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Old 02-09-2015, 04:27 PM
Purdie Shuffle Purdie Shuffle is offline
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Default The Basic Set-Up Of A Snare Drum

Howdy All,

Yep, for the umpteenth time there is yet another thread running asking about how to properly set-up a snare drum. I have repeatedly written a good set of basic set-up procedures in response to each person who posts the question, 'How do I set-up my snare?'

I hope Tommy pins this one. Anyone who has a different method, or approach is welcome to add it to this thread. My motives are a bit selfish in that I'm tired of writing the same instructions over and over again in response to each individual request. Better to have it all in one spot. One stop shopping!

So, here it is and (hopefully) for the last time!

Basic Set-Up Of A Snare Drum:

1. Once the heads have been tuned, center the snare wires evenly between the bearing edges of the drum. I usually cheat the snares toward the butt side just a little so that when I tension the snares from the strainer side, they will sit well-centered on the head.

2. Lock down the butt-side first.

3. Disengage the strainer and loosen the snare tension knob on the strainer almost all the way.

4. Run the strings (or tape) through the strainer and (if using string,) tie the first half of a square knot. (Right over left.)

5. With half the knot tied, engage the strainer. Finish tying the other half of the square knot. (Left over right.)

6. Turn the snare tension knob slowly while tapping the top head until you hear a clean snare response. Do not over-tighten the snare wires because you will completely dry out the drum.

If you follow these simple steps every time, you'll always have a drum you enjoy playing as your reward.

Quick review:

Keep wires centered between bearing edges. Make sure the wires are right-side up and that the cord is properly wound through the end plates (not reversed holding the snares above the head.) Rack out the tension knob on the strainer so you have plenty of travel for adding tension to the wires.

I tune the snare side head to an 'A' note. (Tight) The batter side I like at about a 'C' just a tweak above mid-range. This tuning and set-up method has served me well for 50 years.

Any and all other ways of doing this are welcome. Please feel free to post them here.

John

TommyP - Pin this PLEEEEZE! I don't want to have to keep writing it over and over again. Thank you.
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Last edited by Purdie Shuffle; 02-09-2015 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 02-09-2015, 05:30 PM
Brewkowski Brewkowski is offline
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Default Re: The Basic Set-Up Of A Snare Drum

Great info John! You may want to copy your text and save it for quick replies in the future to the same questions that will inevitably arise!
Or save the URL link to your desk top for quick insertion to a post?

In all seriousness, great information! I'm sure there are lots and lots of ways to skin this cat, but your method seems very practical.
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Old 02-09-2015, 05:44 PM
OleHickory OleHickory is offline
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Default Re: The Basic Set-Up Of A Snare Drum

John, this is great information and a recipe for snare drum setup success. I do hope this earns a "pin" in the Restoring Vintage Drums section here. Looking forward to reading more posts from some of the younger VDF members.
Bob

Last edited by OleHickory; 02-09-2015 at 05:47 PM. Reason: missed word and signature
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Old 02-09-2015, 06:59 PM
Purdie Shuffle Purdie Shuffle is offline
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Default Re: The Basic Set-Up Of A Snare Drum

While we're at it... if you ever want to get a BIG, FAT, WET sound out of your snare... (for Rock-A-Billy, or the like,) tune the bottom head on the snare tight, ('A') then tune the batter side -slack- just above wrinkle when the drum opens up and starts to resonate. In other words, as low as you can get it. Back off on the snare tension until the wires are off the head, then slowly tension them up again until you hear them kiss the bottom head. Tension them just a tweak more and you're there!

Hit it hard on a back beat and get ready for some serious pop. A recording engineer I worked with loved this tuning. He was making me crazy about the sound of the snare until I finally took out all those nasty overtones that were driving him bonkers by slacking the tuning on the batter to near nothing. The sound of the snare got a lot bigger, had more authority. The engineer loved it... Peace in the valley. Try it, it's a great tuning for Rock, Blues and most especially Rock-A-Billy.

John
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Last edited by Purdie Shuffle; 02-09-2015 at 08:24 PM.
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  #5  
Old 02-10-2015, 05:16 AM
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Tommyp Tommyp is offline
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Default Re: The Basic Set-Up Of A Snare Drum

... and that's fine John! Just saw this actually, and the reason for that is, all we have been doing in CT for the past three weeks is moving snow! UGH!!!!! I shall make it so! Thread will now be STICKY... so handle with care! <smile>

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Old 02-10-2015, 06:08 AM
SebCo SebCo is offline
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Default Re: The Basic Set-Up Of A Snare Drum

Quote:
Originally Posted by Purdie Shuffle View Post
Make sure....that the cord is properly wound through the end plates (not reversed holding the snares above the head.)
I added a little graphic I made regarding this point.


Re: snare side tension -
pitch "A" is very tight. "G" I found is totally fine, plus you get a bit more low end. The snare side head also doesn't keep stretching (I found it does at "A"), so you don't need to re-tension it, thus getting more life out of it.
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Old 02-10-2015, 09:50 AM
OddBall OddBall is online now
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Default Re: The Basic Set-Up Of A Snare Drum

Quote:
Originally Posted by SebCo View Post
I added a little graphic I made regarding this point.


Re: snare side tension -
pitch "A" is very tight. "G" I found is totally fine, plus you get a bit more low end. The snare side head also doesn't keep stretching (I found it does at "A"), so you don't need to re-tension it, thus getting more life out of it.
Amendment 1:a If your wires have a solder bead, be sure that side is facing the head.
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Old 02-10-2015, 01:13 PM
Purdie Shuffle Purdie Shuffle is offline
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Default Re: The Basic Set-Up Of A Snare Drum

Thanks Tommy,

Sebco, oddball, excellent tips/contributions!

John
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http://www.walbergandauge.com/VintageVenue.htm

Last edited by Purdie Shuffle; 02-10-2015 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 03-04-2015, 10:43 PM
Chromeo Chromeo is offline
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Default Re: The Basic Set-Up Of A Snare Drum

I think this to myself while tuning.. Full turn, opposite, full turn, clockwise one, full turn, opposite, full turn, clockwise one, full turn, opposite, full turn, clock wise one.........

And those of you who know will know what I'm talking about.
Great tips there John. I do likewise, but clockwise
A worthy sticky thread!
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Old 03-16-2015, 06:23 AM
jccabinets jccabinets is offline
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Default Re: The Basic Set-Up Of A Snare Drum

So, the batter at a C and the snare side at an A. I cant "hear" an A or a C note, how do you do it? Use a guitar tuner?
What would the drum dial read if you were tuning to an A, or C?
My new snare drum doesn't sound as good as it could so I'm messing around with it.
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