View Full Version : Snare Tuning HELP!!!

04-28-2005, 09:22 AM
Hey guys, i've not got the best tuning capabilities, although i have read the drum bible page to page and still suck at it. But anyways, i've got a ludwig supraphonic, and was wondering what you guys would suggest tuning it like, I've got a remo c.s for batter and ambassoder for snare side. Also any tuning tips would be highly thankful.

Im looking for a good rock snare drum sound. but dont no how to describe what im looking for, kinda like Matt Cameron from Pearl Jam, if that makes sense, but i dont want it to sound like a marching snare drum also.


Racer X

04-28-2005, 03:13 PM
Start with the snare side head. Make sure everything is "clean" (as it can get, no need to be picky here, just any dirt or stuff from the last head) and put the head on the drum. Put the rim on, and put on the tension rods finger tight (not too much pressure).
Next, tune, with drum key, every opposite tension rod. Tighten head until there are no more wrinkles (you may need more turns on the lugs by the snare beds) the head should not be too tight, but no wrinkles. This is a good starting point. It should be as even as possible...but, please dont stress over it.

Next, same thing with the batter head, but it will be a few 1/4 turns tighter than the snare-side head. it should have a consistent, round sound, like a high tom, or a thick-sounding timbale.

Now, time for the snares. What I do that is effective in getting any snare sound you want is this:
Attach the snare cord (or strap) to the butt side of the drum. I usually have the end of the snare about 1/2" from the end of the shell. Tighten the butt side of the strainer.

Now, with the strainer in snares ON position (lever UP), unscrew the knob of the strainer until it comes off. Put it back on, and turn it 2-4 times. Attach the other end of the snares to that part of the strainer. Tighten the snare straps firmly, so there is some play, meaning you can move the snares back and forth. You don't want them too tight, especially at that knob setting.

Put the snare on a stand, and hit it.
Too snary? Tighten the snares to get a more crisp drum sound.
Sharper sound? Tightening the snare side head...affects how much head is against the snares.
Too tubby-sounding? Tighten the batter head.
Etc, etc...

Mess around with the tuning...it will take a while to get that sound you want, so be patient. You're new at tuning, so dont say you suck at it, when you're new at it. No need to beat yourself up about it.

Good luck!

04-28-2005, 06:52 PM
im always fiddling with my snare...........thats one thing im hardly ever satisfied with as far as sound......i can rarely get it the way i ''really'' want it...when i do it seems i can never keep it that way.

yes.........snares can lead to stress.

04-28-2005, 07:37 PM
Me too, I have a 14X6.5 maple snare and I can't really get the sound high enough that I want, although I can get a decent crack out of it.

04-28-2005, 09:57 PM
Patience and persistenc is the key. If you get to a sound that you like out of it, remember..how did you get that sound? Can you repeat it when the head goes bad and you have to replace it?
The method I use that I've written above is a good method that has gotten me consistent sounds from my snares. Notice I didn't say THE RIGHT SOUND, but consistent.

04-29-2005, 07:25 AM
buddy rich was ask how he tunes his drums...he says...i don't tune them but
tension them. quite realistic if you ask me.

04-29-2005, 08:35 AM
Try this. Start over, take heads off, TOP HEAD:Put the top or batter head on the drum, no rim yet, place your fist on the center of the head. Then slowly push down on the head in a up and down motion,( use side meaty part of hand while making a fist ) pushing a little harder each time. Do this about 12-20 times. This will SEAT the head. ( every drum is not perfectly round) use the logo on the head as a marker for placement. Put the rim on, FINGER tighten the first two directly across from each other at the same time!! move to the next two, repeat all the way around. You know what to do from there. ( *use 2 keys at the same directly across from each other ) Just remember, tune to the pitch the drum resonates best at! ( yes, even with one head on the drum ) don't forces a note or pitch! Trust your drums! Because of there size, they will find the "perfect" notes for you, if you allow them. Your drums are your friends! O.K. BOTTOM HEAD: First thing here, Make sure this is a BOTTOM SNARE HEAD!!!! Evans 200 & 300 Snare side heads for example. MUST BE A SNARE SIDE head, the ambassador, emperor, is great for tom bottoms but are HORRIBLE snare bottom heads! THIS MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE!! Remo has the RENAISSANCE Snare Drum Snare Side, drum head. Place on bottom side, and again you should seat the head, BE VERY CAREFUL, push VERY LIGHTLY IF AT ALL!! you may want to just place the head on drum, and push slightly on rims, across from each other, side to side. Tighten FINGER tight again just like top head, and again tune to the pitch the drum resonates at, on its own. Make sure your snares are STRAIGHT when complete. I see this ALOT when students bring buzzy or niose problem snares to me. Over tight, and crooked snares are the most common problems. Easy fix for great results! Also, over tuned heads, or over cranked up heads are also a common problem. You will get a brand new snare but switching from an Ambassador to a snare bottom head of any make as long as it's a SNARE SIDE or BOTTOM Snare head!!! Now RUN TO THE STORE NOW!!! As Frank Zappa says on the classic-*Crew Sluts, " You'll love it"

04-29-2005, 09:39 AM
......and be a crew slut.... aayyy..I'll buy you a pizza.....

04-29-2005, 09:40 AM
........of course I'll introduce you to Warren.........

04-29-2005, 09:41 AM
.........add water....makes it's own sauce......

04-29-2005, 12:42 PM
Uhh, you ok Pete? :p

04-29-2005, 01:55 PM
Attention Zappa overdose!

04-29-2005, 02:37 PM
...yeah, I know, your father is waiting for you in the tool shed...

04-29-2005, 06:58 PM
......you don't need to wash it...cause I ain't gonna squash it.......

04-30-2005, 02:30 AM
So it is basically a question of how good you can hear and of your own taste? I heard for example that some guys tune their drums by harmonies. The problem is I have no real understanding of harmonies. I can hear from the harmonies whether it is jazz or funk or whatever but I can not decribe it in musical terms.
So I tune my drums that their sound is homogen and as stays about the same in the sustain. For example I had once a problem with a tom that lost a lot of pitch when the sustain faded.
So it is not neccessary too understand every part of tuning apart from really let you guide by the natural sound the shell can produce?

04-30-2005, 11:40 AM
dancing men...eewwww!

04-30-2005, 12:45 PM
..........wuth leather.............

05-01-2005, 02:59 PM

Don't you mean by harmonics? Unless I'm totally misunderstood, I read you can tune your drums from using the harmonics as a tool to make sure the head is properley tightened and in tune with itself.

05-01-2005, 03:01 PM
Guy in the crowd : **** you Zappa!
Frank : **** you dude, **** you very much!

05-02-2005, 08:38 AM
I think you guy's are looking for scales. Some producers are super picky about *everything* being in the key of the song! Even cow bell samples! That's picky, but whatever. I have found that playing metal for example, tuning my bass drum to D or B or even C really adds to the CHUGG factor being that these note are used as the palm muted "chugging" notes in metal! You know, the chugchugchugchug-chugchug-chug. Or at the next band practice, have your bass player ride the lowest string open, tune you bass drum to that note!