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skulpter Offline
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:12 am    Post subject: crappy snare sound Reply with quote

I've never been happy with the sound of my Gretsch Catalina Jazz snare. No matter how tight or loose I tune either head, or how much I tighten the snare, I'm always left with a sound that belongs more in a marching band than a rock band. I even replaced the stock head with a vintage fiber head, which improved things a little, but not near enough. Could it be the snare itself?

Granted it's a cheapie, but we played with another band the other night, and I was setting up my amp while their drummer was doing his soundcheck. The first time he hit his snare, I thought -- that's it! That's the sound I want! It was a nice thick POP!, with just a hint of snare rattle, whereas with mine the rattle is the predominant sound.

Does one have to lay down the big bucks to get that POP sound, or is there something I can do to make mine useable. It's particularly frustrating from a recording standpoint.

Help me!

Ken

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Ken,

Did you check out the make, model and heads of the snare that you liked at the gig?


you should be able to get close to the same sound with the same gear.....ya know?

Cool

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tmix Offline
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ken,
The shell definately has some effect on the sound of the snare as does the diameter , depth, snare wires, heads and tuning.
Some features have more an effect than others.
Heck as you know how you smack the sucker plays a huge part in it too.

I don't know what your snare size /shell material is nor the size / shell material of the snare from the other night you were comparing it to.

If size,material and playing technique are relatively equal here are the things that I always check and mess with to make my drums pop:

Is the shell round and does it have decent bearing edges? ( I assume yes)
Does the shell have a decent knock when you rap it with your knuckles or softly with a stick? If the shell is soft or dead you will never get a pop out of it.

If the shell is in decent shape then the heads are generally the next culprit. You can really kill the pop of a snare if you choke it with too heavy a batter head. You need the most vibrant head you can stand on it both top and bottom. You want that sucker to sing when you stroke it! And vibrate like it is electrified! If you don't like ring you can use dry vented heads, but still go with the lightest guage you can stand for the tuning and playing style you use. I am not a hard hitter and I like my heads to have a little give to them at a medium to high pitch so I go with single ply heads.
For me the thicker heads like the fiberskin types make my drum thud rather than crack.

If you are a softer hitter you may want to keep away from thicker shelled wooden snares because you have to spank em hard to excite the shells to action. Metal shelled snares tend to bark with less hitting force.

You can choke a snare by tightening the snare wires too much too.
What sounds good up close can sound dead 10 feet away, I leave my wires a tad looser thatn what I think sounds good up close. You can go with more or less strands on you snare wires, but I've never really experimented with that.

Well...that is my thought without knowing more particular facts about your snare. I'm sure it is stuff you've allready considered, but it is what I do anyway.
Most of my snares sound really good live, some don't record well with close mics. I have to make them sound really nasty and exaggerated to record well......

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skulpter Offline
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks alot for your responses, guys. Great info. I meant to ask Scott about his setup, but forgot. I will call him and report back with his response. I just wish our drummer was more motivated to improve his tone -- his snare sounds just as bad as mine! He uses mine at rehearsals and his at gigs. The quest continues.
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M.Brane Offline
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:24 am    Post subject: Re: crappy snare sound Reply with quote

skulpter wrote:
I was setting up my amp while their drummer was doing his soundcheck. The first time he hit his snare, I thought -- that's it! That's the sound I want!


A lot depends on how you hit the thing too. Wink

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skulpter Offline
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure you're right, but my head was about four feet from his drum. and I couldn't see anything drastically different in his technique. The difference in tone, however was huge. His kit did seem very nice -- Yamaha, I think.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're talking about a LOT of variables that go into getting a snare to sound just like you want. As Tom mentioned, the type drum shell (material), the type/number of ply the heads are, the snare its self, the attack with which the drummer hit's the thing... and Most importantly the tuning.

I use 11 different snares and each one of them produce a distinctly different sound.... anything from rock, funk, punk, disco, vintage 70's to country... it's a must to have all those sounds in your arsenal if you track as much as I do.

As I said there are so many variables that you can try it really depends on the exact sound you're looking for it can become overwhelming IF you don't have the vision of what you're looking for. I'd suggest (as you mentioned) you check back in with your friend and see what set-up he uses... it may be the starting point you're looking for.

I've got some OLD drums that I picked up VERY cheap and have made them sound awesome. Simply because the construction of the shell was good quality. Much like a good bottle of wine though some drums produce only ONE flavor (tone/sound) well. Once the drum is in tune with it's self... this tone should become very evident cause any adjustments to it will distort the sound ... (ie; kill the drum or over exaggerate the ring so either way it's an obvious annoyance).

Sorry if I'm not much help here BUT I've honestly found hands on is the only approach to getting what you desire out of a particular drum. As long as you pay close attention to the drum its self... it will tell you what it's capable of producing and what it's Not! Simply experiment.

Recording.... thats a different story.

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skulpter Offline
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome info, John. Many thanks! I'll keep experimenting and hopefully strike upon the right balance of all those different criteria.
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stainless Offline
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skulpt-

as I'm not a drummer, my comments are strictly from the recording end of things-

I've ended up with a Pearl steel piccolo which records well- I also have a Tama Rockstar and a Pearl Export (both steel shells and about the same in sound... may 'modify" one of them, which to me are darker and have a bit more ring/echo... (they just seem to go longer)

I also have a 15" Ludwig marching snare- vary deep and doubles as a floor tom with the snare turned off Laughing

the pic seems the go to snare (and I don't directly mic it, using only 2 OH and a kick mic

I really AM NOT a drummer, I've found the best way to get someone to lay down a track for me is to record myself on drums and play it for them, asking "what da yu think?" works everytime!!! Cool

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M.Brane Offline
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stainless wrote:


I really AM NOT a drummer, I've found the best way to get someone to lay down a track for me is to record myself on drums and play it for them, asking "what da yu think?" works everytime!!! Cool



Laughing

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LMAO! Stainless... yup had that pulled on me a time er 10... works!
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