Question by Catherine Yi: Need help tuning a snare drum!!!?
How do you tune your snare drum so it sounds like the ones used by
The Academy Is… (www.myspace.com/theacademyis)
Motion City Soundtrack (www.myspace.com/motioncitysoundtrack)
Green Day (www.myspace.com/greenday)
Also, I removed the metal snares to tune my drum and when I put them back on, no matter how much I tightened them, the drum gives off these ugly, loud, independent rattle noises.
Answer by Myron
First off, check your snares below. If they are COMPLETELY not even, then you want to buy a new one. You can check by removing it and laying it flat on a table.
When you put your snares back on, make sure that snares will be touching the bottom head. Many of the snare strainers are either metal or plastic and they attach the snares to one side of it. Make sure THAT side is going to be touching the bottom (resonant) head.
When I re-attach snares, I do this:
-Attach the stationary (opposite the throw switch) first. Make sure the string or tape DOES NOT MOVE! You may have to tie a double knot or fold the tape, depending on the kind or snares you have.
-Check to see that the snares on that side have a centimeter or two before it touches the snare shell. If not, readjust.
-Make sure the snare throw is in the OFF position and the fine tuning knob is loosened considerably. Remember, you’re working upside down and the throw off switch will naturally want to go back to the “on” position.
-Firmly (NOT TOO TIGHTLY) re-attach the snares to the throw switch and leave it for now. IT WILL BE LOOSE. Even with the snare throe ON (or up). We’ll get back to it later.
Okay the Heads:
-Crank the top head up. The top head should be a “batter head” 2-ply thick. Get it tight enough where you can play a roll pretty comfortably and even based on “feel” not sound. I personally crank the head tighter than most people (but nowhere near marching snare tight). Use the criss-cross method ALWAYS when tightening or loosing the heads. Using the “around the clock” method will unbalance the head and may cause your lugs to blow out, pull out and in some cases I’ve seen, warp the shell.
– Listen to the top head’s “pitch” (snares off/down) and tune the bottom head about a step and a half lower (minor third in musical terms). The bottom head should be a resonant head. Very thin and single ply.
Now throw the snares back on and adjust the snare tension with the fine tuning knob. Hit the top head with a stick and preferably on the stand. Just make sure that both top and bottom heads can vibrate/ring).
Play smack in the center at a “normal” playing volume. If the drum “rings” too much, tighten the snares. If it sounds “choked”, loosen it up a bit. Find a happy medium.
Many drummers also create that snare “snap” on (beats) 2 and 4 by “gocking” the drum (also known as a form of rim shot). This is where the stick head hits the drum head AT THE SAME TIME as the stick shaft hits the drum rim. It sounds harder that it really is. If done correctly, you should hear a BIG “pop” and your hand should feel a little sting. You can look up techniques online for more info. Drumlines abuse “gocking” when they play.
Kind of long but I wanted to make sure that it got all out there.
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