What Makes A Snare Drum Good?

Rock Salad

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I googled my question and it said "Yamaha Stage birch...
15582065568873133868900270804108.jpg
." Wierd, but anyway, there were not really any good articles or anything else after.
I thought wow cool because I have a Yamaha Birch snare drum. I do really like it. I also have a Mapex maple 13" and have not really bonded with it. They are both made in China lower budget models, but one is obviously good, and the other not so much.
Not sure why though, and other than luck how does one pick out the winners?
Any pointers?
 

Nacci

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It is a moving target. I have a ton of nice snares then last year ran into a particular vintage snare, fell in love with it and don’t want to play any of my other snares anymore.
 

Mcjnic

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Like Nacci said, moving target.
If I had a dollar for every snare I’ve owned through the years that was designated “My Best” ... well, it would most likely purchase my next Best one.
That’s a really cool thing, though.
I love sitting behind great instruments.
A great snare inspires.
 

polycrescendo

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In some cases you might already have a winner and not know it. Heads/snare wire/tuning options are limitless.
I have a Pearl brass free floater piccolo snare and it took me years to get a full body sound out of that drum due to my ignorance as I was choking the reso head by cranking my snare wires too tight.
That Mapex 13" may have a few tricks up it's sleeve if you tinker around a bit more.
 

JDA

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"It's when you drop your hand the (perfect) rimshot is Right there"


so it's a feel connection in addition to tone & sustain & those things..
"It's the one' that gives you the most perfect rimshot with the least effort..

It just " squares-up" with your arm, hand, wrist, comfort-angle- position of attack"...effortlessly.
That's the one. It's the one you always come back to.
You don't want any "trouble" between you and the connection to the drum. None. whatsoever.
 
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jptrickster

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I’ve played many ‘best’ snares , the list is long. it all began for me 50+ yrs ago on a Keystone Supra 400 and that’s still the one my stand more often than not although now it’s a402. It’s like when you put on that perfect fit pair of jeans or that super comfy sneaker.
 

tommykat1

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For me, it's a 5" 3 ply Cleveland era Rogers Powertone. I have over 15 snares, three of which are these, and I keep coming back to them.
 

Bonzo442

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Only snare I regret selling was my Slingerland vintage artist solid maple. I find I’m now getting through life with 4 snares. A vintage 402, 6.5 black beauty, 5.5 & 6.5 craviotto’s Birds-Eye maple.
 

Rock Salad

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I don't really care which is "best." "Good" is what I'm looking for. Some pointers here, thanks.
That Mapex does trim shot more easily than the Yamaha which is tricky. And yes I bet it does have some tricks I haven't found yet. But I think the snare bed may be too shallow maybe. It just never as crispy as the other one.
Just wondering what separates the lemons from the golden. I'm sure there are both good and bad of any make/model.
 

rondrums51

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Some people think snare sensitivity is the number one criterion. But some snares have too much snare sound and not enough stick attack. Playing jazz, the main thing I want is that stick attack on the batter head. I was listening to a jazz record with Billy Higgins on it the other day, and his snare was popping like crazy. Not a lot of snare sound like Joe Morello, but the attack was fantastic. It was probably an old wood Gretsch snare.
I'm currently using a Ludwig 402, but I tune it so the snares don't overwhelm the stick attack. Medium tight top head, medium tight bottom head, snares medium tight. Snare sensitivity is nice, but I want that "pop."
This is for jazz drumming, without miking. The big thing is to get those left hand notes to sound lively and clean without a lot of slop. Rock drumming is different animal. Sorry, can't help you there. :occasion5:
 
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Mcjnic

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"What separates the lemons from the golden" ...
That is the million dollar question.
An instrument is such a subjective thing ... my favorite snare fits "me". I'm not sure others would get the same response from it.

I remember when Gadd was doing that Burning for Buddy thing. Other drummers sat behind his kit. It sounded and felt horrible to them. But when Gadd sat behind it ... it sang like a fat man in a medieval costume.

For me ... for a general purpose snare:
I like the snare to be ...
extremely sensitive
warm
woody (even if it's a metal)
snappy
resonant
solid cross stick
great under a forceful strike
a great feel under the stick
responsive at all levels of touch
and about fifty other variables ...
If the snare hits all of them ... it becomes my favorite.

EDIT ... price is never a factor.
One of my favorite snares is a goofy fiberglass from Ming.
 

JDA

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Think maybe one has to "go thru" 5-10 snares and sometimes do a "circle-back" to figure which snare drum is you..
sometimes a 20-25 year process.. of ups and downs ebbs and flows... but when it comes down to it- you'll know- and you'll come down On it (to it..
 

MrDrums2112

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I have a few "high end" snares - Noble & Cooley, TRS...and I love how they sound and feel at just about any tuning. I have a couple of vintage Slingerland snares that sound great for certain types of music, but maybe are not quite as versatile. At church, I play a very cheap Yamaha Rydeen series kit, and the snare has the stock heads and wires. I tuned it up to my liking and I'll be darned if it doesn't sound fantastic. Go figure.
 

Rock Salad

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I kind of suspect it has to do with the snare bed and lug holes being just right. Micro mills could make a big difference on those areas.
 


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