Whether you are playing live drums or recording them, unwanted ringing or echoing from your snare drum can be distracting. All the resonant parts of the drum -- the batter head, resonant head, snare wires, the shell itself or the attached hardware -- can make ringing, echoing or rattling noises. By experimenting with the tuning and set-up of your drum, you can find the perfect balance between eliminating unwanted sounds and making the sound too muffled or "dead."
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Things you need
- Drum key
- Muffling material
- Drum stick
Release the snare wires using the snare throwoff on your drum. Place the drum, snare-side down, on a piece of carpet or towel.
Tune the batter head of the snare drum using your drum key. The batter head is the side you play on. Tension each of the key rods equally -- the same pitch should be produced when you tap the head adjacent to each key rod. Adjust any key rods that are higher or lower than the prevailing pitch of the drum. The overall tension of the batter head should be tight enough that when you press your thumb in the centre of the drum, the head yields only slightly.
Flip the drum over so that the batter head is now on the carpet or soft surface. Tune the resonant drum head, also known as the "snare side." Place a pencil between the snare wires and the resonant head while you tune, so that snare rattling does not obscure the pitch of the drum head. The tension -- and overall pitch -- of the resonant head should be higher than that of the batter head.
Remove the pencil from between the snare wires and the resonant head, and place the snare drum on a stand, batter side up. Turn on the snares using the throwoff mechanism.
Strike the drum in the centre with a drum stick. If you hear a snare rattling sound after you have struck the drum, increase the tension of the snare wire against the resonant head. Most snare drums have a hand-turned knob as part of the snare throwoff -- turn the knob clockwise to increase the snare tension.
Consider using a muffling gel, muffling pad or muffling ring if you continue to hear ringing or echoing sounds after you strike the snare. Muffling gels such as Moongel can be stuck to the batter head of the snare drum, near the edge of the head. Muffling rings are made of flexible plastic and encircle the perimeter of the batter head. Some drums have internal muffler pads which can be engaged or disengaged with a lever on the side of the drum shell.
Tips and warnings
- Placing the drum on a carpet or soft surface while you tune allows you to hear the sound of only one head. When you hear both heads at the same time, sympathetic resonance clouds the pitches of the head you are tuning.
- Check all the hardware on your drum to make sure it is firmly attached and not rattling.
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