"Low" "Medium" "High" Snare Drum Tuning

kenshireen1

Very well Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
Messages
850
Reaction score
88
Location
atl
I watch all these demos on YT and notice that when testing a snare, usually superimpose low, medium, high tunings.
The demonstrator will usually turn the lugs a bit and then call it medium tuning and so on.
My question, which I know is going to be subjective, is what constitutes low, medium, high ranges on a snare.
How do YOU determine these ranges.

Some of you use your ears, others a DD, others frequency readings and others tune to specific notes.
Personally, I tune to 196 hertz (center of head) which happens to be around a 3rd octave "G". I consider this to be "high" on my 5" supra.
 

JDA

DFO Star
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
22,229
Reaction score
11,153
Location
Jeannette, Pa.
My question, which I know is going to be subjective, is what constitutes low, medium, high ranges on a snare.
Like air in a tire
Tension on the head.

you know the difference between 22psi 31psi and 44psi in a 15" tire
that's the low medium Hi
 

Tdipaul

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2014
Messages
114
Reaction score
159
Location
NJ
with a DD...
high = 86-90
med = 80-85
low = <80

without a DD...
high = the point just before significant choking occurs
med = greatest overall body and meat the drum is capable of producing
low = the point before tubby and muddy take over
 
Last edited:

ARGuy

DFO Master
Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
4,624
Reaction score
1,249
Location
Minnesota
I think those ranges are determined just as much by your age group as by any kind of measurement. I watch the Sounds like a Drum videos and consistently find that what they label as Low would be unusable for anything I play, and what they refer to as High or Really Cranked is the range that most of us above the age of 50 have been playing for years, and that we would consider normal to slightly above normal playing range.
 

MJB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2021
Messages
58
Reaction score
38
I think those ranges are determined just as much by your age group as by any kind of measurement. I watch the Sounds like a Drum videos and consistently find that what they label as Low would be unusable for anything I play, and what they refer to as High or Really Cranked is the range that most of us above the age of 50 have been playing for years, and that we would consider normal to slightly above normal playing range.
That makes sense, I’m over 50 and I never understood when people say just above wrinkle. Back in the day I’m not sure people tuned so low.
 

Seb77

DFO Master
Joined
Apr 11, 2013
Messages
3,019
Reaction score
1,667
Location
Germany
It even changes with how you play the drum. I have recently used a slgithly lower tuning, but used a lot of center rimshots which make the drum sound higher, sort of like a conga "slap" sound.

For a while now, I've left the snare side head up at the same tension for all tunings, so it's mostly about batter head tension. I hear the batter head overtones acertain way, d seems to be the middle pitch, e is on the high side, c on the low. The resultant fundamental pitch of the drum, center stroke, might sit around f for low, g for medium, a for high, but this changes with drum depth.
 

kenshireen1

Very well Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
Messages
850
Reaction score
88
Location
atl
Like air in a tire
Tension on the head.

you know the difference between 22psi 31psi and 44psi in a 15" tire
that's the low medium Hi
I know the difference because I can read a tire gauge.
But what is the reference for a snare to measure the tension on the head.
 

kenshireen1

Very well Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
Messages
850
Reaction score
88
Location
atl
It even changes with how you play the drum. I have recently used a slgithly lower tuning, but used a lot of center rimshots which make the drum sound higher, sort of like a conga "slap" sound.

For a while now, I've left the snare side head up at the same tension for all tunings, so it's mostly about batter head tension. I hear the batter head overtones acertain way, d seems to be the middle pitch, e is on the high side, c on the low. The resultant fundamental pitch of the drum, center stroke, might sit around f for low, g for medium, a for high, but this changes with drum depth.
I prefer center strikes (assuming it is not an over amplified setting) since it is rounder sounding.. not as sharp but it seems to have more "feeling".
On my supra, my DD reads 88 in the center.. all lugs are evenly tensioned... and my frequency meter reads 196 = G.
 

mcirish

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
77
Reaction score
44
I tune my snares to specific pitches and I have a preference. The snare side head is always tuned to an A. In some rare cases, with a low tuned snare, I might drop down to a G. To most people, an A is pretty tight, but it sounds right to me. I also watched a lot of tuning videos and the snares I liked the best ended up with the snare side at an A. I never go higher than that. I may loosen the outside lugs if there is any odd snare buzz. That's a common trick. As far as the batter head goes: Low=Bflat-C, Mid=D-E, Hi= F and above. I'm using a Remo Control Sound Head, so all those are specific to the heads as well. I don't have a drum dial so I can't say what the tensions might be. My favorite tuning is an E on the batter side and an A on the snare side. Sounds perfect to my ears.
 


Top