Tuning and sensitivity on 8x14 snares

219Dave

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Hey guys-

Recently got a lightly used Yamaha RC 8x14 birch snare (new model) on reverb. I'm not that experienced with snares of this depth. Snare sounds good when hit hard, but any ghost notes have no snare sound on them. Like I'm hitting a tom. I took off the Evans HD dry I had put on, and put an ambassador back on. That didn't work. The reso is factory remo head. I have it tuned medium with a tune bot, on the batter side. Reso side is like 395 at the lugs. I have messed around with snare wire tension, and also with moon gels. Should I crank the reso head above 400, or will that choke it out? Should I try a higher tuning on the batter head? Or any other heads to suggest? Finally, should I consider switching out to 42 strand snare wires? I have 6 or so snares, but don't want to relegate this for fat backbeat 70s sound only. I also didn't see this as a snare that I'd keep tuned high, as I have others in that role.

Thanks in advance for the help!
 

Redbeard77

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Try lowering the reso tension. My main snare is a 14x8 Gretsch maple and I usually have the reso at 359 Hz while I move the batter between 240 and 266. What tension are you using for your batter head?
 

219Dave

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I'm at work now, but I am pretty sure that I have it around 260-270. I can try lowering reso tension and report back. That is sort of counterintuitive for me, as I thought that would give less sensitivity and a more "tom" sound on ghost notes. No?
 

dirtysicks

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Crank the reso head and make sure the wires are centered. Both of my 8x14 snares and my two 7x14 snares are great with sensitivity.
 

Tornado

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Deeper snares are just going to be less sensitive than shallow snares, all things being equal. Have you tried a diplomat weight snare side head?
 

Redbeard77

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I'm at work now, but I am pretty sure that I have it around 260-270. I can try lowering reso tension and report back. That is sort of counterintuitive for me, as I thought that would give less sensitivity and a more "tom" sound on ghost notes. No?
In my experience there is a point of diminishing returns when cranking the reso. Sometimes loosening the tension allows the head to respond easier. Of course, results vary with drum construction like different edges or hardware, etc. So I'm just saying that if you're not getting the desired results, don't be afraid to experiment with settings that may be counterintuitive at first and may not work for other drums.
 

Targalx

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Another thing is to check your snare beds. I have an RC 14x8 from the late 1980s and the snare beds needed a little touching up before I could get it in a sweet, responsive spot. It’s just as sensitive as my 14x6 DW snare now. I’m not using wide strand snares, just the standard setup.
 

Seb77

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I would try lower wire tension as well. A deep drum will always produce lots of tone, you can tune it high and it will retain a full sound. Tight-ish heads and loose wires should make for a very sensitive drum. (edit: reso head tension (Ambassador hazy 14") imo works best around a "g" which would be 196Hz).

If you don't like the snare response, instead of tightening the wires, I would try using snare cord instead of straps, maybe a different set of wires (with angled end plates). I remember a Yamaha snare catalog that introduced me to this concept, so maybe the end plates on your snare are already angled (instead of being falt with "cord channels").
 

Markkuliini

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I would try lower wire tension as well. A deep drum will always produce lots of tone, you can tune it high and it will retain a full sound. Tight-ish heads and loose wires should make for a very sensitive drum. (edit: reso head tension (Ambassador hazy 14") imo works best around a "g" which would be 196Hz).
Probably you mean a G an octave higher, at 392 Hz. That's very common pitch area to tune the bottom head, for example my go-to pitch is 380 Hz, that's where I often start with a new drum.
 

halldorl

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I played one of the new 8x14" RC´s in a shop and it sounded fantastic, plenty of snare response and sensitivity. The most sensitive snare I have played to date was an old Premier 10x14" marching drum with a conventional strainer. So the depth should not be an issue.
 

KevinD

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I have an 80s 8 x 14 Tama Superstar (really thick shell) Same issues, GREAT sound, but you have to hit it with a certain level of intensity before it sings... (don't want to be playing any coffee shops with it) Sensitivity is not its greatest feature.

To get a bit more snare sound, you may want to try loosening the lugs on each side of the strainer to give the snares a bit more contact with the reso head. Make sure the snares are centered and aren't somehow getting choked or muted by anything.
As stated above, cord seems to work in this situation better than plastic strips (maybe ribbon too not sure.
As you mention above (assuming your snare bed is wide enough) you might try 42 strand snares... or experiment with different kinds of snares...
If you are not using the thinnest reso head already. maybe see if you can find a thinner one.
 

ThomasL

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I have two 8x14s and I don't have any issues with sensitivity, but I like to tune high (reso around G# and batter around D#). IMO snare response is more about the snare beds and wires than the depth.
 
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phdamage

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i wonder if 42 strand snare wires might help? i only have one 8" deep snare, though i have a ton of 7" deep ones and they all have 42 strand wires on em.
 

RogersLudwig

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I have a Premier 8x14 elite maple I got a couple of months ago and it seems to have one tuning where it sounds good, fairly high tensioning and you have to hit it with conviction to get the best sound out of it.
 

LRod1707

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I've got an 8x14 and have another one on the way. As others have said, lower the reso tension. I do this on all my snares. That "crank it up" thing that you always hear is pure BS in my opinion. I learned that if you let it breath a bit, it sounds better in all tuning ranges. And the 8x14 more so than any of my other sizes! Another thing I do with it: I open the throw and tighten the snare just enough that when I close the throw, the snare wires are gently seated with mild pressure on the reso. (just enough so the snares don't sound like they are hanging)
Then I tune the batter to my liking. Works perfect for me and ends up as sensitive as any other snare. 8x14's are beasts!
Good luck,
LRod
 

TPC

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I have an 80s 8 x 14 Tama Superstar (really thick shell) Same issues, GREAT sound, but you have to hit it with a certain level of intensity before it sings... (don't want to be playing any coffee shops with it) Sensitivity is not its greatest feature.
Weird. I have an 80's Supe 8x14 and the thing is quite sensitive. I use it for acoustic jazz and never hit a hard backbeat all night. I crank the heads medium-tight, tighten the snares until they start to choke the tone then loosen them up a bit, and wham, it’s fine.
 

pwc1141

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I have a Mahogany block 14 x 8 that is actually more sensitive than my 12 x 7 Sheoak block and I am a light hitter playing mainly jazz and Latin. Both have 30 strand snare wires and tuned about the same in head tension terms. Very different tone of course....
 

flurbs

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Sorry to hear you're having issues. Without addressing anything specifically, can you post a few pics of the underside of the drum - someone may be able "see" somthing immediately wrong that's not been described with a dozen posts of text...

Snare sounds good when hit hard, but any ghost notes have no snare sound on them. Like I'm hitting a tom.
That symptom is usually nothing to do with the size, and usually everything to do with either/both the snare wire tension being too tight and/or the wires being shot. With the tension off it should be obvious whether the wires are good or not.


The reso is factory remo head. I have it tuned medium with a tune bot, on the batter side. Reso side is like 395 at the lugs. I have messed around with snare wire tension, and also with moon gels. Should I crank the reso head above 400, or will that choke it out? Should I try a higher tuning on the batter head? Or any other heads to suggest?
None of the head or tuning combinations you're describing results in the problem you've described (unless you're taking things WAY out there...). The problem sounds like it's with the wires and the wire tension - changing heads and tuning is skirting around the issue, not addressing the issue.


Finally, should I consider switching out to 42 strand snare wires?
Absolutely not - not unless you're certain the drum has been cut with snare beds that are wide enough to accomodate them. Hi-count wires don't offer 'more sensitivity' or 'more crispness' - they offer 'more snare sound', but only on drums with beds that are set up wide enough for them to work properly. Most drums aren't, and they make the problem even worse because you end up with the wires that are in the bed being too loose and the wires that sit outside the bed being too tight, with the effect that the main response is choked (the problem you're describing) PLUS the secondary response of unwanted sympathetic buzz being increased - and this is why there are so many instances of folk struggling with high-count snare wires! I'd be surprised if a new RC was ready for them, I would think the beds have been sized for the wires that the factory has spec'd and not much wider...

Good luck! (Post us some pics).
 
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