feels like when tightening you reach a point where you'd be scared to crank it anymore. I've always been scared of this as I don't know when it's too much. I'm afraid to break it. On the maple, I never have to go that tight and since it's wood, it feels like the lugs have more give. When would it be to much?
Also, I use a drum dial. What tension numbers would you use for that steel snare for it to be really tight? (Batter & reso) Maybe using those numbers would help me not being scared to break it because I would have a stopping point. I've set them at 85 and then I've gone more on my own without the drum dial. With the drum dial it seems like it maxes at 95 and doesn't move anymore beyond that 95 setting.
 

Ray Dee Oh King

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I always say a good rule of thumb is.....2.5-3 full key turns max. I really dont see why going above that would benefit your sound. I typically tune my reso about 2.5 full key turns. That provides a pretty high pitch, then batter head about 2 full key turns and dial it in after.
 

lrod1707

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I always say a good rule of thumb is.....2.5-3 full key turns max. I really dont see why going above that would benefit your sound. I typically tune my reso about 2.5 full key turns. That provides a pretty high pitch, then batter head about 2 full key turns and dial it in after.
You mean 2.5-3 full turns after finger tightening right?
 

swarfrat

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I was trying to crank up an Emperor Snare Side (SINGLE ply 5 mil head snare side head) a few weeks ago. Some folks will invariably say 'you don't need a tunebot/drumdial - you'll know.' And they're right - you'll know when you took it too far. But not necessarily before that point. 95 even for a 10 mil head is UP THERE. As you get up to there, drumdial actually gets less and less sensitive, as it's telling you the deflection, and if it's tight enough it's not moving much, the curve really flattens out a lot.
 

Ray Dee Oh King

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You mean 2.5-3 full turns after finger tightening right?
Yes. At least that's what works for me. I typically use and like Aquarian High Performance resos which are 3 mil. I usually go about 2.5 full key turns after finger tight and it gets me where I like to be, pitch wise. 3 full turns and you're in SkA/Reggae territory.
 

xsabers

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There comes a point when the tension is so high that it takes a lot to move the needle on the dial. 95 is really high, in my experience. That needle only supplies so much pressure to measure tension and once you reach its limit, it doesn't have the force to indent the head to record a measurement. Most drums will take a lot of pressure though, more than Mylar can withstand, all things being equal. I've seen heads pull out from the hoops due to tension. Now with Kevlar, you can crush a shell! Still, I wouldn't test the limits of any shell. Tight to me is about 92 over 85 on the DD. Note that the 85 on the reso is a higher pitch than the 92 on the batter due to the head thickness.
 

lrod1707

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Yes. At least that's what works for me. I typically use and like Aquarian High Performance resos which are 3 mil. I usually go about 2.5 full key turns after finger tight and it gets me where I like to be, pitch wise. 3 full turns and you're in SkA/Reggae territory.
I use the same, Hi-freq resos and classic clears on the batters. I will try your method.
 

lrod1707

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I was trying to crank up an Emperor Snare Side (SINGLE ply 5 mil head snare side head) a few weeks ago. Some folks will invariably say 'you don't need a tunebot/drumdial - you'll know.' And they're right - you'll know when you took it too far. But not necessarily before that point. 95 even for a 10 mil head is UP THERE. As you get up to there, drumdial actually gets less and less sensitive, as it's telling you the deflection, and if it's tight enough it's not moving much, the curve really flattens out a lot.
Problem is, I don't want to find out when the drum breaks so I guess using the drum dial is good to find out when your close to that point.
 

lrod1707

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There comes a point when the tension is so high that it takes a lot to move the needle on the dial. 95 is really high, in my experience. That needle only supplies so much pressure to measure tension and once you reach its limit, it doesn't have the force to indent the head to record a measurement. Most drums will take a lot of pressure though, more than Mylar can withstand, all things being equal. I've seen heads pull out from the hoops due to tension. Now with Kevlar, you can crush a shell! Still, I wouldn't test the limits of any shell. Tight to me is about 92 over 85 on the DD. Note that the 85 on the reso is a higher pitch than the 92 on the batter due to the head thickness.
Cool! Good to know
 

Ptrick

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93/85 DD is as tight a sound as I’ve ever gone. Beyond that it sounds like the drum is choking.

I think 85 on the bottom is the highest I’ve seen a bottom head “stay”. I’ve gone up to 88, but come check it a couple days later and it’s stretched back to the 85 region.

90-95 on top to my ears is the all crack land. Can’t see needing to ever go higher.
 

DanRH

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Count me in as a person who loves my DD BUT I only use on it toms. I've never found a need for it on my snare. I do crank the bejeezers out of the bottom head. It's the first thing I do when I get a new snare. I just know by feel.
 

swarfrat

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I'm decent at tuning everything else on the drum kit EXCEPT the bottom snare head. Drum dial sucks. Tunebot can't hear it, and neither can I.
 

lrod1707

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Count me in as a person who loves my DD BUT I only use on it toms. I've never found a need for it on my snare. I do crank the bejeezers out of the bottom head. It's the first thing I do when I get a new snare. I just know by feel.
That's the problem, I've never figured out the point of "just by feel" I'm the guy that needs a screw just a little tighter because I figure that if not it might come loose. And then it goes "BAM". And off to Lowe's I go pissed off at myself. I want to avoid hearing "BAM" on the snare.
 

Drumceet

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I've read of players keeping their snare wires a bit loose, or tightened just past when the buzzing stops on the wires, but I've found that tightening the wires even more gives me the sound I want on my Ludwig Supraphonic.

Reso head is tuned about 3 full turns, and the batter head is about 2.5 full turns, and then I dabble with loosening the 2 lugs on each side of the snare wires.

My snare sounds awesome, and even though I've read complaints about Ludwig Supra's going out of tune, I can't say I've experienced this.
 

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