Most of what is considered your signature voice comes from your snare, providing a sound that is distinct from all others. Many drummers though have more than one snare, switching among them for a specific style, mood, or sound, depending on the gig – a shallow one with a tight sound for funky rhythms, a deep one for major backbeats.
Snares are made from a variety of materials and come in an assortment of sizes, so when you’re searching for a specific sound, it’s important to understand what gives each snare its individuality.
While most drum shells are made of wood, snares can also be constructed from metal. Metal snare drums have a bright tone with power and projection, ideal for rock drummers and for live applications where you need to cut through the band. Wood snare drums have a dark mellow tone typically used by jazz drummers. Yet, a broad range of tones can be achieved depending on what type of metal or metal/wood combination is used.
When searching for a particular sound, the size of the snare drum is as important as the material it is made from. Shallow snares have a faster response and tight sound – ideal for punk and ska. As the shell depends in size, the response time slows down, making the sound less defined but more resonant for the bigger sound often used in rock.
Darker ––> Mahogany • Birch • Solid-Maple • Brass/Maple • Aluminum • Copper • Steel • Bronze • Brass <–– Brighter