What Makes A Snare Drum Good?

drummerjohn333

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For me, too much snare buzz (why I don’t like 42 strand wires) or harshness turn me immediately off. Some of this I can control but sometimes not. Like Nacci said, it’s a moving target, constantly changing. Ugg, tough question.
Sometimes that "too much snare buzz" can be caused by someone using those 42 strand wires with the wrong snare......whereas the snare bed is too narrow: the width of the wires need to match the width of the beds (if 42 is an option desired).

I agree with you generally though on the 42, and that might be an indication of tuning style/preference.
 

BennyK

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Regal Tip hickory 2B 's make my snares sound pretty good .
 

Bonzo442

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A blind drummer who doesn’t know the cost of the snare drum would be the best person to answer. Looks and price cloud judgment and we’re all guilty at least I know I am!
 

drummerjohn333

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I can appreciate a Supra. At the same time, we all need to know this: sometimes a snare can sound like a piece of junk, but then you might record it to see "how well it records" and discover that it sounds great when recorded. I'm not referring to EQing or processing here. It can sound entirely different from that one spot where the mic is positioned.

I have one of those Japanese stencil snares on my stand right now- doing some recording and I love how it "records".
I forgot to mention, the MIJ stencil snare I am referring to is WOOD, which normally are notorious as great looking, poor sounding snares.
 

Tama CW

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I forgot to mention, the MIJ stencil snare I am referring to is WOOD, which normally are notorious as great looking, poor sounding snares.
Yup. My early 60's Crown MIJ 8 lugger wood snare with the funky pointed arm throw off was the bomb. It was as good as any snare I had. I loved playing that....huge roll over rims like a Slingy...and the fattest re-rings that almost doubled up the shell thickness...lol. Can't explain it. It just hummed. Simple to tune on low cost heads and the cheesy snare wires.
 

fun2drum

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There's this one snare drum that has almost become a part of my being when I play. I feel naked without it. I hardly ever play my BB, Acro, Supra, etc., anymore. This drum is a 1959 Ludwig Barrett Deems Model (actually the first model of Jazz Festival, mahogany interior, transition badge and mix of Ludwig strainer and WFL Butt). It "resonates" with me in every way. I've even been thinking about selling off some of my other snare drums.

So to answer the OP's question: "Good" is better than "best". "Best" is something like my BB which is known by it's credentials and price. It's a great sounding drum and is what it is. If it's "good" then that's a whole different level of drum, not having to do with class or price but one that you want to play and that makes you smile. You'll know it if and when you find it, but you don't get to choose it. It chooses you.
 

Rock Salad

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Update:
I figured out what was wrong with my (cheapo) Mapex snare. The snare bed is not in perfect alignment with the lugs and strainer. I moved the wires off center on the strainer and butt adjustments and it is fine now! Looking forward to friday and our next practice to really try it out.
My (also cheapo) Yamaha is still rockin hard but the Mapex is a 13" and I want it to work for the extra leg space, and for variety.
 

funkypoodle

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There's this one snare drum that has almost become a part of my being when I play. I feel naked without it. I hardly ever play my BB, Acro, Supra, etc., anymore. This drum is a 1959 Ludwig Barrett Deems Model (actually the first model of Jazz Festival, mahogany interior, transition badge and mix of Ludwig strainer and WFL Butt). It "resonates" with me in every way. I've even been thinking about selling off some of my other snare drums.

So to answer the OP's question: "Good" is better than "best". "Best" is something like my BB which is known by it's credentials and price. It's a great sounding drum and is what it is. If it's "good" then that's a whole different level of drum, not having to do with class or price but one that you want to play and that makes you smile. You'll know it if and when you find it, but you don't get to choose it. It chooses you.
I scored a Sky Blue Pearl 1959 Ludwig Barrett Deems snare almost 10 years ago now. I almost immediately sold it (first baby, new house, yada yada)....then took it out on a gig the night before shipping it. D'oh! I sat there all night with a stunned, sad smile. o_O

Recently I acquired a '64 Super Sensitive (ludalloy) that is just magical to play. It's a whole different level of drum. There is a zone, a beautiful balancing act between orchestral sensitivity and fat, sloppy backbeat that I'm just hooked on! This one won't get away!!
 

funkypoodle

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Update:
I figured out what was wrong with my (cheapo) Mapex snare. The snare bed is not in perfect alignment with the lugs and strainer. I moved the wires off center on the strainer and butt adjustments and it is fine now! Looking forward to friday and our next practice to really try it out.
My (also cheapo) Yamaha is still rockin hard but the Mapex is a 13" and I want it to work for the extra leg space, and for variety.
Glad you found what you were looking for. I've owned a few snares that had "Monday morning" snare beds, even an 80's Premier that had one of the snare beds off by a panel. Yamaha seems to have exceptional QC, even their "student level" stuff.
 

noreastbob

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A blind drummer who doesn’t know the cost of the snare drum would be the best person to answer. Looks and price cloud judgment and we’re all guilty at least I know I am!
OP asked "what makes a snare drum good", not "what makes a snare drum sound good"?
So looks could be part of the equation. "Good" is, after all, a subjective standard and aesthetics may be of varying importance to us.
Your point is none the less viable.
 


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